The work of a dairy farmer never ends—and the cycle repeats itself every 12 hours.
But near Mirabel, Quebec, the Desjardins family has also tapped into some sweet pursuits.
Richard has been dairy farming for more than 40 years, with a persistence that dates back to the days before he owned his own spread. In the early 1970s, after a previous purchase offer had fallen through, he learned of a local dairy farmer who’d sold his herd, and Richard returned again and again, finally convincing the owner to sell what has become the Desjardins homestead.
And on top of the milk and cream, there’s maple syrup.
“We have a sugar shack for the family. That’s where we all get together, for about a month, with all the children and grandchildren,” says Richard. “That’s when we take the time to sit down and chat.”
The process is intensive—one gallon of syrup typically starts as 40 gallons of tree sap, and last year there were days when 60 gallons of sap needed to be boiled down to produce a gallon of the pure sweet stuff.
But this labour of love is definitely worth it.
“Every day I put some in my coffee,” says Richard, “and I love it with yogurt, strawberries and cream.”
The Desjardins are one of several families across Canada being profiled in Enbridge’s newly produced Homegrown Recipes cookbook, which is being distributed to neighbors along our rights-of-way.
The Homegrown Recipes collection includes more than 110 tantalizing kitchen creations—breakfasts, breads, soups, salads, sides, entrees and desserts—submitted by our neighbors near Enbridge’s network of pipelines and facilities.
Because just as land is passed down through the generations, so too are some of the most treasured recipes that connect us to family, friends and communities—including Richard and wife Carole’s pets de soeur (easy maple pastries), included in our Homegrown Recipes collection.
Successful farming means being seriously detail-oriented—“my accountant can’t get over it, how detailed it is . . . I could tell you the exact date I bought any of my machines,” says Richard—and the Desjardins family patriarch has already bought accounting ledgers for his grandchildren.
The farming life also holds wonderful memories—haying, seeding, milking, sugaring off, and more.
“My dad always had a skating rink in the yard,” says Richard, who grew up in a farming family. “You got 15 to 20 guys that would come over to play hockey. In the summer, everybody would get together to play ball on Sunday afternoons.”
Check out previous instalments of the Homegrown Recipes cookbook profiles:
(Are your taste buds sufficiently stimulated? Click on this link to download portions of Enbridge’s Homegrown Recipes cookbook . . . and this link for Richard and Carole’s pets de soeur, or easy maple pastries.)