Before moving to Ontario in 1994 we lived at the Lyne of Skene in rural Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It is an agricultural area not unlike the southern half of Hastings County, and about the same size as the original Hastings County with 6,331 square kms. The landscape is more open, with arable, beef and dairy farms. The Scottish Forestry Strategy aims to get up to 25 per cent woodland cover in Scotland by the second half of the 21st century. In Hastings County we are fortunate to already have a much higher percentage of woodland cover.
Aberdeenshire, along with Angus and Speyside, is the home of the black Aberdeen Angus cattle, which are becoming more and more popular with farmers in Hastings County. Check Harvest Hastings to see who is rearing Black Angus. These cattle are hardy, good natured and produce high-quality meat with good marbling.
Unlike Hastings County, Aberdeenshire does not have a long history of cheese making. In Aberdeenshire like here, people are setting up new artisan cheese companies for example the Craigmyle Cheese Company on Deeside. Go to Invest in Cheese to find out more about artisan cheese in Frontenac, Hastings and Prince Edward Counties.
Visit the Hastings County Museum of Agricultural Heritage to learn more about the cheese industry in Hastings County and check www.harvesthastings.ca for details of our local traditional Cheddar cheese factories.
Another thing that Hastings County farmers and Aberdeenshire farmers have in commom is a great interest in their agricultural heritage. Carnie Heritage Productions has some interesting videos about rural life in Aberdeenshire in the first half of the 20th. century. Both areas have a tradition of plowing matches, where farmers compete to see who can plow the straightest furrow. Watch Vintage Ploughing Match Tough Alford Aberdeenshire on October 2002 part 1 and part 2 to see how they do it in Aberdeenshire. The third video Doric Vintage Ploughing give you a taste of the Doric language and has a singer singing a bothy ballad. It shows how the grain was threshed and the straw baled. You can see similar demonstration of antique farm machinery at the Hastings County Farm Show and Plowing Match and on special occasions at the Hastings County Museum of Agricultural Heritage in Stirling.
This year’s Hastings County Farm Show and Plowing Match is at Doug Countryman’s farm south of Tweed on August 17 and 18.