If you read our previous articles, you might know how important it is to have a direct connection to a farmer. We truly believe unless you can call the farmer up and ask what he fed his steers that morning on any given day, you have no idea what the animal was actually fed.
Many small family farms in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario produce world-class livestock; the issue is bringing it to market. The current meat market system is built on auction-type sales, where if you do not hit the specifics of what the large buyers at the sale barn want, you are not going to get a fair market price. Unfortunately, the vast majority (if not all) of the markets will reward quantity over quality. The fact that the beef was grass-fed, free-range, drug and chemical-free has virtually no impact at the sale barn. Wholesale purchasers are looking for animals that can be brought to a feedlot and be made to add the most weight at the least cost.
This is why having that direct connection with the farmer is essential. By working with Ottawa Valley Meats, farmers have the ability to open a new market, and the market can support quality meats.
We work with our farmers to ensure that the practices that we value are upheld. Practices such as 100% grass diets, no antibiotics, no hormones, free-range, pasture-raised, cage-free are important to us. We also vet these farmers and make regular spot checks to ensure the standard is kept and to allow us to bring customer feedback to farms.
Knowing your farmer is the ONLY way to guarantee claims made to customers. It is also the ONLY way to make sure you are supporting actual farmers and not resale. Ottawa Valley Meats is proud to have an excellent working relationship with all our farmers. We have built a network of local farmers who have raised their livestock to reflect the quality the market is searching for. When promoting the farm-to-plate experience, we believe in being involved all the way from the farm to the delivery of the meat to your plate. You just have to cook it!
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