Here are some of the most common questions we hear.
Have another? Contact us and we’ll do our best to answer.
Q: When and where do you deliver food?
A: Aside from our list of retailers that sell our raw honey in Winnipeg and around Manitoba (see list here), our main method of offering our farm products to customers is via direct sales. We now come to Winnipeg once a month, and deliver to a central location where customers meet us to pick up an order that they have already submitted via our online order form. For those in rural areas that are interested in buying our products, we can often make alternate arrangements to meet them and provide them with their order. We do not make home deliveries.
We are currently offering our grass-fed beef and lamb only as direct-to-customer sales. We sell jars and pails of honey this way, as well. Although raw honey is generally available throughout the year, our grass-fed beef and lamb is seasonally butchered, and quantities are limited, so we list what we have available for the coming month’s delivery at that time on our current order form. Generally beef and lamb sales begin around December and go until around August-September, though at times sold out sooner. We offer Pre-order forms starting in the Fall for bulk (larger packages) of grass-fed beef and lamb. It is the best way for customers to receive a great value for the amount of meat received, and be sure to receive priority as our meat packages are in high demand.
Click here to visit our Order Food page to see our latest online order forms and pre-order forms, and make your order today!
Q: Why does your raw honey harden?
In short, almost all unprocessed honey hardens or crystallizes; it is natural and does not affect its quality or flavour. It is honey’s varying sugar composition ratios – glucose, fructose and maltose, among others – that are the main factors affecting its crystallization. At temperatures cooler than those found in the beehive (roughly 35C), honey will crystallize, especially if there is a higher glucose content in the honey.
So what happens? Well, since there is water in all honey (less than 18%) and water can separate itself from glucose, when glucose loses water it becomes a sugar crystal. Once a crystal forms, it will continue to build more crystals until the entire container is crystallized. Also, if pollen, propolis or wax are present, they provide additional surface area for more crystals to form more quickly. That is why our minimally strained raw honey tends to crystallize more rapidly than fine filtered, pasteurized honey. In fact, the main reasons why most beekeepers heat/pasteurize their honey is to drastically slow down or halt this crystallization process from occurring. But, as mentioned above, this, along with fine filtering, eliminates most of the pollen, enzymes, yeasts, propolis, and minerals from the honey. And, in our opinion, it eliminates many of the rich natural flavours of honey!
Q: How do I soften my crystallized raw honey?
To soften your crystallized honey, you simply have to warm it, but gently! In order to keep raw honey raw, it is important to act like a bee! By that I mean gently and slowly heat the honey to soften it to your desired consistency. It is important to not exceed the temperature that the honey is kept by the bees in the hive. That temperature is roughly 35-40C (95-105F). Some ways of softening are as follows:
Warm Water Bath: Submerge your jar of honey in hot water for a couple of hours. We know some who have had success with filling a crock pot with water, setting it to ‘warm’ and submerging a jar or pail of honey in it for a few hours.
Food Dehydrator (with thermostat only): Place honey jars inside your food dehydrator and set the temperature to 100F for a few hours.
Q: Why is your honey graded as Canada no. 3?
As part of being a federal government-inspected honey producer, our honey has to be graded using the system defined by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). They test honey for moisture content, chemical residues and “foreign materials”. The way they perform the latter test is to pass liquid honey through a very fine sieve with openings of 0.1778 mm. Any “residue” left in the filter informs the grade they give you, with no residue getting a “Canada no. 1” grade, and more residue, like ours, receiving a “lower” grade. Our raw honey is graded as “Canada no. 3” because there are other hive products left in our honey. We are proud of the fact and strive to achieve this! Our honey has no checmical residue, is tested for moisture content and complies with the government guidelines but does contains trace amounts of pollen, propolis, and even trace amounts of wax in it. This is usually found at the top of the jar upon opening it and is often the most delicious part of the jar! We believe these all add significant flavour and nuance to our honey and feel that honey should contain some of this “residue” if it is going to be marketed as “raw honey”, like ours.
Q: Why does my raw honey have a whitish layer on the top of the jar or pail?
A: Don’t be afraid! The “white stuff” otherwise known as “honey foam” is a completely normal characteristic of raw honey. During the honey harvest and extraction process, our honey is pumped up into a holding tank where it goes through a coarse strainer before making its way into the containers we offer to our customers. By going through this system, some extra air makes its way into our jars and pails in the form of froth or foam. When the honey is fresh and in a liquid state, tiny air bubbles along with little grains of pollen, propolis and even bits of wax all mingle together as they float to the surface of the container. The end result is an edible, delicious, nutritious layer of creamy froth for you to enjoy! This is our favourite part of any honey jar.
What does "grass-fed" mean?
It is important to note that, in Canada, there is not currently a regulating body dictating a definition and standards for “grass-fed” beef or lamb, as there is in the U.S. and other countries. Therefore, we feel it is important for our customers to know that our translation of “grass-fed” means that that animal is fed only grass and plant-based (non-grain) forages from the beginning right to the end of its life. Since all of our beef and lamb are raised from birth to the end of their life on our farm, we have control over their diet and care. We believe that the benefits, both to the animal, and the humans who will eat the meat, are important to maintain, and these benefits can be jeopardized when enough grain is introduced into the diet of that animal so as to change the pH of the rumen (digestive system). Depending on the farm and management, not all grass-fed meats are the same – many factors have to be considered, including the quality of grasses and legumes in the diet, rate of weight gain during the finishing period, genetic ability to finish well on a grass-based diet, age of finish, and even stress of the animal during the last moments of the animal’s life. We have slowly worked our way into the task of grass-finishing beef and lamb, and pride ourselves on keeping quality (of life of the animal, and of final meat product) at the utmost importance. We’re continuously striving to keep learning about how to improve our management, and the quality and eating experience of our customers.
Do your animals receive hormones, antibiotics, or GMOs? What about chemical insecticides?
Our grass-fed animals do not receive synthetic growth hormones at any point. They also do not receive any feed or supplements that contain GM (genetically modified) crops, such as corn, canola or soy.
As far as antibiotics go, we do not administer broad-spectrum antibiotics to our whole flock or herd, but if an individual animal is sick and requires treatment, if antibiotics are the most appropriate option to prevent that animal from dying, we will treat that animal as needed. However, any animal treated with antibiotics will be removed from our direct-marketing program from that time onwards.
We have been moving away from the use of chemical insecticide products for the past few years, and have seen good results with a more natural approach. We treat cattle topically with diatomaceous earth (a natural product that kills soft-bodied parasites, and also provide them with salt and mineral containing garlic, to help keep flies from bothering them and spreading disease during the summer months. The choice to move away from chemical dewormer (ie Ivermectin) has resulted in the presence of other, beneficial insects such as dung beetles, which are predators to flies (but they are also eliminated by these chemical de-wormers). We also rotate our cattle and sheep frequently to fresh pasture to help eliminate the fly life cycle that largely takes place in manure. Our sheep nibble at willow trees, a natural de-wormer, in the Spring pastures. We routinely have cattle and sheep fecal samples tested by a veterinarian, to detect worm/parasite issues and assess the need to treat on that basis.
Why do you offer your meats frozen and not fresh?
We get our grass-fed beef and lamb killed and butchered in a nearby, family-owned butcher and abattoir that is provincially-inspected, so that we may legally market these meat products directly to consumers. This meat must be frozen for 24 hours before we pick it up to store in inspected freezer facilities at our farm. We live about 3 hours away from Winnipeg, and as we only deliver once a month, it does not make logistic sense for us to deliver a fresh meat product that would require immediate transport; in addition, it would require us to have a specially-licensed vehicle that has particular permits to transport fresh meat.
Therefore, our grass-fed meat cuts come frozen, and wrapped in butcher paper, or in some cases, cryovac packaging. We are mindful of customers living in single or 2-person households, and our default packaging for most meat cuts reflect smaller portion sizes (larger family households can simply take out additional meat packages for a meal if needed).
Why do you use cryovac / vaccuum-packed packaging on some of your meat cuts?
This is a great question and one we are open to hearing more feedback from customers on. As part of our farm and business philosophy, we are conscious of our impacts on the environment, and do generally try to avoid dependency on plastic whenever possible. However, packaging some of our grassfed meat cuts, such as beef steaks, in cryovac was a decision that we made for the following reasons: 1. Vaccuum-packed meats are known to have a longer life in the freezer than butcher paper. Since many of our customers make the choice to buy in bulk (ie half or quarter beef, or Large Variety Packs), and it may take a family anywhere from half a year to a full year to finish eating all of their meat, we wanted to help our customers ensure that the product quality is the best that it can be at the time of cooking. 2. We like the benefits of being able to see the steaks through the package – for example, you can inspect the marbling and get a better feel for the shape and size of the steak you will be preparing.
Please contact us if you have further comments or experiences with our packaging, and have suggestions for how we can improve this further.