The Wasylik family calls Chatsworth Farm home, the place where for them, all is right and good with the world.
Dad, Rick, loved spending time on his grandparents’ farms and although he didn’t grow up on a farm himself, he knew that’s what he wanted to do. So, in 1993 he bought some land and began raising cattle. Mom, Johanna, was originally from the big city, New York, but when she came to the prairies for her friends’ wedding, she fell in love—not only with the landscape--but with Rick, and a year later they were married. The couple named the farm after the old Chatsworth school district in which it's located, and today they can see the pioneer one-room schoolhouse from their front porch.
The Wasyliks are a family of five with three kids, Charlotte, Nick, and Alex, who all share a love of farming. They grow grain and legume crops and hay, and raise beef cattle, sheep, turkeys, ducks, and chickens for eggs and meat, on more than 2,000 acres of beautiful rolling parkland. The family also does custom work, Nick and Alex have a small purebred Angus and Simmental operation, and they operate a third generation construction business. And when Charlotte Wasylik isn’t busy at her full-time job working as the Vermilion Credit Union’s marketing coordinator, you can find her sharing her love of the family farm, through virtual farm tours.
“There is nothing quite like farming,” says Charlotte. “It gives you a sense of something to look forward to. Of course, there’s lots of work, but farming alongside family, and seeing the fruits of everyone’s hard work, is incredibly rewarding.”
Charlotte says that her idea for virtual farm tours came with the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, just as the family had started calving in March. “We wanted to keep in touch with family and friends, and I thought a live video would be a great way to do that, but now it has grown and evolved not only as a way to share our love of farming with everyone but also as an educational tool.”
She adds, “We would get visitors who wanted to tour the farm and some who had never been around animals or known the joy of bottle-feeding a calf, for example.” She says, “The virtual tours are a way for people to safely ‘visit’ the farm, and for us to share our love of ecologically friendly, sustainable farming.”
Charlotte says that the lifestyle and opportunities that come from farming are enormous. Whether it’s perfecting her public speaking through her years in 4-H or traveling the province for agricultural events like Farmfair International, she says being in the agriculture industry has taught her some valuable life lessons. “I’ve learned that there are more commonalities than differences between people. For example, the international cattle buyers may not all agree on the best breed of cattle, but at the end of the day whether you’re from Argentina or Alberta, we all share a love for ag and that’s a connection like no other.”
That same connection exists between Charlotte’s family and UFA. “We love our local UFA store and have been loyal members for decades, between farming and our home-based construction business. A lot of the staff remember my brothers and me from when we were tiny babies and they will joke about how they remember us in diapers. It’s so wonderful to have those kinds of relationships with people who really know you, they know your family, your farm…everything.”
The Wasyliks are also quick to sing the praises of the local UFA Petroleum agents in Vermilion and Mannville. “We buy the majority of our bulk fuel from UFA and the service is always second to none. The people at UFA aren’t just clerks and agents, they truly are friends who support us and help us to farm in the best possible way.”
Chatsworth Farm certainly sets the gold standard when it comes to quality and being ecologically friendly. They are a certified Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) producer, which means that between strict program requirements and a third-party audit process, they adhere to the highest standards for food safety, animal care, and environmental stewardship. They are also part of the Canadian Program for Certifying Freedom from Growth Enhancing Products (GEPs) for Export of Beef to the European Union.
We are so grateful to the Wasylik family for their loyalty and we are excited that they will also be participating in Open Farm Days this coming August. To find out how you can visit Chatsworth Farm and meet Charlotte and her family in person, please visit their Facebook page.