Hens do not stop laying, we are open Easter Sunday if you want a place to come, open noon to 2.
Our eggs are back, with increasing sun, comes an abundance of eggs. I can guarantee you, there will be enough today. Proper thick shells, brilliant orange yolks sitting like golf balls, we’ve got them.
Deliveries are going well, really consistent, also not dependent on the weather. Markets are really tough that way, plus all my stuff does not get soaked. Ottawa is probably the only city on the planet without an indoor market, why, don’t really know but when it takes a day to dry everything out on a monday after market, it really tires one out.
Raw Butter Economics
The going rate for raw organic pastured butter is over $50 per lb. Sound crazy? Especially when you compare the going rate for GMO conventional butter in the store is about $6 and wholesale at National Grocers, it is $4. But lets step back. It takes 20 to 30 litres of milk to make a lb of butter. Farmers get about 80 cents per litre. The going rate for raw organic pastured milk is $5. If we multiply say 25 litres by the low rate we get $20 and $125 for the good stuff. We haven’t factored in separating, culturing, churning, washing, packing, distribution, and markup. Add at least $20 more for that. You end up with $40 and $145. So does that $50 lb sound so crazy now? It looks like it’s a steal. That is why we are making our own butter, I save up milk all week from our spare cow, skim it once per week, culture for two days, then churn. I do multiple batches in our stand mixer. We then take it to a good friend to store it in his undergound storage for a week before eating. Why? it is just better, don’t know why, have not met anyone who knows why, just do. If anyone can explain to me the economics of $4 lb butter, call me the crazy one for not understanding. We are not able to sell our butter, skim milk, or buttermilk, so it is just for our health. I was naive into the health aspects of good butter. I was no margarine dupe, but just ate normal butter, even though we had our own cow. Only once we got two did I have enough milk to make butter. If you ever want to discuss butter economics, drop me a note. Another confusing thing, my father found an old magazine in an old hotel, butter was twice the price of cheese, now cheese is several times more expensive than butter. Free bucket of oats to whomever can figure out that one for me. If anyone wants raw milk or butter, don’t come to me, just go over to Ogdensburg, just an hour away, it is available, and everyone is alive. I have no idea why the milk is different, but for some reason, it is. Raw milk can be trusted in the US, but here if you sell any it is worse than robbing a bank.
Maple syrup is running well, we are into our forth short run, been a funny season, this week looks good though. We are also having our first ever sale, last year’s dark syrup, 1/3 off. It has to go, we have never had any left over from the previous year, but last year’s bumper harvest remains. We have a few milk crates left. It is best for baking, extra dark, we like to call it, flavour goes much further in baking than the light stuff.
We have a handful of steaks left and lots of hamburger from our twice a year beef production. Our pigs are enjoying our new aquisition. Our neighbour gave us a dairy cow who has a bad foot, a malformed achilles tennon. She walks poorly but is just a pet. She is producing ample milk, we are madly making raw butter. For the pigs, the left over skim milk and butter milk is a treat that only the sound of a pig drinking can convey the appreciation. Each sow is getting her own bucket right now in the morning. I soak their grain for 24 hours in the milk. They almost inhale it. I sure wish I could share it with you but for some reason, Ontario milk cannot be trusted. 40 minutes south to NY state, raw milk is everywhere, Vermont, NH, and about 40 other states allow farm direct raw milk sales. And you know what? Everyone is alive. I was at a conference in New Hampshire where they even had it in the primary school cafeteria. For some reason, Ontario milk is different, it cannot be trusted without being processed. Pasteurization is not the real culprit it is made out to be, it is actually the homogenization process that causes us the real health problems. The fat is broken up into such small parts that it passes through our intestine instead of being digested and right into our blood stream.
Eggs and Maple Syrup, smells like french toast to me! I cannot say that line without being reminded of the big chicken farmer from food inc to describe the stench he smells from his cafo, “smells like money to me!”.
People ask who my mentors have been, firstly my dad, for teaching me my mechanical skills and confidence to try anything, then Joe Stachon local farmer who taught be book work and production farming, for inspiration there is Joel, but my favourite is actually Troy Roush, seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG841R_5kY8 and also here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WOBiarf-bM and here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfIxmI-Q3fY
We have eggs once again! They know spring is just around the corner and the longer days have them all laying once again. After 4 months of losing money, looks like we’ll be making a profit this week. It is hard to feed them over the winter knowing that their feed exceeds the value of their eggs by 4 fold. They have been venturing out all week, yolk colour has improved, not summer colour yet, but on the way. If you venture out on sunday, we should have eggs, trust me, if not, you’ll get some free oats.
1/4 of our beef is left, 3/4 sold in four weeks, amazing. Stocked up on tbones and hamburger and ribs. other cuts too.
If you want to be on our Tuesday morning email of what we have available for Wednesday night delivery, just drop me a note. firstname.lastname@example.org
Maple syrup is running, we boiled all week, have lots of lighter syrup in half litre and quarter litre bottles, no plastic. Glass offers true transparency, nothing like it. Syrup is like chocolate milk and root beer. In glass tastes best. If you still want dark, we still have some of last year’s, but for this year dark hasn’t arrived yet, few more weeks. Last year’s is marked down by one third, just ask for some.
Beef, we’ve finally got it. Just over a year old, nursed till his first bad day. Grass fed, grass finished, actively pastured everyday. Fresh new grass everyday. There is no better. Because of all the work moving and consuming milk from our spare cow our cost of production is high. Hamburger starts are $10 per one lb pack and goes up from there. Soup bones are $5, we have stewing beef, t bones, filet, rib steaks, spare ribs, few organs, sorry liver is gone, French roasts, shoulder roasts, sirloin steaks, and tips but my favourite cut of all time, the humble blade steaks. I can deliver on Wednesdays, you’ll see it on our weekly delivery notice. No butcher, no grocery store in the Ottawa has grass finished beef, fed is fine, but remember 14 days of corn undoes all the good and drops the pH. Once is goes more acidic, then it is just like grocery store meat. We feed no corn or grain of any sort.
I grow oats, for several years we “mined” the soil, trying to maintain my soil nutrients with cover crops, legumes, mulching, buying in manure. Until I got some cows and also the pigs, I did not know what proper soil nutrients looked like. I now do, 3/4 of our crops get regular rotations the previous year with animals. I can safely say, our farm is now regenerative. The new buzzword for great farms, we’re now there. The point? To get good oats, you have to support the whole farm. If you are vegan or vegetarian, you’d better find someone to pick up the slack. I honestly, did not know any better. I was naive. I now see what we produce from a small plot of land. Our crops are completely different from before animals. Everyone talks earthworms, but to me it is the birds. We used to hardly ever see a bird. Now we have flocks and flocks of them, many types and packs.
I just got back from speaking about oats at a grain conference south of Albany NY, wonderful day, but oh it was long, milk, drive, conference, drive, milk, bed. Felt like the day after market once again.
Two weeks ago, I got in late Saturday night after a two day farming conference in southern New Hampshire. Got to meet Joel. I could feel it as he entered the room. Some people say Mother Teresa was like that. Sure felt it with Joel. I spoke on our oat rolling to a great crowd. I took two litres of raw milk with me, always take some, just like the Queen of England does. She does not drink regular milk. She is allowed to bring her own supply to Canada, the only exception our country makes. At the conference, it was in a middle school. The milk dispensers in the cafeteria had regular skim, 2 percent and raw. Free, as much as you want, can you believe it? What is different with our milk supply, why can it not be trusted and must be boiled?
Eggs are very limited, spring is coming, sun will come, eggs will improve, I promise. So for tomorrow, if you are coming for eggs, please don’t get your hopes up. Not good.
Deliveries are going well, really starting to get to know the city. Several initial customers are now ordering their second deliveries and sure makes it easier to find their houses. I have begun tipping concierges with a bar of soap. The look on their faces are stunned. The next week though, they politely ask, “you wouldn’t happen to have anymore of that soap my wife absolutely loved it?”. As I pull another bar from my pocket they light right up and offer to carry any of the buckets I am trying to lug along. A little soap goes a long way. I did not realize how many big buildings had these guys.
Home delivery from farmers is just starting to take on the grocery/garbage store. Here is a great video of my favourite farmer, Joel, who I am speaking at a conference this weekend in New Hampshire with, speaking to Dr Mercola about new tech and the farmer. He explains how all the grocery store’s overhead is tied up in bricks and mortar infrastructure. Online purchasing from farmer is inverting all that, really fast.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gBwCQspdwo&t=1212s If your concern is food miles, I average about 3 miles between deliveries after I factor my total number of miles travelled per night by the number of deliveries. Keep in mind, a 70mpg biodiesel burning car is not the same as an eighteen wheeler. Those miles cannot be compared.
Also note Joel’s use of the word “tribe”. Run with your tribe. Our customers are our “tribe”. Sometimes when I am stuck in traffic trying to drive down Innes road on the way home, the line up to get into the Costco extends onto the main road. The taxpayer subsidized police officer directing traffic into a private store is what gets me frustrated at how many people shop there. I like to say the most important people are:
1) your best regular customers
2) your occasional customers
3) your best customers
Everyone else doesn’t matter. If they are in the grocery store, they are not your worry or even a concern. Once I got over this mindset, it really focused my energy into the people who matter.
If you have been missing kim’s bread, we do have some frozen loaves at our store or for wednesday deliveries. Whole grain, sourdough, heritage wheat(red fife), heavy, best for toast. Ottawa’s only farmer grown, milled and baked bread. 100 percent soudough, whole grain(do not confuse with whole wheat).
Our store is open, self serve year round 24/7 for oats, you know the drill, scoop into bag, dollar per cup. Open every Sunday, year round, noon to 2.
Remember, every Tues morning, I send out the notice with what is available for Wed. night delivery, deadline is noon Wed. This 10 week experiment is going well, if you want on the list, just drop me a note. I still have to gradually introduce it to the alphabetically bottom half of our customer list and will be doing that as soon as possible. Last week, I got back in at almost midnight, as a result, it is going to be a few weeks.
Sunday was the last market and boy it was slow at first on account of the awful weather, but got busier as the sun came out, in the end it was our best market of the year, thanks so much to everyone in believing in what we do. We cannot farm without you.
I used to sell all our grain to the local mill, next day, got a cheque. Once per year. I have to tell you how unfulfulling farming was, working all year, one cheque. I needed more, the farmers’ market is what was left out. I enjoy every minute. It all starts around 5 in the morning when I see a light come on in the house, this means Rodney is up and getting ready. What a kid, I have never had to wake or convince him to get ready for market, never a minute late in over a year of Sundays. It warms my heart, our customers warm my heart with their stories all day. Even pack up is fun, saying goodbye to other vendors, trading till our hearts’ content. We get home, chores, dishes, pack up. Kim expects/insists I bring home soup from the Four Sisters or Kiwan Farm to make supper easily and different. We normally pick a movie, I am asleep on the sofa after the first few minutes, then get a gentle kick as I sprawl on the floor that the movie is over and time to go to bed. I would not trade it for all the one time grain cheques in the world.
Sunday the 18 of December will be our last Christmas market, it has been a wonderful few weeks at the Aberdeen Pavillion, it is decorated beautifully. Please have your full bucket orders in by Saturday. The Grilled Cheese Empire will be there in full force. Last Sunday was big, I’d estimate ten thousand people made their way through the cattle castle, it was really impressive.
Lots of soap tomorrow as well, we’ll be set up at the east or Canal end of the Cattle castle. My daughter Mary, oh Mary, she’ll be helping out with the soap, we’ll have tons, last chance before spring.
We will not be doing the winter market, focusing on our farm store on Sundays and my weekly Wednesday night deliveries. Last night I towed my trailer to where I get beer mash for the pigs, left it, did my deliveries, then returned and loaded, came home, hitched the tractor, towed the trailer out to the field. The pigs awoke, ran out in the full moonlight and ate like a midnight feast, darn if it wasn’t midnight by the time I got in. It was a bit too much for one night, did not need all that snow to boot.
Wednesday night deliveries are going well, really enjoying it. Please have orders in by Wed morning for delivery that night. The most important thing, I just drop the food, visit for a minute and go. I do not make you walk up and down 20 aisles. You order, you get what you want, any amount requested. Most importantly and especially for single mothers, I do not make you stand in a cash register lineup and make you be judged by the older women (who forget what it was like, because all that junk was not there when they were younger). Judged as to whether you’re going to give in to the grocery store industry’s final embarassing test and succumb to your kid’s pleas for some of the junk food. They stack it from floor to ceiling on both sides. It is bad, it is rude, and get out of that negative lineup and just consider getting good food delivered to your door. We both win, I do not use up a whole day standing at farmers’ market and you get what you want.
Last night was our first big delivery night, we sent the info out to 1/3 of our customer list, left home at 6 PM, got it at 11. Sold double of a farmers’ market in half the time and feel good today. The real complaint I have with the farmers’ market is the length of day. 8 hours is just too long. It takes a day to prep, get up at 3 Am to milk and roll oats for market, add in steel cutting and by 5 Rodney is up getting his booth ready for grilled cheese. We leave home at just before 7, set up takes a couple of hours (mostly because Ottawa cannot get its act together and have a place where we can stay set up), sell all day, pack up, home by 6, then chores and milk, bed by 10, two hours later than my normal. The next day is a write off, in a fog all day, I normally consider that if I get anything done on a foggy monday, it is a plus. Even though, I got home late last night, I did not have to prep all day yesterday, have already milked and it is just 7 now. Feel good and plan to get lots done today. I really think, from only my personal perspective, this delivery model, is something. My only complaint, is trivial, I just can’t see the house addresses in the dark very well. Got some strange looks when I went up to the first door on the street with a flashlight just to get my bearings on what number is on the house. I really think I need to get some glasses. Last night was dark, no moon, fog, and wet pavement, boy it was black out there. The summer will be better. I have been studying other farmers’ delivery models. One interesting feature is mapping out my delivery avoiding left hand turns. One farmer says by avoiding them, he saves 10 minutes every hour in time, never thought of it. The kids say I should get a GPS to help me layout my map, after getting lost in Nepean last night on curing round a bout back streets, I think they’re right.
We will be at the next three Christmas markets on Sundays. Please have your bucket orders in by Sat morning. I am really low on buckets, please return all empties asap. I am down over 600 buckets in 10 years. Not good folks, need them back. Rodney will be there with the Grilled Cheese Empire, get ready, he’s got some new features, sharpened knives, and a well trained helper, Nick. The bread is being baked all day Saturday, fetching St. Albert Cheese and taking his girlfriend out to St. Albert for supper. Anyone who has not seen the new St. Albert cheese factory, restaurand and store is missing a great adventure.
Kim and I spent last weekend making soap, we’ve got nearly 2000 bars ready for the Christmas Markets. We need them gone, or the kids are getting coal for their stockings. Think of how clean and fresh you’ll be with good soap again and how our kids will be smiling when they get a new Ferarri for Christmas, it is a win win. Ok, daddy may only get a Massey Fergusson, but it will be just as red. What should we get Kim?
Our nutrient dense farm food delivered to your door:
Rolled Oats, Steel Cut Oats or Oat Groats $1 per cup or $50 per bucket, save over 50%
Pastured chicken $6 per lb whole frozen, soup hens and roosters as well.
Pastured Pork: ribs, chops, world’s best smoked hocks(free oat groats, 2 cups), butcher string wrapped boneless shoulder butt roasts, minced(best hamburgers with egg and rolled oats), sausages
Potty mouth soap $5 per bar or $20 for six bars. 9 different scents
Raw Honey 1kg $14
Maple Syrup 500mL $15
Whole grain flour $1 per cup red fife wheat, oat, buckwheat
Just got in from Wednesday deliveries, another great night. It is kinda fun trying to figure out the most efficient route to drop off at close to 20 customers in one night. I have shifted my start time to just after 6 to beat the traffic. The most challenging thing is that there is still some rush hour traffic, luckily I can get downtown and work opposite the traffic for the first hour through the glebe then work my way outward. I had an early Orleans drop, then the glebe, then westboro and finally three big orders in Kanata. Etransfer seems to be the easiest way to transfer money. Fun seeing kids on their own turf, I can bug/scare them more than normal than when they are on my turf. Good to see. Remember order time is by dawn Wednesday morning. All we have to offer is listed below. Our pastured frozen chickens are by far the most popular. Oats being second. I got more empty buckets back this week, great to see. I need all empties back when you can to prepare for next week’s deliveries and for the three big Sunday Christmas markets at Lansdowne Park.
Another reason we are focusing on our farm store and deliveries is the new contract our market has at Lansdowne Park. We were promised 162 stalls to return after the redevelopment. Unfortunately, after we returned we found only 88. We were also hampered by only receiving only a fraction of the promised, and paid for electricity, water and no anchors. The liability the city has assumed is enormous by trusting every vendor to dream up their own anchors and hope no one trips on them is shocking. No insurance company would allow this, just so you know, the city self insures. Something that puts the onus on you the taxpayer to pay the difference.
Ottawa has lost it’s big market and now has a “neighbourhood” market. Our market is now looking for a new “large” market for the city, not an easy task. Byward would be a natural location, but the city prefers the resellers to continue to go to the Montreal food terminal and buy week old imported produce and drive back to Ottawa early in the morning, relabel it all as local, even the bananas, and sell. Why the city prefers this fraud over real farmers is interesting. Back in the early 70’s, the councillors wanted all the farmers out and bananas in. It all comes down to that. Imported produce pushed all the farmers out. It was deadly, it was intentional, it is fraud. Notice that it is now called a “public market” because the province will not allow them to use the word “farmers” anymore. The province recognizes the scam, the city encourages it. When we first started retailing our grain, we looked to Byward, but found out that we were not allowed to “value add” our products for the tourist into something they could eat right away. This was telling, how the local restaurants dictate what can and cannot be sold in a “public market”. Many studies done by consultants have tried to tell the city that farmers are the secret to a successful market, to no avail. If you think Parkdale is any different, it is not. It is fraud, it is shameful, and your councillors support it. Be no part of it.
Thank you everyone for our best Sunday ever at our funky farm store. It was busy, Kim knows almost everyone but it was great for me to meet people I had not met before. Our days at the farmers’ market may be numbered, what a Sunday. I am looking forward to Wednesday night’s deliveries and next Sunday. We get at least three new people every week. That is the rate at which people decide to make a change and seek out decent food. It may not seem like many, but to us, it means there is hope, hope beyone Costco and Loblaws, so glad others see it as well. If you are interested, I will gladly recommend to you other farms in our area who you may be interested in, lets say, I’ve vetted them out for you.
Remember, we will not be at Lansdowne Park this Sunday or next, will be there the first Sunday in December. Grilled Cheese will be there in December as well. Please make note of our delivery schedule on Wednesdays below.
Our nutrient dense farm food delivered to your door:
Rolled Oats, Steel Cut Oats or Oat Groats $1 per cup or $50 per bucket, save over 50%
Pastured chicken $6 per lb whole frozen
Pastured Pork: ribs, chops, world’s best smoked hocks(free oat groats, 2 cups), butcher string wrapped boneless shoulder butt roasts, minced(best hamburgers with egg and rolled oats), sausages
Raw Honey 1kg $14
Maple Syrup 500mL $15
Whole grain flour $1 per cup red fife wheat, oat, buckwheat
Turkeys sold out, rye sold out, spelt to come, beef to come in Jan
Sorry we cannot deliver any raw milk, please don’t even ask, for our own consumption only. Move to any other G8 country, or frankly, any other country in the world and you’ll get all the raw milk you want. There are raw milk vending machines throughout Europe, vending machines at the end of farmer’s laneways, but…….For some reason Canadian Milk cannot be trusted when raw. Normally government steps in and regulates when things are beyond their control, but in Canada they continue to pretend that many thousands of people are not consuming raw milk. For me it is not the health benefits, it is the taste and the fact that when eating nutrient dense milk, eggs, or oats, I can skip lunchand get more done in the daylight.
Sorry we cannot deliver any of our pastured eggs, if people realized how bad store bought eggs are compare to pastured eggs the Confinement Indoor Egg farming industry would collapse, we cannot have that happen. Our eggs are first come first serve Sundays at noon at our funky farm store.
Last night was our first “delivery night”. I made 18 deliveries in about 4 hours. We did twice as well as a 12 hour day at the farmers’ market. I really think we are onto something here. There were oats, pork, flour, honey, maple syrup, and even a few chickens flying everywhere. Great to see where everyone lives. So, here goes, next week. We have decided to set an order deadline for Wednesday morning so we can get the orders ready all day and deliver that night. All you have to do is email me before then with what you want. We are going to put together a newsletter to send out with a sort of order form to our regular email list of customers. If you are not on it, then drop me a note or just send in your order. To make it all worth our while, please try to order more than $50 worth of food. Farhaven for 2 cups of oats is not realistic, sorry. Thank you for a wonderful night, was a little slow this morning, normally go to be at 8, must have been 11 when I got home. I was always hesitant to do wholesale or deliveries because I love the farmers’ market so much. We still do not wholesale, but I did get my “customer fix” last night. Fun,
I booked our young beef into for his last day in early January. We only produce one per year, the offspring from one of our dairy cows. We kept him with his mother for the whole year. Bugger is actually still nursing once and a while. If you want to buy some or all, please contact me, we will be preselling all the meat only. Rotated on grass daily, finished on fresh fall grass, have enough for another month, then he’s just gotta go.
Thank you everyone for a crazy busy day on Sunday, our first sunday not at market in many years. The farm was busy with kids fetching eggs, milking the cow, even chasing a pig. Kim always said her customers were great, but I finally got to meet them all. Sunday is a wonderful day and was sure glad to be part of it. I was a little distracted helping load our old threshing mill, we donated it to this summer’s second attempt at a Guinness World Record. Hopefully I will be able to run it. It was purchased at an auction 50 years ago by my father and Gerry Mackie, good friends who went halves on it. I last used it when I was 13 doing oats for a 4H project. Gerry also asked me to run it with him at the Metcalfe Fair one year. I was sure proud, but a little nervous running our tractor, big long flat belt and all, think I was 12. Insurance companies sure would not let a kid do that today.
I am so sorry for those who did not get any eggs, all I can say is to write the Premiere of Ontario and insist that farmers who raise pastured eggs be allowed to raise more than 100. Just crazy, we’ve got a mortgage, sell out of eggs in 15 minutes, need more hens to sanitize after the cows are rotate. Just nuts. Remember, no matter what the grocery store, be it Loblaws, or whole foods, neither of them have pastured eggs. The term “free roam” or “cage free” is the biggest lie ever. Four hundred thousand hens in one barn with no cages is not what those terms should describe. That is not food.
We will not be at Lansdowne Park this Sunday. We will have the whole team running our farm store. We have decided to focus our energy into our store. Kim has been busy and needs more help. We will both be there helping you from noon to 2 on Sundays up to Christmas. We will also only be attending the Sunday markets at Lansdowne during Christmas, the 4th, 11th, and 18th of December. We will not be at any November markets. We promise to help you as much as possible if obtaining decent food. Your first step is to stay out of that grocery store, us included, it is tough, that darn sugar is just so tempting. The better you eat, the easier it will become.
Note to wine makers, we will gladly trade you some great food for your empty buckets, you bring’em, will feed you. If we have a preference, they would be white 22l buckets. Thanks
The fall run on bucket orders has begun, please have them in by bedtime (8pm) on Saturday night. Remember you can save over 50% by purchasing whole buckets of grain. The problem is that you must freeze the bucket, either in your freezer or outside in the winter. We just got a shipment of Wondermill electrics and a few junior handmills. If anyone wants one, come see Kim at our store on Sundays from noon to 2. Everyone needs yet another kitchen gadget for Christmas, this one, unlike the food processor, is easy to clean and saves you money by being able to buy grain bulk. Remember that the level of nutrients in freshly milled grain fall quickly, some nutrients reaching near zero after a few weeks. The Nearings always said, “you should buy milled grain much like milk, enough for the week, no more”. They fought the USA government and lost their battle not to have white flour enter the market. 100 years ago, they saw the future and now it is here. White powder, ground up vitamins, and it is supposed to make bread? It only makes cotton batten, a wonder, is what it is.
The grilled cheese empire will be there in full force. It rained all day last sunday and we both had our best day all year. Goes to show, our food is comfort food, best in fall and winter. We had so many bucket orders last sunday, I started rolling at 4AM and finished just in time for market. Before rolling, I ate breakfast, milked the cow, and fetched meat from the coolers for Kim at the store and for market. Makes for an early morning. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, fall is the most beautiful season and allows us to get all our bills for fuel, parts, insurance all paid up. Love it.
A lot of people ask how harvesting is going, to sum up, best quality ever, about a quarter of the normal yield. Sure glad I rented a few fields and planted lots extra. It was beautifully dry, combining has gone well, no slugging and hardly any breakdowns. We seeded some of our fields with barley as a cover crop. It sure showed where the nutrients are rich in the field. Where we ran the chickens, pigs and cows, the new barley is amost 2 feet tall and lush green. Elsewhere, it is 3 inches tall and looks weak. We just need more animals. Agriculture without animals is not proper, just cannot “mine” the soil without the animals. Sir Albert Howard said it best in 1943, farming with artificials, produces artifical food, artifical animals, and artifical people.
I have a bone to pick with our bucket customers though. At first, we tried to charge a deposit, most balked at the charge of $15 to cover the cost of a new bucket and lid. I gave up after two weeks. 10 years later, we have “lost” on average, $1400 worth of buckets every year on average since, this year being the worst, almost 150 buckets not returned. Please, please return your buckets when picking up your next order. It is killing us. It is friday morning, going to combine all day till dusk, doing a workshop tomorrow, more combining, and preparing for market on sunday and just realized I do not have enough buckets for the sunday orders. I just do not have time to drive to Kanata to buy a few hundred dollars of buckets for sunday orders. I will try to get one of my son’s to drive out there, a pain. I need the buckets back and cannot stress this enough. If anyone reading this has any other solution to the problem, please get back to me. We solved our bacon problem of either too fatty or too lean by separating them into one or the other. What was stressful, people not happy with the bacon I sold them, to people excited about getting what they want and if not, content with the fact that they chose, and will choose the other next time. Worked out great.
Did I mention that All Bran cereal, a supposedly healthy cereal, is 1/3 sugar! Remember our buckets are packed to the brim, their boxes are less than half full. Our double rolled oats are able to win kids over if you give them a helping hand, jazz them up with some frozen berries and maple syrup. It may just save them and make converts out of them.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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.
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