Killdeer Food Company was founded in 2019 by Ellen Laing. It's an offshoot of her parents farm - Orchard Hill Farm, an organic and horse powered farm established in 1979. We have been growing organic produce since 1983 and remain committed to leaving the soil and the land better than when we started. We use Suffolk Punch draft horses to work the farm along with tractors and a lot of human power.
We acknowledge that Orchard Hill Farm is located on the traditional territory of the Attawandaron, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinabek and Leni-Lunaape People. This territory is covered under the McKee Purchase, signed May 19, 1790, Treaty #2 of Upper Canada Land Surrenders. We recognize and respect the traditional stewards of this land and by living, working and continuing to steward this land we try to honour them. As we move forward we continue to ask how we can be good guests here and how we can better support indigenous self-determination in the longer term.
This is our team!
Ken and Martha Laing
Both Ken and Martha grew up with connections to farming and went on to grow organic vegetables for a CSA at Orchard Hill that operated for over 20 years. Martha has retired from the ‘front end’ of the business, but is still very much involved in almost everything. She hosts natural dyeing workshops on the farm - check out the Orchard Hill Farm website for details. Ken helps a lot with the soils end of the market garden - assisting with fertility and cultivations. The past three years he has been doing an organic no-till research project with EFAO, the Living Labs program and Ag Canada.
Ellen Laing and Aaron Berg
Ellen heads up the vegetable production & prepared foods at the farm and developed her love of food and a table full of people among wwoofers, apprentices and lots of vegetables. She got a degree in English and History at Trent University, and met Aaron in Homer, Alaska in 2002 while working at a remote fishing lodge. She moved with him to Portland, Oregon in 2003 and they lived together there for 12 years. Ellen worked in the food service industry – first in coffee at Stumptown Coffee, and then at a few fine dining restaurants (most recently Beast) before feeling the pull back to the farm in 2015. Her last project before leaving Portland was working on the cookbook ‘Taste and Technique’ with Naomi Pomeroy.
Aaron Berg grew up in River Falls, Wisconsin with a healthy love of football and graduated with a B of A in Business Management and Accounting from the University of St Thomas. After working as an accountant for a short time, he escaped to Alaska, which satisfied his love of the outdoors and his desire for a life outside the boundaries. Since, he has worked in fish packing, construction, tax accounting and started his own consulting company specializing in clean energy finance. His nickname is 'coach' because he's not used to sitting on the bench. He's the accountant, coach & an active parent - an essential partner to the business.
Hallie started at the farm in 2021. She loves to read and write - lunch break often finds her nose deep in novels (Little Women is a fav), she adores potatoes, and doesn't care for blue cheese or olives. She has a surprisingly heavy foot on the gas pedal for such a generally reserved person. She's the eldest of seven children.
Hayley joined the team this year, in 2022. She's a local that grew up in Port Stanley and St Thomas, before living out West on Quadra Island for a number of years. She's recently moved back to the area with her partner and 2 kids. She's really into cycling, doing almost anything outdoors and she's an herbalist.
Audrey is the second eldest of the Blatz family (far left). She and Hallie often sing together in the fields and the wash area. She's got a warm smile and a great way of over-appreciating farm lunches that warms the cockles of the heart.
Ezra is next in the Blatz family lineage and likes playing baseball, getting a job done and archery. Ken couldn't get over how fast he grasped things the first year that he worked here. He's willing to try almost anything for lunch, even if he has no idea what it is.
Cameron is a Sparta local that lives around the corner and bikes to work when school is out. He's a red-head with an SPF game that most of us should aspire to, and always willing to pitch in on a new task.