The Sunworks Blog
When we meet you at one of our farmers markets or at our organic store in the Roots on Whyte building we will give you a sample and quickly tell you about our products and how we raise our animals but often we don’t have the time to tell you how we process our beef, pork, lamb and bison.
Our goal is to make the cleanest, purest and healthiest food so we opened our own butcher/sausage shop in Camrose in 2010. All our bison, beef, pork and lamb are killed at Tofield Packers, a small family owned and operated facility. They go through an organic inspection and are certified under Sunworks Organic Certificate. Dale from Tofield Packers is very trustworthy and conscientious and he understands and respects our desire for all the animals to be treated humanely. The animals are killed by hand one at a time in a low stress environment. The facility is quiet and the animals are not reluctant to leave the trailer when we deliver them to Tofield the night before. We take all our animals to Tofield Packers and personally pick up our meat by the quarters or halves and they are transported to our butcher shop on our refrigerated 5 ton truck.
Carlos our butcher shop manager/head butcher/sausage maker and the rest of the staff work diligently to keep our food products safe and we are inspected by Alberta Health on an ongoing basis. All the inspections that we have are unannounced. We designed the building in consultation with the health inspector to process meat, so all the flows are right and the materials used in the construction make it easy to keep clean. The shop is kept spotless all the time. Carlos spent a couple months before the shop was open to set up protocols for the processing and cleaning. Carlos also spent many years in the meat business after getting his meat processing degree from Olds College and has a passion to make clean, great tasting food. We have a great team at the shop with many years of experience in butchering, food preparation and processing.
We don`t process our meat on an assembly line with hundreds of workers only doing one job all day long. This is artisanal meat cutting and sausage making, using knowledge that has been handed down for centuries. The team cuts and packages the animal from nose to tail. Some of the products we produce are oxtail, pig tail, beef shanks, tongue, heart, liver, pork hocks and all the products in-between. We sell soup bones and all of the other bones are used as dog bones. We cut smaller packages of meat because we know that people don`t want to have as much meat in their diet and also families are smaller. When a third party cuts meat they are paid on the weight of the animal so they will cut very large portions because it`s a lot quicker. We care about the quality of the meat and the cuts and how they are presented. We raise our animals with care and so we believe that this should also carry on to the meat cutting. We feel that the animal has to have respect in the whole process, from start to finish.
When our butcher shop was built it took our whole farm and business to a much higher level. We have upmost confidence that all the products that we make are the best tasting, healthiest products in the world!
Farmer/Owner Sunworks Farm
- 2 cups sunworks farms ground beef
- 2 cups sunworks farms ground pork
- 1 Tbsp ghee
- 3 ½ tsp Italian spice mix
- 2 yellow onions, small diced (about 1 ½ cups diced)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (2 Tbsp minced)
- 4 heaping Tbsp organic tomato paste
- 1 bunch parsley, minced (about 1 ½ cups minced)
- 3 tsp celtic sea salt
- 1 ½ tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- Garlic and Chive Mash
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, (white) diced (about 3 cups diced)
- 1 small clove garlic
- ½ - ¾ package organic coconut cream concentrate (depending on desired creaminess)
- 1 bunch green onions, diced
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp celtic sea salt, or more to taste
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Heat a large cast iron skillet and add ghee, onion and Italian Spice Mix. Saute until onions are translucent- about 7 min. Add garlic, tomato paste, parsley, and stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl add beef and pork. Season with salt and pepper and add onion, spice and tomato mixture. Fold until combined, being very careful not to over mix.
- Line your muffin tin with XL parchment paper cups. Fill cups to the rim and bake for 25 min or until done.
- While the meat is cooking, prepare your mash.
- Add sweet potatoes and cauliflower to your steam basket and steam for 12 min or until vegetables are tender.
- Transfer to a food processor and add coconut cream, garlic, salt and pepper and process until smooth.
- Add green onions, and pulse until combined.
- Season with lemon juice and additional salt and pepper if desired.
- Once the meatloaf is done, remove meatloaf from muffin cups and transfer to a serving platter.
- Top with a generous helping of “mash” and garnish with diced green onion.
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!