Monday, March 21, 2011

Why You Can't Find Good Eggs in Toronto

Amanda recently posted this on her facebook and I thought it bore repeating here on our blog:

Why You Can't Find Good Eggs in Toronto

For us, the closest grading station is over 40minutes away, making it very difficult, if not expensive to get our eggs graded. It is funny how it is okay for people to be able to come to the farm to buy eggs, but it is illegal due to "health reasons" to sell eggs off the farm when ungraded, whether people know they are or not.

This same rule prevents us from donating eggs when we have too many to organizations such as Community Care. While it would be so beneficial for them to be able to receive fresh eggs the Health Department will not allow ungraded eggs to be donated to them.

Equally as difficult is what we face when we try to market our meat poultry. The law states that this must be done in a government inspected facility, and cannot be done on our own farm. Not to dissuade people from purchasing from us, but I have several issues with this:

1. When we take our poultry to a place like this (the closest is currently in Smithville) we have no guarantee that we are getting back what we took. While they make the claim that we do, historical evidence across a wide range of growers would suggest otherwise. In our own experience on one occasion we took 21 ducks to be butchered and were given 22 back. The operator insisted that we had brought 22, which was wrong, and one of the 22 had some black feathers left on, clearly not a member of our pure white Muscovy flock.

2. The classic argument is that this helps control the safety of the meat you, the consumer are getting, so that you know it has not been contaminated. This is absolute bull sh!&.(I apologize for this, but I have a lot of passion for this issue, and it really bothers me) For anyone who has ever been to certain slaughterhouses, I have no idea how they are considered sanitary. Joel Salatin, a prominent American farmer who has a loud voice for the kind of farmers we want to be, slaughters all his own poultry. Several years ago the government attempted to shut him down, but they failed when he was able to prove that the amount of e-coli contamination in his chicken was far less than that found in the grocery store that came from the slaughterhouse. At Creek Shore Farms we raise a premium product and that demands a premium processing of the poultry, which just cannot happen when you have no control over it.

3. I noticed that our local slaughterhouse was recently listed for sale as the owners are retired. If they were to not be repurchased we would no longer be able to market fresh poultry to our customers as the closest chicken processing facility would be an hour away and the closest duck and goose facility over an hour and a half making it no longer economically feasible for us to raise and sell the meat.

These rules directly prevent us from being able to sell a high quality product that our consumers demand and subject many people to the low quality, factory farmed food that is forced on us by marketing boards at the grocery store. I am deeply saddened by the difficulties we face in trying to help our consumers eat in healthy ways, while at the same time supporting the type of agriculture that will help sustain our environment for years to come.

The rules may someday change, but we can't do it alone.

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