A cow, a duck, a turkey, a pig. The sign with the animals for Perrys' Farm on Yarker Road just outside Verona catches your eye. And in a nutshell, it gives you a nice capsule description of what it is that farmers Dave and Kim Perry and their family do. But it’s not the whole story. It’s just too bad that there isn’t any room on that sign for the donkeys they sell to other farmers to protect their herds from coyotes, for example. And there’s really no way to put their philosophy of farming and local food on the sign.
A seventh-generation farmer who got his start at age six helping his grandmother milk 21 cows by hand each morning, Dave bought the farm from his grandparents (“It hurts me to see good land go,” he says), and today, he is the only one of his brothers and sisters still on the land. It’s a life he’s committed to. That goes for the whole family. His wife, Kim, runs local food store "Food Less Travelled" in Verona, and Grant and Mason, eighth-generation farmers keeps busy with 100 ducks.
The Perrys are also committed to improving the quality of their pride and joy, their herd of black Maine-Anjou beef cattle. Dave bought his first of the breed, known for being, he says, “docile and easy to raise,” at eighteen and travelled to Alberta to learn more about them. Today their cattle are widely in demand as breeding stock – they recently sent two to Alberta for the sale marking the 50th anniversary of the breed’s introduction to Canada.
The Perry family has been a customer of Quinn’s Meats to process their animals “pretty much since original owner Brian Quinn opened up 47 years ago,” says Dave. They’re staying with them. “They do a good job,” he says, and adds, “they’re local.”