Bryan and Kaisu Vanderpol own and operate Vanderpol Farms near Lakeside in Zorra Township and for Bryan, working with cows has always been his career. “I always wanted to be a dairy farmer, but I was just never financially able to on my own. I’ve worked for dairy farmers my whole life and I am currently a herd manager for a big dairy farm with 450 milking cows. I thought we have this farm of our own so why don’t I do what I’m good at and raise cows. Three years ago, we got into the beef business.”
His love of rural Ontario and animals started at an early age. “I grew up in the county but not on a farm. My mom’s parents were dairy famers in the Kirkton area, and we lived in a bungalow surrounded by farms. I worked for some of them since as long as I can remember and spent some time on my grandparent’s and cousin’s farms every summer as a kid. I just loved being there and always wanted to raise a family on a farm.” Bryan says he and Kaisu are working as a team. “My wife has bought into my dream, and we have made it our dream now.”
The farm is utilizing social media quite well and one of their recent posts has Bryan showing off some dance moves to Tina Turner’s ‘You’re Simply the Best.’ “We are having a blast. We have a friend who helps us out with the social media stuff and she’s quite good at it. I don’t know much about computers, and I am a bit old school, so I do what I am told,” Bryan laughs. “This is something that I plan on doing for a long time so I may as well have fun with it. Life is no fun if you can’t laugh a little bit.”
The couple sells most of their products via retail, but Kaisu says they are hoping to branch out. “We sell mostly to the public, but we do have a few businesses that use our beef like Soulful Spoon and Noods Pasta, and we are trying go get the word out to have more places, like restaurants, use our beef.”
It is obvious that Bryan and Kaisu are on the same page and are embracing their new endeavour. Kaisu says it is something meaningful at this stage in her life. “At the beginning he told me it would be a small herd of five, but it kept on growing. We did it for our family at first and then we said why not just take the jump and do it for everyone that will take a chance. I love supporting Bryan and its fun for me because I have been a stay-at-home mom and I needed something for myself to support the family and I enjoy talking to businesses to spread the word about Vanderpol Farms.”
Bryan says he has gradually grown the business and expects to keep growing. “We started off butchering four cows a year but last year we butchered one a month and had a waiting list. This year we started butchering two per month, and we are projecting four per month next year.”
The couple are proud parents of three beautiful children ages nine, seven, and six and they are all active in the family business. “They enjoy helping, but I am a believer in not pushing them to do what I love,” says Bryan. “I would like them to be interested in it someday, but I want my kids to be interested in it on their own. They do help with feeding, cleaning up the barn, bedding, moving animals, and they enjoy it. Especially a wheel barrel ride.”
For more information on Vanderpol Farms and their products, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Whats-your-Beef-104062965317320.