Today the family is 12 children strong and settled onto their land as indelibly as the food they grow. The farm is a classic diversified operation, with approximately 17 milking cows, plenty of laying hens and fields full of produce. In season, the livestock grazes the fields. Mr. Bontrager remembers being surprised by articles in the Agriview in the '80's advocating grazing for livestock, which was controversial advice at a time when the standard agricultural practice was to keep animals indoors and feed them grain. He was surprised because to him grazing was the natural, sensible thing to do, especially when you don't use fuel powered machines to manage your farm. In fact, all the work at Family Farm Produce is accomplished by human and horse power.
The day's work is divvied up over the family breakfast, which is eaten at a long wooden table at the center of the kitchen made toasty warm by the big cook stove. No matter the season, daily chores always include animal care and feeding, milking cows, and collecting eggs. There is always water to be drawn, fires to be tended, and other general chores to see to, along with whatever seasonal work awaits.
Heavier chores are turfed to the toffee-colored Belgian draft horses that plough and harvest crops, and haul wood, produce, hay and lumber. Off farm travel is accomplished via buggy drawn by horses whose long legs and distinctive gait are compliments of their Standardbred roots. The Standardbreds are often crossed with Morgans for strength, durability and temperament.