CRAVEN, Sask. — Not many young people are fortunate enough to start farming without taking over the family operation.
The Eddys, who purchased a farm in the Qu’appelle Valley in 2010, are the exception.
“It’s a huge relief to be able to raise our kids on the farm, the same way we grew up, and at one point in our lives we didn’t think we’d have the chance,” said Mathew Eddy, who worked in Alberta for 15 years.
Mathew and his wife, Kali, both grew up on mixed farms in Aneroid, Sask. but left the area to pursue careers.
Kali became a special education teacher and later a psychologist, while Mathew worked on oil rigs, eventually becoming a consultant.
They moved back to Saskatchewan to be closer to family, build a home and raise their children, Wit, 5, Vann, 7, and Dax, 9.
“My parents still farm and my dad would love nothing more than for us to take over, but Aneroid is just a little too far away and wouldn’t work for my career so that is kind of sad,” said Kali.
The Eddy cattle farm, consisting of 70 head of commercial Black Angus and three quarters of land, is the beginning of what they hope will be a full-scale cattle operation that supports their family and restaurant.
The couple purchased the former Craven Country Restaurant last year and set their sights on a menu featuring local produce from the valley.
With Saskatchewan suppliers like Leaning Maple Meats, Riverside Gardens and Last Mountain Distillery, the Eddys were confident they could make their own home-cut french fries, burger patties, pickles, drinks, dips and dressings.
“We’re just passionate about small towns so we thought if we could funk up Craven a bit and liven up the town with a cool restaurant, why wouldn’t we?” said Kali.
They named the restaurant 641 Grill for the grid road that once ran by the business.
Today, their menu is approaching 100 percent made-from-scratch offerings like the smoky pig pizza of pulled pork and the Pusch dog with jalapeno cheddar smokies from Pusch Bros Organic Farm.
Their menu features the hot wing recipe from the Aneroid Hotel and the grill is filled with tractor seats, reclaimed wood and licence plates salvaged from their childhood farms.
“We just love small towns so it was a way to bring a little piece of Aneroid, and our past lives with us,” said Kali.
While Kali operates her psychology practice from home and also works as a psychologist for the Prairie Valley School Division, Matthew focuses much of his time on the farm and children.
“I got to coach Wit’s hockey team this winter and that’s pretty neat,” said Mathew.
His oil field schedule used to take him away from home 200 days of the year.
Kali values the rural lifestyle over the city.
“Life’s better on the farm and we just really believe that,” she said, citing benefits like the outdoors and animals.
Both Kali and Mathew appreciate teaching their kids what it means to take care of livestock and helping them to develop the accompanying work ethic that is required.
“We have a pet cow, we ride hoses, we have a pet pig, so we’ve been able to teach our kids to do chores and take care of their animals,” said Kali.
In the future, the Eddys hope their cattle can be a source of beef for the restaurant.
“I think it would be cool to give to other people what we produce, but supplying the demand would be hard. Some day we’ll figure it out,” said Mathew.