Ontario, Goose, Healthy Butcher, Bambrook Beef Farm, Perth County, Perth Pork Products Ltd., Everspring Farms, de Martines, Donaldson, Field Gate Organics, Mario Fiorucci, Berkshire, Tamworth, Wild Boar, Muscovy, duck, Geese, Heintz, Ilderton, St. Agatha, Pekin, Galleria Shopping Centre, Dave Meli, Jonathan Abrahams, Cathy Heintz
On Sunday, October 19, 2014, my wife and I along with our friend Jennifer took part in The Healthy Butcher’s Road Trip. This was the third time The Healthy Butcher had organised this tour. Our tour included transportation via a luxury coach along with visits to three farms, and we enjoyed coffee, muffins, snacks, wine, beer and a fantastic lunch.
We got underway shortly after 8 a.m. and were all served fresh coffee along with muffins and croissants. Our hosts from The Healthy Butcher included Mario Fiorucci, Dave Meli and Jonathan Abrahams. Mario and Dave provided us with lots of information regarding the farms we were about to visit.
Our first stop was Bambrook Beef Farm, owned by Ken and Cathy Heintz.
Bambrook farm is unique for several reasons. First, they are 100% Organic. Their calves and cows are fed organic feed, which is grown on the farm by Ken and Cathy. There is no use of hormones or antibiotics and the herd is raised outdoors. The livestock are free to leave their barn whenever they want to graze. Bambrook Farm is a member of the Field Gate Organics family.
Our next stop was Perth Pork Products owned by Fred and Ingrid de Martines.
Fred and Ingrid told us that last winter was very hard on their livestock. Many of the pigs had not been able to put on enough weight before our brutal winter struck. As a result he lost many, many pigs. Fred and Ingrid raise the traditional white or Duroc breed along with heritage breeds like Berkshire, Tamworth and Wild Boar.
Here is a brief video of the Wild Boar in action:
After our tour of the farm, it was time for lunch. The Healthy Butcher team put out a fantastic spread for us including Perth Pork Products’ Berkshire pork sausages and we also had some amazing beef brisket, salads, condiments, beer and wine. It was a fantastic lunch!
Our final stop for this trip was Everspring Farms, which produces duck and goose products. Everspring is owned and operated by Dale and Marianne Donaldson.
Everspring is unique in that it has its own in-house processing plant for its ducks and geese. The entire process, from killing the birds to storage refrigeration, takes only 15 minutes. The birds are humanely stunned by electric shock and then bled out. They are immersed in a hot water bath which helps loosen their feathers. (The feathers are removed and sold for down.) Their insides are removed and they receive a cold water bath and then are refrigerated.
We saw the one-week-old and 3-week-old Muscovy duck chicks. The ducks are processed once they reach 12 weeks of age.
The geese were honking up a storm! Check out this brief video:
We were able to purchase products from the on-site store at Everspring Farms. After we sampled some smoked Muscovy duck, we just had to buy some!
Following some refreshments we all boarded the bus for the return to Toronto. We reached the Galleria Shopping Centre at 6:30 p.m., right on schedule.
Many thanks to all the fine people at The Healthy Butcher and to all of the farm owners, who were the most gracious of hosts. It was a very long day, but such a treat for city folk like ourselves who are interested in knowing where our food comes from and what our animals are being fed. Great job, Mario and Dave!