We are a small, family-owned farm located in Wellington County, near Guelph, ON. We produce pastured, growth hormone-free beef, pork and roasting chickens, as well as eggs from free range hens. All our animals are raised the old-fashioned way, with access to the outdoors and natural environments. We aim for excellence in the quality of all our products and in the care of our land. As such, we do not use any pesticides or chemical fertilizers on our land and our primary goal is to provide a provide an environment for our animals that respects their character and natural habits - as such, our cattle are allowed to graze for as much of the year as possible, our pigs have access to vegetated outdoor runs that they can root through, our laying hens are free to roam where they please and our meat birds are on pasture and moved every day to provide them with fresh forage and bugs. The feeds we purchase in for our animals are made from non-genetically modified, but conventionally-grown crops (i.e. not organic).
The farm is owned and operated by Nick Dalton and Vera Top. For information on the quality of our products and satisfaction ratings, check out our customer feedback page (we're proud to say that none of the feedback was solicited by us!). On the so-called "side", Nick runs an energy efficient home building and renovation business (Braden Homes Ltd.) and Vera operates a certified organic seedling business (Trout Lily Greenhouses).
Please continue reading below for more information about our production practices....
We purchase locally-produced young hogs each year and grow them out to butcher weight (a note on the young hogs).
The pigs have access to spacious outdoor runs where they exercise and
root around. They are moved onto new ground on a regular basis so they
have a fresh "salad bar" to root though. In addition to a grain-based
hog ration, they have a diet that includes plant materials from their
run and from the Magda Farm garden and apple trees (see YouTube video).
Sides of pork or 25 lb packages with a superb selection of bacon, ham,
sausages, chops and roasts can be purchased in the summer and fall of
We raise our cattle on pasture from May to November and supplement with hay in winter. We use a management intensive grazing system, which involves moving our cattle to new pasture every day. This allows them to continually access fresh grasses and is much healthier for both the cows and the land as the manure is more evenly spread and overgrazing is eliminated. The cattle are primarily grass-fed, although the young stock receive a small amount of grain ration (less than 1% of body weight) beginning three months before slaughter in order to provide a little more marbling to the meat. During this time, they remain on pasture and the vast majority of their diet still consists of grass. In addition, the herd is given a natural source mineral supplement with probiotics which we have found makes for healthier animals and beef with great flavour.
In 2013, we began partnering with a couple other farmers whose practices around pasturing, and other aspects
regarding antibiotics and no use of GMOs or growth hormones, are in line
with ours. Because we are 100% committed to pasture-raising our cattle as much as possible and our land base is quite small, we are limited in the amount of beef we can produce. As such, we decided to seek partnerships with other local farmers who we know and trust. Via these connections we are now able to consistently offer a 100% grassfed beef option (i.e. no grain ever), in addition to our own beef.
We often have delicious
lean ground beef and stewing beef available. Beef sides, quarters or 30 lb packages with a lovely mix of tender
steaks, roast, ground beef and other cuts from our own herd can primarily be purchased in the
fall/winter and sometimes in the early summer of each year. The 100% grassfed option, sides, quarters and 30 lb packages, is available at various times throughout the year.
Link: Specialized Lawn Mowers
Large brown eggs are available year-round from our flock of truly free-range chickens (meaning they can range wherever they want on the farm). Their diet consists mainly of a non-GMO, grain-based feed ration, supplemented with whatever they glean during their roamings around the farm yard.
The eggs are not graded but are typically in the large to extra large range, although customers will sometimes receive super-sized double yolkers or smaller eggs from our young hens. The flavour of these eggs cannot be beaten because of the varied diet of the hens as they peck around the farmyard doing what chickens do best in a natural environment. Customers often comment on the pleasure provided by driving into our yard to a view of chickens in all directions. Studies have shown that free-range eggs have higher levels of the "good" Omega-3 fatty acids relative to conventional eggs. [Egg semantics - link to short video on egg marketing terms, Huffington Post, 15 March 2013]
PASTURED ROASTERS & SOUP/STEWING CHICKENS
We purchase day-old chicks and produce a limited number of pastured roasters each year. The meat birds form part of our management intensive grazing program, following where the cattle have grazed in mobile "chicken tractors". They are moved daily, providing them with continuous access to fresh pasture - though their diet still mainly consists of a grain-based feed ration provided to them out in the field. In addition to providing the birds with a more varied and healthy diet, the pasturing system we use ensures that all the waste nutrients produced by the birds are captured by the pasture vegetation. Whole and quartered, frozen roasters are available in late summer/early fall.
We also occasionally have older laying hens available for sale as soup/stewing chickens. These older birds make an excellent broth with a richer flavour than the roasters because of both their age and their more varied diet.