Chatsworth Farm Chatsworth Farm is a second-generation mixed family farm with a herd of 500 beef cattle, sheep, chickens (for eggs and meat), geese, ducks, turkeys, and growing various grain and legume crops, including heritage Red Fife wheat.
AOTP: How did you get into farming?
WF: Rick always wanted to farm, from the time he was a young boy. But while both sets of his grandparents farmed, his parents didn’t. So Rick had to start from scratch, and in 1993 he bought the land where Chatsworth Farm is now. But even before 1993, Rick had a cattle herd that was steadily increasing, and he had been buying second-hand machinery and other equipment. In 1994 he married Johanna and they started the farm. Our three kids — Charlotte, Nick, and Alex — started helping from the time they could walk, and are now as young adults an important part of the operation.
We’re a certified Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) producer, which means that between strict program requirements and a third-party audit process, we adhere to the highest standards for food safety, animal care, and environmental stewardship. We’re also part of the Canadian Program for Certifying Freedom from Growth Enhancing Products (GEPs) for Export of Beef to the European Union. The local 4-H Beef Club and 4-H in general have played an important role, throughout Rick’s youth as well as Charlotte’s, Nick’s, and Alex’s, from developing livestock judging and showing skills to public speaking, all of which continue to benefit them in their daily lives; for example, judging livestock shows and showing cattle for other producers. We participated in our first Alberta Open Farm Days in 2021 and are looking forward to participating again in 2021!
AOTP: What does your operation look like now?
WF: Chatsworth Farm is a second-generation mixed family farm with a herd of 500 beef cattle, sheep, chickens (for eggs and meat), geese, ducks, turkeys, and growing various grain and legume crops, including heritage Red Fife wheat. We’re joined by our guardian livestock dog Lizzy, a friendly group of farm cats, and one working cow horse. The farm is located two hours east of Edmonton and we farm over 2,000 acres in the beautiful parkland region.
Rick farms and also works as a carpenter. Johanna does a lot of the behind the scenes work, and is busy with the garden and greenhouse, especially from April to October. Nick and Alex farm full-time and custom farm in the summer for neighbours; they have also added purebred cattle to our operation using artificial insemination and embryo transfer in our purebred herd. Charlotte has a full-time job in town, but farms in the evenings and on weekends. In 2020 she started offering virtual farm tours, and also gives private tours for classes, individuals, and groups around the world.
AOTP: What is your favourite memory as a farmer?
WF: Making a campfire and having a hot dog roast at one of our further flung summer pastures, after a long hot June day of hauling cattle. The Vermilion River runs through that pasture, which provides idyllic views with the cattle grazing below the hill.
AOTP: What products do you sell?
WF: We sell bulk beef and lamb as well as individual cuts and smaller freezer packages. Our beef and lamb are locally processed and the beef is dry-aged for 21 days. We also sell eggs, Red Fife wheat berries and stone ground flour we mill ourselves, and whole chickens and turkeys seasonally. We order the chicks in the spring, pasture them all summer, and process them in the fall. This year we’re hatching out our own heritage turkey poults. Charlotte is constantly tweaking her chicken breeding program to get the best colours — copper, olive green, turquoise blue, and more — for her hen’s eggs.
AOTP: How can restaurants and consumers purchase your products?
WF: You can visit our website to place an order and to sign up for our newsletter, and also find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We post at our website and our social media pages, and in our newsletter, about our special seasonal packages and anything new we have available. We work hard to keep our website updated regularly.
We make regular deliveries to Vermilion, and also have contactless pickup at the farm.
We make monthly deliveries to Edmonton and can deliver right to your door.
We’re just starting to deliver to Calgary beginning in April.
Certain products do sell out quickly (eggs, sausages, steaks) so we suggest placing your Edmonton and Calgary orders two weeks in advance.