Category Archives: Blog

Pink pigs & white chickens: Why I choose not to farm heritage breeds

These days small-scale farming makes you a bit of a rebel. It groups like-minded farmers together who flip the middle finger to large commercial agriculture. While those running commercial farms often deem us ‘hobby farmers’ and ‘hippies’ we’re proudly doing things our way.

Farmers specializing in pasture-raised animals often point out the negatives of commercially bred animals and are quick to tout the benefits of their heritage breeds of chickens and pigs. You’ll see spotted brown and black pigs filling the Instagram feeds of every local small-scale producer. So why in the world are my pigs pink?

Because, when it comes right down to it, the majority of customers will only pay for so much ‘different’.

Now let me explain. And, please keep in mind that these are simply my opinions. I’m in no way insulting the choices made by other farmers who choose to raise heritage breeds. We all have choices to make as farmers and this is how I came to mine.

Take heritage bred chicken for example, these birds take at lease double the amount of time to raise than a commercially bred broiler chicken. So with that increased lifespan also comes substantially higher feed bills, especially if you feed a high-quality feed like we choose to with our non-GMO feed that’s free of corn and soy.

Also, since they’re older at processing, they produce much tougher meat. Which is fine so long as you know how to cook it, but not everyone knows how to cook a chicken like this, and consumers who don’t, aren’t willing to pay $50 for a chicken that tastes like a tough old bird.

By choosing to raise a commercially bred meat chicken I’m giving customers meat they’re more familiar with. Chickens with larger breast meat that’s tender yet with hands down better flavour than you’d get from a factor farm. And, I’m raising them ethically.

Our birds get a lower protein level to slow their growth rate once they mature into their adult feathers. They’re given substantially more space while inside the barn to run around than their commercial counterparts not to mention their access to the outdoors where they can dig and forage for bugs and grubs. And, at night our birds get a lights-out period allowing them to sleep instead of the 24 hour lights-on at commercial farms — If birds don’t sleep they also don’t stop eating and they therefore grow faster.

All of this allows us to slow down their growth rate so we can avoid that ‘Frankenstein’ chicken syndrome commercial farms face, where birds grow so rapidly they’re no longer able to move around as their legs can’t support the weight of their bodies.

We raise a commercial breed of chicken the right way and in the end we have delicious chicken that you can feel good about feeding to your family and at a price that you can afford.

Now what about those pink pigs?

Heritage breeds like Berkshires are well-known for their fat composition and marbling, with chefs regularly complement the flavouring of their fat.

But, there’s a heck of a lot of consumers out there who have no issue with digging a pack of cheaply produced pork chops out of the meat bin at their local mega-grocer. It’s the meat they grew up with, it’s what they know.

We live in a time where customer are scared of consuming animal fat so the complaints I hear most regularly is that heritage meat produces too much fat for many customers. They say the bacon off many breeds of heritage hogs is far too much fat for them. And, same goes for cuts like ham — By the time to cut the fat off you’re left with far less meat. These days, fat scares people — whether it should or not.

I’ve raised heritage pigs before, after hearing other farmers tell me heritage is best, I took a break from my pink pig ways and tried my hand at heritage and at the end of the day I wasn’t as happy with the meat it produced. Chops with too large a fat cap just aren’t appealing to me.

We raise our pink pigs on pasture without the use of confinement systems where they can run around supporting their unique physiological needs like digging and wallowing in the mud. This space to roam slows down their growth compared to a factory farm raised pig. We also feed them a superior diet free of commercially produced grain — Our hogs are on a diet of fruits, veggies, honey, nuts, and granola all recovered from our food waste program.

These slower growing breeds in the end often come with a substantially higher price because the feed costs are much higher.

So I raise meat for the people like me. Those who want great tasting meat from animals that were raised right and meat that they know how to cook and that’s at a price point they can afford.

Getting customers to understand the true cost of food production is already something farmers like me struggle with, so the last thing I want to do is give customers a product that is too ‘different’ than what they’re used to and at a price that’s out of their budget.

Because customers are only willing to pay for so much ‘different’. And, the ‘different’ that I chose is a superior diet free of medications and raising our animals on pasture — So far that’s the right combination for me.

Kendall ~ The Boss Chick at Central Park Farms 

Christmas Brunch Boxes

Gosh are the holidays ever a busy time-of-year?! But, I’m happy to say that somehow I’ve managed to launch our Christmas Brunch Boxes before the holidays have come and gone… It was looking a little hit-or-miss there for a while. If you’ve been looking to get your hands on our thick cut, double smoked bacon, this is your chance. We held back the bacon for these brunch boxes so get it while you can! Once ordered, we will contact you to arrange pickup from the farm or one of the local farmer’s markets we attend.

Kendall ~ The Boss Chick at Central Park Farms

Now Accepting Deposits for Christmas Hams

It’s that time of year again! The stores are full of beautiful decor, Christmas movies are starting, and you can’t escape the overload of holiday music — Even if you try.

We’re getting into the swing of the holidays here at Central Park Farms and I’m excited to announce we’re releasing a limited number of Christmas hams this year.

At this point we’re accepting $20 deposits to secure your ham with the balance due on pickup. They’re bone-in and $7.50/lbs. To secure your ham, choose the size you’d like from the drop down and then click ‘Pay Deposit’.

Stay tuned because in the coming days we’ll also be releasing our updated list of inventory for pork as we’re now restocked and have some new products available. We’ll also be selling delicious Christmas brunch boxes that include our farm fresh eggs, bacon, and breakfast sausages as well as some other fun products from other local farms and producers.

 

Kendall ~ Boss Chicken at Central Park Farms

Pork Cuts 101

It’s almost that time when our next round of pasture-raised pigs head to the butcher. We’re yet again sold out on sides but we’ll have lots of pork by the cut coming to farmer’s market shoppers soon and we’ll be launching some fun mixed-meat boxes in the coming weeks so stay tuned!

The questions we get asked most by customers is related to cuts and butchering and that’s understandable — I’m still learning myself.

So let’s break it down!

Shoulder:

Boston Butt

The upper shoulder cut can be made into roasts, stew meat, ground, or sausage. Sausages and ground are top sellers for us so we normally go this route.

Picnic

Pulled pork baby! The lower section of the shoulder is a tougher cut so slow roasting is the name of the game. If pulled pork isn’t your style this makes good ground or sausages as well.

Loin:

The tenderloin, baby back ribs, and chops come from the tender back portion.

Baby Back Ribs

This is key, if you want baby back ribs you CANNOT have bone-in pork chops. But that’s ok, since we’re rib lovers we only ever do boneless chops (aka steaks) and customers love them.

Chops or Steaks

Although we refer to them as boneless chops they can also be called steaks.

Tenderloin

This lean cut is also the most tender and a favourite in our household — Be cautious not to overcook.

Rear Leg:

The back leg is generally used to make ham or you can use this meat for sausages and/or ground. Less commonly it can be used to make roasts however the key here is slow cooking it as this cut is slightly more muscular especially on pasture raised hogs given room to run.

Ham

The centrepiece of a great family dinner, hams are a popular choice for the back leg. If you aren’t looking for a large ham for special occasions such as Christmas or if you’re a smaller family, you can have the ham split into halves or even quarters.

Belly:

Bacon

Making up only 6-8% of a pig, our thick-cut double-smoked bacon is the star of the show and always first to sell-out.

Belly

If you’re wanting to try your hand at smoking your own bacon or if you love a belly roast, ordering a side is the only way to get the belly cut. Since bacon is like gold around here we don’t sell belly as a roast.

Spare Ribs

When we first started raising hogs, I didn’t know the first thing about butchery and I never realized how popular spare ribs are. They are one of the most requested cuts at the farmer’s markets. If you’d prefer, you can have this meat put toward sausage or ground.

Trotters and Pork Hocks:

The lower part of the leg below the joint including the hoof is referred to as the trotter while the portion above is called the hock. These are popular for soup as they’re low on meat, high on healthy collagen and flavour.

Bones:

Along with trotters and hocks, bones make wonderful broth used for making soup, ramen, and increasingly popular bone broth.  My biggest tip for bone broth is using bones from non-medicated, well-raised animals… otherwise there’s not much healthy about it! If you’re not crazy about pork broth, try cutting it with chicken broth — It makes a wonderful addition to help add nutrient rich collagen while adding a nice flavour. If you have a furry family member they also make a great treat.

Head: 

Some make soup with the head, others make use of the jowls, if you’re like my mother-in-law you’re happy to have them to make headcheese. While the head is always available when you order a side we often have customers pass on them. Since we’re strong advocates for making use of the whole animal, if you’re not interested in taking the head not a problem, we’ll offer it to a customer who’d be happy to take it off your hands.

 

So there you have it, while there are many more options out there for specialty cuts, that’s a good breakdown of your opinions for ordering your Central Park Farms side of pork or to give you a better idea of the cuts available to you through our farm.

Please keep in mind there’s only so much meat to go around on a side so if you want all the roasts and cuts you won’t have much meat left over for sausages or ground. If these options are important to you, my first suggesting on the cutting block are picnic, boston butt, and/or the rear leg.

You can find more information on pork including pricing here.

Kendall ~ Boss chick behind Central Park Farms

Photography from one of our previous long table dinners. Photos by Brooklyn D Photography and the man behind the food is Chef Adrian Beaty

‘Free-Run’ doesn’t mean sh*t

This week I settled into a booth at a Moxie’s Grill & Bar for a quick lunch. Now, I normal favour supporting independently owned restaurants but this chain happened to be attached to a hotel I was staying at and I was in a rush.

After giving the menu a quick glance I settled on their Herb Alfredo pasta, and for only $5.50 more I could add chicken. Now if you know me by now, you’ll know that I’d forgo the chicken and stick with the vegetarian version at a restaurant like this but my interest was peaked none-the-less.

These days every restaurant, farm, and business in general wants their customers to know they’re making ethical and sustainable choices and Moxie’s is no different. So as I expected right there in bold font at the bottom of the menu read, “We always use cage-free eggs and free-run chicken from Canadian farms, raised without the use of hormones and steroids.”

‘Free-run chicken’… While reading that might, for some, instil a level of confidence in the way their chicken is raised, it does the exact opposite to me.

Because, I know through my experience as a farmer that ‘free-run’ doesn’t mean sh*t.

Free-run is one of those fun little terms marketing executives use to try and make consumers believe their chicken isn’t factory farmed. Free-run simply means the chickens aren’t in cages within the barn.

EVERY. SINGLE. meat chicken raised in Canada is free-run. Jay is a 4th generation bird farmer, my father-in-law sat on the BC Poultry Marketing Board, both of them farmed commercially in the past and never once has either of them ever seen or raised a meat bird in a cage within a barn. It would be a totally unnecessary expense for the farmer to instal cages when they aren’t needed.

Now, that’s not the same when it comes to chickens raised for eggs, many farms still keep their egg layers in cages but that’s a discussion for another day.

So now that we’ve established every chicken raised for meat in Canadian barns are free-run, let’s keep in mind this term means nothing for how much space these birds get or the conditions in which they’re raised. And, it absolutely doesn’t mean these birds ever go outside — Free-run birds are raised exclusively inside a barn.

Ok, so the ‘free-run’ claim might have been a bit misleading, but at least we can be happy the chicken they serve is raised without the use of hormones and steroids, right?

Wrong!

Hormone and steroid use in chicken raised in Canada has been banned since the 1960’s… Yup, over 50 years now and yet we’re still acting like that makes one farmer’s chicken better than another.

And, now before you go skimming our website I admit you will in fact see that we list our chicken as being raised without hormones but we also state that’s the case with all chicken raised in our country. Unfortunately those high-paid marketing executives have created such a demand for hormone-free chicken that not mentioning it would cause some potential customers to think hormone use is part of our business.

So there you have it, Moxie’s claim regarding the chicken they use in their restaurants doesn’t mean sh*t. And, they’re not alone in making these claims. Every day I see businesses bragging about using free-run chicken and I see consumers eating it up.

‘Free-run chicken from Canadian farms, raised without the use of hormones and steroids’, could very well be coming from the worst factory farm in the country and everything about that claim would still be correct.

Transparency will always trump fancy marketing terms so if you ever hear a business using wording you don’t fully understand, I’d love to help shed some light on the subject — And if I can’t, I’ll find a farmer who can.

Kendall ~ The chick behind Central Park Farms

 

Central Park Farms’ Long Table Dinner

Earlier this week, we were honoured to host a group of local media and influencers for a beautiful long table dinner highlighting some of our favourite food and beverage producers here in Langley.

With the help of the talented Summer Dhillion of Slap Communications we welcomed a select group of media to come dine on a feast prepared by Chef Adrian Beaty alongside those who produced the food and beverage behind the meal.

Roots & Wings Distillery’s Vital Vodka

When guests arrived they were greeted with an ice-cold spiked lavender lemonade from Roots & Wings Distillery. Langley’s first and only distillery, they treated us to their inaugural artisan spirit — Vital Vodka.

With drink-in-hand, media were given the opportunity to tour the farm getting a backstage pass to see exactly how our farm operates including a cuddle session with baby chicks while learning what makes our farm different than the farms that produce the meat in your local grocery store.

The calm before the dinner storm.

Following our tour, it was time to settle in for dinner produced by Chef Adrian using only products from Langley farms.

Chef Adrian working his magic

Guests dined on a meal that included our pasture raised pork and non-GMO fed poultry and micro greens and seasonal vegetables from our friends over at True Grit Farm.

True Grit Farm prides themselves on always delivering honest, sustainably-grown, nutrient dense food. They focus on producing high quality micro greens for restaurants throughout the Lower Mainland as well as a CSA program that helps provide well-grown produce to our community.

True Grit Farm salad with herb vinaigrette.

During our meal guests enjoyed two selections from Backyard Vineyards — Their currently sold-out Rose and their slightly off-dry Riesling.

Backyard Vineyards is a full production winery nestled in the countryside of South Langley whose small boutique setting produces award winning yet approachable wines for everyday enjoyment.

Backyard Vineyard’s winemaker James

No dinner would be complete without a little entertainment and we were lucky to have local musician Ryan McAllister providing the soundtrack for the evening. And, capturing the magic was Brooklyn D Photography.

Ryan is nothing short of amazing

Such a special evening

Langley’s Trading Post Stout brined Central Park Farms’ ham, house made beer sausage and bacon stout jam

Christie Lohr, Jamie Khau, and Michelle Morton

Dinner underway

Central Park Farms’ Boss Chick Kendall alongside her farm boy Jay.

I’m proud to have been in the company of such fantastic Langley producers — Thank you to each of you for your contributions to the evening. Thank you to Tourism Langley and Destination BC for supporting our event.

And, a special thank you to each of our guests, I know summer is a busy time of year and that your calendars are full, I truly appreciate each one of you taking the time to come out and learn what our little farm is all about!

Kendall ~ The chick behind Central Park Farms

Up and Coming from Central Park Farms

The snow has finally melted and a few sunny days have come. The daffodils around the farm are starting to grow and it’s finally starting to feel like the beginning of the season for us here on the farm.

For me, it’s strange to think it’s the start of my farming ‘season’, since we raise animals all year round and the only fruit and veggies we grow are for our own family… and for those customers who help take zucchinis off our hands when I’ve somehow grown far too many. It’s not like we’re a seasonal farm.

But, Spring is here and this year more than ever I feel like we’re ramping up for our ‘season’.

Anyone who’s been by the farm lately know we’re in a bit of construction — those who know us well would say, when aren’t you?! 

I’m so excited to say that construction on our new MASSIVE walk-in freezer is complete. It’s such a vital piece of equipment to help support our growth and the services we are able to provide our customers.

And speaking of serving our customers better, I’m so excited our new farm manager Sharon, started on Monday. It’s always exciting when you’re able to grow your team but never more so than when that team member just so happens to be family. My mom will be here 5 days a week helping with customer orders, deliveries, farmer’s markets, and just all around being my right-hand as we transition into managing both the farm and the ranch.

I know I’m a little biased but my mom is just the sweetest lady around so I know she’ll fit in perfectly. Plus, she’s an incredible business woman — She left her career as the Director of Operations and Administration for a large international transportation company to join our team.

Also, starting in April we’ll be adding variety meat packs to our website. You’ll soon be able to pop online, order a collection of our ethically and sustainably raised meat and eggs, and then come pick up from the farm or have it delivered to your home.

As if that’s not enough we’re also ramping up to open Central Park Bed & Bale. A two bedroom private home located on the west side of the farm will be turned into accommodation where visitors can stay — with their horses if they choose — and enjoy all the local parks and wineries that we’re proud to call neighbours. It’ll allow people to stay with their equine friends and enjoy ride out access to both Campbell Valley Park and the Irene Pearce Trail. If you don’t have any four legged friends, not to worry we will also be renting it for those who just want to experience the tranquility of country living.

And, call us crazy but we might even try to squeeze in an on-farm event or two this year!

Thanks to everyone of you who supports our farm and makes my dream come alive beyond what I could’ve ever imagined. I truly appreciate every one of you who comes and buys our products either from the farm or any of our retail partners, those who share our social media posts, or refers us to their friends and family. Together we’re putting control of our food system back in our own hands.

Well, there’s lots of exciting things to come for Central Park Farms so I’d better get back to work so we can get it all done.

Kendall ~ The chick behind Central Park Farms 

I’m Sorry If I’ve Misled You

I’ve always promised honesty and transparency. So if I’ve misled you, please hear me out and accept this as my sincere apology.

It started innocently enough, after finding a couple beautiful, pastel eggs nestled in some straw in one of our barns the other night, I just knew I had to share it with you. But, no matter the angle, no matter how hard I tried to get that perfect photo for our Instagram account, I just couldn’t get the right light in our dimly-lit barn.

So like any modern farmer in this world of social media, I plucked those babies up in a quest for better illumination — There in the corner of our broiler chicken barn, I was able to snap the shot that ended up making the grade.

As I awkwardly crouched taking photos with my trusty iPhone, Jay let out a laugh and clicked a photo of his own. He caught his farm-girl-other-half fudging a backdrop of an Instagram photo that would go on to get over 100 likes.

Now, I know we all do this… staging and editing our pictures to crop out those messes, shine a light on the beauty of our surroundings, and provide a ‘highlight reel’ of our lives so to speak.

And, lately I’ve begun to realize that my ‘highlight reel’ might be misleading.

I regularly get comments by non-farmers, ‘Isn’t farming just the best?!’… or ‘I’m so jealous that you get to spend all day with all those cute animals!’

Let me say here and now that farming isn’t always easy and it surly isn’t always cute.

When we first got our cattle from Alberta, our girls went through a change in diet and like many of us that change did lead to some rather embarrassing bathroom moments for them.

While we knew this was normal, Selena just couldn’t shake it, so in order to rule out any health issues I needed to take a sample to the lab for analysis. But, to say she had stage freight was an understatement. Every single time either myself or Jay were ready with gloves on she’d clam right up.

That is until that fateful day, when she finally decided to throw caution to the wind and go… right beside me. Without my trusty gloves or an appropriate receptacle, I was forced to catch her sample in a nearby grocery bag…

Please let that soak in for a moment. There I was frantically catching runny poop in a freaking bag.

Fast forward a few months and our cows are due to deliver next week. And, if you had told me before I got into farming that I would be spending so much of my day studying the vaginas’ of cows, I would have thought you were crazy.

I think I can speak for all my fellow local farmers when I say this weather has been slightly more than I can handle. I can’t seem to keep up with the endless issues and challenges caused by the below freezing temperatures Mother Nature has thrown our way.

Before our most recent chicks arrived to the farm, the barn they live in was sitting empty. Like any empty barn, it sat unchecked until one night as I went to hop in the shower I realized we were severely lacking in water pressure.

Out onto the farm I went to try and figure out the problem and as I walked past my newly renovated broiler barn I knew I’d found the issue. It seems the water had froze and burst my water line and my barn was filling up with fast running water.

It’s dark, and late at night, and there I am getting soaked with water spraying everywhere, as one of our tenants walks by and says casually, ‘Kendall, I think we’re having an issue with our water pressure.’…

‘Oh, you don’t say,’ I thought to myself. Here I was just enjoying a late night, middle-of-winter, one woman wet t-shirt contest, when there’s a real issue needing my attention.

And here I am in all my exhausted, poop bag glory

Truth be told even with the chaotic days and challenging moments I wouldn’t change a thing. But, with all those stunning old barns, cuddly animals, and perfectly curated photos filling your feed, I can see how it would be easy to overlook the tough parts of this lifestyle choice. But, rest assured farming is hard work and with often times bad hair, worse nails, and a big ol’ bag of crap.

Sounds glamorous, doesn’t it?

Kendall ~ The Chick Behind Central Park Farms 

 

 

Health, Farm/Life Balance, and Turning 30

mexicoI’ve always been a bit of a rebel — And farming is no different.

I go against the commercial farming industry and focus on small scale sustainable farming. And, I go against the thing I hear time-and-time again about farmers. I actually take holidays! A farmer taking holidays is a shocker in the industry, frankly it’s almost unheard of. Well this farmHer ain’t having it.

But, what many of you don’t know is that for the past two years I’ve been battling some pretty major health issues that have been escalating recently. It’s finally looking like the end’s in sight and with a team of countless doctors things seem to be moving in the right direction. And, it couldn’t come a moment too soon!

About 4 weeks ago now I had a partial thyroidectomy and have been in recovery mode since. Those who’ve been by the farm lately have had the treat of getting to hear my new hoarse ‘4-pack-a-day’ voice that comes curtesy of some vocal cord damage.

I don’t know if anyone else has been through a long drawn out medical issue filled with misdiagnosis and misinformation but it’s exhausting and at many times defeating. Huge shout-out to Jay for being such an amazing man, always there for me and fighting for me when I was to tired to fight for myself.

I’m happy to report that things are looking up and I’m starting to feel a bit more like myself these days. Which brings me to the point of this whole post… On Nov 6th, I turned 30. It felt like it was going to be touch and go there for a bit but I was able to turn 30 weak from surgery but on the road to recovery.

So I’ve made a pledge that I’m going to spend this first year of my 30’s being kinder to myself.

I’m going to get my fitness on.

This has nothing to do with a weight loss goal, I’m actually working to gain some of what I lost while I was sick, but working out just makes you feel good!

Another big thank you is due to the wonderful ladies at Oxygen Yoga in Aldergrove — You girls helped me keep my shit together when I was falling apart and I really appreciate that. I can’t wait to get back to class next week now that my doctor is giving me the ok. Yoga has been a life changer for me both mentally and physically!

I’m going to focus on the farm but also take some holidays.

I am lucky to have a live-on farm hand who takes great care of our animals and allows me the opportunity to disconnect and get out of town from time-to-time. Having that time to spend with Jay and the kids, or just time the two of us, has always been so important to me but when your doctors start throwing around the ‘C’ word, it reminds you just how short life can be. So I’m taking the damn holiday!

As far as the farm, we have lots of exciting stuff in the works and I can’t wait to be able to share with you all soon!

I’m going to try to eat better.

I know, I know, I’m the one always saying make smart food choices. But, I’m also the one who always says we’re just human and we’re busy, so I make lazy food choices sometimes too. One thing I plan on doing is incorporate some of Chef Adrian Beaty’s new prepared foods into my dinner mix.

For those who may not know, Chef Adrian Beaty was the chef behind popular Fraser Valley restaurant Seasonal 56. Well he’s recently changed gears and has started up a line of prepared foods using only quality, wholesome, REAL foods — Including our non-GMO chicken! It supports local farmers and it delivers right to your door.

Talk about easy and it sure beats the hell out of the processed frozen dinners at the grocery store!

And, maybe I’ll try to eat more salads. Maybe.

 

Well I thought it was time to give you all a little update on my health and I wanted to put these goals for my 30’s in writing so I stick to it… Don’t you think it’s time we’re all a little kinder to ourselves?

Kendall ~ The Chick Behind Central Park Farms

Ethically Raised: It Begins With You

chicks

Last night I spent the evening celebrating the upcoming nuptials of one of my closest friends. As I stood, glass of wine in hand, mingling I heard Jay talking with a fellow party goer who was discussing a friend of theirs having turned vegan following some charges being laid against a dairy farm in Chilliwack regarding the unethical treatment of their cows. I’m sure many of you know the video I’m referring to.

“Oh lord, here we go,” I couldn’t help but think.

Now, I have no problem discussing proper animal husbandry and ethical meat consumption with anyone with an open mind. But, sometimes during a party when someone hears that we’re animal farmers they picture the poor life quality of factory farming and pool all us farmers together.

I’ve only ever been a small scale farmer. And, I’ve always prided myself on happily raised animals. Central Park Farms will always remain a small producer so we can be sure our animals are treated right.

Jay on the other hand has seen both sides of farming. He is after all a third-generation poultry farmer and was previously the owner of a large commercial farm. So when conversations lead down this path he tends to have a slightly different reaction than I do.

I usually end up lighting the torches and grabbing the pitch fork right along with that party-goer.

‘Down with factory farms!,’ I’ll shout.

But, last night I overheard Jay in a conversation that needs to be had. While he absolutely agrees that the type of farming we do at Central Park Farms is the way to go and is happy that we never have to buy commercially raised meat again, he’s also less willing to put the full blame on the farmers.

I listened in as he replied, ‘Yes, but consumers are the reason these conditions exist. If you were willing to spend a little more so you could buy quality, well-raised meat then these big commercial farms would either have to raise the bar, or go out of business. But, everyone wants cheap meat.’

It’s true. If we as consumers stopped just SAYING we want animals to be raised ethically and actually ACTED on that desire by using our shopping dollars to show meat producers that we aren’t willing to accept poor animal husbandry, then it would create the change we all say we want.

My father-in-law who previously sat on the board of directors for the BC Poultry Marketing Board gave me a little insight into why many large factory farms are the way they are. Back when he owned his poultry farm he worked on a 60 cent profit margin per bird. 60 CENTS!

Now imagine how many birds you would need to put in a barn to turn a profit that would support your family. The more room you give an animal in a barn the more you pay in heating, lighting, and bedding, not to mention you need larger buildings and more land to house those buildings.

So now how much money are you left with?

At Thanksgiving when your local Wal-Mart puts their turkeys on sale for .79/lbs people rush down there to snatch them up. We can’t honestly believe those are well raised birds, right?

By the end of the conversation our friend began to see that although there are the exceptions where a farm owner or manager turns a blind eye to animal abuse which is absolutely unacceptable, that most of the time these poor conditions we all complain about are because as consumers we’ve demanded and supported ultra-low prices on meat.

Let’s all be the change we want to see and start buying quality, well-raised meat products even if that means we have to eat a bit less to afford it.

A meat producer telling you to eat less meat? Who’da thunk.

Kendall ~ The chick behind Central Park Farms