In the spring we buy young beef cattle weighing about 700 lbs, at the Ottawa Livestock Exchange. We put them on pasture about May 1. Our pastures are free from any herbicides, fungicides or pesticides. We use no drugs, vaccines or hormones. We use no petro chemical fertilizers. The cattle fertilize as they move through the pastures. We don’t even have an ATV or a tractor.(yet) All inspections are done on foot.
We don’t seed pastures with purchased seed. There are possibly 100 or more different plants growing and reseeding naturally giving our beef a unique flavour; the ultimate salad bar.
We divide the pasture into paddocks with movable fences. Twice daily the cattle move to a new paddock so that they always have fresh grass to eat. In addition to pasture we feed free choice kelp meal which is a supplement made from seaweed from the North Atlantic Ocean. It is approved for certified organic farmers. We also feed mineralized Redmond salt free choice . The kelp, the salt and a water trough follow the cattle around the farm. We don’t feed grain, corn silage or any other additives.
We also have laying hens that follow the cattle around in an egg mobile. They sanitize the pastures by eating fly larvas and insects, and spreading the cow patties. The summer eggs are to die for.
The cattle are ready for market about October 30. They are delivered to the abattoir where they are butchered and hung in coolers to dry age for 14 to 21 days to enhance flavour and tenderness. Then they are cut, wrapped and frozen and ready to be picked up about mid November for the customers.
The cattle weigh between 900 and 1000 lbs live weight when they go to the butcher. Each animal should produce between 320 and 400 lbs. of beef.