It was a bright and sunny drive to Greenbelt Farms located moments outside Wainwright. Cela and I sang country tunes most of the way, and counted canola fields. Earlier this summer we’d met the Poulin family, and the kids became fast friends. Cela was thrilled to get to spend another day with Emma, and will proudly tell you “new friends” are the “best part” of every GetJoyfull Food Trip.
We arrived at Greenbelt Farms, and were greeted by the entire Poulin crew. Greenbelt is one of the largest farms we’ve toured so far, and while the technology and scale was staggering it was clearly still very much a hands-on family operation. Aidan, one of the Poulin’s three children, quickly took over touring duties, showing Cela around. A young leader, full of excitement, brought us into the barn, beaming with pride and knowledge. Each of the four barns at Greenbelt houses 40,000 chickens, and every member of the Poulin family from small to tall takes pride in caring for each and every one of them.
Steeped in pride and tradition this third-generation farm are leaders in their industry. With a degree in veterinary medicine, Hannah Poulin keeps close watch on all their birds to ensure they are in peak health. Her passion for animal welfare is clear as she crouches down to teaches the little ones about anatomy, a chick cradled gently in her palm. As young Aidan gently lifts Cela up to peek at the grain resting in the feeders, he explains how his family grows their own right on the farm. With over 9,000 acres of grain on the property, the Poulin’s make their own feed for their chickens, dairy cows and supply other farms in the area.
We were so delighted to spend our day with this lovely family. A big thank you to Greenbelt Farms for welcoming us in and to Alberta Chicken for making it possible. We can’t wait to share our next GetJoyfull adventure as we head back to the kitchen, with chef Steven Brochu of Chartier, and use this mindfully raised chicken to create some delicious and nourishing comfort food, perfect for the family dinner table. Until then, don’t forget to Fill up on Family Time.