Ferme d'ORée Farm

Our philosophy

Owners Sarah Hui & Gert, Rosalie & Camille Janssens

We are going much further than

No antibiotics
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.

Pastured Berkshire pork

There are five secrets to raising high quality pastured pork.

The first and the most difficult one to understand is genetics. We only raise speciality pork from our high quality Berkshire breeding stock, known in Japan as Kurobuta. The texture, colour, marbling and taste of the Berkshire meat does not compare with that of industrial type pigs. Not all Berkshires are created equal and we go to extremes to provide the very best genetics that the Berkshire breed has to offer. We imported some of the best specimens. We do sometimes mix our pigs with other breeds (Duroc, Yorkshire, Large White), but we focus more and more on pure Berkshires.
Unfortunately, there is no way to do seasonal production unless you buy in (conventional) piglets.

The second secret is feed. We mix our own feed from the best barley and wheat and we do not feed corn or industrial feed byproducts that are now commonplace in agriculture. This makes our feed a lot more expensive, but it impacts the quality of the fat and the meat.
Pigs, even if they are in the forest or in the field, have only one stomach and need to eat grain to grow well. We would love to feed organic grain to our pigs, but we want to keep our products affordable and focus more on taste and animal welfare. Organic certification is not a top-priority for us.

The third secret is the environment. We raise our pigs on pasture when the weather permits and on deep bedding in the winter. We are talking about real pastures in rotation because we do not want mudlots on our farm. Mudlots stink, are a breeding grounds for intestinal worms. They generally are an unhealthy environment for pigs and the risk of environmental pollution is probably greater than in industrial type farms! Unfortunately, mudlots are the organic standard.

The pigs eat grass and root and therefore grow slower. That gives more complexity to the flavour of the meat. The pigs are happier as well because they can express their natural behavior.

In winter, we make sure that our pigs have ample space, adequate heat and a thick composting bedding pack.

Fourth is health. Piglets need to be warm, free of drafts and there should be a system in place to prevent the mothers from crushing their babies. We use both cages, spécialised parcs and free birthing in the barn and in the field. Mortality is much lower in the cages, but the parcs are kinder to the sows. Free-birthing might be natural but many piglets get crushed.

The final step is processing. We use a low stress loading dock and ship the pigs to a nearby abattoir where they dry-age for a week before being sent off to our clients. Our expert butchers, charcutiers and restaurants in Montreal really add value to the final product.

All that is left is cooking!

While the philosophy, objective and the methods of conventional agriculture do not appeal to us, we have met some excellent conventional (or industrial) farmers. We were impressed by their knowledge, generosity, integrity, hard work and love for their animals. And guess what...none of them use routine antibiotics! Sometimes it is hard to understand why farmers do things the way they do them, especially if you are not a farmer. We decided to talk to them instead of demonizing them: we have learnt a lot that applies to our farm too and we think they deserve much more respect (and a higher income) for the excellent job they do...in mass producing cheap food.