Pastured Pork is coming to Vibrant Farms!

Published: Mon, 12/08/14

BITe by BITe
Forget the Fads
Let's REALLY do this!
Beef prices going up...
I wanted to take a little time to chat about beef prices. We all know good quality food is not cheap, nor should it be for fair prices for farmers and for a sustainable local economy. I do however also understand that each of us is doing our best to feed our family the best we can with the money we have. There has been some movement in the beef markets in the last few years and I wanted to shed some light on it to give you a better idea of why we set our prices the way we do and what goes into bringing you the service you’ve come to expect from Vibrant Farms. I started out selling beef straight from my Dad’s farm. I then realized that we were small, and wanted to stay small (for quality purposes) but still needed to get good beef to people. I have a really unique blessing that I was brought up around a bunch of farmers who were all very much ahead of their time when I was quite small. All of the farmers we buy from now are farmers my parents got together with socially, I played with their kids and we had community gardens together. They were figuring out the pasture based farming thing back in the 80’s, they were selling to the main stream market even though they were committed to doing things this “new and crazy way” (or at least it was back then). So in order to give access to great quality beef, keep farms small, and make it as accessible as possible to consumers (how’s that for a triple bottom line!!) I decided this model was the best.

First of all we wanted to let you know all of our prices will be going up in 2015. We will honour orders made before the 31st of December 2014 at current prices.

The are a few factors that contribute to our pricing change:
  • Cost of beef on the open market is quite high
  • Keeping up with increasing costs (land, transport, etc.)
Over the last few years a few things have happened. I mentioned to a few of you after the 2012 drought that prices were bound to go up (perhaps you may have forgotten by now). Many farmers sold off their herd in an effort to not lose a lot of money trying to keep their herds well when there was simply very little grass and very little water. That massive sell off drove the prices down temporarily and now 2 years later when we should be having a proper round of animals ready for market there really isn’t any. The price has gone up significantly.

How this affects you and us?
I aim to pay my farmers fairly. I don’t feel right about only going with the upswings and never going with the downswings. In general having to deal with a fluctuating market is what can cause a lot of stress for farmers. I aim to slowly increase the cost of beef over time, to take into account the fact that my father and other farmers could sell their best beef on the open market for a better price at times, and at other times we can pay them a premium. I hope you can join us in paying farmer’s fairly and slowly raising prices over time. Avoiding the fluctuation and keeping our best meat at home. The other aspect of the cost of beef is the sheer cost to produce it. We have to take into account the cost of the land that the animal walks on to get all its grassy goodness.  I often see farmers selling their meat for low prices, when I sit with them and talk about what it’s actually costing them (not even including their time) to produce that animal they often don’t think about it. Farmer’s love what they do, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be paid for it.

The other aspect of running what is essentially a “cost-co” for grass fed meat is that I need to be mindful of empowering anyone who buys the meat to resell that we aren’t essentially undercutting. I still firmly believe there should be a benefit to those who are willing to make the drive out to pick it up. So our “retail prices”, the prices that you would pay for any amount of beef that isn’t a bulk package of any sort (an intro, quarter or side) will need to reflect those of the retail environment (these people work tirelessly to make small amounts of food available to you when and where you need it, this results in  many more costs involved in doing so). So we will have a “suggested retail price” for our retails and resellers who are supporting you by making it available and Vibrant Farms by making the commitment of buying a large amount of meat. We will also have a small discount for those who choose to buy individual cuts from the farm.

What Vibrant Farms does.
At Vibrant Farms we (Kathryn and I, farmers, butcher, and truckers) make sure all the butchering and communicating with the butcher is done for you, we do our best to make ordering simple and easy. We aim to provide an option for people who may want to save some money and still have top quality food. We do this through bulk purchasing and by having someone coordinate all the pick ups, coordinate with the farmers, the truckers and the consumers. We offer smaller “bulk” packages so that you don’t have to buy the whole cow and you still get access to “bulk” pricing, all of this takes time and effort. We keep our costs low by not having a store front, and by keeping everything frozen. By coordinating this little chain of supply and having a sort of co-op of farmers we can effectively provide the best quality beef, while keeping the costs to the customer as low as possible.

We want to thank you for all your continued business over the years. We appreciate all the feedback and the positive encouragement. We always want to do better and be better. We always aim to keep the customer in the loop, to be totally transparent and essentially open our books to you. We hope we’ve explained a little bit about whats happening in the beef world if you have any further questions please feel free to give us a shout.
Where in the world is Melissa...
Just wanted to write a little from New Zealand. I'm really enjoying the people and the abundance of farming in this country. Just like everywhere else there are people on both sides of the fence about what is the best way to farm. I recently attended a "field day" where local farmers come together and learn about what one farmer is doing. This particular farmer had recently gone through a whole overhaul of it's practices which was done by Dairy NZ.

It was so lovely to see farmers gathering together to learn, they were surprisingly very supportive and there was some constructive discussion. Of course with my social science background I tried to understand what would be different here that could cause such an open discussion. I think it's the fact that NZ produces almost ALL of it's milk for export. They have more of an "us against the world", in North America we possibly have more of a "me vs you" philosophy. I really think as we move forward and as we see things come out such as the recent event of scientists standing up against the government and essentially calling them out on their shenanigans. I think its now more important than EVER to find common ground. If we can put differences aside about whether you use chemicals or not, there has got to be common ground. In my experience I have truly come to believe that farmer's who produce food for people are more often than not really truly interested in producing the best product for people. I think it only comes down to what is the best product for people. Maybe we can focus on the fundamentals that make up the ability for consumers to choose and focus on those things. Things such as proper scientific reporting coming from government (as we've seen it's been slightly filtered), perhaps things like open access to information, good honest sharing days, talking about results and being honest about inputs and outputs.

I was truly inspired the other day. I went to see a farm where he actively detoxifies every inch of his soil. He is a certified organic dairy farm. His philosophy is less in, more out. He doesn't wean the calves super early like most diary farms around here to when switch the calves onto corn. He leaves them on milk for a very long time (well long according to what most farmers do). He gives them a really cool little concoction a couple times right after they are born consisting of Manuka honey and sea kelp (all locally sourced of course, because he can!) and gets such little occurrences of calf scours (a major issue that farmers deal with and often use a lot of things to combat it). I've seen his cows, they are some seriously happy cows!! He rotates his cows and calves. He has basically figured out that even with the cost of feeding his calves milk, and not selling that milk to market he is able to make more money and have healthier bigger calves as a result. It really was refreshing to see someone able to do it .. the old fashioned way. The coolest part about this is, you'll never guess how many cows he had! He had approximately 350 last year, he's gone down a bit this year just for personal reasons. Its amazing what they can do with a climate that supports grass a large part of the year. In their "winter" he feeds hay, he did say that he thinks farmers have lost the art of hay making. It was lovely to hear him talk about how he really pays attention to when they grass is cut, how it's dried etc. Of course weather is weather and it's not always perfect, but he, like all of us is just doing his best.

PS. every day I am reminded of how small the world is, here is a car I was following that had a banff sticker on it, and just this week I've met 2 people who have friends in KITCHENER! One of them was actually from Baden (my home town!) Small world!
 Be sure to follow me as I continue my journey - click here to catch up on my BLOG.
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A Note from the Farm
The farm is continuing to expand what we offer so we can get more local, healthy, and organically raised food direct to you! On this note, we are excited to welcome Linton Pasture Pork onboard. Now you can access pasture raised pork though Vibrant Farms. We want to be your source for local, humanely & sustainably raised meat products.
The hogs are fed a non-GMO and antibiotic-free grain based feed and they supplement their nutrients by foraging. The pork has an excellent flavor with beautiful marbling - a better flavour, juiciness, tenderness and texture for consumers.
Jeff Linton raises the pork on a small family run farm located in Walton. The hogs are raised outdoors between spring and fall and during the winter season they are raised in an old fashioned bank barn with an outdoor option.
Products Available
​Wow! The list is too long to post here in detail... here's the short version:​
heritage breed chickens
smoked turkey legs/wings/necks
organic grass fed beef
pastured pork
free range eggs
honey & organic heritage garlic!
Click here to see everything we have available at the farm this month.
Pick Up Dates @ Farm
Please your order and pickup at one of our scheduled pickups at the farm:
*Wednesday, December 17th
 4pm to 5pm
*Saturday, December 20th
 11am to 1pm​​
*email orders@vibrantfarms if you plan on popping by so we know when to expect you.
Latest News!
We've added a NEW pickup location for all our Cambridge peeps! Get your order in by Monday afternoon and pickup on Tuesday at Wellness Team on Queen.

Bringing the farm to YOU!
Special Offer
Buy 10+ heritage breed chickens - get ONE FREE!

Valid through 12/20/2014

The Farmer's Daughter
Melissa was born and raised on and organic farm, while eating healthy was a way of life for her it wasn't until she was faced with "real life" that she realized eating the good food from her farm is the food that nourishes her. She is passionate about people really loving their food, loving the process and feeling free of the burden that food sometimes creates. Inspiring people through education and skills and tools to feel EMPOWERED about the food they feed themselves and their family.
Vibrant Farms
"A big shout out to YOU (Melissa) & Vibrant Farms Organic Beef... BEST chicken EVER!!! And the beef is great too!!!" 
~Sue M. (Niagara)