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West River Holsteins – 2018

In 1998, Jack Thomson and Rhonda MacDougall accomplished their dream – owning a dairy farm – and what made it even better was the fact that they were able to purchase a farm in their home community of Antigonish. After Jack and Rhonda graduated from McGill University’s Macdonald College, Jack gained experience working as a dairy herdsperson, for the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture (NSDA) as an Agriculture Representative and as a Sire Analyst in Ontario. With that experience, Jack moved back home to Antigonish and purchased the farm from the Corsten family in 1998.

West River Holsteins is operated by Jack and Rhonda along with their kids: Shamus, Bryce, Keith and Elise, as well as their farm employees. Here they have approximately 280 head of purebred Holsteins – and milk 135 of them. Waking up before the sun for 3:30am milk time followed by milkings at 11:30am and 7pm. Over the past 20 years the farm has changed significantly, in 2007 lightning struck the orginal dairy barn causing it to burn down and a new one be built as a replacement. Currently, West River Holsteins farms 500 acres, including 75 acres of corn silage.

“We’ve been proud participants in Open Farm Day since it’s inception – with the exception of 2007 we have participated every year,” Jack explained. “We’ve welcomed thousands to the farm to experience life on a dairy farm and learn more about agriculture.”

Open Farm Day is the largest group that is greeted by the farm every year in addition to the industry tours, school visits and university tours they host as well.

“As the number of primary producers decreases and individuals get additional generations removed from the farm, education is increasingly important. This is especially true since the advent of social media and internet advice on everything,” Rhonda added. “The best source for what is done on the farm, how things are done and why they are done is the farmer, and we are proud to share that educational component with anyone who desires the information from those who farm everyday.”

Did you know: in addition to being a large dairy farm, they also have 50 sheep and lambs, as well as chickens?

When visitors arrive on site there will be given two options: a self guided tour using static displays, and a guided tour. Static displays are set up around the farm to facilitate a self-guided tour and are a great option for those who have visited the farm in the past or who already have knowledge of dairy farming. The guided tours are a great option for those looking to get more details on each aspect of the operation, gain a better understanding of the indusrty/commodity, and have their questions answered by the farmer or the employees.

“Everyone at West River Holsteins loves being involved in agriculture. It’s a story we are proud to share and one of which many can claim a part of success – employees, family, 4-H members, neighbours and community. We appreciate the opportunity to share our story and our farm with those who are interested in learning more about farming and agriculture.”

West River Holsteins can’t wait to meet you on the farm!


20 hours ago

Meet Your Farmer

While 300 orders have been received and ordering is closed for this week, Truro Farmers Market Cooperative has online ordering for Saturday pickup. Be sure to like and follow here on FB to find the form to place a future order.

These systems are new so THANK YOU for trying them, supporting NS farmers and food businesses and for having patience as we all adjust to buying in new ways!We are so happy, but so sad too - we have to cut off the orders for this week! We are at 300 orders and logistically we just can't deal with any more than that in our second week of filling orders.
We will have an even better ordering system in place for next week, which will be accessible through our website. Watch for postings about it going live and thank you so much for your support! On behalf of our local producers - you rock!
We will add a second order day and/or more logistics so that we can accept more orders next week.
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2 days ago

Meet Your Farmer

If you are in Cape Breton the Pan Cape Breton Food Hub and Cape Breton Farmers' Market have teamed up to provide at home deliveries for online orders.

They have provided the steps to get signed up and logged in to use this service.

Be sure to follow Pan Cape Breton Food Hub Co-op and Cape Breton Farmers Market to stay up-to-date with info!While the physical Cape Breton Farmers Market will no longer be open during this time as we deal with COVID-19, you can still support local farms and access the same fresh food by using the Cape Breton Food Hub's online ordering system. During the COVID-19 crisis, all orders placed through the Food Hub will be delivered to you directly. As a member co-op the Cape Breton Food Hub generally has a membership fee, but for all those using this service in place of the Cape Breton Farmers’ market the membership fee will be waived.

To place a local food order through the Food Hub’s online marketplace you will first need to register and add a free temporary membership to your account. Here’s how:

1. Create a Login by visiting You will be asked for an email and to create an 8+ character Password.

2. Next, select Sydney as your pick up location from the drop down menu and enter your address, email and phone number to complete your registration. This information allows us to get in touch with you about any market service changes.

3. Click on the person icon on the top right side of the screen to go to “Account Information”

4. Select the third tab at the top “Credit Card” and enter your information here. Please ensure that the postal code you provided with your address matches the postal code associated with your credit card. If you do not have a credit card contact us and you can arrange to pay by etransfer.

5. Finally, return to the “Account Info” tab and scroll to the bottom of the page. On the right you will see a green “Add Membership” button.

6. Select “Temporary Market Member” from the drop down menu and confirm. You will need to press confirm once more once it takes you to your order.

7. That’s it! Now you are ready to order! Select “Product List” at the very top during market hours to view products and place your order.

Our online marketplace is open Fridays at noon until 7 pm on Mondays. Log in any time within these hours to view products and place an order. Your order will be delivered to your door the following Thursday between 4 pm and 7pm. Someone will ring your bell then leave the order for you to retrieve.

Please contact the Food Hub directly at for any questions or help navigating the online marketplace.
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