Slipp Farms 1784 Ltd.
Larry Slipp owns and runs his 7th generation family farm located in Central Hampstead in the heart of the lower Saint John River Valley. As the name of the farm suggests, history has left its mark on this heritage farm. In 1984, the Province of New Brunswick commemorated several bi-centennial farms that have been passed on through the generations – and Larry’s farm was one of them. Larry now owns 600 acres of farmland and 1200 acres of woodland, a portion of which was passed on to him through the generations.
Growing up on this land where his parents ran a conventional poultry operation, Larry had aspirations to continue the family tradition in farming. He went to the Agricultural College in Truro, and started farming in 1981 when initially, he did as he had learned at school: he sprayed some of his fields with chemicals. After the first couple of applications, Larry knew that chemicals weren’t for him, and he has never sprayed his fields since.
When asked why he chose to certify the farm, Larry said, “If it’s right it’s right, it’s not wrong. And that’s what I think of organics. It’s right, it’s not wrong, no argument, pretty simple.” Larry has also become very interested in biodynamics, and has started experimenting with some of the intricate biodynamic principles by learning about dousing and creating a medicine wheel on his farm.
Larry’s farm specialty is 100% grass-fed beef and grain-fed organic chicken. He has several different types of breeds of cattle on the farm, his favourite being the Scottish Highlanders, another being Belted Galloways, “a small and good-tempered cow”, he claims. Feeding his cows grass makes them healthier animals, which means that they are healthier for us to eat. They provide better quality nutrients and omega 3 fatty acids as well as the prime oleic acid – the healthy fatty acid found in olive oil and açai nuts.
Looking around the farm, Larry will point out that the acres and acres of forest surrounding the fields are all new growth – farmland lost as a result of the continued globalization and transportation shift of agricultural products over the last hundred years. “The whole area here used to be prime agricultural land – the richest of the rich along the Saint John River Valley. The whole panorama you see here was strictly farmland, there was hardly a tree to break the view,” he says, referring to an old photograph taken in 1890’s. Larry does his best to encourage people to continue to farm their land and avoid the encroaching forests on prime farmland that is fast disappearing.
For the future, Larry wants to continue to work towards fulfilling his farm sustainability plan by providing his own organic feed for his chickens as currently, the organic feed supply in the Maritimes is minimal. Eventually, he sees his farm becoming more of a learning environment where he can share his knowledge with new farmers, making sure that the traditions continue before he retires.