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.

Corn-free Berkshire-Tamworth-Duroc pork raised in the woods

We only raise speciality pork from our Berkshire and Tamworth breeding stock. The texture, colour and taste of the meat does not compare with that of industrial type pigs. We raise these pigs in the woods and on pasture when the weather permits and on deep bedding in the winter. We rotate pastures often because we do not want mudlots on our farm!

Years ago, we bred pure Tamworth pigs, but we have since improved quality by mixing in Berkshire and Duroc. Berkshires have an impeccable reputation. They are black pigs with white markings and they are famous for the excellent marbling of the meat. In Japan, Berkshires are sold under the name Kurobuta. Berkshires produce more milk and more meat, but they have a weaker mothering instinct than our Tammies. We inseminate with a Duroc boar that provides heavy muscling.

By rotating pastures and woodlot, we clean up and fertilize our farm without increasing the parasite load over the years. Finishing on a woodlot brings out even more complex flavours in our pork. In the winter, and during their fall birthing cycle, we keep them in the barn, so that we can assist during birthing. That way, we save more little piglets.

When our pigs are in the barn, we keep them on deep bedding of straw. The piglets play with the straw and it keeps them clean. We know of too many producers that have lost all their piglets in the freezing cold or in muddy fall or spring conditions.

We mix our own pig feed, so that at least we know that there is no animal waste or tankage in there. Pigs, even if they are in the forest, have only one stomach and need to eat grain to grow well. We would love to feed organic grain to our pigs, but we want to keep our products affordable and focus more on taste and animal welfare. Organic certification is not a top-priority for us.

We were finally able to invest in a new silo in 2016 and since then, we are feeding field peas, barley and wheat instead than (GMO) corn to our pigs.

Factory raised pigs live on bare slatted floors. Manure falls through and is mixed with water in a manure lagoon or in a manure pit. Even though these pits should not overflow, they often do, causing environmental hazards. Despite the fact that each pig farm has thousands of pigs, independent pig farmers are increasingly rare. Huge multinationals that control grain markets have vertically integrated into pig farms. Due to ridiculously low pork prices, most farmers could no longer pay their grain bills. The multinationals did not buy the farms; instead they offered that the farmer would work for them. They bring their pigs and their grain, but the farmers still take most of the risk, because contracts will be cancelled if productivity is not excellent. That leaves the farmer stuck with payments on the farm and no income. Sometimes labelled as beneficial for both parties, everybody involved knows that vertical integration is a social drama deliberately engineered by multinationals (by manipulation of pork future prices). And nobody cares.

They are so many of pigs in such a small space that tails need to be docked and teeth clipped at birth lest they will kill each other. The warm environment is ideal for the propagation of disease, so commercial pig feed contains hefty doses of antibiotics. Nonetheless, mortality is quite high. On a maternity farm, each sow gives birth in an individual cage so small that she cannot turn around (and potentially crush her babies). Since clients want lean meat, mothering instincts have been largely bred out of commercial pigs. Factory pork may be lean, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Note: we would like to stress that pig farmers are not to blame, consultants told them that to survive; they had to get big and then they touted it as progress.

Of course, none of this happens at our farm! Our pigs live happy lives.