Certified Organic

An important choice.

Since we first began farming, we have always done all we could to grow and produce organic food. We applied to become a certified organic farm long before we ever bought our fist day old chick! We have always felt that organic certification is important. It's not a perfect system, but right now, it's one of the best we have. Click here to see our farms current certification.

What is organic certification? Right now in Canada, there are rules called the COS (Canadian Organic Standards and Regulations) that summarize the elements of organic farming. They are cumbersome to read through, but to summarize them, the goal of organic farming is essentially giving back more than you take. It's about feeding and nurturing the soil and everything living on it.

How does a farm become certified organic? In addition to meeting and often exceeding the regulations of the COS, we register with an accredited organic agency who on a yearly basis hires an independent auditing inspector trained specifically in organic certification. There is a very large application that is to be filled out annually, and yearly on-farm inspection and audit. The inspectors are well trained to recognize any variance from the COS. An organic inspection is often more detailed than a tax audit! Our organic inspection and audit usually takes most of the day, as well as many hours of follow up phone calls and emails. Many farm's we know that call themselves 'organic' could not pass regular organic inspections.  Current organic certification status is one of the best tools you have as a consumer to learn more about a farm you cannot travel to. 

What is certified organic on our farm? On our farm, EVERYTHING we grow is certified organic. There is no parallel production. That means we don't raise organic pork on one part of the farm whilst fattening turkey in a small pen that does not meet organic standards on the other. Every animal and every plant has gone through the certification process. We do not buy feeder calves then put them on grass for a while and sell them as organic. We do not buy conventional ready-to-lay hens, and sell the eggs as organic. We do not buy conventional weaner pigs and finish them as our own organic hogs. We do not cut corners. Ever. 

Why don't all organic farms certify? The reason we hear most from other farmers is it's too expensive. Organic certification is expensive, but not the way those other farmers would have you believe. To certify all our acreage, our beef herd, our hogs, our dairy cows, our broilers, our laying hens, and our greenhouse, gardens and orchards, it costs us a little over $12 per week. So why do all those farms say it's expensive? Because you can't cut corners when you are certified organic. You can't buy the conventional chemical & GMO laced feed for a few weeks when you are short on cash in the spring. You can't use chemical de-wormers when parasites get out of hand from poor pasture rotations. When you are not certified, you can (in Ontario) still make the claim of organic. If you the customer don't ask the right questions, you'll never really know what you are eating. And it's worth considering, you can't have 'organic' farms without certified organic farms that provide them with the grain, hay, and other supplies they need to be 'organic'. The reputation of many 'organic' farms inadvertatly rely on certified organic farms that are willing to put their farm to the test and do the hard work required to certify.

How else do people benefit from Certified Organic foods? There are many good reasons to buy Certified Organic! For those farms like us that choose to certify there is a deep connection with the land and a serious commitment to organics. For example, if you buy a non-certified chicken, the non-certified farmer wins no matter what happens. If one of their flocks is in trouble and they decide to use prohibited substances, there is no recourse since they can’t lose their certified organic status — they aren’t certified to begin with and there is nothing to hold them accountable. Any farm that has taken the considerable time and trouble to certify will always be accountable to you the customer.

Here are some other reasons to support Certified Organic farms:

- reduce your intake of pesticides, health harming chemicals, synthetic growth hormones, GMO's, and irradiation every time you choose organic.

- know the integrity of your food source without knowing the farmer. (But you should get to know your farmer when ever you can!)

- the more you purchase certified organic, the more you encourage other farmers to convert to organic production

- reduce the harm to the planet by reducing the toxins that get into our ground water, soil, and air

- it promotes bio-diversity of plants and animals 

- reduce the amount of energy required to produce food

- it's a way to take responsibility for the real cost of food.

“If you think organic food is expensive, 
have you priced cancer lately?”
-Joel Salatin