Life Food

Taking a natural approach to raising livestock

Lauren MacGill

Matt Friesen runs Heartwood Pastures with his wife Janelle, continuing a family tradition from the 40s. (LAUREN MACGILL, Winkler Times)

Matt Friesen runs Heartwood Pastures with his wife Janelle, continuing a family tradition from the 40s. (LAUREN MACGILL, Winkler Times)

The owner of a local farm believes that raising animals naturally is the best method to keep them healthy and happy.

Matt Friesen runs Heartwood Pastures, south of Winkler and Morden, with his wife Janelle. Friesen’s family was dairy farming in the area until five years ago, when his dad and brother moved on to other things. “I started to raise some livestock in the pasture, added the pigs and chickens,” he said. “We’ve had an actual business of doing it for about three years.”

Growing up, Friesen’s parents raised cattle and chickens for the family, and it wasn’t until a few years ago that they transitioned into running the farm as a business. “The farm is something my grandpa bought in the late 40s,” he said. “My family has been farming here for a lifetime.”

Friesen’s animals, chickens, pigs and cattle alike are all grassfed and free range.

“We are seeing more and more that the closer we can be to doing things the way nature does them, the better off our animals are,” Friesen said. “You can see the cows in the pasture are very relaxed together with their calves. The closer we can be to following nature’s path seems like the better method to raising livestock.”

Heartwood Pastures has opened to the public for a few years now, embracing a farm to table method of letting people see where their food comes from. “I feel like we go to the supermarket and we buy things in a box and there’s something rewarding about seeing where it came from and where it started,” Friesen said.

Friesen said the farm tours seem to be growing in popularity every year, and that people seemed to appreciate the chance to experience

For more information, you can find Heartwood Pastures online at www.heartwoodpastures.com, or connect with them on Facebook.