Cory Priest wasn’t happy about the quality of the meat he could buy in the supermarket. So he decided to raise his own.
“Fifteen years ago, we bought a piece of property,” he says. At first he and his wife, Shanna, were raising animals exclusively for their own use but before too long that grew to include, “your mom, your sister, your neighbour.” A welder, pipefitter and millwright by training, in 2017, he left that behind and he and Shanna began farming fulltime.
Today on Thorpe Farm, their 200 acres spread near Odessa, they raise chickens and turkeys and pasture a flock of dorper sheep for meat production. “We also have 1.2 million bees, so we produce a bunch of honey, and I summer steers that I buy from a neighbour,” says Priest.
“Everything we own is raised on live grass,” he says. “With our poultry we use shelters that we move twice a day, so the birds are eating the things birds are supposed to eat as opposed to being stuck in a barn and force-fed whatever pellet is out there on the market.”
The goal is to give people an ethical and sustainable choice when it comes to the food they eat. Thorpe Farms does that by selling to the public through their website and via their farm store. Customers love the quality – and the commitment that Corry and Shana bring to producing quality food.
Priest relies on Quinn’s to process his lamb monthly and has beef annually. Having a local butcher they can call on is consistent with their philosophy. “It also boosts everyone’s business,” he says, “if I mention that I am five or ten kilometres from Kara’s, boast about it on our website, it benefits everyone.”