Saying Good bye to Stew

Stew died February 22 and we celebrated Stew’s life April 16, 2016.  It was a glorious spring day and everyone came out to enjoy the Old River Farm and swap tales about Stew.


For this one farmer the worries are over, lie down and rest your head,
Your time has been and struggles enough, put the tractor in the shed.
Years were not easy, many downright hard, but your faith in God transcended,
Put away your tools and sleep in peace. The fences have all been mended.
You raised a fine family, worked the land well and always followed the Sun,
Hang up your shovel inside of the barn; your work here on earth is done.
A faith few possess led your journey through life, often a jagged and stony way,
The sun is setting, the cattle are  bedded.  Here now is the end of your day.
Stew’s love of God’s soil has passed on to his kin; the stories flow like fine wine,
Wash off your work boots in the puddle left by blessed rain one final time.
Stew always believed that the  Lord would provide and He always did somehow,
Take off your gloves and put them down, no more sweat and worry for you now.
Your labor is done, your home now is heaven; no more must you wait,
Your legacy lives on, your love of the land, and we will close the gate.
Nancy Kraayenhof.

Rango’s descendants: Bull 243

“These are the pictures of heifers from the 243 bull Stewart lent us. They will calve in July as 2-year olds. They are very thick and docile. We really appreciated the use of this bull by Stewart. I will miss our long talks on the telephone.  Stewart was truly an inspiration.”
John Moelker , Opoma Farm,

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Rango, the bull, enjoys his home in Wooler, Ontario

Mary and Ross Snider stopped in to visit John and Connie Moelker’s farm to see how Rango is doing.  He bred 25 cows last year.  The farm’s goal is to “settle the Angus offspring down”.  The family was becoming frustrated by the high strung Angus herd behaviour.  They have to work hard at keeping the Angus cattle on the farm.  Fences have to be very strong.  And sometimes the Angus are just downright scary.  “They are all right until you have to handle them.”

Enter Rango.  The docile beast.  John found Stewart Simpson and his North Devon when he googled “gentle beef cows”. North American Devon came up.  The goal of the Old River Farm is to re-establish the North American Devon breed in Ontario, Canada.  So the North Devon bull #147 was immediately moved to the Wooler farm to introduce some genetic magic.  John says the Devon are great foragers.  Great walkers.  “The heifers strut, they walk fast.”

They are looking forward to trying the mixed breed beef finished on grass.  The grass fed Angus is too lean to finish on grass.  There is not enough marbling.  “Customers want tender beef, so they are not interested in grass fed Angus which are too lean and therefore tough.”  The North American Devon has more marbling, even finished on grass.

Daughter Rachel and her husband Brad market the Angus beef via word-of-mouth in Belleville.  You can order their Angus corn-finished quarters, halves, or wholes by phoning (613) 827-2530.  The meat is cut at Hayes Custom Cutting.

Mary Simpson pats Rango (despite almost having the experience of being gored by a bull in Nicaragua).  John and Connie Moelker love the docility of the North Devon breed.

Pink is the New Brown



Stew hosts an “Taste the Devon” gathering featuring grass fed North Devon table cloth beef prepared by John Field.  John is an accomplished cook who knows his meat.  He is a passionate promoter of the North Devon pasture-fed beef but warns us that we will not enjoy this special beef if we insist on cooking it until it is brown.  “Pink is the new brown.”  Otherwise, this special beef gets tough.


Pam Killeen, explains why we need to eat grass fed beef from a nutritional point of view.

Mary Simpson