A woman with a vision...
Meadow Creek Farms was born out of the desire to connect Alberta consumers directly with quality meat and field-grown vegetables. Mandy Melnyk farms on her parents' land near Waskatenau, Alberta. From an early age, she learned the value of hard work and the importance of family farms and local food systems. Mandy has been learning how to make things work with her operation since 2011.
What We Value: We feed our animals slowly. They are fed wheat, barley, peas, Our feed DOES NOT contain soya, canola, or corn. When accessible, we try to purchase grain from local neighbours and our sausage is all gluten free. We work with local abattoirs.
Our Real Outdoor Raised Chickens: We purchase our chicks and raise them from babies. Our Chickens have access to shelter but generally spend all their time outside with easy access to food and water. They graze on lots of grass and are given many greens from our vegetables.
If you want a healthy chicken then you want a chicken raised outside. Some people do raise birds outside in pens. We do not as there is not enough space. Our birds have acres of grass to run on, and the more exercise a bird gets the more density and nutrition it has.
Slow raised birds take about 75-85 days, depending if they are a rooster or a hen and how large a person wants them. By comparison, Hutterite and other industrial birds are done in about 40 days. Mandy's birds eat grasshoppers, earthworms, natural grit and anything green. The sun is helpful for birds outside as well.
Predators of our outdoor birds require managing. We have a radio on at night to keep them away and our birds have shelter to run into if a bunch of ravens fly nearby. We do lose some but have learned over the years how to try to reduce loss.
It is possible to raise a healthy outdoor bird in Alberta, you just don't get the luxury of fresh chicken in the middle of December! Eating in season is important for food security. To make our model work, we ask people to think about how much chicken they eat a week, what their favourite cuts are and then, we raise you beautiful birds that are happy and outside and deliver some each month to your door. What we do is not easy, but it is REAL and you taste the difference. All over the world, birds are outside, we can do that in Alberta with care and respect.
Our birds are raised slow therefore they need to be slow-cooked. Don't let them tell you it cannot be done!
Our Pork: Our hogs are purchased as 20 lb ‘weaners.’ We then raise them outside in a large straw pile. We feed them a mixture of wheat, barley, grass and alfalfa. Hogs don't sweat so it is very important that they spend most of their life outside for them to develop healthy meat. This presents a conflict in farming as pigs who get lots of exercise naturally take longer to fatten or ‘finish.’ We don't push our hogs to finish quickly with high protein diets, so it takes 5-6 months for them to reach market size and they retain their natural digestive balance.
What We Don't Do: We do not use animal growth hormones or antibiotics in our feed. If a hog gets ill, we will treat it with antibiotics if necessary but not sell that hog in our meat program for at least 90 days after it has been treated. We stand firm to our commitment of providing you the healthiest hormone- and antibiotic-free animals we can raise. All of our processed meat is gluten free. We do use nitrates in our bacon as it is very difficult to make nitrate-free bacon.
Certified Organic Vegetables: We do not spray chemicals to kill weeds or add fertilizer that is not organic-based (manure). Labour costs are a factor in our pricing as all our fields are weeded by hand. We give all our weeds and veggie tops to our hogs, turkeys and chickens. They love all the extra greens.
We are very proud of the work we do to grow the best products we can and we maximize efficiencies wherever possible to keep our prices accessible for all our customers. We believe strongly that knowing where your food comes from is the best investment you can make for your family.