Archive for the ‘Sunworks Farm Blog’ Category

Summer Special, Jumbo Dogs for $5!

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

To celebrate summers arrival, we are putting our Chicken Jumbo Dog’s on special for $5.00 per package all summer long! Regularly $8 per package. These hot dogs are perfect for roasting over a campfire or on the BBQ. They are pre-cooked and a great addition to your summer menu. Like everything we make, the Jumbo Dogs are made of all organic ingredients and contain just our chicken meat and organic spices. No gluten, egg, dairy or nuts. No nitrates, sulphates, or cultured plant extracts. No sugar or corn syrup. Just simple ingredients naturally smoked. This is a hot dog you can feel good about feeding the kids and eating yourself!

These will be available at all of our own locations and will be $5.00 per package all of July and August.

Available at Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market in Edmonton, The Market on Macleod in Calgary, Southwest Edmonton Farmers’ Market, St. Albert Farmers’ Market, Vinesation Olive Oils and Vinegars in Camrose and Our Meat Shop on Whyte Ave (located within the Blush Lane Store

BCSPCA Certified

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Yesterday we received our BCSPCA humane certificate in the mail. We have been certified by the BCSPCA since 2005 and are committed to raising our animals in a humane, respectful and dignified manner. By being SPCA certified we are inviting the BCSPCA, a third-party auditor, to come out to our farm every year. During this audit, they inspect our animals and their environment to ensure their living conditions meet or exceed the BCSPCA standard. By being BCSPCA certified, you as a consumer know the high standard we are following and can have the confidence that our animals are raised humanely. We feel that this is an important partnership that works together for the good of the animals.

Our chickens are certified organic and certified humane through the BCSPCA. We receive our chicks when they are only hours old and are placed in a warm barn that has lots of fresh natural wood shavings on the floor to keep them clean and dry. They are provided with uncrowded access to clean water and certified organic feed. They are given lots of room to move around and express their natural behaviors. All of our barns have lots of windows to let in the natural light. In the spring, summer and early fall the birds will stay in the barn until they are feathered out enough to go outside. Once outside they are placed in movable shelters that are moved everyday onto fresh grass. They are provided with fresh clean water and certified organic feed.

In the late fall, winter and early spring the birds will stay in the warm barn, so that they are protected from Alberta’s cold and unpredictable winter weather. We make sure that the birds raised in the barns in the winter are not crowded and have lots of room to move around. These birds are also certified humanely raised by the BCSPCA

When our chickens are ready to be processed they are gently loaded into crates. We do not put as many chickens into the crates as the manufacturer recommends and have decided to use more crates to prevent the birds from becoming too crowded.  We do not hire any contractors to load our birds. They are loaded by our own staff and supervised by us. Once they are placed into the crates, they are taken on a trailer to our on-farm processing plant, which is a very short trip across the farm yard and then placed in a climate controlled room overnight to protect them from the elements.  First thing in the morning they are processed in our own processing plant.

If you would like to see how we raise our birds, please come out to our annual Family Farm Day on Labor Day Monday in September. The day starts with a BBQ lunch provided by us, followed by a question and answer session and a tour of the farm. Here you will get to see both our winter and summer production. You will get to meet your farmers, ask them questions and see how we raise our chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, laying hens and cattle. This year it will be on Sept 4 and we will begin taking registrations at the beginning of August.

We raise happy, healthy animals. We are proud to say we are BCSPCA Certified Humane and Certified Organic.

Your Farmers

Ron, Sheila and Isaac

The St. Albert Farmers’ Market Starts This Saturday June 10!

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

Once again we will be back at the St. Albert Farmers Market every Saturday selling our certified organic beef, chicken, sausages and deli meats from 10am to 3pm. The market is open rain, shine or snow from June 10 to October 7th and is located on St. Anne Street, some of St. Thomas Street, and on the newly constructed St. Anne Street Promenade. Our stall has been moved this year to a new location within the market. We are now located in stalls 37, 39, 41.

Come and get to know Ron, your farmer , sample some of our wonderful sausages, pickup your meat for the week and wander through a market filled with great vendors.

For more information about this market including, maps, parking, park your parcel, and park & ride information please visit their website http://www.stalbertfarmersmarket.com/

Introducing Ginger Sunrise Chicken Sausage

Monday, June 5th, 2017

Thank you to everyone who submitted such great name suggestions for our “Name our New Flavour of Sausage” contest. We received hundreds of entries, with lots of really good suggestions! After going through all the names, we have decided that the new sausage will be called Ginger Sunrise. This name was suggested by 9 year old Matthew at the Old Strathcona Farmers Market and he will be receiving a gift certificate for 10 packages of our sausages. We contacted Matthew this morning and we would like to say congratulations Matthew!

Temporarily called “Sunworks Special” This sausage will be available at all of our own locations.

Raising Chickens Outside

Monday, June 5th, 2017

The chickens and hens are already outside and soon the turkeys, ducks and geese will join them. They will all be outside enjoying the sunshine, fresh air and green grass.

There are a lot of family farms in Alberta that are committed to raising chickens outside and have adapted to the challenges that come with raising chickens outdoors. These farmers believe that chickens are meant to be outside and do better when allowed to access the fresh air, green grass, bugs, grubs, dirt and sunshine. Our goal is to raise birds humanely outdoors and we have spent many years refining our model of raising pastured poultry. It is possible to raise birds outdoors but it is a continual learning curve. Recognizing then analyzing the challenges, creating a solution, learning and moving forward is the only way you can approach farming. We teach our family and staff to recognize the challenges and take appropriate actions.

We are now going into our 21st year of raising chickens outdoors in moveable chicken shelters. We are now on our 5th version of chicken shelters and the shelters we now have work very well but we’re always looking at making improvements. We now use a shelter and range combination that is 48 ft. long by 15 ft. wide by 6 ft. 3 inches high. We use metal roofs over our shelter and range to keep the rain and direct sun off of the birds and also protect them from aerial predators. The walls of the range area of the shelter is covered with 2 inch stucco wire and the shelter area has plywood walls. The shelter is also heavy and

Excessive rain and extreme heat challenge us the most. When we have excessive rain (like last Wednesday) we dam the sides of the shelters with natural wood shavings to keep water from flowing into the shelters and then spread shavings on the ground to keep the birds up off any wet ground. If the rain is very heavy or the wet weather persists for many days we don’t move the shelters and keep placing more shavings on the ground to keep the birds comfy and dry. In extreme heat (above 32 to 34 degrees C) we mist our birds with water every couple of hours to keep them cool. This gets the birds moving and keeps them active. We will also move the chicken shelter a second time in the afternoon so the grass and ground will help keep them cool. The plywood walls on the shelter helps keep the direct sun off of the chickens so there isn’t any thermal warming. When we first made this version of the chicken shelters we had used corrugated plastic on the walls but found that we were making a greenhouse and it was very hot. The shelter has a screen door on the front and the range part is wide open so any wind will create a vacuum and pull the hot air out of the shelter. If the forecast is for +35 degree weather, we have to be prepared and have a game plan including making sure all of our equipment is ready.

The water supply for our shelters is on a pressure pump and is supplied from our dugout with a pasture pipeline system. Many producers still haul water which is very time consuming and labor intensive. For feed we use 50 lb. tube feeders that are filled manually daily. Feed is brought to the field with our tractor and feed wagon.

We move the shelters ahead every day with our small tractor to save labor. They are moved slowly so the birds can move along with the shelter.

We are a predator friendly farm so we protect our poultry flocks by using an electric netting around our shelters. The predators that we have on our land have been trained to respect the electric netting. Because of the use of this electric netting fence and our shelters and ranges having mesh sides and a solid roof we have not had any problems with both ground and aerial predators for many years.

We have a very unique way of raising poultry and we feel that chickens raised outdoors in the sunshine have a happier life living on green grass, eating free choice grains and having the odd grasshopper as dessert.

Thanks for supporting us and our outdoor happy chicken farm.

Ron, Sheila and Isaac

The Chickens are Now Outside!

Monday, May 15th, 2017

Chickens May 2017The first chickens have been moved outside to the chicken shelters! Throughout the spring, summer and fall our chickens, laying hens, turkeys, ducks and geese are raised outside in movable chicken shelters that are moved every day onto fresh grass. Due to our cold wet spring the chickens were placed outside a few weeks later than last year. We closely monitor the weather in the spring and fall in order to know when is the best time to move the birds outside. The welfare and comfort of the birds is our top priority.

As soon as the spring weather is warm enough and the pasture is dry enough, the chickens are moved out to the moveable outdoor shelters. Throughout the warm seasons the chickens will be moved outside at around 4 weeks of age. At this age they are old enough and have enough feathers to keep them warm and dry during any cooler days and nights. These moveable shelters with their attached ranges are moved onto fresh grass daily. This allows them to eat the grass, hunt for bugs and worms and exhibit natural behaviors like scratching and dust bathing.

When the weather gets cold again at the end of September the birds are raised inside where they can stay safe and warm from the cold and unpredictable Alberta winters.

The BCSPCA monitors the living conditions throughout their life and inspects us annually to ensure that the birds and all animals are being raised humanely.

We feel that when the weather is warm enough the birds should have access to fresh pasture daily. We have been raising chickens outside for over 20 years and are committed to growing all of our animals organically and humanely and treating the land with respect.

Help Us Name Our New Flavour of Sausage.

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

WName Our Sausage 2e have created a new flavour of sausage that everyone in our family loves but we cannot think of a good name for it. So we need your help. We need your suggestions for a descriptive and enticing name for this new delicious sausage.

We will be sampling and selling this sausage at the markets over the next few weeks with the name “Sunworks Special” so that you can see what it tastes like. After having a sample or trying it at home let us know what you suggest we call it.

We will then go through all the entries and pick our favorite name. If you came up with our favorite name you will win a gift certificate for 10 packages of our sausages.

You can enter by commenting on this blog post, tweeting @sunworksfarm, commenting on our Facebook post or by paper ballot at the market. If you have lots of great ideas you can enter multiple times.

The sausages will be temporarily called “Sunworks Special” and will be available at the following locations starting on May 11 and the contest will close on May 31

The new sausage will be available at:

-Our stall at the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market Edmonton

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

Southwest Edmonton Farmers’ Market starting when they open for the season on May 17

-Our stall at The Market on Macleod in Calgary

Vinesation Olive Oils and Vinegars in Camrose

We are excited to see what names you come up with!

Contest rules are as follows:

We will pick the name that we like from amongst all the entries.
That person will then win a gift certificate for 10 packages of sausages. If there are multiple entries for the name chosen. Those entries will be put into a random draw for the gift certificate.

Entries can be made on our Facebook page, website page, twitter page or by paper ballot at the market. To win the prize we must have a way of contacting you via Facebook, email, twitter or phone number.

Any inappropriate entries will be discarded and will not be eligible for the draw.

Easter Weekend Hours

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

We would like to wish all of our customers a Happy Easter! The following is our Easter weekend hours for all of our own locations.

  • April 14-Good Friday
    Market on Macleod- Open 9am to 5pm
    Meat Shop on Whyte Ave – Open 9am to 7pm
    Vinesations in Camrose – Closed
    Farm Office- Closed
  • April 15
    Market on Macleod- Open 9am to 5pm
    Meat Shop on Whyte Ave – Open 8am to 9pm
    Vinesations in Camrose – Closed
    Old Strathcona Farmers Market-Open
  • April 16- Easter Sunday
    Market on Macleod- Open 9am to 5pm
    Meat Shop on Whyte Ave – Open 9am to 7pm
    Vinesations in Camrose – Closed
  • April 17- Easter Monday
    Meat Shop on Whyte Ave – Open 9am to 9pm
    Vinesations in Camrose – Closed
    Farm Office- Closed

Simple Ingredients = Wonderful Flavor

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

sausagesWe know the importance of eating pure, clean food and that this has a great benefit on our health and the health of the environment. We believe that you should know exactly what you’re eating without having to get out the dictionary or be a chemist. For this reason all of our sausages, bacon, ham’s and deli meats contain only certified organic meat, certified organic spices and certified organic maple syrup or honey. All our specialty meats are Celiac safe and common allergen free.

deli meatsWe are proud that our products contain no nitrates, no nitrites, no sulphates, no sulfites, no MSG, zero preservatives and are dairy, nut and gluten free (no fillers). We make all of our sausages, bacon and deli meats in our own certified organic sausage processing facility. This facility is inspected by Alberta Regulatory Services Meat Inspection Division weekly. It is also inspected annually for organic status with additional spot inspections throughout the year. These specialty meats are made using state of the art equipment in our new sausage processing facility and are vacuum packed for your convenience and safety. This ensures that we can make the best and safest products for you.

cooking sausagesAll the spices that are used are certified organic, gluten free and are mixed on site. No prepackaged spice mixes are used. By using certified organic spices it means that they contain no herbicide or pesticide residues, no preservatives and no chemical (or any) anti caking agents. No nuts are used and no nuts are allowed in our sausage making facility. All smoked products are naturally smoked; no artificial or liquid smoke is used. This results in a beautiful delicate smoke flavor. We do not use binders or chemicals in the products, no potato flakes, bread crumbs, rice flour or oatmeal is used. All of our products are gluten free. Our certified organic meat and certified organic spices produce a pure undiluted taste. Truly an artisanal product and flavor.

-We do not use, Sodium Erythrobate, Polysorbate 80, Cultured Celery Salt, Sulfites, sulfates, Nitrites and Nitrates.
-We do not use artificial colors or flavors
-We are Gluten Free
-We are Dairy Free
-We are Nut Free
-We are Egg Free
-We only use Certified Organic Ingredients. This means,No GMO’s, herbicides, pesticides fungicides, or irradiation.

At Sunworks Farm we are committed to providing you with the purest, healthiest and best tasting sausages, deli meats and bacon possible.

Your Farmers
Ron, Sheila and Isaac

Summer Markets

Monday, March 20th, 2017

Summer was on my mind last week. We got our start in farming by selling our products directly to the consumer every summer at various outdoor markets. Outdoor markets are where we began and we are happy to still attend some of them. There is nothing better than selling chicken outside on a warm summers day to customers that care about how their food is raised.SWEFM Sept 10 2014 2 cropped

Last week I completed my paper work and sent off applications for 3 summer farmers markets. We have been at the Southwest Edmonton Farmers’ Market (Terwillegar/Riverbend) for many years and again have applied to participate in the market for the 2017 season. The St. Albert Farmers’ Market is run by the Chamber of Commerce and I hand delivered the application directly to their office at the south end of St. Albert. I also sent an application to the Downtown Edmonton City market. This would be a new outdoor market for us if we are selected as a vendor so fingers crossed we may be able to serve the great customers at the downtown market.

The applications to the summer markets have to be made every season which is different from the indoor markets that we participate in, where you sign a lease annually. We are not guaranteed a space in the outdoor markets so we are happy to get confirmation of our acceptance into these markets.

I also filled out the forms to become a Concessionaire at the Edmonton Folk Festival. Organic Box and Serben Organic have been concessionaires at the festival and we would like to join them and serve our organic chicken to the crowds at the festival.

Indulgence, a “Canadian Epic of food and Wine” emailed us last week and we sent off the application and paid the participation fee. This is the 17th year for this event and we have participated for 15 years. The event date is Monday June 12 and is generally sold out.

Marketing and attending events are just a part of our being a farmer, processor and retailer. We are thankful we have a great crew that helps us out at the markets, on the farm and in the processing facility so that we have the time to work on all facets of our farming business.

One of the best times of my week is attending the markets so I can give the people that frequent the markets, pure, clean meat products that have been raised ethically and humanely.

Thanks Ron

Ron Hamilton
Farmer/Owner