The Sunworks Blog
At Sunworks Farm sales venues you will see many phrases. Certified Organic, Humanely raised and Certified Humane are just two of them. They are listed on our label, our website and are often on posters around the farmers market and stores. However we often do not have time to explain what they mean and their importance to us.
Certified Organic: We are certified organic under the Canadian organic standards through Eco-Cert. This means that we are inspected annually by an independent third party inspector. This is a comprehensive standard that is enforceable and includes environmental management, animal husbandry, and production methods. For us this is extremely important as it means that our land, our animals and any feed that the animals eat are certified organic. This means that there were no chemical herbicides, pesticides or fungicides applied to the land, the animals or the feed that the animals eats. It means that GMO seeds are not used and that our animals are not being fed any GMO products. There are also no antibiotics, or growth hormones allowed in organic production. Our on-farm feed mill is audited and tested by the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) on a regular basis and they test for animal by-products, herbicide/pesticide residue and antibiotics in the feed that we give our animals
We are proud to say that we are not “natural” and that we are Certified Organic. The word “Natural” in Canada is not a regulated term which means there are no audits or inspections on “Natural” ranches or farms. Remember that “Natural” means nothing and it is only a catchphrase to sell a product. The only word that has a comprehensive standard that is regulated by the federal government is “Organic.” “Natural”, “Beyond Organic” and “Naturally Raised” are never audited, tested or inspected.
Humanely Raised/Certified Humane: We are inspected several times per year by the BCSPCA. They ensure that we are meeting their standard for the care of all of the animals on our farm. They have the highest animal welfare standards in Canada. We believe that all animals should be treated with respect from birth through death. We want our animals to lead happy and healthy lives, free from stress, hunger, thirst, and pain. The BCSPCA is your assurance that we are meeting a minimum requirement of animal welfare.
These are some of the actions we take to help us provide you with the cleanest food that has been raised with respect. Respect for the animals, the environment and human health.
Ron and Sheila Hamilton
This is a great video that emphasizes the importance of reducing your bodies toxic load by eating clean food and examining the sources of toxicity that we are exposed to.
- 4 lbs Sunworks Farms lamb stew meat
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 pinch saffron
- 2 Tbsp organic tomato paste (glass container or BPA free can)
- 3 -4 inch piece ginger – pureed
- 3 cloves garlic- pureed
- 1 cup organic Thompson raisins
- 1 ½ cups organic dried apricots
- ¼ cup ras el hanout
- 2 tsp fresh ground cinnamon
- 1 leek, half moon sliced
- 1 yellow onion, minced
- 8 cups homemade chicken broth
- 3 tsp celtic sea salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 2 white sweet potatoes, small diced
- 4 parsnips, diced
- 4 carrots, diced
- 1 – 8 ounce package organic cherry tomatoes
- 1 bunch parsley, divided into stalks and leaves
- 1 lemon, juiced
- salt, pepper and cinnamon to taste
- heat a large soup pot and add coconut oil. Once pot is hot, add lamb and brown – about three min on each side (working in batches If necessary) Remove lamb from the pot and set aside.
- Add onion, leek, ras el hanout, saffron and cinnamon. Stir to combine.
- Spoon ½ cup of chicken broth into the vitamix and add ginger and garlic. Blend until pureed. Let the garlic sit for 10 min so the allicin can become active and resistant to heat.
- Place lamb back to your soup pot. Add salt, pepper, parsley stalks, chicken stock and tomato paste. Stir until combine.
- Add your ginger and garlic mixture and stir until fully incorporated into the broth.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 hours or until lamb is soft.
- Add diced vegetables, cover and cook for 35-40 min or until vegetables are soft.
- Season with parsley leaves, lemon juice and additional salt and pepper if desired.
- Serve on top of cauliflower rice or serve alone with a side of freshly steamed vegetables. Enjoy!
With 2014 winding down we are looking forward to 2015. We have many projects ahead of us in this New Year, but the biggest and most significant will be the opening of our certified organic and certified humane poultry processing facility in late January/early February. We had planned to open the beginning of October, 2014, however construction, contractor and equipment delays have kept pushing back the opening date. We are now waiting for the last few items to be installed and then we will be up and running. It has been exciting to watch the building grow over the last year and to see our dream fast becoming a reality is truly amazing. We are now looking at furnishing the offices and getting the appliances for the employee lunch room, so we know that we are reaching the finish line. Years of research and planning have gone into the building of this plant and it will be a wonderful feeling when the first lot of chickens is processed in our new humane facility.
In March the Department of Agriculture for the Province of Nova Scotia has asked us to be the main presenters at a conference on organic and humane poultry production and direct marketing. We are looking forward to this as a way to both share our knowledge but also be rejuvenated by the change of pace and the questions that producers have. We are expecting to learn from their experiences and their questions as well.
Our first email newsletter was sent out in November and we are happy that this monthly newsletter continues to grow. Our daughter Shae is continuing to help us with the social media, website and the newsletter.
This year one of the projects that we will be looking at is trying to simplify the office work, orders, turkey orders and farm field day registration in order to reduce the work load on our office staff. During the peak turkey time and farm field day registration time we will receive hundreds of calls and emails from customers each day. We are looking at ways of making this a less hectic time for our staff and a smoother process for you.
In the spring we will start raising a heritage breed of broilers that will be on our market/store shelves in the beginning of June. These birds will be a cross between two red feathered heritage breeds and will be much better suited to the outdoor summer and indoor spacious winter environment that we are raising our birds in. Our hatchery is working with a local brooder breeder to supply us with these chicks. The brooder breeder is starting with a small dedicated breeder flock and he will grow with us to meet our needs.
Raising chickens year round means that there is never really a slow time of year. We are hoping, once the processing plant is up and running, to be able to take our first holiday in many years.
Thank you for all of the wonderful comments that you post on Facebook, send us through email and tell us at the market. We appreciate every one of them even if we don’t have time to say thank you to each one of you individually. You are all a constant source of motivation to continue to do what we do.
We are grateful for all our friends and customers and feel honored that you have chosen us to produce the meat that you feed your family.
Happy New Year.
Ron and Sheila Hamilton
We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thank you for all of your friendship and support!
Ron and Sheila
( pictured with their grandchildren. )