Owners Sarah Hui & Gert, Rosalie & Camille Janssens
We are going much further than
No growth hormones
Our farm is
Grass-based and local!
Our vocation is to model our farm to the romantic idea of a picturesque family farm where animals and people live a good life. This is in stark contrast to the reality of modern agriculture.
The privilege of breathing the country air, working the land and caring for our animals is our reward for hard work under difficult conditions and otherwise unprofitable investment.
Even though we know some fantastic farmers with industrial (family) farms, it is not what we are about.
Environmental agriculture is based on the principle that you are what you eat.
This goes much further than no chemical fertilizers, preventative antibiotics or growth hormones
Good food is natural food. Nature is our template. We let animals be animals. Our animals live outside as much as possible. Herbivores have evolved to eat grass - not grain, pigs have a strong desire to root.
Sunshine, fresh air, hygienic living conditions and a natural diet make for happy animals that rarely get sick and do not need preventative antibiotics.
Good food comes from a diversified farm.
Nature is resilient because of diversity. In a sense, we try to create a balanced ecosystem rather than using chemical fertilizer as a crutch for a depleted soil.
Since we feed very little grain, almost all our land is both pasture and hayfield. This is much better for the soil.
Good food is seasonal food. We follow the rhythm of nature as much as we can.
Good food is slow food. With more exercise, less grain and no steroids, hormones or chemical food additives, our animals grow slower.
That results in lean meat, yellow fat, and more taste. What is healthy for animals is healthy for you!
Good food is local food. Reducing transportation is better for the animals and the environment.
Local food means that more money stays in our community. We sure prefer a local abattoir over a huge one.
Local food encourages openness and a relationship between consumer and farmer based on trust.
Local food forces farms to stay relatively small. We think that that is essential in what we do. Small is beautiful...
Good food is social food. Our food has no hidden social costs. We do not cause pollution and we do not exploit people. We try to keep our prices reasonable.
Good food is family-friendly food. Environmental farming is not just our job, it is our vocation!
Our kids take pride in our farm. We hope to create a little paradise they will always return to.
Good food is community supported food. Rural communities are having a hard time as many young people leave in search for better jobs in the city.
We discovered that most of our neighbours and clients in city and country alike, are really cool and resourceful people. Nothing is more encouraging than your support.
We love living here and we hope to contribute to the development of our region.
Good food is not just food. In our consumption and production decisions, we chose what kind of world we want to live in.
We want you to enjoy our products as you cook and eat a good, healthy and guilt-free meal together!
Environmental agriculture is grass-based farming
that nurtures the original philosophy of the organic, bio-dynamic and permaculture movements.
We are not certified organic. Industrial agriculture -even if it is organic - thrives on cheap grain and cheap fossil fuels. It produces cheap commodities for global markets.
Information for butchers and restaurants
Photo: Who said pork is less noble than beef?
We produce pastured Berkshire and Mangalitsa pork and grass-fed (Limousin and Angus) Beef for sale to butchers and restaurants. Our products are of constant and exceptional quality, in terms of taste, animal welfare, environment and service. Our prices reflect this quality.
We deliver only carcasses and half carcasses. We can use part of your carcass to make smoked bacon and ham, with our without nitrites. At the moment, we do not offer boxes.
We deliver every week in Montreal.
In principle, every order needs to be placed at least four weeks in advance for beef and two weeks for pork.
We can smoke your bacon and ham, but it takes 2 to 3 weeks. Smoking must be delivered with another order, 2 to 3 weeks later; and this to save on transport costs.
In reality, we try to offer more flexibility. We know that it is hard for you to foresee demand, so we try to always have surplus animals at the abattoir.
All our prices include butchering and transport.
Berkshire an Mangalitsa pork
Known as Kurobuta in Japan, the Berkshires breed provides a very different kind of pork with its unique marbling, its short muscle fibres and its low acidity. It likely does not resemble any pork that you have ever tasted before! And the fat is just as delicious! If this is the best pork in the world, it is because we take care of all the details!
Mangalitsas, or woolly pigs, are a rare luxury product, despite excessive marbling and 40% fat. They take more than 2 years to finish at 140-175 kg carcass, and ideal for making exclusive charcuterie.
Photos: Berkshire (left) and Mangalitsa (right) pigs on pasture
We hired an animal nutritionist to formulate a diet that enhances quality. We only buy the very best ingedrients (especially wheat) on the market and mill the feed on the farm. We make 10 different recipes because growing pigs have requirements that vary with age.
Our farm tests negative to all major swine diseases.
A year before your pig is ready, we inseminate its mother. Our line of Berkshire pigs is quite notorious (Peter Lad x Ambassador x Beach Boy) and is responsible for the quality (and profitability) of our pork. After almost four months, around 8 babies are born and they grow under heating lamps with their mother until they are eating enough solid food. We do this in the barn to provide the best conditions for the baby piglets.
The pigs stay in the barn until they weigh about 35 kg. Their digestive system cannot handle pasture very well much before that. While they stay in the barn on a deep bed of sawdust and straw, we also give them some toys to play with and some hay to eat.
Photo: Genetics matter even on pasture!
Come spring, we send the pigs out to pasture. We are not talking about a mud lot adjacent to the barn, as is common. We fence dozens of acres. To keep the pigs healthy without chemical dewormers (we use turmeric as prevention), it is essential to pasture every year in a different field. In fact, we rotate the pigs through several small fields before they run out of grass or clover and do too much damage. We then reseed these mini-fields right away and they often become the best fields for our cows later. In the winter, our pigs rotate through deep straw in the barn. If the weather is nice, we sometimes take the pigs out on an asphalt pad behind the barn. In winter, our pigs have about 3 times more space than organic factory pigs, in summer about 100 times.
It is easy to underestimate how expensive pasturing, barn space and straw are.
The last month or so, the pigs root in the woods. This adds even more complexity to the taste.
The development of the ham muscles is complete when the pig weighs 130 kg (100 kg carcass). We notice that most of our clients prefer heavier, fattier carcasses.
We load without stress and pay for custom transport. The hot carcass, that will be dry-aged for a week, weighs around a 100 kg for Berkshires, and more for the Mangalitsas. A professional charcutier smokes the hams and bacon. With or without nitrites.
We only work with the best.
Photos: Berkshire (left) and Mangalitsa (right). Yup, it is pork!
Some of our Berkshire pork is sent fresh to specialized butchers and restaurants, the rest is cut, vacuum packed and frozen at the abattoir for direct sale to our clients.
We do not sell boxes!
In our minds it is obvious, but we should probably mention that we do not use any antibiotics, growth hormones, etc.
Grass-fed Limousin or Angus beef, 40 month old Wagyu
We produce high quality grass-fed and -finished beef.
Photo: spring is calving time on the farm!
We know that Angus is very popular and excessive marbling is the fashion now, so we use bulls that end in the top 1% for marbling when we do Angus!
Yet, we believe that marbling is not all there is to beef quality.
Limousin beef is tender (thanks to short muscle fibers) but low fat and considered the best in Europe. It will dress-out more than 10% better than Angus, with more valuable cuts, but much less marbling.
Whether it be Limousin or Angus, we can only do great grass-fed beef because a substantial part of our ration consists of vegetable cuttings that we recycle from a small local vegetable processing plant. These vegetable cuttings provide much-needed energy in winter.
Photo: Our cows winter outside
Mast of our herd consists of very performant Angus-Simmental cows. We look for the perfect match for each cow. We inseminate with several of the world's top bulls using artificial insemination.
That is about three years before our meat ends up in your store. We focus mostly on Angus and Limousin, with some Simmental and some Wagyu.
Since optimal finishing depends on frame size, using different bulls helps us to optimally finish year-round, while keeping the herd synchronized.
Photos: Angus-Simmental calf on the left, Limousin calves on the right
Our calves are born on pasture in the spring. It is not cold or muddy and the cows really need the best spring grass when the calves are drinking. Calves stay with their mothers for 5 to 6 months before they are weaned. A good cow on great pasture provides enough milk to get the calf to 600 or 700 pounds.
Since our cows and calves only eat grass, we import huge quantities of manure and match it to soil samples and forage growth curves to keep the grass growing. We move the animals to a new pasture every two to three days to keep the grass at its growing peak.
Our calves winter outside. They do have a well-bedded three-side barn, an asphalted exercise yard and a winter-pasture. This keeps the animals as clean as possible. This is the season where our vegetables come in handy.
For insemination, pregnancy testing and shipping, we use a Bud Box. The Bud Box is a corral that uses the animals' natural instincts to guide them into the cattle squeeze where they can be weighted, sorted or inseminated. There is no cussing, no cowboying and no stress!
Photo: Red Angus calves with a dash of rare Red Charolais
While supermarket beef travels about 1500 miles in its lifetime, we bring the calves to a clean, local, inspected abattoir. The abattoir is set up to dry-age the carcass for 3 weeks to tenderize the meat. About half of our production goes to neo-butchers and restaurants in Montreal. The rest is vacuum-packed and frozen by a certified butcher.
We sell this meat directly to our clients via our website www.fermedoree.com, either per quarter or by-the-cut. We deliver at several drop-off points in and around Montreal, in Quebec and along highway 10, with a freezer box on our truck. We always keep a few grass-fed beeves in our freezer.
Photo: Angus-Limousin on the left, Limousin on the right.