August 17, 2012
Y’all know I love Chipotle. So when I got the invite to go check out Beretta Family Farms, who provides much of the organic meat to the Chipotle locations here in Toronto, I jumped at the chance and it’s turned out to be one of my favourite days this summer.
From our gracious hosts (Mike and Cynthia) to their adorable dog Jackie, from the hayride to the kittens hiding in the barn, from the oxen (first time I’ve ever seen one — they’re ginormous!) to the incredible peacefulness of the farm…it was all a recipe for happiness.
We got to see the farm’s six-week old sheep, the yorkshire pigs that’ll be 220 lbs this October, nearly 400 cows grazing in the open field, and turkeys that hatched in May that’ll be full-size by Thanksgiving. And how about Fernando, the 18-year-old white steer they refer to as the “godfather.” Fernando shouldn’t have survived birth, but he did and inspired by an article Mike had read, Mike bottle-fed Fernando and raised him differently (almost more as a pet cow — the kids used to go on rides on him). These days gentle Fernando helps keep the other cows calm; they follow him around and with Fernando keeping cattle zen, this helps them to gain weight. (Sometimes I wish I had a Fernando equivalent keeping me calm in my life — although I don’t need the fattening up part!)
The farm also boasts a vegetable garden, where they grow most everything and much of it is used in Beretta’s newly launched catering business (absolutely delicious — Cynthia so sweetly sent us home with a polenta dinner and some organic beef jerky that I was sorry to finish eating because I just wanted more).
All in all, Beretta Farms is all that you (or at least I) dream of farms to be like.
The day ended very well — with a meal of Chipotle tacos and some beef simply seasoned and barbecued — delicious. We fed the leftover produce from our lunch to the pigs btw.
The farm is not open to the public on a regular basis, but this Saturday (August 18, 2012), it is as they’re holding their family day. Pop over for a hay ride, a cow milking demo and learn how a family-run farm works.
If I had a car, I’d so be there to experience it all over again. Instead, I’ll just have to settle for enjoying their delicious chicken or beef when at Chipotle.