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By Marco Chown Oved Published: Guelph Mercury, Oct. 8, 2013
GUELPH — It’s a scene of bucolic harmony rarely seen in the era of factory farming. Cows, pigs, geese and chickens all run free on Murray Thunberg’s traditional mixed farm near Guelph.
One look at Thunberg’s round, yellow cucumbers and striped tomatoes and you know this is no normal farm. Thunberg specializes in rare, heritage breeds. His pigs have spots and his hens lay colourful eggs.
It’s a niche market that’s brought him great success. Chefs love local, organic food. High-end markets can’t get enough. But not everyone likes his green eggs and ham.
Ontario’s supply management system restricts the number of chickens and hens Thunberg can keep.
The quota system was brought in to protect farmers but, decades later, new farmers complain it’s turned into a cartel that protects those who got in early and makes it nearly impossible for newcomers like Thunberg to make money.