Any farmer can talk for hours about the best attributes of their favorite breeds of livestock. In other words, don’t get us started!
But since you looked!
Stone Horse Farm breeds, births and raises our pigs from start-to-finish to maintain complete control of how they are cared for and what they eat.
We started with heritage Berkshire pigs, a breed from Britain that is favored by the Royal Family for the deep color of its meat, tasty marbling, and agreeable dispositions that make them easy to work around.
Once we got the hang of Berks, we began playing with a few other heritage breeds to enhance what the Berkshires already have.
Some Large Blacks were acquired to produce even richer meat coloring and flavor.
Then a Hereford boar, Marshall, arrived to add physical mass.
With these three breeds as our base, we have meat cuts that melt-in-your-mouth, grow steadily on a grass and non-GMO grain diet, and are willing to let us walk in their pens without fear of attack (although this is always a possibility in the right situation).
Our chickens are purchased as day-old chicks from an Ontario hatchery, and we raise 300 each month during the warm months of the year. This means chicken is a seasonal product, and is only available from June until October.
The chickens are referred to as a “heavy” breed, as they put their energy into growing muscle instead of laying eggs. Chickens that are “laying” breeds are quite bony! They do not make good eating, although they produce flavourful soup when their laying days come to an end.
Chickens take 8-12 weeks to reach processing age, and weigh 3-6 pounds, depending on their sex, the weather, and the amount of grain they were fed.
We raise the chicks in the shelter of our barn until they have feathers, around four weeks old. Then they move to our movable pasture pens, that are pulled to fresh grass each morning for a constant supply of clean greens.
Our pigs are fed a local diet, of our pasture grass, our neighbor’s hay in the winter, and locally raised barley for a balance of carbohydrates and protein. As available, we acquire brewer’s barley from a local brew pub, and make the most of seasonal produce that we can get in bulk, including pumpkins, carrots, and apples.
Neither pigs nor chickens can grow properly on just grass. Unlike cattle, sheep and other ruminants, that have multiple stomach chambers to break down fibrous grass, they have just one stomach, and cannot obtain all the nutrition they need for healthy growth from grass only.
The grains we use are not modified to tolerate glyphosate in herbicide sprays, so the plants are not exposed to this chemical.
While Ontario has lost 4/5ths of its licensed abattoirs (slaughterhouses) in the past 15 years, we are fortunate to still have extremely good processors to work with. Thanks to having so few to choose from though, we do have to drive 90- to 120- minutes to deliver our animals to them. They are transported by us in a ventilated trailer, and are never crowded to prevent stress during their trip.
Because the shops we support are still small, family-run operations, each animal is individually dispatched to avoid any suffering from being missed on a fast-moving assembly line. While it may be the one bad moment in their life, we have no desire to make it a cruel moment! So a reliable butcher shop is a key to how we produce our Pasture Perfect meats.
Please contact us through our Contact Page, or directly on Facebook. We believe that eating meat is critical to not only a healthy lifestyle, but to the environment. Respecting the animals and the process by which their meat comes to us should be important to everyone, and we are happy to visit with you about how this is done and why it makes a difference.
Put quality back in your meals with our Pasture Perfect meat