Protecting biodiversity at Sharon Creek Farm

Sharon Creek Farm sits in an unassuming spot atop the Nokiida Trail in the Holland Valley. This certified organic, environmentally-minded farm provides consumers in York Region nearby access to fresh, locally-grown, certified organic produce, eggs, seasonal fruits and veggies, and even organic meat. Kale and some green crops are available in the winter due to the use of winter row cover. Root vegetables are stored in the on-site root cellar and many varieties of garlic are grown.

The farm owner, Sally Shearman has gone to great lengths to protect biodiversity by selecting plant and animal breeds for the farm very carefully. The rare breeds she has selected include Baby Doll Southdown Sheep, Plain Headed Roman Geese, Welsh Silver Harlequin Ducks, Jersey Giant Chickens, Belgian Cuckoo Malines and Myotonic goats. A local beekeeper maintains four hives on the farm.

Operations on the farm are entirely sustainable, and as a result of years of effort, the farm has just received organic certification through Pro-Cert. This of course means that no external chemical products are applied on the farm. Sheep act as lawn mowers on the steep hill, and they keep weed growth down. The free-roaming poultry provide fertilizer for plants, and they eat pests and fallen fruit. Manure is composted and mixed with wood chips to provide mulch for fruit trees. Invasive species are eaten by the sheep and goats (in some cases) and removed mechanically in others. Rainbarrels are used to capture rainwater that is subsequently pumped to a central station where it is then used to water plants by hand. No other external irrigation is used, and other than that, the farm relies on rainfall.

So the next time you want to sample farm-fresh jams, preserves, berries, currants, plums, apples, pears, grapes or other delicious treats, visit Sharon Creek Farm at the Georgina Farmers’ market. Other available products include the fibre from the farm’s sheep (raw fleece, scoured fleece and rolags) and honey. During the warmer months, if you want to shop directly at the farm, it can be easily accessed along the Nokiida bike trail.

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