Matthew Laity has made the move to organic milk.

Matthew Laity has made the move to organic milk.

Maple Ridge heritage dairy farm now all natural

Laity farm has been a Maple Ridge feature since 1879

One of Maple Ridge’s pioneer dairy farms has made the shift to producing only organic milk.

The Laity farm on Golden Ears Way was founded in 1879 and has been producing milk since that time.

But on Friday, the farm changed its focus slightly and started shipping only organic milk.

The process, mainly paperwork, took 10 years, said Matthew Laity.

“Just the market demand for it [organic milk] is growing,” he said Friday.

To become certified as an organic producer, the 100 dairy cattle on his farm must be fed only grass and organic grain, such as wheat and corn. The lush green fields provide the former, while he gets his grain from Chilliwack or Alberta.

Pesticides or fertilizers can’t be used on the soil for a period of three years, but Laity hasn’t used any chemicals on his farm for a decade.

“The only fertilizer I use is manure.”

As an organic milk producer, he gets a better return on the produce from his cattle.

“I probably feed them better than I feed myself,” Laity said.

“I’m now officially certified.”

The land in the area can produce three hay crops a year. Chemical fertilizer helps grow grass fast in the short term, but “I think in the long term it does better without.”