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Try Our Lamb!
Never had lamb? Give our premium grass-fed lamb a try! You'll love it!
If you don't see an answer to one of your questions here please contact us and we will do our best to get you the information that you need.
1. Where do you deliver to?
2. How often do you make deliveries?
3. Do you charge for deliveries?
No we don't charge for delivering your order if you can arrange to meet us at one of our drop-off points. For special deliveries that take us off of our normal route there is a small charge, typically $20.
4. Do you make home deliveries?
We will only make home deliveries in extraordinary circunstances where personal mobility might be an issue. Usually we have 3 or 4 pick-up points throughout the city, so one will be close enough to you to be convenient.
5. What do you mean when you say that your animals are grass-fed?
Grass-fed can have a lot of different meanings depending on who you ask. A lot of farmers will call their meat grass-fed, but what they really mean is that their animals are fed grain for most of their lives and grazed on grass for a couple of months. At McDonald Farm when we say grass-fed we mean that our animals are never fed cereal grains at any time in their lives, they are 100% grass-fed. Period.
6. Are your animals ever given antibiotics, hormones or other drugs?
No. Our animals are 100% antibiotic and artificial hormone free. We put the health and welfare of our animals first and foremost, so if one of our animals is sick we will treat them to the best of our ability, following the instructions of our veterinarian. However treated animals are never sold for meat.
7. What if I want something that isn't listed on your on-line shopping cart?
If you can't find something or want to make a special request as far as how your order is cut and wrapped just ask we will be happy to accommodate you. Special orders usually take two or three weeks to fill, but we are more than happy to work with you to make sure that you completely satisfied.
8. Do you sell liver, kidneys, heart, etc?
Yes we do. Not every customer is interested in those products so we don't list them on the website, but we have them available from our beef, pork, and lamb. Just contact us and we will make sure that you get everything that you want.
9. What do you mean when you say that you have "nitrate free" ham, bacon, and sausages?
Nitrates are preservatives that are commonly used in meats like ham and bacon to give them longer shelf life. They also give ham and bacon their red colour. Unfortunately nitrates can be hazardous to humans, even forming carcinogenic compounds in high enough concentrations. So we don't use nitrates in any of meats, instead they are soaked in a natural brine and then smoked which gives them an intense flavour with none of the harmful chemicals. Please be aware that because we don't use nitrates our ham and bacon is a brown colour when cooked, not the red that you are used to. As per a Manitoba Food Inspection Servces directive we are forced to include nitrates, soy and corn starch in our Koubassa sausage as it is deemed a deli meat.
10. What do you mean when you say your pigs are "pastured"? Is that the same as "free-range"?
Free-range, pastured, grass-fed. There are a lot of different terms that are all supposed to mean that these pigs are raised outside in the fresh air and sunshine. Or at least that is the implication. All to often, however, pigs that are described as pastured are really just housed in a small pen in a barn with access to a tiny patch of dirt for a few minutes every day. At McDonald Farm when we say pastured we mean that our pigs are never kept inside at any point in their lives. Our pigs are rotated through our 50 acre pastures throughout the spring, summer, and fall. In a barn the space afforded to each pig is measured in feet; on our farm it's measured in acres!
11. Do you dry-age your beef?
Yes our beef is dry-aged for at least 14 days before it is cut and wrapped. We can dry age it for longer if you like, but we find that 21 days is perfect to intensify the flavour and slightly tenderize the meat. Dry-aging results in a better tasting, better quality product than you get when the meat is wet-aged, which involves placing the meat in a plastic bag and letting it sit in it's own juices.
12. What is the advantage of ordering bulk packages?
There are a couple of reasons why bulk ordering is better for you and your family. If you are interested in ordering a smaller amount of meat to sample a few different products that we offer, our beef, pork, and lamb packs are an economical way of doing that. You will save around 10% over ordering the same quantity of cuts individually. If you would like to order a larger amount of meat, for instance our 1/4 beef or 1/2 pork, to feed a larger family or to split between family and friends you can save even more. For instance on a 1/4 of beef you will save 22% versus ordeirng the cuts individually and on a 1/2 of pork you will save 21%.
13. What do you do if your animals get sick?
If we have an animal get sick, which happens from time to time on any farm, we treat it as per our vet`s advice. If that includes antibiotics such as penicillin we identify that animal and make sure that it is never sold directly to any of our customers for meat. That animal will be sold through the conventional market once the appropriate withdrawal period has been observed.
14. How old are you cattle, pigs, and lambs when they are harvested?
Our cattle are around 28 months old when they are harvested. This is older than most grain fed cattle that are fattened in large feedlots, however we feel that harvesting them at an older age on grass results in a more tender and tasty product and in a fuller life for them. Our pigs are usually around 16 months old and our lambs are around 10 months old. The reasons for this are pretty much the same as for the beef.
15. How are your animals transported to the abbatoir?
We transport them to the abattoir in a 16 foot livestock trailer. No more than 2 beef per trip. We make sure that they are handled in as low stress a manner as possible and that they are dropped off at the abattoir in the morning and taken directly in to be processed. We do everything possible to minimize the stress on the animals.
16. Do you wean your young animals early like some factory farms do?
We don`t remove the young animals early. We let the mothers wean the calves, piglets and lambs themselves when they are ready. And once they are weaned the young animals remain with their mothers in the same family group. The pigs are weaned at around 4 months of age, the lambs at around 5 months, and the calves at around 10 months.
17. Is there a difference between carcass weight and the weight of meat the we will receive if we order a 1/4, 1/2, or whole animal?
Yes there is. The carcass weight refers to the weight of the carcass (or portion of the carcass) that you are purchasing. A typical beef carcass weighs approximately 450 lbs. A pig carcass weighs about 220 lbs. A lamb weighs about 50 lbs. For ruminant animals (animals with 4 stomachs) the meat yield on a carcass is about 60%. So for a beef you can expect 270 lbs of meat and for a lamb you can expect around 30 lbs. For pigs the meat yield on the carcass is higher, approximately 75%, so you can expect around 175 lbs of meat.
18. So why do you charge based on the carcass weight then?
Charging for bulk purchases based on carcass weight is the standard way that famrers, butcher shops, and abattoir price halves and wholes. You the customer still receive your food at a premium versus purchasing an identical volume of meat by the cut (steaks, roasts, etc.) For more info on that see #12.
19. What cuts to I receive in a typical half of beef and in what quantities?
In a typical half of beef (carcass weight = 225 lbs) you will receive approximately: 60 lbs of hamburger, 20 lbs of hip roasts (sirloin tip, cross rib, eye of round), 15 lbs of chuck roast/steak, 12 lbs of ribeye steak, 10 lbs of top sirloin steak, 12 lbs of T-bone and/or striploin and filet mignon steak, 10 lbs of stew beef, 15 lbs of soup bones. Of course you can customize your order to include more or less of whatever you prefer. To customize an order please contact us.
20. What cuts to I receive in a typical half of pork and in what quantities?
In a typical half of pork (carcass weight = 110 lbs) you will receive: 12 lbs of bacon, 1 lb of tenderloin, 14 lbs of butt chops or shoulder roasts, 12 lbs of loin chops, 3 lbs of ribs, 20 lbs of hip roasts or hams, 25 lbs of sausage or ground pork, 8 lbs of pork fat for rendering. Of course you can customize your order to include more or less of whatever you prefer. To customize an order please contact us.
21. Should we bring containers to transport our meat home?
Yes. Our smaller bulk packages (eg. $100 beef pack) will fit in a regular re-usable shopping bag. Our larger bulk packges (eg. $250 beef pack) will fit in 2 regular re-usable shopping bags. For our largest bulk packages (eg. 1/2 pork or 1/2 beef) you will need 2 or 3 large coolers or rubber totes to carry it home.