While Clement Poultry and Orchards may be a recent addition to our local farmers’ market, they are not new to the business. This family farm has been owned and operated in the Newcastle area by the Clement family since 1948. The family also operates booths at the Friday Oshawa and Saturday Peterborough markets, where they sell poultry, seasonal fruits and vegetables and a wide variety of apples.
At the farm there are 17 acres in apple orchards featuring old favourites like McIntosh, Empire and Mutsu, but the most recently planted trees include varieties whose popularity have spiked over recent years such as Honeycrisp, Ambrosia and Gala. Owner Colin Clement has noted renewed interest in the old-fashioned varieties, and given the length of time it takes to bring on new production, he is glad to have diversity in the family apple offerings to deal with consumer preferences that can change quickly.
If the dates of the markets are not convenient, customers are welcome to visit the farm located at 85 Lovekin Road where the family has a small store. Frozen chicken products including whole birds in the three pound range, chicken pieces, turkey bacon and sausages as well as fresh eggs and apples from the on-site Controlled Atmosphere storage are available for purchase year round. They also have season offerings such as turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Chicks are sourced locally through Curtis chicks, and the family uses a slow feeding method where feeders are removed during the evening and overnight. This slows the growth rate and because the birds are more active looking for food, it also reduces the accumulation of fat pockets in the birds.
The Clement family’s poultry production is currently winding down temporarily as they prepare for a transition to a new license and production method. A few years ago they produced organic poultry primarily for the wholesale market but were unhappy with the restrictions that designation required; specifically, birds had limited mobility and had to remain indoors. The family has applied for the new Artisanal Chicken Program designed for farmers who are interested in growing small batches of poultry with total production limited to between 600 and 3,000 chickens per year. It suits their objectives of producing for direct to consumer sales from the farm and through farmers’ markets. This will allow them to use pole barns where birds can have free run indoors and hopefully get out on some grass.
Before the next fresh apple crop arrives, Clement will be offering seasonal fruits from Niagara next month, with cherries and peaches becoming available at the time of the next Millbrook Farmers’ Market on July 29th. If you can’t wait until then, drop into their store or track down their stall at the Peterborough market. KG