Grass Fed Beef

                                    Flavour Profiles On Grass                                   

        Cows are an integral part to maintaining soil and grassland vitality on our farm. Only  with the grazing herbivores are we confident in the ability of coaxing the abundant natural chemistry found in the soil into living things. Following the “laws of nature” documented through “the thousands of small acts and restraints handed down by generations” to produce food memories so deep that they will resonate in perpetuity for those who have had the good fortune of eating from the land.  The quality of the wild deer we harvest from the farm every year is a testament to this; no where have we tasted such wild game. 

       The biggest knock against grass fed beef is toughness and flavour.  Most beef breeds today are raised to maximize daily gains and finished hanging weight.  Starting as calfs on a cow calf operation they are sold to feedlot operations to be finished on high grain diets. This produces flavour profiles that are consistent under Canada’s grading system, that emphasizes flavour, exhibited in marble content. At Calabogie Farm we have been working on genetics that emphasizes flavour on a grass diet.  This has been accomplished by utilizing traditional grass breeds; in our case we have being using Canadian, Dexter and Galloway.  These small framed animals are ideally suited to grass and can withstand harsh climates.  To these animals we have introduced dairy breeds such as Brown Swiss and Jersey.  The reason for doing this is to add the marbling found naturally in dairy breeds.   

     There is a lot of excitement recently over the health benefits of grass fed  beef but most individuals we talk to are confused that in a valley that appears to have an abundance of cows on pasture they cannot get grass fed beef. Farmers would gladly produce what the market demands but to finish on grass takes considerably more time, land and effort. There is also the serious shortage of government inspected local abattoirs to butcher local beef.  In a perfect world there should be a greater number of independent abattoirs that have the capability of sourcing grass fed beef and selling it into an established market; leaving the farmer to due what they do best; tend the land. Unfortunately these  conditions do not exist and farmers promoting grass fed beef are having to raise calves to market weight, market the finished product themselves and provide all transportation to and from the abattoir; this naturally adds additional cost.  At Calabogie Farm we are committed to keep pricing comparable to what you would find at your local grocery store but the reality is if you want to eat local grass fed beef pricing will be higher. We are pleased to be offering a limited number of sides and quarters this fall.    



Sold per quarter or side at $5.00 per lb.  A hanging side before trimming is approximately 300 lbs.  


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Pasture Pork

                      Heritage Pigs

       At the original family farm we had two sows and raised litters of piglets twice a year.  We focused on rare Tamworth pigs which are amongst the oldest domesticated breed today and designated as rare and endangered.  The Tamworth has lost favour because it is not ideally suited to modern agriculture.  Though it is not ideally suited to an industrial system they are ideal animals for our harsh Canadian climate and do exceptionally well in savanna environments. 

         The farm currently sources Tamworth weiners that are brought in when the grass is ready.  This year we will be raising ten piglets and if you are interested in a quarter, half or full pig please place your order. 

 Sold per quarter, side or full pig at $4.50 per lb., (sausage and curing bacon is extra).  A whole pig hanging will be approximately 120 – 150 lbs

Grass Fed Lamb    

Milking Sheep

         In the mid 1990’s the farm transitioned from cattle to sheep.  This was done because after New Zealand had lost government subsidies Ontario lamb could compete with imported grass fed lamb.  We started with a sturdy Dorset, Rambouillet and Finn cross growing the flock to 250 sheep. For extra income John sheared sheep and has hence passed the craft down to Natalie.  It was in the late 1990’s that the family started to look at milking sheep and became a member of the fledgling Ontario Sheep Dairy association. At that time there was nowhere in Canada to process sheep’s milk and the association was poised to start shipping milk to Minnesota for processing.  From their we would get the finished product back to start marketing in Southern Ontario. We had the great fortune of working with Chris Buschbeck and Axel Meiste of Wool Drift Farm.  They were the leading force of this concept and the first to bring the Friesian milking breed to Ontario.  Unfortunately it was the US government that stopped us in our tracks refusing to allow Ontario sheep milk to enter the United States.

         It was not until some 15 years later that we started to milk sheep commercially to fill the growing demand from the growing number of artisan dairies.  Our milk was sent to Monforte Dairy in Stratford and the family marketed the finished cheese at the Erin Farmers Market. Though we have yet to establish our dairy at Calabogie we still have our original flock of Friesen and Lacaune crossed with Romney.  The Romney was added to the flock to produce a milking ewe that is hardier and does well on grass.  Though for meat there are much better breeds, we believe like dairy cows more marbling results in a better flavour profile.  Though this is a hunch we could not produce enough lamb to satisfy our markets; a testament outstanding flavour.

This year we have bred our ewes late, which means they will be lambing on grass in late June and July with market lambs ready late November and December.




Sold per side or full lamb at $8.00 per lb. A whole hanging lamb will be approximately 30 to 40 lbs.


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Pasture Poultry

                             The Chantecler Chicken


         The Chantecler is a breed of chicken originating in Canada. The Chantecler was developed in the early 20th century, at the Abbey of Notre-Dame du Lac in Oka, Quebec. It is extremely cold-resistant, and is suitable for both egg and meat production. We use this very pleasant bird both for eggs and meat.  Under current agriculture regulations we are allowed  to raise 300 hundred birds at anytime.  We will have approximately 50 laying hens and the remainder we will be offering as meat birds.  As we refine our pasture system we will be investigating the Artisanal program offered by Chicken Farmers of Ontario.  Until then we have very limited quantities for sale.


Sold by chicken at $4.00 per lb. A whole chicken weighs 4 to 6 lbs.

Farm eggs at $4.00 or share program come spring for $3.50 per dozen Farm Gate

Limited # of Meat Birds & Egg Shares Due to Quota Regulations

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