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Meet the Keddys: Family Farm in Nova Scotia | S2 Ep 3 | Real Farm Lives

My favorite part about living on a farm
is just getting my hands dirty and watching things grow and every day is
something different. We have to work with mother nature and still grow the same product year in and year out given the weather patterns. We don’t have the option of letting our crops grow longer because the yield’s not there. I’m Phil Keddy and this is my wife Katie. we have two young boys Charlie jr. who’s six and Benjamin who’s four. And we farm with my in-laws, Charles and Doris Keddy. We are Charles Keddy farms in the beautiful Annapolis Valley in Nova
Scotia and we grow strawberry plants, raspberries, rhubarb, blackberries
and also sweet potatoes. Every day is very busy here on the farm I look after the production of all of the crops here so that would entail
getting them planted setting up irrigation and making sure they’re watered, and then seeing them right through to harvest. My responsibilities on the farm vary day to day. I work in the lab, I operate equipment, I do a lot of quality control through the winter and in the fall for both sweet potatoes and
our strawberry plants. I thrive off that variety. Though, I’ve stolen most of those jobs from Phil. She took all my favorite jobs. I love baling hay, I love going plowing, I love packing sweet potatoes, I love it all. We’re finally getting some nice weather
after a really cold wet spring so, let’s see how the strawberries are growing. On our farm you won’t see any berry production we grow the plants to sell to
other farmers who will then grow the berries. One of our biggest struggles as
a nursery farmer is that we sell our crop before we even plant it. Strawberries are very shallow rooted plants, so quite difficult to grow and they require a lot of maintenance and you’ve got to be in the field on a daily basis to monitor them. I don’t see any signs of mildew on it. The weather here in the Napa Valley can change quickly and disease and other pest pressures can
set in very rapidly. I want you to check there see if you see any mites or aphids? No, that one is nice and clean. Excellent. The plants are looking really good this year. yeah they better they’re all sold but we’re still gonna come in and put a
preventative fungicide on to make sure that we don’t get any mildew on the
leaves that’s gonna slow them down. The strawberries are the heart of the farm,
they’re what built this business. For me, getting to learn more about the
intricacies of how they grow and how to grow them successfully is really interesting. Caryl, do you mind grabbing the Nova, please? In the lab we multiply raspberries and blackberries and we’re just beginning
with strawberries. We start with a small section from a plant that was in the field, multiply it, root it, and we send it to the greenhouse to grow a little
bit bigger, stronger so we know when they get to the field that it’s a good strong
plant that’s gonna succeed. This Green house for us is where we grow our elite stock. It’s the basis of everything that will go out to customers in the future, so we want to make sure its pest-free, disease-free and top-quality. Things are looking pretty good, there’s no insects that I can see. We’ve successfully been growing about 20 different varieties. There’s about 80 plants and in two years
they each have the potential to produce six to seven million plants to go to our
customers. If you notice any leaves like that, we’ll make sure to take them out too so they’re not gonna spread disease or cause mold issues or anything. One of the bigger challenges on our farm is anticipating what the customer is gonna
want in three years, but we’re always scanning the market to see what new varieties are coming along with a higher yield, or a better shipping quality. A Florida grown strawberry is completely different than some of the strawberries grown in Ontario BC. But, everybody wants a big, beautiful, juicy red strawberry. So we’re kind of the quiet person in the back making the magic happen. Charlie, do you want to carry a watering can? Yeah. Phil and I are really involved in
our communities it’s something we’re both passionate about and this year we’ve taken on the task of also helping with the school garden. There’s some weeds coming in the squash so maybe Benny and dad can you guys weed the
squash? Yep. And Charlie, the peppers over there look a little dry so do you want to come get some water and we can water the peppers? We are one of many families who will help out throughout the summer months with weeding, and the watering. Those are the weeds, the big guys are the squash. Can you get rid of that for me buddy? The boys are learning how to be successful with multiple crops on a
smaller scale, so even for our kids who are involved in agriculture, this is still a great learning experience for them. We wanted to help out because it’s
a great way to teach kids about where their food comes from and the hard work that goes into the fall harvest. Is this a beet? No, it looks like a beet but it’s different, see how there’s no purple in the leaves? It’s looking great, we’re actually really impressed with it. You guys did an awesome job what do you think, should we
go pick some strawberries? Yeah. Alright boys, do you want some containers? Here, Benny. A new experience for our kids this year, Charlie especially, is growing the berries. So they’re learning what to pick, what’s ripe, and get to see what actually goes into getting a successful berry crop at the end of the season. As long as Benny doesn’t eat everything. Being able to raise my kids in this kind of landscape, we have so much family time. which is one of the things I love most
about working in this industry. I would love for the boys to want to follow in our footsteps and take over the farm. For now, I’m just excited that they want to
come out in the tractor with me, and help and get their hands dirty. At the end of the day, if they don’t choose to farm it’s always gonna be in their heart and the lessons they learned from the farm will carry them through their entire life.

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