Paul Hill has been raising pigs all of his life on the home property where he grew up in Mitchell, Ontario. Rosie was raised on a farm as well, and holds a diploma in Foodservice Management. When they were married, Rosie came to work for Paul in the expanding farming operation, and the rest is Willowgrove history.
Paul and Rosie had three children – Ryan, Maddie and Joey. Sadly, in 2001, their oldest, Ryan, succumbed to liver cancer at the age of two. This loss was the impetus to further enhance their premium-quality pork and ensure that their family – and all of their customers – had an accessible, healthy choice.
First, they changed their herd to an extremely high-health, genetically stress-free animal: Topigs – maternal (Topigs being one of the top three breeding organizations in the world, dedicated to improving and refining breeding techniques) and Tempo – paternal (known for its sturdiness and high resistance to disease). This respected genetic line also gives the meat a little more marbling, which results in a more tender and more flavourful end product.
After seeing the success of Omega in eggs and milk products – and recognizing the corresponding health benefits – Paul and Rosie set their sights on becoming the first pork producers in North America to enrich their products with DHA/EPA Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and organic Selenium, farm-raised and without the use of antibiotics or growth promotants.
In the spring of 2007, they began the intricate process of introducing DHA/EPA Omega-3 fatty acids (human-grade fish oil) naturally, through feed, based on a specially formulated diet designed by a professional hog nutritionist.
Paul Hill, President
Raised on a family farm, which began operations in 1971 (18 sows), Paul has a lifetime of involvement – and expertise - in the pork industry. Since then, Operations at Willowgrove Hill have expanded three times under Paul's leadership: in 1988 (80 sows), 1996 (350 sows) and 2000 (500 sows). In the spring of 2007, he began the intricate process of introducing DHA/EPA Omega-3 fatty acids (human-grade fish oil) naturally, through feed, based on a specially formulated diet designed by a professional hog nutritionist. Paul’s pioneering efforts – based on a sense of integrity, ethics and passion for the work that he does – have been recognized with the Ontario Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence.
Rose Hill, Foodservice Specialist
In 1997, Rose came to work with Paul in the expanding farming operation. With a Foodservice Management diploma from Centralia College of Agricultural Technology, Rose's considerable farm management, Foodservice and culinary expertise include the oversight of labour and delivery in the barn, carcass utilization, ordering, bookkeeping, relationship management of distributors, restaurants, chefs, and food and beverage managers throughout Canada – and pork recipe development for willowgrovehill.com.
Duane Firminger, VP of Production and Sales
Prior to joining Willowgrove Hill in 2012, Duane spent almost a decade at a boutique investment house in Cambridge, Ontario, working with a large agricultural-based clientele. As a partner in the firm, Duane was successful in growing assets under management before leaving to join Grand Valley Fortifiers in 2003. For the past 10 years, Duane has focussed on growing relationships with swine producers across Ontario. Through his passion and efforts, Duane has had a positive impact in the swine industry. Duane has been a Value Added Specialist, working on several Raised Without Antibiotics (RWA) programs, notably the successful President's ChoiceTM Free FromTM initiative. He brings his background and experience to oversee the production efforts of Willowgrove Hill. Duane will also spend time building relationships with suppliers and looking for opportunities to promote the world's only DHA/EPA pork to expand the sales locally, nationally and internationally.