Feeding your family like our own

Welcome to our Farm!

We are a family farm dedicated to providing naturally slow grown animals free of antibiotics and hormones to feed your family as we do our own. With sustainability as our focus we consistently strive to support community initiatives, be responsible land stewards and take every opportunity to educate and share our passion for raising healthy animals. We are able to ultimately respect them by finding ways to use the entire animal when they graciously hand themselves over. We are privileged to be the 4th generation of Harrison’s growing good food and maintaining a way of life in Canadian Agriculture.


For The Meat-A-Holics

As many of you may have guessed, my family loves meat. We love it so much that my dad insists upon having some with every meal! It is here where the question must be asked, is there ever point where there is too much meat??
A couple of weeks ago we were celebrating a family birthday, and the best way to celebrate? With meat of course! This was indeed a special occasion, for the birthday meal requested was a pizza. But not just any ol’ pizza, it was decreed that it shall be… The ‘Meatzza’. That’s right, a pizza made entirely out of meat! The idea originally stemmed from a youtube video, “Meatzza”, by Epic Meal Time. [Catch the original masterpiece here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYhDthbBrrU (It does contain some mature content)]
Gathering all of our resources, we put this idea to life! We began with our ground beef base (3lbs) mixed with our Special Rub. We left them to bake on our stone pans in the oven, meanwhile taking on the challenge of cooking the bacon strips (and bacon strips, and bacon strips, and bacon strips), grilling the sausages and preparing the other ingredients. Another great way to bake the ground beef bases is on stone pan on the BBQ! (You may have to adjust cooking times.) Instead of using an entire sausage as the crust, we cut them in half length-wise. Just for your knowledge, we used Pork Fine Herb sausages; we found the flavouring was a nice compliment.

Adding the final layer of cheese

Adding the final layer of cheese

After applying the ‘crust’ we then covered the ground beef base with our tomato & fine herb sausage sauce. Veering farther away from the original we used the meat from braising ribs to add to the meatzza, rather than the Flank Steak. We added the chopped up bacon strips to the mix too. Then came the cheese, “’Cause this is Pizza!” We used a Tamiskaing cheese from Thornloe. And last, but certainly not least came the pepperoni and the last dab of cheese.

The Final Product

The Final Product

The result? A fantastic, flavourful, and extremely filling meal. The whole family enjoyed the Meatzza and not a scrap was left over! For anyone that needs a different, fun meal, try out your own versions of the Meatzza! Happy Eating!

Enjoying the Meatzza

Enjoying the Meatzza

Poor Adele

It seems that bullying is a massive problem these days, you hear about it when you get together with friends and it rears its head almost daily when something tragic is splashed across the media, a devastating result of bullying. We all know someone who has been impacted if in fact it hasn’t touched our own lives personally.
It is a horrific act large or small and it is rampant. While you probably know the issue plagues our young people, thanks to the anonymous veil of the internet and social media, but the issue is not uncommon with adults and even our vulnerable elderly as well. Let’s face it even though as adults we know better, we too unfortunately fall into the role as the bully; be it shouting from the bleachers at a kid’s sports event or simply by not allowing a car to merge in front of us followed by an assortment of hand gestures. Though I try hard, sadly I too have fallen into that role. These behaviours affect our animal world here on the farm too. With different personalities and pecking orders unfortunately the meek are prey for when establishing who the top dog (or sow) is. P1350307aa
We only have 6 sows, a rather small number, and these girls all have names and personalities to match. Working closely with the girls each day I have had the pleasure to form and nourish relationships so when pigging time arrives I am a welcome helping hand. After the mom has given her best to the piggies she is rewarded with a sabbatical to regroup and regenerate with the other moms. For some it is a kick up the heels event (kind of like finishing up breast feeding) and for others they have a difficult time adjusting. Adele was one such sow, a first time mom that gave her all and did a great job with her 8 piglets. The day we moved her to her new home, within an hour she fell victim to bullying from 3 other sows. We broke up a nasty situation with great effort and sat pondering just what we could do for this 375 lb. dolly. Adele was near death after being held down, trampled and bitten by the other sows to the point of not even being able to hold her own weight and stand. In a conventional barn these injuries would have been too substantial and deemed not economical to fix. The only reason we can think of is the other sows sensed her withdrawn state having just been separated from her piglets. Was she confused so to speak, showing separation anxiety as she tried to adjust to this massive change that had recently occurred? Do animals get depressed? Do these animals fall prey to bullies just as people do? I am not a pig, nor do I speak swine so we will never understand what really happened. I do know what when we found her she was in a sad state, clearly beaten down and felt pretty much like giving up. She had been bitten and had large bites and scrapes from her attackers that are too horrible to describe or show. Astounding for ladies that know one another and had always gotten along. Needlessly bullied. After great pains and a few pulled muscles we got her to back safely into the barn where she was visibly shaken, her chatter was agitated and almost desperate.P1350322aa She could not stand and seemed to struggle just to find comfort as we started to clean her up and address her injuries. It may sound odd, some of you may say “it’s just a pig” but with healing hands, comforting words, some extra attention and a peaceful environment we healed this poor Adele and eventually under a watchful eye reintroduced her to the other sows. Obscenities flew but no one threw the first punch. All appears well to this day.
The whole incident brought home the question yet again; why does bullying have to even happen? Do we really instinctually seek out and try to destroy mammals that are different, weak or troubled? I know the whole (do on to others) circle of life thing…. Only the strong survive, etc. etc., but why does it seem that mammals easily prey on those that are already hurting? Is it because their weakness disgusts us or are the weak inferior? Or are we afraid that exposure to weakness will bring out the weakness in ourselves? It’s a thinking subject for sure, makes me stand back, take a deep breath and pray for patience and understanding for those in life that are different or down.P1350321aa

Fire Up the BBQ

good burger
Then as you take your first bite the burger explodes with flavor and a small bit of juice escapes onto your chin.
Yes…BBQ season is back, despite Mother Nature. Our calendars say it is so!
So to have this mouth watering experience in the picture you must visit http://www.richmondstation.ca, or the restaurant and order chef Carl Heinrick’s signature burger. In the meantime fire up the Barbie!
Here at Dingo Farms we are extremists with the grill, we grill year-round. We don’t mind bundling up in front of the grill many nights a week to inorder to savour the flavor.
To add to your grilling pleasure we are pleased to offer our new BBQ griller package of pork and beef. Just a nice sampler of steak, porkchops, sausage and burger. But don’t stop there, shake it up a little this season and try a ½ ground pork/ ½ ground beef burger for a juicy twist. Better yet if you’ve never tried fresh Ontario Lamb see what a ½ ground lamb / ½ ground beef burger chef’s up like. Surprise the kids; they might surprise you by liking it. Toss in some Dingo spice (recipe available on http://www.facebook.com/dingofarms) or free at our store, and enjoy a new flavor experience.
Our personal favorite way to grill these burgers is to get the grill good and hot, sear the burger 3-4 minutes per side (resist the urge to flatten the burger and squish all that good juice out!). Then lower the temp of the BBQ to medium and cook to desired doneness, experts say internal temp. of 170°. We enjoy our Traeger Smoker (www.traegercanada.com) but it works equally as well on a propane grill such as napoleon (www.napoleongrills.com). For those foodie’s in the know wanting the ultimate experience I hear that the Big Green Egg grill is killer! (www.Biggreenegg.ca ).
As always safety first when resurrecting the BBQ from the depths of its winter hideaway. For tips on getting your bbq ready to grill visit http://www.toronto.ca/fire/prevention/safebarbecuing.htm.
If convenience is more your thing our boxed burgers are back in convenient small 3lb boxes ready for the grill. Perhaps a juicy new “Filler-Free” Sausage is in order for a quick lunch or dinner? That’s right “filler-free” means nothing but meat. Try swapping a “hot dog” out for a Filler Free sausage for those hard to please, yet to be foodies?
A little tired of the “let’s just have pizza tonight” line? Make it a family cook night. Make your own pizza using Dingo Farms selection of cured meats, pepperoni, keilbassa, summer sausage or smoked sausages. Oh and don’t forget your favorite veggies!
Make your own dough in a bread maker or use a prepared flat bread/pita or prepared crust, add your favorite toppings and use a pizza stone on the BBQ!
Too much right? My excitement for BBQ is taking over, while writing this, if you couldn’t tell.
Check out this site for step by step how-to’s with Chef Jamie Oliver (http://www.jamieoliver.vom/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=245743)
Since it’s easier and economical to plan meals with some stock in the freezer, check out our beef and pork packages. Sample a variety of cuts at a great price. Watch our facebook for our favorite BBQ recipes using cuts from the packages.
So visit us at http://www.facebook.com/dingofarms for great ideas, recipes, offers and promotions and just to hear what exciting is going on at the farm.
To get you started today check out the amazing marinade below.
An amazing marinade
• 1/3 cup soy sauce,
• 1/2 cup olive oil,
• 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice,
• 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce,
• 1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder,
• 6 tbsp fresh basil chopped fine OR 3 tbsp dried basil,
• ½ cup fresh parsley chopped fine OR 1 1/2 tbsp dried parsley flakes,
• 1 tsp ground pepper,
• 1 tsp minced garlic

Honest Goodness? Click on the images to see the sales pitch

ani•trite noun \ˈnī-ˌtrīt\ 1: a salt or ester of NITROUS acid

adjective \ˈä-nəst\
1: free from fraud or deception: legitimate, truthful, genuine, real, humble, and plain
2: reputable, respectable, good, worthy
3: creditable, praiseworthy
4: marked by integrity
: marked by free, forthright, and sincere expression

adjective \tran(t)s-ˈper-ənt\
1: fine or sheer enough to be seen through
2: free from pretence or deceit
3: easily detected or seen through, readily understood
4: characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices

I think we all understand the purpose of dramatic packaging (marketing, marketing marketing). The graphics, the wording, it all plays a key part in selling a product or service. There are even people out there whose soul job is market evaluation and making a product more saleable then the competition. They even hold focus groups that rate everything from a products name and colouring on the package to the font used and logo design. It’s important I get it, but all the hype and strategy shouldn’t deceive the consumer about the product inside.
So I was very curious when my youngest and I were out shopping recently and he came across some beef jerky that he just had have. The front label touted the key word “clean” and the back label clearly stated it was “organic grass fed beef jerky with no Nitrites added”
Now “Z” is a beef jerky connboisseur and has made beef jerky his snack of choice since he was about a year and a half old. I am concerned as all moms are about what is in the products that I feed my kids, especially the ones that they want to eat all the time. I stand behind the products that Dingo Farms produces and I know there is a small amount of nitrites in Dingo Farms Beef Jerky….there has to be, the nitrites give the product some shelf life and more importantly prevent the formation of botulism. It does add somewhat to the flavouring as well because it is basically salt. Now as I read the back of the package there was one item on the ingredients list that immediately caught my attention “cultured celery powder” Now here is the thing; celery as a fresh vegetable has one of the highest naturally occurring nitrate numbers out there as are spinach, beets, radishes and cabbages. Surprised?, I was when I started reading. On an average 10 % of our nitrite exposure is from cured meats and 90% naturally occurring from vegetables. Now don’t panic, you don’t have to live on nuts, fruit and beer, remember moderation and awareness!. So what happens to those naturally occurring nitrates when you process cultured celery to a powder? Because I am not a chemist I came home and researched, in fact I invite you to do the same.

What I found in my opinion is a clear lack of transparency and honesty by any  Marketing team  or producer  who markets their product under the guise of natural, nitrate free, nitrite free and no preservatives when in fact the cultured celery powder is a nitrate and acts as a preservative (and is equally harmful).  It does what sodium nitrites have done for years under the pretence that it is a healthier alternative when in fact it isn’t.  For the most part the nitrates in cultured celery powered tend to be far more concentrated then the amount used in our beef jerky. And if you continue reading most sources say nitrites are not the health risk they are made out to be if they like everything out there are consumed in moderation.  Bananas are a healthy snack and a great source of many vitamins and nutrients the body can benefit from but a diet rich in bananas would be a diet high in potassium and too much potassium can lead to heart damage and cardiac arrest. Get what I am saying?c

While manufactures seemingly make it easy to make the right choices food wise, really the onus is on the consumer to read and understand  (and continually educate themselves) and sadly when I did ask at the store no one was able to refute the misleading packaging on the beef jerky “Z” was hoping to eat.  So I wanted to compare this premium product with a product I already know and love and here is what I found…

The beef jerky in the store was marketing itself as a premium product worth a premium price.  The “nitrite free beef jerky” was almost $3.00 more for a portion that was considerably smaller then the beef jerky sold at Dingo Farms even though they were the same by weight. It was bloated with oil and gummy rather then that well cured (dryer) texture I prefer. Not to mention the over the top packaging some market genius  thought of (does not scream sustainable to me).  I admit the packaging of the Dingo Farms beef jerky isn’t pretty, but we are working on that, but I can promise when we do pretty it up, it won’t be excessive. The products at Dingo Farms along with the packaging are genuine and well thought through.  We prefer the product to speak for itself and our ingredients are honest and transparent. What does our Beef Jerky package say? Naturally grown beef and minimal nitrites.

Now if you truly want to know what is in your beef jerky, come grab a round roast and  then pop over to our Facebook  and look in our recipe folder for our homemade beef jerky recipe. You’ll see it still has the salt, but at least you can choose.

Here are some links that we found enlightening                                                                  http://www.good.is/posts/your-nitrite-free-meats-are-full-of-nitrites/  http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/nutrition/DJ0974.html        http://ruhlman.com/2011/05/the-no-nitrites-added-hoax/          http://m.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/ottawa-mulls-new-labelling-rules-for-natural-deli-meats/article558784/?service=mobile  


Fall….Its that time of year when even though the sun is shining bright there is a brisk feeling to the days. Where we live the breezes are filled with the smell of onions drying and the cutting of fields and occasionally if the wind is just right at dusk you’ll be treated to the smell of a fireplace beginning to take the chill off the evening.   There is a hum of urgency all around. We farmers are no stranger to Old Man Winters frosty fingers, eager to change the morning dew to a shimmering frost.  I love fall, the smells, the sights, the colours, the feeling and of course the food.    We puImaget a lot of food by and I try to make jarring and pickling a family event.  There is something very rewarding about a pantry stocked with jars of the food you’ve grown. There’s something more to be said about cracking a jar open in the cold of March and the smells and colours of your garden in August flooding your senses. We can a lot as the foods come into season but the fall brings an abundance of veggies just begging to be preserved to serve another day.

Fall also means work and lots of it. The farm garden is big but the work there doesn’t compare to bringing in the harvest that will feed our animals through the winter. The work starts with the first light of the sun across the dewy grass and finishes only when Mother Nature draws her starry drapes across the dimming sky.  It’s quite a sight to see as all the tractors drone towards home, seeming almost as weary as the farmers who ride them. Image

Fall days call for a special kind of dinner. It has to be easy; no time can be wasted on fussy foods. It has to be able to cook itself….with the aid of a trusty slow cooker or slow roasting in the oven.  It has to be able to wait. The first plate may go out at 4pm to hungry kids heading for farm chores but the last plate for Dennis at 9pm has to be just as fresh tasting as the first. And last but not least it needs to replenish you body and soul, head to toe….soothing aches and warming toes, a good fall dinner should do all that.

One of my favourites for fall is meatloaf, yes meatloaf.  It’s been a staple in most families for generations and everyone has a recipe from Mom or Grandma. It’s so simple, so economical. A chameleon of sorts, you can start with virtually any kind of ground meat and take it in any direction you would like by varying the ingredients.  Traditional beef with fresh tomato sauce, try lamb, feta and spinach or delicious bacon wrapped pork meatloaf. I make a few at a time and pop them in the freezer but is easily made a day or so ahead of time and popped in the oven or whipped up an hour or so before you need to feed the family. And it’s simple enough for the kids to make if you’re tied up. It’s a hearty dinner served with potatoes or rice and a salad from the garden. And there is no mistaking the enjoyment that comes from a thick slice of meatloaf on a crusty bun with some garlic mayo for lunch the next day.  Although old fashioned meatloaf is considered an oven dish, we dare you to take it up a notch and cook your master piece on the BBQ. Again is looks after itself and there’s something to be said about the addition of those smoky bbq flavours. So when you’re raking up those fall leaves make up your favourite meatloaf recipe of try one of ours from below or at http://www.facebook.com/dingofarms  light up the bbq and pay homage to the passing summer, moving from burgers to warm your soul fall and winter dinner staples. I promise that the wonderful aroma of the meatloaf on the bbq will take you back and hopefully slow you and yours down enough to enjoy the beautiful fall season. No need to be afraid of ground meats when you know where it’s coming from

Easy and economical, it’s that simple

Bacon wrapped pork meatloaf and apple chutney    Image

Meatloaf Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • Leaves from 4 sprigs thyme (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup well-shaken low fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, freshly ground if you have it
  • 2 pounds Dingo Farms ground pork
  • 1 pound Dingo Farms pork sausage, removed from casing and broken up
  • 1 cup crushed saltine crackers (about 20)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 Dingo Farms double smoked bacon strips


Heat the oven to 400 degrees F and arrange a rack in the upper third. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.

Over medium heat add oil, onion, garlic and thyme and cook until soft

In a large bowl, add the eggs, buttermilk, mustard, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper. Whisk until the eggs are broken up and evenly combined. Add the onion mixture, ground pork, sausage, cracker crumbs, and parsley. Mix until thoroughly combined, do not over work the mixture.

Form the meat into a 9 by 5- inch loaf.  Arrange the bacon across the top of the loaf and bake until the internal temperature is 155 degrees F, on an instant-read thermometer, or about 55 to 65 minutes. Pop under broiler for about 5 additional minutes. Remove from the oven to a cutting board and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving. It is important to let the meatloaf rest so the juices aren’t lost all over your cutting board

Adapted from Aida Mollenkamp recipe on the food network


Apple Chutney Ingredients

  • 2 large tart cooking apples (such as green Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and choppedImage
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins (or dried cranberries would be good too!)
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice shopping list


Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 50 minutes. Uncover and simmer over low heat for a few minutes more to cook off excess liquid; let cool. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Camping and Cooking….Ahhhhh

With the end of July and beginning of August being the most popular summer vacation weeks we thought this is the perfect time to touch on food safety when you’re camping and we’ll also give you some camping recipes that are easy and delicious.

 I’ll start by saying I love camping. When I was young I remember my Nana and Grandpa taking me camping. The musty smell of that green canvas Coleman tent, my Grandpa in his undershirt and workpants, setting up the campsite.  As the hammer thumped the first peg into the ground you knew this was the beginning of a week of adventure.  It seemed like we traveled for hours to get to this magical place, when in fact they only took us to Musselman’s Lake in Stoufville a mere 30 minutes from where I grew up. I remember wandering the park as my grandparents worked fascinated by all the tents of various shapes and sizes. The “rich people” who had trailers and permanent sites with patios, flowers and patio lanterns. Oh how I loved those patio lanterns, even during the day you knew the promise they held for the night. The softest glowing light in a rainbow of colours and shapes. The little Tiki men, the traditional Chinese lantern shape, the tulips, sigh… how I coveted the tulip shaped lanterns. The pinks, mauves, yellows and turquoise. I was convinced my mom should buy me some so they could hang in my room year long.   Camping meant eating simple, my Nana wasn’t gourmet in the kitchen at home with all the gadgets to begin with and that blue metal Coleman cooler didn’t hold much but you knew when that old green Coleman stove got fired up the food would be good regardless. I can close my eyes as I type this and smell the bacon in the cast iron pot; I can hear the sizzle and sputter as the eggs drop in beside it. The whole campground smelled of bacon as the campers came to life and prepared for another day of adventure.  Lunch was on the go, that square slice of ham smeared with bright green relish on white, squished against the handle bars of my bike.  If I peddled fast enough I could let go of the handlebar and take a bite… it was heaven.  Dinners while camping, I honestly don’t remember, perhaps I rushed in, ate and was gone so quickly I really don’t know. But the campfires, I remember those. Everyone had a campfire, some under the glow of those beautiful patio lights, others I remember the flame dancing alone in the vast blackness of the night only occasionally revealing a glimpse of the campers around it.  Hotdogs were the norm and if you has been good a marshmallow or two then off to bed, on the best nights the warmth of the sleeping bag and the hum of the insects would lull you to sleep.  Life was good

Some years later my Grandparents bought a trailer and we would spend weeks at the lake. The big fridge in the new shed meant food was in good supply and small hibachi was replaced with a larger bbq. While breakfast and lunch stayed pretty much the same, dinners became memorable with steak and chops grilling, the savoury smoke mouth-watering.  Always eating now under the warm glow of our patio lanterns.

 Today 35 years later I love camping. We did the tent thing when the kids were little but quickly bought a tent trailer. And despite the fact we consider this roughing it we don’t go without.  Many a fellow camper has complimented us on our kitchen setup. Strangely the colours haven’t changed in 35 years, green Coleman stove and blue Coleman cooler or should I say coolers because there are usually 3, add to that the small fridge in the trailer, full size Bbq and you can begin to see… we eat well when we camp.

On average we camp for over 30 days between May and October and more often then not there are at least 3 other families camping too. The first trip a celebration of summers arrival and the last, usually a turkey dinner surrounded by good friends for Thanksgiving. The secret of successful cooking when camping is good tools. Invest in good coolers! http://campingwithgus.com/2011/04/03/camping-tips-pick-camping-cooler.   My pots are cast iron with the exception of the huge pot we deep-fry the turkey in.  My utensils are good quality and long handled so they easily transition from Bbq to open fire. Good long oven mitts…you need these when cooking with cast and many a night they have saved my arms from the fire when late night snacking.

More important then what you’re cooking with is the food you’re cooking with. Has it been safely prepared and stored?  I won’t pretend to know all the secrets but http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/consumer-centre/food-safety-tips/food-handling/picnicking-hiking-camping/eng/1329169559628/1329169688727 is the best link I have found for tips on safe food storage, handling and preparation.  Nothing is worth putting your family at risk, so take the time and do it right!

 As I mentioned we average 30 days of camping a year but the lengths and destinations vary. Last summer had us adventuring through Eastern Canada for just over 3 weeks; Thanksgiving was a short and sweet 3 days stay. But one thing never changes, the importance of food. From the cooler in the truck as we pull out of the driveway to sustain us enroute to the picnic tables pulled together sitting 17, food is an integral part of the festivities and part of creating the memories… Who doesn’t have a camping memory including food? I spend many a night before baking, chopping, marinating and such, in order to have convenience and efficiency while away. My ènroute`cooler is brimming with Dingo Farms jerky and cured meats chopped and sliced, in an assortment of flavours to satisfy everyone. Assorted cheeses and chopped veggies complete the package along with icy water to help keep things cool. But this isn’t just for the drive, this combination works amazing for other on the go activities like hiking and canoeing. If room is an issue (the kids never want to carry too much) a Ziploc bag with Dingo farms jerky and a bottle of water and the kids are set to go with no worries about food safety. I love that! Breakfast most days has to be a quick fix… who wants to wait around while mom cooks when there are adventures to be had.  Dinners are well planned in advanced yummy Dingo Farms meat.  Steaks, my favourite kebabs, marinated pork with humus and pita. Can’t forget the amazing burgers and if we are lucky some fresh fish.  Dinners are a chance to slowdown and share the day. The laughs and giggles. The special finds and secret trails. This is what memories are made of!  But what I love, my favourite part of camping is the camp fire. This is where the families gather, a communal fire with the promise of more good food and tales from the day and a story… I am famous for my stories. Bigfoot, aliens and spooky tales based on the local folklore are always favourites, the best stories are supported by camp rangers and have had quirky hints placed around the camp ground days prior to the telling of the dreaded tale.  As the tales unfold we comfort ourselves with food naturally. Smores, peanut butter cones and mini apple pies are favourites with the kids the adults crave a savoury fix. Jalapeños stuffed with cheese and bacon, taco bit or bacon, parm, jalapeno dip top the list of must haves.  Everyone retires peacefully content and the soft lull of the insects takes you to sleep.  These are the times that memories are made of… all the effort to organize and pack are worth it. Even as I type this I am bombarded by memories both from my childhood and as an adult with my own kids. These adventures not only shape your kids they shape you, remind you the importance of slowing down.  Slow down!

 For recipes and more camping tips visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/dingofarms

Where did the Blog go?

Where is the Blog???? Is that what you’ve been asking yourself?  We apologize. The farm as you may well imagine is a busy place, but there are a number of things that impact how a day, week or even a month play out. Some drastic and some just annoying like a 750lb boar that chooses the only day of rain in weeks to unhinge the gate and go for a joy ride around the farm amid the lightening and apocalyptic downpour.  I swore…. that he was smiling.  Some things like injuries can stop your day on a dime and unfortunately a lot of these things we have no control over since we work daily in a high risk environment.  And then there are the disasters like losing acres of land at harvest time to fire, a spark from a combine or a grass fire out of control.  This is life on the farm, for the most part all the surprises must be dealt with first and as many entrepreneurs we struggle to keep balanced between work and family. Not an easy task when the office is in the house, and there is no time clock in the barn or field, the cows just don’t get it!.  Perhaps this explains why making wine is a popular endeavour.  With a family of 7 too it presents some interesting days, between animals, kids and crops well a day off at least every 2 weeks or so is pretty important!. We are a farm family after all. We appreciate our customers respecting our no Sunday sales policy.

The time and chores necessary to keep our farm functioning can be at times a painstakingly slow wheel and even slower in 40 degree weather!.  Honestly hats off to everyone working outside this summer, even the animals!.  With few times of the year allowing for breaks we did take one after that crop saving rain on Sunday. The animals had an almost a peaceful expression as our world took a breath and soaked up moisture.  Unfortunately the rains were sporadic throughout Southern Ontario and some were left un quenched, we were one of the fortunate ones.  However the crops are not out of the woods yet or in the bin so to speak.  Hay for example has suffered so much this year due to drought that right now in southwestern Ontario one round bale is double the cost it was at the beginning of this year! With no real break in sight and not much of a second crop coming who knows where the hay will come from to over winter all the animals? How will farmers feed these animals?.  What will the cost of meat do in the stores? Something to ponder.

This year we have planted about 1900 acres. Corn, Wheat and Soybeans and hay.   We rent fields in our area from land owners, fellow farmers and from developers who have bought up the farmland in speculation.  Some of the fields we work are several km away, and some are here in Bradford and the time spent manoeuvring the streets, traffic and back roads of Bradford to get there is becoming increasingly challenging.  This may sometimes include crossing a finish line of a bike race all in the name of getting to the field before the rain did!  Many thanks to the consideration the locals that aren’t annoyed or impatient when they see the “cultivator”, tractor with hay bales on a wagon or “combine” crossing through an intersection or down a back road.  Truly, the patience and caution some drivers exhibit on the road does not go unnoticed and is most appreciated since at the end of the day we all want our loved ones to make it home safe and sound.  Farmers do help feed cities, and towns, did you eat today? Then give the tractor the right of way!.

These crops take many months to grow and harvest time is get r done while everything else waits and this does include answering emails in a timely manner unfortunately. This is our job, our life and our love.  Most of the crops supply the conventional markets and some we grow for our animals, i.e. non GMO corn, and hay.  Field work is but a cog on the ever spinning gears that make up the inner workings of our farm and an incredibly important one.  All consuming in our thoughts especially in a weather year like this one.

The biggest of our challenges is Mother Nature herself.  Some hail global warming some say just history repeating itself, regardless unprecedented heat and lack of moisture are setting records for 2012 and it’s not over yet.  Many forward thinking farmers market their own crops as we do by relentless market watching, sound marketing advice and when all else fails as Mom said, trust your gut!. No one hits every market high and hopefully lands a few upward trends all the while praying for the success of harvesting your crop.  High prices are just that unless you have a crop in the bin. Value should be placed on every hour a farmer spends marketing, even the 3 O’clock run to the DTN computer to ease your mind about a marketing decision.  Drought in the corn belt of the U.S.  and  parts of Ontario have set crop values  soaring.  July 19th 2012 as the markets closed it set a new all time high record for corn, never before seen.

Record high crop prices are just that if there is nothing in the bin. What does it all mean?

Happy Mothers Day


I am a Mom, no big proclamation I know, there are millions of us out there. But with Mother’s day upon us, I know that all the dads and kids out there are going to be trying to figure out some special tribute to “Mom”.

Take a hint from “Moms” and do what we do when we want to make you feel special, or celebrate you or comfort you…. We feed you

Now there is an easy way to feed Mom and make her feel special. It requires little imagination (I’m giving you the hints so it’s doesn’t count for thinking of this all by yourself) it does require dough… not the kind you make in the kitchen but rather the kind that you put 40 hours in to get. Yes, more simply said you can take Mom out for dinner. There are some amazing places locally that serve up our sumptuous meat products. From Cowbell www.cowbellrestaurant.ca in Toronto who offers outstanding casual dining and a weekend brunch that has me drooling as I type to Marben www.marbenrestaurant.com who serves up among other things, Dennis’ Roast Beef (yep that’s our own Dennis) a euphoric, melt in your mouth “Mom never cooked like this” dish. There’s Pie www.eatmypie.ca in Barrie that the kids will love as well as Mom or you can visit our website for more of our friends who love to cook with Dingo meats.

If the kids are too little or you’re celebrating more then one Mom at the table this year and organizing an outing to eat is too much then think about ordering in. Cravings www.cravingsfinefood.ca or Oscars www.oscarsrestaurant.ca  both in Barrie offer catering for small and large groups as well as quick and simple “take home“. Any of the above will impress Mom and show how special you know she is.

BUT, if you have the time and energy and you plan a little you can surprise Mom by bringing her home after a fun day out to a wonderful dinner lovingly prepared by her family.  What? How? You may ask. Well first grab yourself a roast… we’re at the Evergreen Brickworks www.ebw.evergreen.ca this weekend so we can help.  There are a ton of options and price points and sizes so you can find one to fit your family. 

The benefit of a roast is, besides prep they really need little attention so you can work on side dishes when the roast is cooking and if your organized you can even make part of it ahead of time. I’ll be making my famous potato salad (famous in my circle anyways) but you can serve a beautiful roasted or mashed potato. I’m also grilling my favourite! Fresh asparagus (just coming into season) but choose your family favourites really because EVERYTHING goes well with a roast.

 Now below is my recipe, but you can cook a roast in as many different ways as there are roasts, from the BBQ to the oven to the slow cooker. So if mine doesn’t suit you please ask us or your butcher the best method of cooking.

Invest a little time, a little money and a lot of love and mom will have no doubts about how important she is to you… and well Dad, Fathers Day is not far off J

For cooking on the BBQ with or without a rotisserie visit http://www.beefinfo.org/?ID=17&ArticleID=72&SecID=6 I follow 4C the 3 burner method. Super easy and melt in your mouth



Beef roast to suit your family


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt

 Mix all ingredients together and spoon over beef and rub in. You do not need to use the entire rub, simply store unused portion in an airtight container for up to 6 months.


Feeding the Sicko’s

I sat down last week with intentions of writing a smartly worded Blog that would inspire you to join us in choosing healthy meat options for your family meals, But after a week with a house full of sickos the Blog I started remains unfinished. And as I struggle with exhaustion from kiddo’s up during the night and the demands of still busy days I know deep down inside my body is struggling to fight off some sinister bug as well.  And so today out of exhaustion and frustration I am sitting down to write about how I feed my not-so-healthy family healthy food.

Eating healthy at any point involves planning and preparing however in the long run I really believe the costs are not that much different  than feeding your family “Big Box” style and the taste, well there is nothing like home-made with good ingredients. The real investment is your time, that being said spending time with your family cooking and eating should be deemed a valuable investment.

So getting back to my week of cleaning up…stuff, and wiping down feverish kids… there is really nothing that can be done to avoid the plagues that run rampant in our schools and work environments other than giving your body the resources it needs to battle these viral beasts, and while I do try my best the busy world sometimes forces me to choose options that if I was prepared I might not have chosen.  However when my babies are sick I go “old school” (sadly anything that doesn’t require the convenience of a microwave and come served in a plastic dish is considered “old school” these days) as I said I go “old school” .  My kids are big soup eaters and that never rings more true than when they are sick. The requests start almost immediately for their favourites.

Homemade soup is easy though if not a little time intensive but with a slow cooker anything is possible.  The recipes I have always used were inspired by a cookbook “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon and I love this one because it doesn’t use tomato paste. If you use your slow cooker it is still time intensive but it doesn’t require a lot of your time and having made this for years I am less fussy about the straining end of it but do take the time to skim, it makes all the difference to the taste. When I have the time I do prefer the stovetop method only because I can make more stock in one batch. The secret is making it whenever you have left over bones and then just freezing it so you have it on hand. But you can grab bones very inexpensively from your local butcher or give us a call.

Simple Beef broth

• 4 pounds of beef marrow, knuckle bones, bits of leftover beef

• 3 pounds meaty rib or neck bones

• 4 or more quarts cold water

• 1/4 cup vinegar

• 3 onions, chopped

• 3 carrots coarsely chopped (I omit this if I don’t have any on hand)

• 3 celery sticks, chopped (I omit this if I don’t have any on hand)


1. Place all of your bones that have meaty bits on them on a large cookie sheet (with sides) or roasting pan and brown in the oven at 350 degrees until well-browned (30-60 minutes usually).

2. Meanwhile, throw all of your non-meaty marrow bones into a slow cooker or stockpot; add the water, vinegar and vegetables. Let sit while the other bones are browning.

3. Add the browned bones to the pot, deglaze your roasting pan with hot water and get up all of the brown bits; pour this liquid into the pot. Add additional water if needed to cover the bones.

4. Bring to a boil and remove the scum/foam that rises to the top. No need to remove the floating fat. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 12 hours and as long as 72 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the more rich and flavorful it will be.

5. After you simmer for 12-72 hours, I strain off the broth and pour it into ice cube trays or larger sealable containers to freeze. Once frozen I pop the cubes into freezer bags and they are ready for when I need them in the future.

Once you have broth, be it beef, chicken or vegetable you can make any soup out there. A favourite in my house anytime is http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chinese-spicy-hot-and-sour-soup I have never ever followed the recipe exactly. ”tiger lily buds” really?  For my version visit us at http://www.facebook.com/dingofarms and look in notes. When the sicko’s want this one I eliminate everything but the seasoning ingredients so its still a broth but the spicy pop helps clear stuffy heads.

So here is the teaser…you were expecting some fab pictures of yummy beef broth being prepared and delicious Hot and Spicy soup being lovingly made for my sicko’s but nope. I am still clinging to my health and my go to food to fight off bugs is good old steak, yep you read that right. Beef is a major contributor of healthy protein, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, iron and niacin and when served with a side of healthy greens (mines a spinach salad) beef can help your body fight most of the viral villains out there. Or chose a yummy beef based soup to help get your feet back under you and your body on the road to recovery.

Comfort Food, for your tummy and your wallet

With Old Man Winter making one last attempt to chill us to the bone I’m drawn back into my kitchen with thoughts of comfort food… warm and soothing there is nothing like old fashioned soup or stew to warm you to the bone. Normally I would agree and post one of my favourite homemade soup recipes but not today. Remember we are trying to inspiring you?  So today I’m giving you a favourite of mine, quick and simple with an Asian twist, this delicious number will fill tummy’s and impress.

One of the points of choosing this recipe is that it can be prepared with any one of a number of inexpensive cuts of beef and no one will be the wiser.  I use stewing beef because I always have some in the freezer but you can try flank or blade cuts too. Each will add a slightly different texture and taste to the dish. The secret to using these cuts however is in the prep.

As I mentioned last week we are always eager to help you make the most of your meat. By asking and understanding different cuts of beef and how prep and marinades will compliment the meats you will easily be able to feed your family healthy meat dishes without breaking your grocery budget. And by becoming familiar with these less common cuts you will be more inspired to venture further out of the big box and farther down the farm laneway (we’ll have you trying liver before you know it)

Speaking of the farm laneway, we are excited to announce our farm store will be opening in the end of May, this will allow you to truly see and understand where your meat is coming from. So watch here and on Facebook for updates.

Beef and Broccoli

  • 3/4 pound beef  ( I usually use stewing beef)
  • 1 large bunch broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1/3  cup oyster sauce (I know this may not be a standard in your pantry but grab a bottle, it’s handy)
  • 2 teaspoons light olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 1 thin slice of fresh ginger root
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped fine
  • 2 large red peppers chopped large
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds toasted (optional)
  • Whole grain brown rice cooked as directed


  1. Whisk together the oyster sauce, olive oil, soy sauce, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Place the beef pieces into a shallow bowl, pour the oyster sauce mixture over the meat, stir to coat well, and marinate for at least 30 minutes in refrigerator.
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet or pan over medium-high heat, and stir in the ginger and garlic. Let them sizzle in the hot oil for about 1 minute to flavour the oil, then remove ginger and discard. Stir in the broccoli and peppers, and toss and stir in the hot oil until bright green and almost tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the broccoli and peppers from the pan, and set aside.
  3. Pour a little more oil into the pan if needed, and stir and toss the beef with the marinade until the sauce forms a glaze on the beef, and the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Return the cooked broccoli to the pan, and stir until the meat and broccoli are heated through, about 3 minutes.
  4. Serve over rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds

%d bloggers like this: