Sunday, June 28, 2015

2015 FARM BUSINESS PLAN UPDATE

Recent fluctuation in customer requirements have made it necessary to reconfigure our farm operation.  After much deliberation, an executive decision has been made:

The Farm Gate will remain closed indefinitely.  Meat birds and eggs will no longer be available.

Pasture-raised beef cuts will continue to be available but on a significantly smaller scale.

We will instead concentrate on selling livestock to a reputable Broker and only send one or two cows to be processed yearly.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as the farm business plan continues to be analyzed and revised.  Information/updates will be posted on this website.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

FEW BEEF CUTS AVAILABLE - Update: June 28, 2015

A very limited amount of delicious grass-fed/chemical-free beef cuts are still available.  You may place your order by either calling us at 613-259-2188 or by  email (farm@ouellette.ca) - please include your pickup date:

BEEF CUTS
Lbs
AMOUNT
SOLD
REMAIN
Price/Lb
Price Each
Boneless Stew
1
6
5
1
$7.00
$7.00
1.25
5
0
5
$7.00
$8.75
Lean Ground Beef
1
49
47
2
$6.00
$6.00
Stir Fry Strips
1
10
8
2
$6.00
$6.00
1.25
7
5
2
$6.00
$8.00
ROASTS
Round Steak Roast
2.25
1
0
1
$6.50
$14.63
3
1
1
0
$6.50
$19.50
3.5
3
0
3
$6.50
$22.75
Brisket
5.25
1
0
1
$7.00
$36.75
5.5
1
0
1
$7.00
$38.50
Rump Roast
2
1
0
1
$7.00
$14.00
1.75
1
0
1
$7.00
$12.25
3.5
1
0
1
$7.00
$24.50
4.5
1
1
0
$7.00
$31.50
4
1
0
1
$7.00
$28.00
Shoulder Roast
4
1
0
1
$7.00
$28.00

2
1
0
1
$7.00
$14.00
2.5
1
0
1
$7.00
$17.50
2.75
3
0
3
$7.00
$19.25
2.25
1
0
1
$7.00
$15.75


ALL STEAKS SOLD OUT FOR THE MOMENT













FURTHER EXPLANATIONS OF CUTS:

Striploin Steaks = T-Bone without bone and Tenderloin
Either Prime Rib Roast  OR Rib Steaks
Either Striploin Roast OR T-Bone Steaks
Tenderloin OR left on T-Bone Steaks
Flank is not available if cow over 30 months old
Porterhouse Steak is a T-Bone with larger portion of Tenderloin
Top Sirloin Steaks AKA Rib Steaks (depends on butcher)
T-Bone Steaks are comprised of Striploin and Tenderloin (which may be cut/sold separately)






Sunday, February 2, 2014

Where Did January Go?

This is the second day of February and I keep asking myself, where did January go?  There is soft snow falling outside my kitchen window as I write this, and we are expecting quite a bit more snow in the next twenty-four hours.  There is already a bucket full of water beside the toilet just in case we run out of power.  Since we live in the country, power outages happen more often here than they do in town, and being prepared for such things is always wise.

Last Fall, I closed my little farm boutique (the Farm Gate) for an indefinite amount of time.  This gave me a chance to help with weekend farm chores and alleviated a huge burden on my husband’s shoulders, a burden that was becoming heavier and heavier for both of us as time progressed. When we first opened the boutique, our first objective  was just to sell products from our farm, jams, teas and herbs,  oils and vinegars, eggs, beef and chickens, a few crafts and sundries.  Over time, we added local honey, garlic, maple syrup, hand-made pottery, dishware, gourmet mustards, and spices – all made by our wonderful friends and neighbors.

Our little boutique started running out of space, and we considered renovating an existing garage to turn it into a larger boutique, but unexpected “surprises” took financial priority.  We faced the dilemma of either keeping the boutique in its existing location or taking a grave financial risk by renovating the garage, reopening the boutique and hoping for the best.  A few months ago, we also faced significant personal challenges that took all our effort and attention, and the boutique was put on the back burner once again.

Today, we renewed our discussion on the boutique and committed  ourselves to making a firm decision in the next month.  If a new boutique opens, it will be different than the old one used to be.  Our stock/merchandise will be reduced to provide only items that are in high demand.  Since most items are seasonal, keeping regular weekend hours from April to October as we did previously may not be a necessity.  With this in mind, we are considering an “online” store where customers will be able to verify the availability of items and arrange for pickup or delivery. As mentioned, these options are still being discussed and evaluated.

I apologize for not keeping this blog up-to-date in the past few months with all that has been going on.  New information will appear here as soon as it becomes available, you can be sure of that.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Farm Gate Closing

The Farm Gate shop will close on October 1, and it may be shuttered for some time as I examine alternatives, rethink shop matters, make changes to operations and configure strategies to handle future artistic and retail initiatives.  With daylight hours on the wane and autumn in the air, this feels like the perfect time to be doing such things, and I am really looking forward to it.

During September, the shop will remain open during its regularly scheduled hours, and I am offering a 25% discount on all items in the shop from now until the end of the month.

Drop in for a visit in the next few weeks, and take advantage of the things on sale: herbs and spices, oils and vinegars, fair trade teas, candles, soaps, pottery and glassware, aromatherapy, natural cosmetics and other fine offerings.

Goods in the shop would make wonderful holiday gifts, and this is the perfect time to start your shopping for Yule/Christmas.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

It's Calving Season!

Here are the first two calves for 2013:

First you've already met if you read the previous post, he's a steer named Tornado - born on one of the windiest days of April 2013:


Second born is another steer called Sparky - born white as a spark:


There are still 2 more cows to give birth (calving) as of today, May 9th, 2013 which should occur in the next few days or week.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

With the Arrival of Spring...

It's calving season here on the farm.  The first calf was born last night and since it was extremely windy, we decided to call him Mr. Tornado. 


Both he and his mom "Loquette" are doing fine.  Three more cows to calve so expect more updates soon.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The White Predator

When you live out in the country, you can't help but have a very different perspective on garbage, recycling and the many ways to conserve energy.  When everything is not only far but also very expensive, the words “second hand” doesn't mean “used”, it means “new”.  Whenever possible, we use what Mother Nature has to offer, after all, it's not only better for the environment, it's also free.  Just like any other family, we do laundry.  In fact, for being just two adults, we sure have an awful lot of dirty and smelling clothes but hey, that comes with the task of farming.  Since we have a few loads of laundry per week, we try to conserve energy by not using the dryer, even though it's a brand new one.  Patrick, being the engineer that he is, installed a very nice laundry tree close to the house – permanently.  It's there year-round, in an area that has a constant breeze and sun most of the day.  I love it.  Laundry is done first thing in the morning and I enjoy bringing my basket full of wet clothes outside where Mother Nature does a great job by drying it all.  Some days, the wind is strong enough to make me wonder if a dryer really would be faster than outside.  Of course, there are days when the humidity level is ridiculously high and drying takes a longer time.  If it rains a day, I usually wait for the next day so my schedule has to be flexible but that's what makes this life so very interesting; you don't really know what you'll be doing from one day to the next.  One day, I brought out the clothes to hang outside along with a plastic bag containing freshly washed barn rags – I tend to keep them separate from the rest of the laundry.  As I'm hanging up the clothes, our big black horses decided to come and say “hi” by coming close to the cedar fence that separates the house from the fields.  Just on the other side of the fence is a bunch of fruit trees, one of which is this century-old apple tree.  When the apples start falling down, I usually take the ones that are badly damaged and bring them to the horses as a treat, something they have never forgotten.  I had already started to accumulate the “bad apples” in a bucket under the apple tree so stopped hanging in the clothes and decided to bring it to them.  Needless to say, they were very thankful and very pleased.  Eventually, I returned to hanging the clothes but the horses stayed by the fence, hoping for more apples.  When all the clothes were hung, I returned to the horses with another bucket full of treats which was immediately emptied and then went to do some weeding in the front of the house.  There was a nice breeze which kept the bugs at bay, making it a very nice day to be outside.  I had just started to weed when I heard the horses yelling and then saw them running as fast as they could towards the barn.  Concerned, I immediately went to the back where they came from to see what the commotion was all about, thinking it may be a skunk or even a bear but saw nothing.  Scratching my head, I frowned and then, at the corner of my eyes, as the wind picked up, I saw the reason for the panic.  The plastic bag that contained the rags, which was now empty, was dancing in the wind.  Well, that's enough to get a whole herd of horses running for cover.  A plastic bag moving on its own is a predator coming to eat them!  Snickering a bit, I went out to the field and picked it up.  Walking towards the barn to show the horses there was nothing to be afraid of, I very gently and slowly approached the barn.  They were half in the barn, half out just glaring at me and the bag.  When I moved the bag a bit, they disappeared in the barn as the blink of an eye but a few seconds later, pocked their heads back out.  Talking constantly, telling them not to worry, I came in the barn and showed them the bag.  Well, it's like I had the plague or something.  Nothing I said or did calmed them down so I decided to leave them alone but tied the bag to one of the posts on the cedar fence by the barn.  That way, they could take a good look at this “predator” on their own but as soon as the breeze would move it, they'd run the other way screaming.  Needless to say, I had to remove the bag eventually or they would have turned into white horses.  Months went by and winter arrived.  During a snow storm, I unfortunately slipped on ice (that's a whole other story) and broke my ankle.  After being locked up in the house for 2 weeks, I just about lost my mind and couldn't stand being in the house any more so grabbed a bunch of bags, wrapped them around the cast on my left leg and hobbled down to the barn.  No, I had to intention of doing any farm chores but desperately needed to see the animals!  Like a penguin, I gently hobbled towards the horses, just thrilled to tears to finally see them again until they snorted at me, eyes as big as dinner plates, ears pointing right at me and ran away.  I was very upset to see them go, leaving behind a cloud of snow, not understanding why they had left until my husband Patrick snickered and pointed to my cast.  Yep, the infamous white predator was eating me from the leg up and it was heading straight for them.  Being out of breath, I just sat down on the bench in front of the barn and watched them disappear.  The chickens and geese, on the other hand, were extremely curious of this white plastic bag and came to inspect it very closely.  With a sigh, I extended my leg and showed it to them, immediately prompting them to peck at it so I laughed out loud.  Here were these little chickens, unable to run very fast, “killing” the predator that scared the heck out of the big horses.  After a while, each horse was peeking at me from the top of the hill but they stayed very far, in a safe zone, in case the white bag decided to run after them.  So I just enjoyed my moment with my feathered friends, hoping the horses would feel safe enough to eventually come back to the barn but they'd have to wait until I went back to the house.  After spending weeks locked up, I wasn't going to give up my very limited freedom for their “safety”!  A while later, Patrick helped me come back to the house since the bag had been torn to shreds and couldn't be worn any more – so much for the white predator!

P.S. - The picture of me shows my cast in a XXL overshoe that my wonderful husband got for me afterwards so that I could attend a social gathering at the Community Centre.