Approximately 1 hour east of Ottawa, on 10 acres of land in Dalkeith, ON sits Pickle Patch Farm, where we’ve been lucky enough to source free-range, organically raised pork and turkey for over a decade now.
Owner and farmer Aartje den Boer, a former violist and violin teacher, moved onto the property in Dalkeith from Toronto in 1991 and started a small hobby farm, eventually following her passion and turning it into her full time job. Pickle Patch Farm raises approximately 50 pigs and turkeys, 100 chickens and 12 lambs each year, selling them direct to consumers who have made arrangements with the farm.
Pickle Patch’s pigs are fed only the best organic feed and organic (Beaus) brewery grain. The spent grain is high in protein, fibre and minerals and is a low-cost alternative to regular feed but only accounts for a part of their diet; pigs also need carbohydrates so they aren’t too lean. Aartje raises Tamworth pigs, a heritage breed, that are hand raised and free-run without the use of medications or hormones and with no added nitrates. Tamworth pork is naturally lean without marbling and this tendency, coupled with the high protein brewery grain feed leads to a very flavourful, lean meat.
The pigs also play another role on the farm; Aartje makes use of their natural behaviour of “rooting” (digging through the earth with their very strong snouts) to help prepare the fields for planting. The pigs eat the roots, grubs and weeds, leaving the field clear for our vegetable crops. And they are very efficient! In fact, other farmers who see one of their fields after the pigs are done with it assume the work was done by a tractor. How’s that for a symbiotic relationship!
We get an order from Aartje about every 2 months, whenever she has enough of a particular cut of pork to fill an order for a few of our Dinner’s In The Bag meals. This Thursday we’ll be featuring Pickle Patch Farm pork on the menu in our Slow Cooked Organic Pork Carnitas with Tomato & Jalapeño Salsa served alongside our Organic Local Purple Potato Salad with Black Beans, Peppers & Corn, Cabbage & Pineapple Slaw with Lime Yogurt Dressing, House Made Arepas and a decadent Tres Leches Cake for dessert. To reserve yours, give us a call or send over an email and you’ll be all set.
To learn more or get in touch with Pickle Patch Farm to put in an order, head to their website.