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FAQ

Chicken

  1. Where can I find an inspected chicken processing facility?
  2. What type of diet do chickens require?
  3. Where/How can I sell uninspected poultry? What does it mean when poultry is Inspected vs. Uninspected?

Q. Where can I find an inspected chicken processing facility?

There are 3 inspected facilities in Manitoba that process chickens. The list can be found here under "Chicken."

Q. What type of diet do chickens require?

Like humans, chickens need well-balanced diets that include sources of protein, carbohydrates and vitamins. Carbohydrates are necessary in a chicken’s diet for the production of fat, heat and energy. Cereal grains and their by-products are the most common sources of carbohydrates in poultry diets. Protein is necessary for growth and repair of body tissues, and can be sourced through meat scraps, fish meal, soybean meal, corn meal and hemp. Vitamins are necessary for health, growth, reproduction and the prevention of disease, and can be found in green grass and other forages as well as whole grains, wheat, corn and fish-based oils. These sources are only a few examples of where each of these dietary requirements can be found.

Q. Where/How can I sell uninspected poultry? What does it mean when poultry is Inspected vs. Uninspected?

There are only 3 provincially-inspected poultry processing facilities in Manitoba, so the reality for many small flock farmers is that uninspected processing and direct farm marketing are the easiest way to the get the product to market. Uninspected processing means that the chickens are processing on farm or are processing at a MB health licensed facility that is not visited on kill days by an inspector (similar to a commercial kitchen or restaurant). With an increasing demand for pasture-raised chickens and other specialty poultry products there is a continued need for processing facilities including government inspected, non inspected licensed facilities and on farm processing.

If you want more information regarding how to sell your uninspected poultry products you can look at both the Public Health Act and the Livestock and Livestock Products Act (Poultry Products Regulations). Here is some general information:

* Uninspected birds can only be sold direct from producer to consumer

* If you want to sell your poultry (chickens and turkeys) for resale (to a retailer or restaurant) they need to be processed in a government inspected facility (list of inspected facilities)

* The sale of uninspected chicken must occur between the producer of the produts in question and the consumer (see terms) at a place other than a public market or retail store. The sale can happen either on the farm or the arrangements for delivery can be made prior to the delivery date.

* Uninspected birds should be labeled as such with the name and address of the producer

* You can advertise you uninspected birds on your website or elsewhere but any advertisement must clearly state that the birds are not government inspected

Source: Public Health C.C.S.M.c. P210 26(1)(2)(3) The Livestock and Livestock Products Act C.C.S.M.c.L170 7(2)

Cows/Beef

  1. What do cows eat?
  2. Where can I find an inspected meat processing facility?

Q. What do cows eat?

Cows are ruminants, meaning they have four stomachs and end up breaking down and regurgitating their feed several times. Because of this, their bodies digest forages (grasses and legumes) most efficiently, yet they are able to consume grains like corn or barley. Some farmers choose to feed their cows grain because it has been associated with a higher growth rate and thus a shorter time until the cow is ready to be processed into beef. Some farmers choose to feed their cows only forages and may classify their beef as "grain-free" which means that the cow has not been fed grains for the majority of its life.

Q. Where can I find an inspected meat processing facility?

There are several inspected facilities in Manitoba that slaughter beef, goat, pork, sheep and bison. The full list of these abattoirs can be found here and can be organized by type of meat processed.

Dairy

  1. Why is it so difficult to find raw milk?
  2. How does the term ‘organic’ apply to organic milk?

Q. Why is it so difficult to find raw milk?

It is illegal for anybody - even someone who is not managing a registered dairy farm - to give away or sell unpasteurized milk (raw milk) that comes from a cow that is in their care. A dairy farmer puts their business at a huge risk if they sell or distribute raw milk to anyone except his/her family.

All dairy production in Manitoba is regulated by provincial law that every registered dairy producer must abide by. One principle of milk production under this law is pasteurization, which is the process of increasing the temperature of the milk to a point at which certain microorganisms and bacteria - those considered by some to cause spoilage or disease - are destroyed. 

Q. How does the term ‘organic’ apply to organic milk?

Organic milk means that everything that contributes to the health of a cow used for production must be certified organic. This includes feed, bedding and any supplements given to increase mineral and/or nutrient levels. To learn more about organic milk production in Manitoba, visit the Manitoba Organic Milk website.

Direct Farm Marketing

  1. What does it mean when someone says a product can only be purchased/sold from the ‘farm gate’?

Q. What does it mean when someone says a product can only be purchased/sold from the ‘farm gate’?

The term ‘farm gate’ is commonly used to refer to the sale of a product direct from the producer to the consumer. More literally the term has been used to mean that customers must pick up products directly from the farm in order for it to be a ‘farm gate sale’. The term, while it is often used, does not appear in the Public Health Act C.C.S.M.c. P210 or The Livestock and Livestock Products Act C.C.S.M.c.L170. Rather, the acts simply refer to the direct transaction between the producer and consumer. A ‘farm gate’ sale then means a sale to the consumer from the producer at a place other than a public market or retail outlet (C.C.S.M.c.L170 7(2), meaning that items deemed permitted as a ‘farm gate sale’ are food items that can be sold and delivered direct from producer to consumer.

Eggs

  1. How can one purchase eggs directly from a farm?

Q. How can one purchase eggs directly from a farm?

All eggs that are sold to the public through restaurants, in grocery stores and at farmer’s markets must be ‘graded’ in an inspected facility, which means that each egg is washed and organized by size and quality. Ungraded eggs can only be sold to consumers by farm gate sale (see definition above).

You can find graded eggs through Nature’s Farm at the St. Norbert Farmer’s Market.

Farmer's Markets

  1. Do products sold at a farmer's market have to be made in a commercial kitchen?

Q. Do products sold at a farmer's market have to be made in a commercial kitchen?

Not necessarily. Although farmers markets are still regulated by provincial health inspectors, vendors are able to produce items on the accepted food list (generally higher acidity foods) easily and safely in their own homes. However, there are other foods that need to be made in a commercial kitchen to be sold at a farmer's market or elsewhere. Value-added products sold in a commercial retail store must be processed in an approved commercial kitchen. Items bought at the 'farm gate' are at the discretion of the consumer. See the full list of accepted and potentially hazardous goods on the Manitoba Farmers Market guidelines, here.

Meat Processing

  1. Can farmers slaughter their animals themselves?
  2. What is the difference between provincially- and federally-inspected abattoirs?

Q. Can farmers slaughter their animals themselves?

Farmers are allowed to slaughter and butcher any of their animals themselves, however, the meat must then be consumed by only the farmer and his/her family. With the exception of chickens that are labeled as "uninspected" and sold directly to consumers (see Chickens), animals that are slaughtered on-farm - by the farmer or by a third party - are not allowed to be sold to the public. Meat that is sold directly to a consumer by a farm of any size must be slaughtered (killed) and butchered (cut up) at provincially-inspected facilities.

Q. What is the difference between provincially- and federally-inspected abattoirs?

Provincially-inspected facilities - including abattoirs and butcher shops - provide animal processing services that contribute to local products that can then be sold only within the province. Due to the lack of these facilities available in Manitoba, small farmers often accumulate high transportation costs traveling the distance from the farm to the abattoir, and then from the abattoir to the butcher shop. For a full list of provincial abattoirs in Manitoba, click here.

Federally-inspected facilities often provide both processing and butchering services that contribute to products that can be sold both within the province and across provincial borders. As of 2014, there are no federally-inspected abattoirs in Manitoba. 

Pigs/Pork

  1. What kinds of cuts can you get from one pig?
  2. What type of diet does a pig require?

Q. What kinds of cuts can you get from one pig?

Pigs are butchered by the half, so it is easier to view the number of cuts within one half.

Here is the break-down of the main cuts within one half:

15 lbs. pork chops (about 20 pork chops) 

3 lbs. ribs (usually in one package) 

8 lbs. side bacon (in 1 lb. packages)

5 lbs. butt roast or steaks (2-3 lbs. each)

10 lbs. shoulder roast or steaks (3 roasts @ ~3 lbs. each) 
15 lbs. leg roast or ham (5 hams @ 3 lbs. each) 
10 lbs. ground pork
5 lbs. stew bones for soup

Q. What type of diet does a pig require?

Like humans, pigs need well-balanced diets that include sources of protein, carbohydrates and vitamins. The most common sources of protein used commercially are soy meal and canola meal, which are often the lowest in cost. An alternative source of protein to soy or canola is peas. Common sources of energy used on all scales of agriculture include corn, wheat, barley and milo (grain sorghum). These sources are only a few examples of where each of these dietary requirements can be found.

Terminology

  1. What is a CSA?
  2. What are microgreens?
  3. How is ‘grass-fed’ defined by this directory?
  4. What does ‘home-milled feed’ mean?
  5. What is the difference between ‘grass-fed’ and ‘pastured’?
  6. What is the difference between 'free-range' and 'free-run'?
  7. How is ‘hydroponically-grown’ defined by directory members?
  8. How is ‘biodynamic agriculture’ defined by directory members?
  9. What are the implications of a farmer using the term ‘organic’?
  10. What does it mean when a meat product is 'organic'?
  11. How is 'consumer' defined by the government?
  12. How is 'poultry' defined by the government?
  13. How is a 'public market' defined by the government?
  14. How is 'ungraded eggs' defined by government?

Q. What is a CSA?

CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture,” a term used to describe a producer-consumer relationship shaped by terms are that arranged before the growing season begins. A member of a CSA program is sometimes referred to as a “shareholder,” which refers to the trust-based relationship between the consumer and the producer. A shareholder will pay the farmer a set price - which may vary depending on the size of the share - in the spring in order to receive a box of fresh vegetables each week for a set number of weeks. For example, a member could pay for a Full size box of vegetables - typically able to feed a family of 4 - for a 15-week period. The member would then be responsible for picking up his/her box each week at their CSA’s pick-up location. CSA programs range in length from 12-20 weeks, and can happen over the spring, summer, fall or winter. Some CSA farms will deliver directly to the doorstep of each of their customers while others will drop off their CSA boxes at one or more locations for all of their customers to pick-up their boxes from. To learn more about CSAs in Manitoba, visit the CSA Manitoba website.

Q. What are microgreens?

Microgreens are seedlings that range in height between 1/2" to 2" or once the first true leaves begin to emerge. They are used like sprouts, as a garnish, to mix into a salad or to sprinkle over entrees. Microgreens are produced from a wide variety of different plants and can vary dramatically in colour and flavour, but all are incredibly flavourful and are packed with vitamins! To find microgreens in Manitoba, check out Braman’s Greens.

Q. How is ‘grass-fed’ defined by this directory?

The term ‘grass-fed’ refers mainly to what an animal eats throughout its life, although can have other implications with regards to any treatments that the animal is given. The term is most commonly used to describe a ruminant (four-chambered stomach animal) - such as a cow, sheep, goat or bison - that has only been fed grasses and forages, even up until the day that it is slaughtered. To learn more about how this term applies to other areas of raising cattle under this label, visit the Manitoba Grass-Fed Beef Association website. Not all members of Small Farms Manitoba who sell grass-fed beef are part of the Association but are open to sharing about their farming practices and values.

Q. What does ‘home-milled feed’ mean?

Some small farmers choose to mill their own feed. This means that the farmer is acquiring various grains, legumes and minerals in bulk and then milling each of them to the desired texture. This also requires the farmer to create a ration that provides a balanced feed for their animals. The levels of each the protein, minerals and energy in the feed will depend on the age, breed and size of the animal, so the farmer must use rations that they trust and have taken time to perfect.

Q. What is the difference between ‘grass-fed’ and ‘pastured’?

Grass-fed refers to what an animal eats (grass) and pasture-raised refers to where an animal eats (on a pasture). Most grass-fed animals are pasture-raised but not all pasture-raised animals are grass-fed. Pastured animals live on pasture but are not necessarily grass-fed because they cannot survive on grass alone. For the most part, pastured is used only to describe chickens and pigs, and grass-fed is used only to describe cows, sheep or goats (ruminants). Chickens and pigs are monogastric animals (single-chambered stomach), meaning they will eat a variety of foods - including a little bit of grass - but do not digest cellulose and therefore require supplemental feed (grain). Cows, sheep and goats are ruminant animals (four-chambered stomach) and thus can live off of grasses and forages alone.

Q. What is the difference between 'free-range' and 'free-run'?

‘Free-run’ and ‘free-range’ are terms used to describe the type of housing that is provided for the animals producing a certain product. These terms are most commonly used to label products such as chicken and eggs, although can be used for practically any animal product. ‘Free-run’ refers to animals that are allowed the ability to move freely inside of a building - as opposed to being kept in cages - and are not given access to the outdoors. For example, all Canadian broiler chickens are ‘free-run’ because they are housed on commercial barn floors. ‘Free-range’ refers to animals that are provided with the opportunity to live or to spend time outdoors, yet there does not need to be grass or soil present in order to make this possible. For example, ‘free-range’ laying hens may be housed in a building that has an outdoor run, which the hens can access by means of a small door. Animals other than chickens that are described as being ‘free-range’ are almost always raised outside, yet, again, there does not need to be grass or soil present in order to make this possible.

Q. How is ‘hydroponically-grown’ defined by directory members?

Hydroponics literally means “water working” but, in practical use, it means growing plants in a nutrient solution without soil. A hydroponic system provides everything - minerals, nutrients and a growing base - that is required for plant growth, yet does not use any soil. From its very beginnings as a seed, a plant grown in a hydroponic system will receive all of its nutrients from water-based mechanisms such as sponge trays. To learn more about an active hydroponic system in Manitoba, visit Neva Hydroponics.

Q. How is ‘biodynamic agriculture’ defined by directory members?

Biodynamic agriculture is an approach to producing food that has a strong emphasis on simultaneously enhancing life within nature. Farmers that practice biodynamic agriculture develop their own individual identities for their farms and work to create self-containing, resilient ecosystems on their land. Biodynamic principles are based on an understanding of the relationships between all aspects of a certain ecosystem. For example, a biodynamic farm may consider an adjacent forest a part of its identity and thus will include its needs as they relate to the farm’s activities.

Q. What are the implications of a farmer using the term ‘organic’?

In Manitoba, the Organic Agricultural Products Act ensures that any product that is labelled as 'organic' is certified by a third party organic certifier (i.e - OPAM) using official Organic Standards. Manitoba organic farmers lobbied for this law to ensure that customers who buy organic can be sure that they are getting exactly what they are expecting. This means that farmers who have not certified their farm under Organic Standards are not allowed to sell products from it using the term 'organic.'

Q. What does it mean when a meat product is 'organic'?

A meat product that is labeled as ‘organic’ is coming from an animal that is 100% certified organic, which means that at no point has that animal received antibiotics, hormones or steroids. It also means that the animal has been fed throughout its entire life only certified organic feed - including grain, hay, grasses and supplements - and any bedding that it is provided with is also approved by organic standards.

Q. How is 'consumer' defined by the government?

A “consumer” means a person who uses farm products as food for him/herself and his/her household and not for resale

Q. How is 'poultry' defined by the government?

'Poultry' does not include any bird or species that is usually considered or known as game bird species or a wild bird species not withstanding that the bird is, or has been raised, in captivity for sale as food

Q. How is a 'public market' defined by the government?

A 'public market' refers to a place where more than two persons sell agricultural products that have been produced or raised by them

Q. How is 'ungraded eggs' defined by government?

The term “ungraded eggs” refers to eggs in containers which are not marked with a grade name as provided under the Federal Act.

Value-Added Products

  1. Where can I find a commercial kitchen?
  2. What is a 'value-added product'?
  3. Are value-added products purchased directly from farmers safe to eat?
  4. I've seen 'Pomona's Universal Pectin' listed on the ingredient labels of some jams and jellies. What is 'Pomona's Pectin"?

Q. Where can I find a commercial kitchen?

There are many commercial kitchens across Manitoba, located in community centres, churches, businesses and even on farms. These kitchens can often be rented for a fee, ranging from $50-$200 per day.

Commercial kitchens are inspected and approved by representatives of Manitoba Health, a list of whom can be found here. To learn more about establishing a commercial kitchen, read the guidelines provided by Manitoba Health.

Q. What is a 'value-added product'?

Value-added products are raw agricultural products that have had their value increased by processing or enhancing that product in some way. Examples include: making local fruit into jams or jellies, making hot sauce out of local hot peppers, or making grain into flour. Making and selling value-added products from raw products produced on their farm is one way that farmers can increase their profit margin, and many consumers appreciate the delicious (often ready-to-eat) food products that are offered!

Q. Are value-added products purchased directly from farmers safe to eat?

Generally, anyone who is creating a value-added product, whether it is in their own kitchen for sale at a farmers market, or in a commercial kitchen for commercial sales, are aware that they must follow health and safety food regulations in order to offer a safe and quality food product to the consumer. When it comes to canning, this knowledge is often passed down through generations, acquired at canning workshops led by licensed practitioners, or can be learned safely at home with the guidance of resource books and/or the internet. Even at a farmers market, all value-added food products are required to be labelled with the product ingredients, the date produced, and the name and contact information of the farmer or person who made the product. The great thing about buying directly from farmers is that you can always ask them a question about the way it was produced, and they would be more than happy to share that information.

Small farmers are passionate about food - about growing/raising it, harvesting it, and of course, cooking and eating it (and providing it to others to enjoy). If a small farmer has gone to the extra effort of adding value to their agricultural product, it is likely to be a quality, delicious product, because the farmer has intimate knowledge of that food and has great ideas on how it can be enjoyed in many different ways. Within the already-busy farming lifestyle, it can take significant time and energy to process and market value-added products. Many people looking to buy local food also have busy lives, and appreciate the added value and convenience of a product such as this, that the farmer or processor has taken such care to create and share!

Q. I've seen 'Pomona's Universal Pectin' listed on the ingredient labels of some jams and jellies. What is 'Pomona's Pectin"?

Pomona's Universal Pectin is a unique type of pectin (used for making jams and jellies set) made of 100% pure citrus pectin. It is also composed of calcium powder, which activates the pectin. One of the special advantages of using this type of pectin, as opposed to the regular brands, is that low-sugar or alternate sweeteners such as honey can be used. (It is very difficult to have jams & jellies set properly without using copious amounts of sugar, using regular pectin.) Products made with Pomona's Pectin are sometimes priced higher, because the pectin is more expensive for the producer to purchase. Find more information about Pomona’s Pectin here.