Autumn made itself known today by dropping the temperature to a chilly 8°C and sending the wind and rain in our way. But a little weather is no reason not to take a drive up into the Laurentians to check out both the changing leaves and an organic farm!
Morgan Farms is just over 100km outside of Montreal. A chunk of the drive is boring highway, but pretty soon one finds oneself surrounded by hillsides covered in the vibrant colours of fall. We headed out around 11:30am and the two youngest girls (Azure was off not far away at Brownie camp) promptly fell asleep. They were kind to their parents and slept the whole drive, so Fred and I were able to really enjoy the scenery and each other's company. The way back was a different story, but this time Fred was asleep so I guess he got to enjoy both directions. Lucky him.
It's not a particularly pleasant time of year to visit a farm. Everything looks kind of wet and all I could think about was how much chicken poop was everywhere and what I'd do if one of the kids fell in it. But it was authentic! And I love how free run the chickens really were. And the ducks. And they were all kept in place by dogs, which, incidentally, are not for eating.
Morgan Farms, we were informed by Farmer Bob (his real name), is a co-op, and the seven participants are in the process of buying out neighbouring farms. Phoenix was pulling at my arm asking to go out and see the animals, so I didn't get the entire rundown, but I think it means they'll be expanding. I asked about the possibility of milk and they said to check back in a year. So I shall.
We toured the farm on our own and quacked at the ducks, crowd at the chickens and gobbled with the turkeys. Phoenix was none too impressed by the odour of the cow area (couldn't figure out where it was coming from as I don't think cows smell like that), so I suggested she shouldn't be a farmer when she grows up. She responded by asking to go home. Sigh. City kids.
At the farm you can buy a great assortment of poultry (turkey, Muscovy duck, chicken, guinea fowl), beef parts and wild boar. I stocked up on oxtail and soup bones for making bone broth. Oh, and Osso Bucco! I've never made that before but I LOVE eating the marrow from my roasted beef bones before I throw them into a pot to simmer. I got a few packs of spareribs as I'm quite sure I've seen a real food recipe for the sauce somewhere. I picked up packs of beef sausages and beef and wild boar sausages (not big on the pork myself but that doesn't mean the rest of the family can't enjoy it!), a Muscovy duck, a guinea fowl, and a loaf of wheat-free sourdough bread that ways about 5lbs. They've also got rendered duck fat, but the packs are simply big for the amount of cooking I do with duck fat (none but it's part of the plan) and confit of duck...mmmm. The freezer is full of meat pies and other baked delicacies.
Morgan Farms has two drop off points in Montreal itself so you don't have to make the trek out there. But it's a great destination for a family outing, and next weekend, October 8, is their harvest festival, which you might want to check out. Fingers crossed it's a warmer day than it was today!