The Sunworks Blog

Reconnecting With Your Food and Your Farmer.

In an age where we are often very disconnected from where and how our food is grown it is extremely important for us to reconnect with our rural roots by asking questions as to how and where our food is raised. We love answering people’s questions about the animals and how they are raised, to people at the farmer’s markets and through email or on the phone. We think it is extremely important that we ask these questions so that we can reconnect ourselves, our children and grandchildren with the food that they eat.

How we spend our food dollars is changing the world. More and more large companies are changing the way they produce, buy, and manufacture to match what the consumers are telling them,through their purchases. One only has to look at the move away from artificial flavorings and colorings towards natural alternatives to see the power that we have as a consumer. By asking questions about your foods and then purchasing them you are being an active participant in how your food is produced and raised.

When we buy a new appliance or vehicle we carefully consider the pros and cons about the purchase. We shop around and ask questions about the different brands and features that are available. We should try and put the same amount of effort and consideration into the food that we put into our bodies. We should ask the questions and do the research.

Each labor day Monday we invite our customers out to see the farm. They can see how the birds are raised in the winter and the summer and see our cattle in the pasture eating the grass. We love seeing the children looking at the cattle and the chickens and seeing that this is where their food comes from. We do not change anything on this day. If it is a dry year you will see the dust and thin grass. If it is a wet year you will walk in the mud and the wet lush grass. It is a wonderful day rain or shine when you can join with other people who are interested in the way that their food is raised and ask questions directly to the people who raise your food.

When you eat our food, we want you to feel proud that you are supporting, organic, humane and sustainable agriculture. We want you to feel connected to your food and your farmer. We are passionate about raising pure, clean food for your family.

Ron, Sheila and Isaac
Your Farmers.

How We Raise Our Laying Hens

CaZH7eoVAAE8OlvOur laying hens are cage free and raised with lots of room to run all throughout the year. Hens have wonderful instincts and are happiest when they are allowed to do what is natural to them, pecking and scratching the ground to look for grubs, seeds and bugs.

We receive our layer chicks when they are less than 6 hours old straight from the hatchery. They are not fed any water or food until they reach our farm ensuring that the first food that they receive is certified organic and that no antibiotics are given to them. They are placed in a warm barn on a fresh bed of clean shavings. They are fed certified organic feed and allowed to grow in the barn until the weather turns warm. The birds are then moved outside to their shelters in the field where they will stay for the summer months.

Hens Sept 7 2015In the summer the birds are raised in moveable shelters that are moved daily onto fresh grass. The shelters are large and the birds have lots of room to run around. They love to peck at the ground and eat the fresh grass. They are fed certified organic feed and fresh water is piped from our dugouts to the birds, allowing a constant source of fresh clean water. The hens have nesting boxes under the shelters that give them a comfortable place to lay their eggs and these eggs are collected three times per day and taken directly to our grading station on the farm.

IMG_5388In the fall when the weather turns cold the birds are raised in the barn where they are given lots of room to move. This protects them from Alberta’s cold and unpredictable winter weather. They are not in cages and are allowed to lay their eggs in nesting boxes that are spread throughout the room. The barns are clean and well ventilated; pine shavings are spread on the floor to keep the birds clean and healthy. They are fed certified organic feed and alfalfa. This ensures that they get their greens even throughout the winter and ensures that the quality of the eggs remains the same throughout the year.

Our laying hens are ISA Browns ( also known as Sex- Sel link browns). They lay a nice brown egg and are a great bird for outdoor and indoor living. Our eggs have a nice yellow yoke due to the fact that they eat grass and alfalfa all year round. The feed is made of certified organic grains legumes and alfalfa, there are no hormones, antibiotics or pesticide/herbicide residues in the feed.  We go through yearly inspections by our organic certifying body Ecocert, the Egg Farmers of Alberta for bird and egg safety, CFIA for our egg grading station, and the BCSPCA for our humane treatment of the animals. That’s over four inspections just for the hens alone.

Once collected our eggs are taken to our egg washing and grading station where they are washed, checked for cracks and other imperfections, sorted according to size and then packaged into new cardboard egg cartons. These are then kept in our cooler until they are taken to our markets and stores that carry them. No chemical washes are used and no sealants are sprayed on our eggs.

We know that we can provide you with some of the best eggs available. They have a nice yellow yoke and a wonderful taste. We know that you can feel good eating our eggs knowing they came from Certified organic, happy hens.

To watch a short video of Ron talking about raising hens please follow this link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QfUAHr62nM

Buying Direct From The Farm

We are often asked by customers if they can come out to the farm and buy from us directly. Instead of having a farm store here on the farm, we bring our meats directly from the farm to our locations in Edmonton and Calgary that we stock, manage and staff with our own employees. The prices for all our products are the same at all of our own locations. We bring the farm to you!

Our winter/year round locations are:

Our stall at the Old Strathcona Farmers Market in Edmonton has all of our products. Ron, Sheila or Isaac are at this market every weekend so this is the best place to come and meet us, your farmers. Located at 103 St. & 83 Ave and open Saturdays 8am to 3pm, year round.

Our Sunworks Organic Meat Shop on Whyte Ave in Edmonton is located within the Blush Lane Organic Store. Although located within the Blush Lane store our meat counter is owned and operated by us and staffed by our own staff. Located at 8135 – 102 Street, Edmonton it is open seven days per week and carries all our products. Open Sunday to Friday 9am to 9pm and Saturday 8am to 9pm.

Our stall at the Market on Macleod is our Calgary location and the Calgary pickup for any pre-orders or website specials. This location has all of our products and has the best selection of our products in Calgary. Located at 7711 Macleod Trail South and open Thursday to Sunday 9am to 5pm

Our Camrose location is located within Vinesations in beautiful downtown Camrose. This location has a selection of our fresh products and all of our sausages. Located at 4937 50 Street and open Monday to Friday 10am to 6pm and Saturday 10am to 5pm.

We look forward to seeing you all at our markets in the new year!

 

Christmas Hours For All Of Our Locations.

christmas-hours

Merry Christmas! The following are our Christmas hours for all of our locations.

Our Meat Shop on Whyte Ave in Edmonton (located in the Blush Lane Store):

Dec 24- Open 8am-6pm – TURKEY PICKUP DAY
Dec 25 – Closed
Dec 26- Open 9am-6pm
Dec 27 to Dec 30- Open Regular Hours of 9am to 9pm
Dec 31 – Open 8am-6pm
Jan 1- Closed
Jan 2 – Resumes Regular Hours of 9am to 9pm

The Old Strathcona Farmers Market in Edmonton:

Dec 24 – Open 8am-1pm – TURKEY PICKUP DAY
Dec 31 – Closed
Jan 7 – Resumes Regular Hours of Saturdays 8am-3pm

Market on Macleod in Calgary:

Dec 22 – Open Regular Hours 9am-5pm
Dec 23 – Open Regular Hours 9am-5pm – TURKEY PICKUP DAY
Dec 24 to Dec 28 – Closed
Dec 29 and Dec 30 – Open Regular Hours 9am-5pm
Dec 31 and Jan 1 – Closed
Jan 5 – Resumes Regular Hours of Thursday to Sunday 9am-5pm

Camrose Turkey Pickup:

Dec 22nd – Pickup at the Hotel Marada Parking Lot and Delivery will be from 6pm-8pm.

Vinesations Camrose:

Dec 24 – 10am-2pm
Dec 25 to Jan 1 – Closed
Jan 2- Resumes Regular Hours of Monday to Friday 10am-6pm and Saturdays 10am- 5pm

Farm Office:

Dec 24 to Jan 1 – Closed– We will be checking messages during this time.

The photo of the sunset on the farm with our poultry processing plant in the back ground was taken by our farm hand Gil

 

Turkey Cooking Instructions.

Don’t forget to save or print these instructions so that you have them ready for your Christmas celebration.

Our Turkeys are Orlopp Bronze turkeys. This is a Heritage Breed turkey that was developed by the Orlopp family back in 1935. Orlopp Bronze turkeys have a beautiful natural black feathering and thrive when raised outside. The meat is a very light caramel color and boasts a very rich, complex flavor.

You may notice on the skin of your turkey little spots that look like tiny ink spots. These are the pin feather holes and when some of the black pin feathers are removed a little bit of the black coloring can remain these are natural and are safe to eat. It is also much harder to remove the feathers of a heritage bird so you may notice that there are some down feathers on the bird. The bird can be cooked with these on or they can be scraped off with a knife if you prefer.

Store your bird in your fridge at a temperature below 4 C until you are ready to prepare and cook it.

BEFORE YOU ROAST OR STUFF THE TURKEY MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE REMOVED THE PLASTIC BAG OF ORGANS THAT ARE IN THE CAVITY OR NECK OF THE BIRD.

Our birds will cook faster than a conventional bird.

Based on our family’s turkey cooking experience an unstuffed 15lb turkey cooks in 3 hours at 375F, a 20 lb unstuffed turkey cooks in 4 hours at 375F. When it is done remove from the oven cover it loosely with foil and let it rest for 15-20 min so that the natural juices are locked in.

There are many factors that can affect how fast your turkey cooks including your oven, pan, and preparation. One way to know if your turkey is cooked is to take the temperature of the bird in the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. The meat thermometer should read 170 F.

Merry Christmas!