Grazing Days is a family-run farm in the community of St.-André-Avellin, Quebec.
Grazing Days sells quality grass-fed Angus beef, pastured pork, and pastured chicken by direct delivery in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. On this page we cover how we farm, who we are, why we farm, a bit of farm history, and how to contact us.
How We Raise our Animals
At Grazing Days Farm we raise our cows, chickens, and pigs in a way that's humane and respectful of animal well-being, rejuvenates our soils and aquifers, and builds stronger communities.
Our cattle eat grass and live outside. Using different holistic grazing techniques, we mimic natural herd migration patterns with our cattle to give our livestock a steady supply of nutrient-dense grass and plenty of room to move around. This helps them grow and stay healthy, while increasing biodiversity on our farm and building carbon and nutrients in our soil—and it produces great-tasting and nutritious beef. Our cattle are exclusively grass-fed during the summer months, and we supplement their diet with hay (dried grass) and haylage (fermented grass) during the winter months.
Similarly, our pigs are pastured*: they live outside and they're free to roam and root through the soil. We move them from pasture to pasture to keep the animals clean and the soils healthy. This helps our pigs grow and stay healthy, while increasing biodiversity on our farm and building carbon and nutrients in our soil—and it produces great-tasting and nutritious pork.
In collaboration with Kemptville Chicks, a farm that raises non-certified organic pastured chickens, Grazing Days is able to offer pastured chickens to our customers.The chickens are also pastured*: they're outside and free to roam in search of grubs and graze the pastures. We appreciate Kemptville Chicks' commitment to organic feeding: many conventional chicken feeds, even though they may be free from animal by-products, contain GMO corn and soy. Also, while most small chicken farms fence off a small area of pasture for the chickens and then move them regularly (like we do with the cattle), this farm has an entire 2-acre pasture dedicated to the chickens in which the chickens are free to roam. To manage the grass and to prevent the chickens from doing damage to the pasture, they move the coop to a fresh part of the pasture on a regular basis.
*Note: Since pigs and chickens have different digestive tracts than cattle, they cannot survive on grass alone so we supplement their diets with certified organic grain (free from antibiotics, growth hormones and animal by-products). We also feed them non-GMO spent grains from a local brewery and whey from a local cheese maker whenever these are available. This helps us capture nutrients for our livestock and fertility for our farm that would otherwise be destined for the landfill or the ocean.
We sell our meat using subscriptions through a community shared agriculture model (CSA, sometimes called community-supported agriculture). Check out our Subscriptions page to learn more.
About Our Practices
We do not use artificial hormones to help our animals gain weight. Our animals mature and grow slowly, leading to a better balance of nutrients in the meat and a delicious taste.
No antibiotics: We believe disease prevention is better than a cure. Through proper management of our herd, we decrease the disease pressure and increase the animal’s natural resistance.
- We follow organic protocols, but we can't yet certify our meat organically: there is currently no supply of certified-organic calves or certified-organic hay in the quantities that we need within a viable distance of the farm.
About the Farmers
Grazing Days is owned and operated by Paul Slomp and Josée Cyr-Charlebois.
Paul has loved working with cattle and soils since his early days on his family’s farm first in the Netherlands, and then in Rimbey, Alberta. His love mathematics and science led him to study civil engineering. The diverse puzzles found on ecological farms brought him to work with diverse smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and later in the local food sovereignty movement back in Canada. When he isn’t with the herd moving fences or engineering a new winch system for feeding whey to the pigs, you can find Paul planning new play structures with two very excited young farm kids.
Josée grew up in suburbia, as a kid who loved to ride bikes and write books. Her love of social puzzles landed her in some universities to study sociology and feminism. She’s worked in community health centres, resources centres, Parliament Hill, and a few research institutes, writing and coordinating projects. She leads the farm’s community development endeavours, social media presence, and farm kid picture taking. When she steals away for solo farm time, you can find her in her vegetable patch or chatting up the laying hens.
Why We Farm
We farm because we believe a better food system is possible. When you purchase grass-fed meats from Grazing Days you help us share a better way to eat. Our meat is good for:
Grass-fed beef is high in healthy Omega-3 and Omega-6, Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), Beta-Carotene, and Vitamin E — reducing the risk of cardio-vascular disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes onset, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Proper grazing improves the health of our soils, protects our streams, rivers and aquifers, sequesters carbon, and is an effective way to harvest solar energy.
Being connected to a local farm creates ways to learn, to meet others who care about their food, and to improve our food system.
Local, small-scale farmers know how to collaborate — not just compete — to provide more nutritious food for our communities, create employment, and support local businesses.
Grazing Days started in 2010, on 40 acres of rented pasture in Manotick Station, ON, with 14 Angus beef yearlings. By 2013, we had 40 Angus beef yearlings on 65 acres.
In 2014 we purchased our own 100 acre farm in St-André-Avellin, QC, and rented an additional 170 acres. We purchased 45 mother cows to start breeding our own 1-year-old animals. We sold the meat from 40 Angus beef yearlings that year.
In 2015 we raised 40 Angus beef yearlings again, and added 20 pigs. In the fall we purchased a second 100-acre farm, bringing the farm holdings to 200 acres, plus an additional 170 acres of rented land.
We finished 40 Angus beef cattle in 2016 (born on the farm in 2014), and raised 40 pigs on pasture.
In 2017, we launched an incubator project to share our infrastructure with a start-up farm: Rooted Oak began growing vegetables on our land. We expanded the mother cow herd to 75 cows, and raised 55 yearling beef cattle and 60 pigs on pasture.
So far in 2018:
- We've launched a partnership with Kemptville Chicks to raise 1000 non-certified organic pastured chickens on our behalf.
- Rooted Oak continues to grow vegetables on our farm.
- We expanded the mother cow herd to 110 cows. We have 70 yearling beef cattle and 70 pigs on pasture this year.
- We also managed to purchase 85 acres of the 170 acres that we previously rented, bringing the farm to 285 acres, plus an additional 85 acres of rented land.
- We intend to sell our meat to about 500 households in Ottawa-Gatineau this year.
If you have any questions or concerns and would like to get in touch with us, please contact Paul or Josée:
mail: 567 rang Ste. Julie Est, St.-André-Avellin, QC, J0V 1W0