Spring Creek Acres
Jolanda & CJ ten Haaf, Ponoka, Alberta
Ten years ago, CJ & Jolanda Ten Haaf immigrated from Holland to Canada to pursue their dream of purchasing land and having a farm of their own. Owning a farm in Holland was not a reality for the Ten Haaf's as the cost of land in Holland was too high. They settled in Alberta and purchased an acreage which they named "Spring Creek Acres".
Shortly after, they bought 15 Suffolk/Dorset cross ewes from John and Edith Williams, well known in the area for their pure-bred Suffolk and Dorset flock. That was the beginning of their sheep farm on 12 acres of pasture where they grew their flock of lambs to about 80 ewes.
In 2014 they had to make a decision about the future of their farm; expand by renting or buying more land or downsize as 12 acres of pasture was not enough for their 80 ewes. They chose to expand and in 2015 they purchased a beautiful property 15 km from the town of Ponoka, with 145 acres of land. They immediately fell in love with the land and the possibility to grow to a flock of 400 ewes.
They converted a horse barn on the property into a lambing barn where the ewes can have their lambs in a protected environment. They currently have 120 ewes and lamb from December to March. CJ and Jolanda along with the occasional help from their children raise Dorset/Suffolk cross feeder lambs, and sell them at a weight between 70 and 80 pounds.
The Ten Haaf's believe there is a bright future for the Canadian Lamb Industry. Consumers are looking for meat raised domestically rather than purchasing overseas products. They see lamb gaining popularity among meat products as it is used in more and more recipes, restaurants and cooking programs. They foresee the demand for lamb products to continue to grow within a population as culturally and culinary diverse as Canada.
As producers, the growing demand for lamb products is an exciting time and is mirrored in the potential and opportunity to expand their flock and continue doing what they love to do, raising healthy and happy lambs.