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We will be at Lansdowne Park this Sunday the 2nd of October. The fall run on bucket orders has begun, please have them in by bedtime (8pm) on Saturday night.  The grilled cheese empire will be there in full force.

I just finished reading “Marvelous Pigness of Pigs”. Never has a book made me think of such a big picture. How different people see some of most important aspects of farming differently. How tree huggers care for the land and how the “born agains” have fully adopted GMO’s and CAFO’s. All revealed by Joel Salatin, his first book incorporating his faith. It made me do quite a bit of thinking. This book should be read by anyone interested in what they eat. It is such a bigger subject than we first realize.

Rodney thought last week that he might not need his new promising helper on account of the rain. Boy was he wrong, he told me later “it does not matter about the weather I cannot go without a helper, I just cannot keep up”. Keeping up, is something he has strived to do, but success does not recognize his efforts. Rodney spends the whole week thinking about how to get more efficient. He precuts all the bread by hand on Saturday nights, all the onions are also precut, filling our house with onion tears that are wearing thin on the rest of the family. His latest gadget is a tomato cutter which improves productivity while producing a more consistent slice of tomato. He is now on the lookout for a bread slicer, do you know of any out there? He was so tired by the end of the market that he hid behind the booth, lying on the coolers and hoping no one else wanted a sandwich, exhausted. He knows, if you are not up and ready to work, no one will buy. I wish all vendors at markets knew this. Most successful vendors refuse to pack a chair or stool in their market to remove the temptation to sit. It reflects in sales.


I am reading Joel Salatin’s latest work, The Marvelous Pigness of the Pig. In it, he, in my word’s, calls out the “born agains”for being such hypocrites by honouring God’s work through the adoption of GMO’s and CAFO megafarms. He is a staunch Christian, while recognizing that essentially, God prefers pasture, and sunlight, and farms that heal rather than poison. I was raised in the Anglican Church and Kim in the Catholic. We would probably both call ourselves Athesist now. For years I tried to donate a pork roast to my old church in which I was raised for their annual pork roast fundraiser, only to be told that they prefer the costco ones as they get a good deal and would probably be more tender than one that runs around all the time. A good deal, I was willing to donate it! We had no part of the church but I recognized how big a part of my father’s life it was and wanted to show my appreciation. Despite probably being an athesist, I am still interested in what Joel has to say about it. The hypocrisy is what has always bothered Kim and me. It has sure opened my eyes to how many passages in the bible refer to farming. When was the last time you went to a church to be made aware of how God wishes her creation be loved? Why is the church so mute on this subject? Enough of this, regardless of your religion, it is an excellent read. To understand where you stand, you must read the other side’s points of view. Too few people are willing to do this, try it, and to you farmers out there, read more, not my word’s, they are Joel’s.

To all our egg customers who ran short on Sunday, we apologize. Chicken week is the only week that we sell eggs during the week, reserving them for our “meat chicken” customers who buy on that one night every year. We promise, it won’t happen again till next year.

Kim has a few extra chickens at our store for sale on Sunday. This week was our big chicken day, the day, once per year, where everyone converges on our busiest night of the year. We see many of these people, driving from all over, to get our chickens fresh. We sure wish we could have more nights, but are limited to raising only 300 per year. If more people knew what real chicken tasted like and why they run on green grass and eat bugs, then the current chicken farming system in Ontario would fall apart. When you go to the health food store or Whole foods, don’t be duped by the pictures, Organic Chicken in Ontaio, is not raised outside. They are in a windowless barn for their whole life, fed “hopefully” organic feed almost exclusively imported feed from overseas, shipped with tons of diesel to a “certified” organic farm, probably far from you.  We desperately need more farmers who appreciate the benefits of pastured animals and customers willing to meet the demand  pastured eggs and chicken, lets go.

If you want to order a bucket and save over 50%, a 22l bucket jammed full with grain or rolled oats can be ready for pick up at the market but I must have the orders in by bedtime(8pm) the night before. I roll and grind the grains before dawn the morning of the market. It makes for a crazy long day what with feeding hundreds of chickens, milking our cow, watering everyone, cleaning grain, roll and steel cutting oats, packing the trailer. Luckily Rodney needs no push. He gets up all on his own, packs his gourmet grilled cheese gear, loads the trailer, cuts all the bread and onions the night before. If you want your kid to get up, send them to farm camp, they’ll become morning people real fast. Rodney knows I am not getting him up and will leave if he is not ready, hasn’t happenned yet, and I would probably not leave without him, but lets not tell him. We arrive at market 1.5 hours early to set up and after a 7 hour market, takes an hour to pack up, then home, unpack, wash up, chores and bed. Ottawa is the only place in North America with such a long farmer’s market. The real problem is that it kills the next day. Sure we get critical chores done on Mondays, but that is about it, it is our day of rest.

Really big news, our oat steel cutter is alive. After many months of trying to repair it, we now have the new parts machined to fit, installed, balanced and have run 10 buckets through it for the pigs to clean it out. I have been steel cutting backorders all day, if you want a bucket, please email by bedtime, Saturdays, 8pm. I will have a bucket for scooping cups on Sunday at Lansdowne. Remember, these are not the stale, rancid imported ones from Whole Foods supposedly labelled local and organic, they are actually organic and from our farm in Metcalfe. Ours are steel cut in a more authentic original fashion, much more “fines” included to make the oats much more creamy.

Heard a stat the other day that in the next 50 years the world will have to produce more food than it has ever. Mull on that for a moment, “ever”. With nearly a billion hungry, it looks like the “big Ag”system is not getting done what it touts. When someone condescendingly states that we cannot feed the world with organic farmers, just reply, you’re not doing it now with all your GMO’s, so what is your point? Maybe it’s our turn to try. We fed them before GMO’s we’ll feed them after.

Most of our harvest is finished, all came off beautifully, clean, dry and plump kernels. Why so plump? All I can think of is that we had drought conditions from planting right to harvest.  Makes no sense, but I think the plants grew extensive root systems early and when they panicked at just one foot in height and set seed, they put all their energy in the seeds. I have experienced droughts before, no where near as bad that produced tiny kernels. The yield is different though, we got about 1/4 of normal, about 1/8th of conventional oats grown with spray and chemical fertilizer. Thank goodness, we retail. The difference is great, so great that we can still make a living with a drop in yield.


There are only two sources of truely grass finished beef in Eastern Ontario, they are Amber at ARCACRES.ca in Manotick and Pat and Heather at Little trickle farm up the valley. If you prefer corn fed old cull cows, the grocery store is for you, but to see the difference visit their farms. Ask at the grocery store if you can go see the cows, and be amazed at the dull dairy cow stare you get back. Ask what colour the cow was, if they return the same stare, you’ve got it coming to you. Demand to see the cows on pasture, the truth will come out.

We will be at Lansdowne Park this sunday from 9 to 4. Kim will be at our store on the farm from noon to 2. Remember if you want eggs, you have to be there at noon, last week was slow, she had some right up to almost closing. She will have a bucket of steel cut as well.

We pre-sell our chickens to existing customers from previous years. We sell 3/4 only for fear of losing some and not being able to fill their orders. Almost none have died and we are only two weeks away from their first “bad day”. We have about 50 available, they are finishing on the 24th of August. If you want some, please call or email. Thanks

We’ll be at Lansdowne on this 21st of Aug. Remember we need your bucket orders by bedtime(8pm) saturday night for pick up at Lansdowne.

We went to a wonderful advanced screening of a new movie called Polyfaces at the Saw Gallery in Ottawa last week. The two directors were there and held a wonderful question and answer session after the movie. Amber Payne was there to discuss Keyline design with one of the directors who is a regenerative farm designer as well. Amber owns the absolute best grass fed and finished beef farm in Ontario. She has her herd in Manotick. Her website is Arcacres.ca  It was truly a wonderful night, great company and foodies and farmers.

Have you watched “Farmed and Dangerous”? The push back on crap food, has begun, it has begun with writing so good, you’d think Aaron Sorkin wrote it. It is going to take this wit, to convince people that good health is not found at Costco and even worse, Loblaws. Please give them a watch, 4 part mini series, trailers can be found on Youtube, but the show cannot be viewed legally from Canada, so you’ll have to tunnel bore into a US website to watch it. If you cannot find a link, I will send you one, expect many popups with not family friendly watching. Once the show is found and playing, you have no trouble. What you’ll find is a show like no other, beautiful indeed.

Remember the supposely healthy cereal call All Bran is 1/3 gmo sugar, consider oats as an alternative. Our buckets are full to the brim, because I have to face you, the customer, when I hand it over. I could not sleep if that supposedly full bucket, when filled by weight, is only 1/3 full, hey food industry,  don’t dupe me or my customer, we know your game. We know your supposedly tasty ice cream is mostly air, heck, air is free, well not really, you’re paying for it. Real ice cream should be heavy, like grandma used to make, and the cream should coat the roof of your mouth.

Duping is also the basis of all  grocery/garbage store marketing, it is all a scam. The whole wheat flour that contains half the grain and none of the nutrients, save for the ground up synthetic vitamins added back in so they can call it flour and not sugar. The heart healty check on white flour aerosol cheese Pizza Pizza? Michael Pollan says “never underestimate the ingenuity of the food industry to try to dupe you at every turn”

Rodney’s grilled cheese is going gangbusters, the lineup was 20 people at one point last week. I held my two hands to the side of his head like blinders on a workhorse and said, “rodney, don’t look to the right, just keep-a-grillin'”. All the tradespeople working nearby are now coming, even the custodians are now regulars.. When blue collar people get word, you know it’s good shit. Have you seen DiRienzo’s during the mid morning rush? The best beaches, wherever you travel, are the ones frequented by blue collars, nomally the most out of the way beautiful undeveloped places. No one judges you, your car, bike, or horse. The clothes you wear, are the ones you’ve got, the most comfortable, yours. No fancy strollers, no BMW’s. Lots of jallopies all with back-of-the-car Hibachi’s smoking everywhere.  Great food and swimming. Blue collars know it, follow them, you find the best food and swimming as a bonus.




I have been taking a two week food safety course. It was good but the most important thing I figured out was that you have to plan for the “weakest link in the chain”. To elaborate, I am not talking about our raw milk, dirty garden carrot-snacking, pure cider-drinking, rolled oat breakfast-eating, well water-drinking, pond-swimming, natural soap… kids. I am talking about the bubble wrapped kids who eat and swill sugar cereal, city water, pasteurized skim milk, nutrient deficient processed food, and pop. It is something that has evolved in society since the arrival of the grocery store. All our nutritional problems can be traced to the advent of that garbage pipeline’s arrival.

Alarming in the food safety course was the obsession of regulating manure and the total absence of concern over chemical fertilizer and pesticides. In particular, I could not believe that dessicant spray regulations, of which there are none, were not even mentioned. I go into their details further down in this page, but let me describe reality. The head of a grain plant is like an upside down umbrella, catching all the rain it can. Days before harvest, roundup is sprayed into this umbrella, in which, sits your wheat grain, soon to be the flour in your cake, or the noodles in your KD. I feel this is the  elephant in the room that no one is concerned about. Our customers at the market are those who are eschewing the deadly grocery store system of distrubuting nutrient deficient garbage. They are concerned about what becomes flesh of their flesh and bone of their bone at suppertime, and they are our farm’s top priority.

Our farm store is open on Sundays from noon to 2. Get ready for a lively egg rush and all sorts of discussion as everyone talks to Kim. If you want eggs, our 100 hens produce about 30 doz per week, on top of what we eat. They normally sell out in 15 minutes. I sure wish, what with a big mortgage every month, that we could raise more, but that is what the province/Egg Marketing Board restricts us to. I sure wish things could change someday, but try googling Egg Farmers of Ontario fraud, and you’ll see fraud like you’ve never seen it before. All out there, no criminal charges. Back to the positive though, we sell out in 15 minutes. People who are concerned about what they eat, seek out what they want, we love them and Kim awaits their arrival every week. I know we get many requests for eggs at the Market, but I must explain. Our farm customers are expecting Ottawa’s best eggs when they drive out and enjoy the afternoon at our farm store, driving an hour return for our liquid golden eggs. The fine for selling eggs at the market is worse than robbing a bank. To us it is just not worth the risk. For this I apologize. I am constantly lobbying for change, but until enough of you demand it, nothing will change.

We have some turkeys left, their first “bad day” was a few months ago, if you want one for sunday dinner, call us today and we’ll take one out of the freezer and put it in the fridge for pick up sunday or monday. Call or email, 821 0807 or castorriverfarm@xplornet.ca.



Well Rodney has done it Gourmet Grilled Cheese is a hit. His sales are exactly double of mine. How does a 16 year old move more grilled cheese after being in business for a few months than I do with my oats in 9 years. I guess I am going to have to concede that he is better entrepreneur than I. Problem is, Kim is now baking bread every night till midnight trying to keep up. Rodney has a new cash system. He found it a little awakward to make change with his right while never touching food with that hand. It was like, one hand food safe, one not. He decided to make a honour system cash box. When purchasing, slide the twentyies or tens into the box, take your own change from the coin dish and the guillotine=held 5s. Come to the Market and see it in action. It has also increased his productivity. That means shorter lines. 


Kim is baking all the bread from our own organic red fife wheat. She is also suppling Rodney with her fancy Dijon Ketchup, made with no sugar, just some of our maple syrup. Whole grain flour sourdough bread, butter (sorry cannot bring ours, silly provincial rules), St.Albert cheddar and mozzerella cheese, tomatoes Ingleside tomatoes, spinach from Roots and Shoots, onions from Waratah downs and our own fat free bacon- it is all there.

Honey is back, after a long winter, our beekeeper, Brent, finally squeezed out some honey for us from our hives. They survived the winter very well, but last year’s honey ran out over the winter. Eggs are still first come, first served. I have an interesting letter which needs your support in our “news”section. For now, here goes my rant:

We are harvesting  and like clockwork, the monster boom sprayers have come out again. But the harvest is almost ready, cannot the crop survive another week till harvest? Desiccant spraying it’s called. A topic I first learned about roughly 15 years ago. I was at a Canadian Wheat board meeting in our local town. The discussion revolved around the issue of how great desiccant spraying was. Roundup herbicide is sprayed on wheat just before harvest to kill any remaining plants as well as to burn down any weeds. This shocked me because I know that the wheat in the head of the grain is dry, dead, and ready to eat. All of the spikelets and husks channel anything coming from above all onto the wheat berries themselves. I asked the question, “Is there a minimum amount of time before harvest at which one could spray the roundup?”. Their dull stares, similar to that of a CAFO dairy cow, not our Whinnie, led me to believe they could not fathom a reason why not to spray it,  for it made harvest easier. Spray residue does not exist in their minds, but I knew it sure did in the buns of the sandwiches we were wolfing down like pigs at a free food cafeteria. Always be leary of free lunches, as Joel Salatin says, harking back to when he was courted to feed ground up carryon to his cows by the USDA which later made the CAFO cow industry a little “mad”. The difference is important, the roundup was being sprayed on ready to eat food. Sure I know, food is sprayed at every port and shipping terminal it enters, but this was different, I was being persuaded to spray it on the food I was selling direct to the consumer. At the time, I was farming conventionally, had not converted to organic yet, and believed that any spray which touched the plant at a very young stage would be almost non-existent at harvest. Later, as part of my conversion to organic, I learned that there were tests that could detect spray applied at any stage of its growth. Sure I was naive, but not stupid. Their “dairy cow” stares, frightened me.

CAFO meat is a choice, pastured is another, to test,  always ask what breed of cow your steak was from, ask what colour, what sex. If you also get a dull “dairy cow” stare from the kid behind the counter, then what can you be assured of.

Desiccant Spraying is serious, it exposes you to a whole different world of untested experimentation, which you just happen to be taking part in.

I hope you guys don’t think I go too far, I just feel, we all need to know, straight up, just how messed up things have become. Demand from your local bread baker, use organic, use local.

Thanks for listening to this week’s rant.



Our pork is different from everyone else’s because of what we do not feed. No GMO’s, no corn or soy, not even conventional corn or soy.  We feed Red Fife Hard Red Spring Organic Wheat, sprouted barley (half organic), veggies (half organic), organic bread, raw organic milk, whey. Their first and only bad day occurs 4 miles from our house. We will have all sorts of options at the farmers’ market and at our store every Sunday.

Egg production is really up now that the sun has returned. We desperately need empty egg cartons, please bring all you can if you visit the farm or our booth at the farmers’ market. Free bar of $5 soap for every 25 empty cartons.


Soap, darn beautiful Potty Mouth Fudge Soap is what Kim has in store for you now. Tasty it may look, but it is actually for bathing. She has 6 different essential oil scented soaps, 6 for $20, or 1 for $5. We like to honour bulk buying. We have no time for bows, ribbons, wrappers, and sparkles, just beautiful soap whose oatmeal exfoliates like no other. If you want real evidence, just feel my cheeks, like a baby’s bottom.

We are back at Lansdowne Park, indoors,  Sundays from 10-3, over the winter. The sunlight in the Aberdeen Pavilion streams from end to end and rotates from sunrise as we are setting up, to sunset as we pack up. There is no more beautiful venue for a market than the original market. Ottawa has been given a choice now for opting for the food of their choice all winter.  We will continue to specialize in our oats. We will have once and twice rolled, steel cut and groats. There is no simpler, cheaper, and healthier meal than a comfort meal of oat groats and a pork hock. Hocks can also be substituted for chicken. We cannot bring our pastured eggs and chicken to market, sorry. They’re both available at our store.

Our store will be open from noon to 3.  Eggs, pork loins, ribs, and chickens will be available along with our famous oats.   We have had incredible interest in our pastured eggs lately. Our hens are now producing well, we should have enough to last at least an hour this week.   Because our provincially regulated limit of hens is 100, a ridiculously low amount, we are looking into hen shares.  A program whereby, you buy the hen and hire us to take care of them and collect the eggs for you.  This is still probably illegal, if you are willing to become a co-conspirator in a righteous fight to obtain great eggs, come talk to us.  As my favourite farmer Troy Roush says “farmers are ingenious people, if you demand good food, we’ll supply it, come talk to us”, and as I add “until then….., well by the looks of the grocery store shelves, you’ll get what you are currently demanding”.   Our store is stocked up with lots of maple syrup.  No white sugar added.  Come inspect our whole syrup setup from tree to bottle.  We bottle in mason jars for your final inspection.   Remember, All Bran Cereal is over 30 percent sugar and it’s one of the healthy ones!  Never underestimate the ingenuity of the food industry to look out for their own interests.

Our new PLESSISVILLE FORANO “1920’s” grain cleaner is working well. What a job to get it going, every night for two months we have tinkered with it, new wood parts, pulleys, flat belts, brushes etc, all hand made and custom. We purchased a Carter Disc and that machine has really helped up remove weed seeds of the same diameter as grains and also separates out hulled oats from hulless.  Boy what did we do without it, when running some winter wheat through it, all of the small black seeds(you know them) fall out in the first output.  In total, we have 11 bags of cleanings before be get out finished product out, what a dream.  At this rate we’ll have our grain cleaning done in three days.  Last year, I estimate that we spent 60 days, yeah, and don’t forget its our sixth year with the old cleaner.  That represents one year of cleaning, a year out of my life.   Our farm store is open this sunday from noon to 3pm.   We need our buckets back, if you have ever purchased bulk grain from us and forgot to return the bucket we need them back.  We do not have GPS trackers on the empty buckets, but we will find them eventually. We do not want to start charging deposits. A wonderful thing has happened, the buckets are returning, and we thank you. Our store in Metcalfe will also be open this Sunday. Metcalfe is the village just after Greely in the south of Ottawa, we are 20 minutes from South Keys area and 20 minutes from downtown via the 417, exit Anderson and head south.

Trespassers are welcome – our farm is open to the public on Sunday afternoons from noon to 3pm.  We raise chickens, eggs, pigs, very limited supply of beef from one of our dairy cows and most importantly grain.  We process our grain into flour and rolled/steel cut oats right in front of you. Our animals are moved daily onto a fresh piece of grass. We hope we can help you in your food choices and can recommend other producers who “get it”. Here is a great chef who sums up how and why we farm.  “We are not farming like your grandfather, we are farming like our children are going to have to”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqOGfg3oflA  Here is our combine, harvesting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRnneMoTCSs For a laugh, watch this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtncN5PvJLY For another laugh, try this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pDTiFkXgEE