Rafter 25 Ranch — Demeter Certified Meat in British Columbia
(From their website, http://www.pasturetoplate.ca/rafter-25-ranch/ )
Ranch headquarters are situated in Redstone, British Columbia.
All owned ranchland is certified organic and only organic ranching and organic farming practices are applied. Animals are handled low stress to ensure docility and safety to handlers and livestock. We switched from labour-and-feed intensive calving in March-April on ranchland, to unassisted calving in May to June on our vast ranges. Cows can properly get ready to give birth by finding a suitable, protected spot and can do this at their ease. They have successfully been giving birth long before men started to meddle with assisting in confined spaces and administering all kinds of pharmaceutical aids.
May to June, when the sun starts warming the earth, when green grass is sprouting is when deer and moose give birth. It is the time when they have tremendous nutritional needs to be able to convert the female body into breeding mode and to nourish a growing and very demanding calf.
And all of this wonder is given to us. The following was on the Calgary Stampede Dollar and impressed me so much, almost forty years ago:
“As long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the rivers flow.”
Replacement and finishing cattle are kept on 1600 hectares and are grazed through an electrically fenced system.
We raise our own bulls and replacement heifers, replacement ewes and rams, replacement sows and most boars.
The only supplement our ruminants receive is high quality sea salt. The salt we use contains over 50 micro minerals and has the same mineral make-up as does blood from a healthy mammal.
Sheep, hog and poultry production happens in a designated and fenced cell system. Guardian Dogs keep sheep safe from predation.
No pharmaceutical products, or man made chemical products are administered to livestock or land.
Hay production happens under four pivoting irrigation systems and on flooded and sub-irrigated meadows.
The Chilcotin River, the Chilancoh River and the Klinaklini River provide most water for irrigation. Biodynamic preparations and compost tea are sprayed on the land and are injected directly into the irrigation systems.
Our allocated grazing tenures are on the Chilcotin Plateau and further west around Kleena Kleene, where it includes grazing right into the Alpine. The range is vast and and totals approximately 160 thousand hectares, consisting of timbered and clear-cut pine grass grazing, large bunch grass meadows, sedge swamps and muskegs.
The range is grazed for 5-6 summer months and the cattle are moved through a paddock system, or on open range according to yearly range readiness assessments, considering precipitation, residual forage, kind and age of cattle.
The ranch now maintains well over 100 km of fences on deeded and range-land, of which a large part is made up of electric fence.
Sowsalito Hotel is our pig barn.Intended for the year-round, supervised birthing of our pregnant sows, and used by the entire herd during the winter months for warmth and protection.
In late October or early November, as the weather turns and the snow deepens, pigs are gathered from the pasture and live in Sowsalito Hotel for about 4 months, until they can return to pasture once again.
Sowsalito has approx.10,000 square feet of indoorliving area and approx. 20,000 square feet of outdoor roaming area. The barn is oriented North/South, with 20 foot high ceilings and open airflow. The foundation of Sowsalito Hotel, as well as the holding area atour abattoir,Chilcotin Harvest, were both designed using the Korean system of Deep Litter flooring. This is an award-winning system created by Master Cho. It isa complex and unique, self managed flooring system, which has incredible benefits to both animals and humans.
The Deep Litter floor is excavated down to a depth of 4 feet.The entire floor is layeredwithlong log rails which are approx. 6 inches in diameter. These logs provide the necessary subterranean air flow.The logs are coveredin a layer of sticks which have been pre-soaked in red wine.
Next, a concoction of wood debris, course wood waste (from a mill), earth, organic spelt hauls (which are inoculated with indigenous micro organisms), an abundant amount of charcoal and finally sea salt is mixed and stirred together with a backhoe and a dump truck then scooped up by an excavator to fill up the remainder of the 4-foot foundation. This is a significant amount of material; approximately 40,000 cubic feet.
This mixture simulates a forest floor and is full of microbes and microorganisms which continuously decompose waste. Deep Litter floors have many advantages
- Pigs have an incredible sense of smell and being natural diggers they are enticed to root down to the source of the sweet-smelling wine soaked sticks. As the mixture stays perfectly dry it always caves in on itself. This has many benefits;
- The pigs busy themselves with this activity thereby avoiding boredom and confrontations with other nearby pigs
- They bury their own manure.
- They bury into the deep litter as bedding for warmth at night.
- The ground is soft and comfortable to walk on (the reverse of most concrete floored commercial pig barns).
- The animals stay dry, clean and comfortable.
- With the abundance of micro organisms there are no pathogens and therefore the barn smells clean & fresh. There is never manure odour or a burning in the eyes from methane,which are evident in typical hog operations.
Deep Litter is never mucked out, it is simply replenished. The unique system works in harmony with the environment. The soft floor acts like a natural compost, creating warmth, which is ideal in the winter months.The benefits last approximately 10 years, when the Deep Litter would be removed and replaced.
Pigs are happy, friendly, active, warm and content.Clean animals and a clean, odour-free barn. In the long run, it’s much less work for us.
THE PASTURE TO PLATE FEEDSTORE
THE PASTURE TO PLATE FEEDSTORE in Redstone stocks fencing supplies, animal handling equipment and certified organic feed. In addition, we make Redmond stock salt available to local cattle ranches. It is the coarse version of the sea salt which goes into our prepared meats and which is placed on every table in Kinikinik Restaurant. It has an almost sweet taste when you melt one of the large crystals on your tongue. Livestock just love it! Deliver your animals for harvest, receive your packaged meats, pick up supplies and visit with a neighbour over a wholesome meal at Kinikinik before going home. A pretty good experience after all.
Every two weeks our refrigerated truck is headed for the PASTURE TO PLATE BUTCHER SHOP on Commercial Drive in Vancouver to deliver our certified organic meats and to haul back certified organic food supplies for Kinikinik Restaurant & Store. It takes 9-10 hours to and the same number of hours fro.