Zettel Family Farms Newsletter – Spring 2016
Welcome all of you to the first official newsletter from “Zettel Family Farms”.
For those of you who don’t have time to read this whole letter, we alert you to two important items; you can scroll down to get the details on either item.
1. Our Farm Tour and Barbecue will be held on Sunday July 10th
2. We are asking for pre-orders for freezer meat, especially beef, which is in short supply
New Name and logo – What’s up?
For those of you who haven’t heard, the old company name “Jervic Farms” has been replaced by “Zettel Family Farms”. Christine and Ted were farming in partnership under the old name, but a new partnership, including their sons Mark and Sam is now in place, hence the new name. You can read a fuller history of the farm on the website. It is an exciting time for our family, welcoming a new generation into the business, who bring with them ideas and skills that were unforeseen. We are encouraged by the responses of many new customers to our expanded line of products. Matching the supply and demand is always a challenge for a small farm like ours who sell directly to families like yours.
Those Beautiful Pastured Pigs
Some lines of production, like chicken and pork can be ramped up fairly quickly. We farrowed (gave birth to) our very first piglets last July, and now have 5 healthy mothers of several heritage breeds. Altogether they could give us as many as 100 pigs this year. That’s a lot of bacon! Speaking of bacon, we hear feedback from the market that some people have the impression that pork is not a “healthy” choice. This misconception likely stems from two sources – firstly the troubling fact that pork cured in the modern way contains nitrates that have been recognized as carcinogenic. Conventional health experts recognize this as a risk and recommend limiting the amount of cured meat in your diet. But rest easy and enjoy your breakfast! Our pork is naturally cured in a salt and maple syrup bath and then smoked – the old fashioned way. No nitrates, no chemicals or preservatives. The other concern is with animal fat in general, and links to cholesterol, heart disease etc. This is one of the biggest differences between grass fed and confinement animals. Allowing animals to go outside and eat grass, as all farm animals are naturally inclined to do, changes the levels of Omega acids in the meat, and makes it healthy for people to eat. We have a good supply of smoked bacon and ham, as well as that old favorite – farmers fresh sausage, – so you can order any amount and try it out before ordering a whole side of pork for the freezer. Next butchering is July- you can order sides now!
We are expanding our pasture – raised chicken this year due to the great demand. These birds are produced only in summer, when they can go out on pasture in movable hutches and eat grass. This is far superior to a life of confinement in a barn, and the more natural diet of grass, insects and whatever else the chickens can find is what we believe gives the meat its true chicken flavor. We will have chicken available starting June 2, with 4 harvest dates later in the summer. (June 2, July 12, Aug 23, Oct.14) If you can put together your order for one of these dates, we will deliver directly to your home and offer a 10% discount for orders of 10 or more birds. Chicken that is pre-ordered can also be cut into pieces, to make it handy for cooking.
We are trying to keep up with demand, but getting into the beef business takes a long time! This spring we will have about 25 new calves, but these animals will not be ready until the end of the 2017 pasture season at the earliest. They are mostly of the Galloway breed, noted for flavor and tender meat. As farmers, we are thankful that these animals are also very gentle and calm, making the handling of calves a lot easier. When calves are born, we need to catch them and put an identification tag in their ear. With some breeds this can be the most dangerous moment on the farm, as the mothers are hormone crazy and over-protective right after calving.
So we are limited in our supply of beef and have many new customers asking for quarters. Those of you who need beef this summer or fall should get your orders in sooner rather than later.
The First Annual Zettel Family Farms Farm Tour and Barbecue – Sunday, July 10.
People who buy organic food are generally pretty knowledgeable about food and serious about getting the best food possible to feed their families. We want to enhance that knowledge in our customers by bringing you to the farm to see what we do, and to understand why we do it. How is the life of a pastured, organic animal different from those in mainstream agriculture? Does it make a difference? We will try to answer some of these questions. Our farm was one of the first in Canada to make the transition to organic farming, way back in 1983, and we have hosted quite a few farm tours over the years, always finding that people are pleased with what they see and hear. We also believe that it is good for us to get to know the people who eat our products, and to give them a chance to get to know us – so in addition to seeing the farm, and all the crops and animals, you will be meeting our family. We will gather at the Chepstow Lions Park at 2:00, tour the farm for the afternoon and come back for a free barbecue around 5:00. More details to follow, but please mark your calendars – we hope to make this a fun outing for the whole family.
New This Year! Mark and Emily’s CSA
After talking and dreaming of a Zettel Family CSA for years, we are going ahead! For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It is a concept which has become popular within the organic movement worldwide, as a way to nurture local food production and give the people fresh vegetables that haven’t travelled around the world, every week.
The way it works is that “CSA members” purchase a share in the season’s harvest. Every week, starting in June and running through October, they get a box of fresh vegetables delivered. It is a great way for people to get fresh food, right out of the garden and into their kitchen, without having a garden themselves. Mark, the youngest Zettel partner, and his wife Emily (they were just married last October – congratulations!) will be managing this enterprise on the farm where they live. They are only planning to sell 30 shares this year – to get some experience of the logistics on a small scale, before expanding in 2017. So call if you want a share.
Zettel Family Farms
83 Concession 6, Chepstow, ON N0G 1K0
Call Ted: 519-881-8773