Cindy, Emma and Leah Schillings
Oshawa, Ontario

Cindy, Emma and Leah Schillings

By Pat Grotenhuis

Running a store, bakery and tea room while also running a farm may seem like a daunting task, but it’s one that the Schillings family of White Feather Farms in Oshawa embrace.

Cindy and Hubert Schillings, along with their daughters Leah and Emma, son Joel and Hubert’s sister Liz and nephew Jacob have a big commitment at the farm. While Liz runs the store, which features a tea room and bakery, the rest of the family runs the farm, which has a combination of egg laying hens, broiler chickens, and field crops including corn, soybeans, wheat and barley on their land.

In 2013, Cindy, Leah and Emma are featured in the 2013 Faces of Farming Calendar published by Farm & Food Care Ontario.  Their page is sponsored by Egg Farmers of Ontario.

Cindy is thankful for the opportunities their life on the farm has given her. “Being home with the kids while they were growing up was such a privilege, and allowed me to become involved in the community as well,” says Cindy.

Cindy is a volunteer with the Soups on Us program that helps mentally challenged adult make soup one day then helps them serve it up to the community at a local church the next day.

She is also involved in Durham Farm Connections, which helps to promote farming to grade three students in the area.  Hubert’s served on the board of directors for the Egg Farmers of Ontario and helped with its successful “Who made your eggs?” campaign.

When she can find spare time, Cindy enjoys cooking, cycling and gardening.  Her latest adventure was cycling through Nova Scotia, a trip that she describes as exhilarating and breathtaking.

Both Leah and Emma share their mother’s athleticism, and enjoy playing soccer.  Emma also swims, and hopes to obtain her lifeguard certification.  From a young age, the girls have been helping on the farm by collecting eggs, and helping in the store.

Leah is now in her second year at the University of Guelph studying human kinetics with a goal of pursuing a career in kinesiology.  Emma, who is in grade 11, is uncertain of what the future holds for her.  She does enjoy learning about both human and animal nutrition, and says she may attend the University of Guelph after graduation.

The farm, established by Hubert’s parents 50 years ago after they emigrated from Holland, has expanded since it was originally started, with the retail store added in 1988 after years of the family selling products from their home.  Having the retail business gives the family a good opportunity to meet their consumers and answer some of their many questions about farming and eggs.

Although Leah and Emma aren’t sure yet whether they’ll return home to join the family business, they agree with Cindy that living on the farm has a lot of benefits. “We’re country girls at heart”, they said.

To view a video interview with this family, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTUY4dJ3l7E&list=PLxl8ycqu125d-iqsZFnv_CxGVT7NAgDDc

Cindy, Emma and Leah Schillings