Ferme d'ORée Farm

Our philosophy

Owners Sarah Hui & Gert, Rosalie & Camille Janssens

No antibiotics
No chemical fertilizer
No growth hormones

...but so much more...

Grass-based and local!

Our vocation is to model our farm to the romantic idea of a picturesque family farm where animals and people live a good life. This is in stark contrast to the reality of modern agriculture. The privilege of breathing the country air, working the land and caring for our animals is our reward for hard work under difficult conditions and otherwise unprofitable investment. Even though we know some fantastic farmers with industrial (family) farms, it is not what we are about.

Environmental agriculture is based on the principle that you are what you eat.
This goes much further than no chemical fertilizers, preventative antibiotics or growth hormones

Good food is natural food. Nature is our template. We let animals be animals. Our animals live outside as much as possible. Herbivores have evolved to eat grass - not grain, pigs have a strong desire to root. Sunshine, fresh air, hygienic living conditions and a natural diet make for happy animals that rarely get sick and do not need preventative antibiotics.

Good food comes from a diversified farm. Nature is resilient because of diversity. In a sense, we try to create a balanced ecosystem rather than using chemical fertilizer as a crutch for a depleted soil. Since we feed very little grain, almost all our land is both pasture and hayfield. This is much better for the soil.

Good food is seasonal food. We follow the rhythm of nature as much as we can.

Good food is slow food. With more exercise, less grain and no steroids, hormones or chemical food additives, our animals grow slower. That results in lean meat, yellow fat, and more taste. What is healthy for animals is healthy for you!

Good food is local food. Reducing transportation is better for the animals and the environment. Local food means that more money stays in our community. We sure prefer a local abattoir over a huge one. Local food encourages openness and a relationship between consumer and farmer based on trust. Local food forces farms to stay relatively small. We think that that is essential in what we do. Small is beautiful...

Good food is social food. Our food has no hidden social costs. We do not cause pollution and we do not exploit people. We try to keep our prices reasonable.

Good food is family-friendly food. Environmental farming is not just our job, it is our vocation! Our kids take pride in our farm. We hope to create a little paradise they will always return to.

Good food is community supported food. Rural communities are having a hard time as many young people leave in search for better jobs in the city. We discovered that most of our neighbours and clients in city and country alike, are really cool and resourceful people. Nothing is more encouraging than your support. We love living here and we hope to contribute to the development of our region.

Good food is not just food. In our consumption and production decisions, we chose what kind of world we want to live in. We want you to enjoy our products as you cook and eat a good, healthy and guilt-free meal together!

Environmental agriculture is grass-based farming that nurtures the original philosophy of the organic, bio-dynamic and permaculture movements. We are not certified organic. Industrial agriculture -even if it is organic - thrives on cheap grain and cheap fossil fuels. It produces cheap commodities for global markets.

Salad Bar Beef

You probably heard that red meat is not good for you. We completely agree. Our salad bar beef however, is nothing like regular beef and we are certain that you will taste the difference.

All our salad bar beeves eat grass in the spring, summer and fall, and haylage (or fermented grass hay) in the winter. Our fields are not monocultures of one grass, but contain many different grasses and clovers. We rotate the cows to a new pasture every couple of days, so that the cows get a complete and varied diet (like children, they would eat the ice cream first if we did not). We use neither chemical fertilizers nor pesticides on our fields. Instead we use solar panels to water the cows.

We also feed vegetables to our cows and calves. These vegetables are the cuttings from a small vegetable processing plant in our community. They include potatoes, carrots, beets, broccoli, onions, chard and much more. This provides the cows with much needed energy in the winter and it prevents these goodies from ending up in a landfill!

We never ever feed any grain to our cows or calves. After all, they are herbivores!

This rich diet results in a leaner, rich tasting meat full of natural omega-3, that is good for you.

We try to ensure that our cows calve in the spring, mimicking the natural behaviour of local herbivores such as deer. Most farmers calve in the winter, resulting in lower feed costs, but also in frozen ears and toes and a higher morbidity.

We have not had a sick cow in years and we hardly ever lose a calf.

Our herd consists of Herford, Angus and mixed cows. Slowly but surely, we are improving the genetics of our herd. We use artificial insemination so that we can use the best bulls in the world without having to own them and we are replacing old or underperforming cows with Angus-Simmental cross cows. While the calves are growing much faster, the quality of our meat seems to depend more on the diet than on the breed. Sorry to disappoint you, but Black Angus does not taste better than any other breed.

Thanks to our "bud box", we can use low-stress weaning and handling techniques.

Usually calves are shipped to feedlots after weaning at around 500 lbs. There they receive multiple vaccines and a growth hormone is implanted. They are dehorned if that did not happen before. Their diet is mostly a corn-grain mix with just enough hay to keep them from getting sick. They eat antibiotics (called ionophores because that sounds nicer) every day. Before the mad cow crisis, chicken shit was touted as the best and cheapest source of proteins. Some farmers feed stale cakes (leftover from a grocery store, wrapping and all). We even heard stories of farmers feeding cement the day before they sell the calves to a packer. Because cement is caustic, the calf will eat and drink more, resulting in a heavier calf. Nowadays, most calves are butchered at 1300 lbs. It is not uncommon for them to be trucked more than 1500 miles. No wonder that this meat is not healthy for you!

Our salad bar beef receives none such treatments. We wean them in winter and they will join their mothers on the field in the spring without any problem. By that time, the cows are calving again and they will not let their year-olds drink. We send them to a clean, certified local abattoir 20 minutes away when they weigh 800-900 lbs, so that they stay tender.

Our salad bar beef receives none such treatments. We wean them in winter and they will join their mothers on the field in the spring without any problem. By that time, the cows are calving again and they will not let their year-olds drink. We send them to a clean, certified local abattoir 20 minutes away when they weigh 800-900 lbs, so that they stay tender.

At the feedlot, calves gain almost 4 lbs per day, while we are struggling to achieve more than 2 lbs per day. We need four times as much land too, because our natural poly-cultures are less productive than conventional hay and corn. While most farmers are struggling to get rid of their manure, we import manure from other farms in order to keep up fertility. Nonetheless, we succeed in selling our beef hardly more expensive than the conventional stuff in the store because we save on the middle men.

We do not have organic certification. We used to butcher only in the fall, but there is no noticeable difference in quality any other time of the year if we "pop" the beeves on our best hay.

Our Salad Bar Beef calves produce beef (red meat). We are currently experimenting with Piemontese cattle to produce "Rose Veal", an expensive but environmental version of veal.