2019 season shaping up… slowly

Ok, we got something to work with, now…

I am deploying to Europe from Early July to late September. That means there will be one batch of chickens, starting April 17th, and ready in late June. I will probably do the same as I’ve done in the past, split the batch in two or three processing, and thus be able to offer mid-range and larger birds. Exact dates to be set in a few weeks.

A few more ideas running around my head these days too… no big reveal until I have something set, but suffice to say I expect multiple opportunities for community building in 2019, even with that big gap in the middle.

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2019 in a [premature] nutshell

Hey everyone,

So I’m patiently awaiting the publishing at work of what the deployments will look like this summer. They should be coming out later today.

Ok, explanation: Farming is not my main career, yet. I am an airline pilot by trade, and the company I work for sends half of our fleet to help our sister companies in Europe during summer. Last year we sent 10 planes and over 150 pilots to Europe. This year the number is 11 planes and 160+. Usually there are enough volunteers that cover all the spots, that those who decide not to deploy can avoid it. What’s this got to do with Black Duck Farm?

Last year I ordered my 2nd batch of chicks on July 18th, and on July 21st my company announced that some pilots were going to be involuntarily. Naturally, this caused some concern, as the highest seniority pilot being sent was 3 spots below me. And this year, we are sending an extra plane.

This means, Black Duck Farm is going on the defense. I placed a request to go voluntarily for half of the summer, as those who go voluntarily cannot be forced to go at another date involuntarily. This would allow me to spend time with my family, do at least 1 batch of chickens, and plant a large number of trees this spring. The confirmation dates, is what we are awaiting.

If my requested dates and locations come through in my favour, I will be doing ONE batch of organic chickens, ready in late June-very early July. If they don’t, we might be looking at one batch of chickens ready in October, or maybe even no time to do any chickens. That would be very unfortunate.

All this aside, here are the guarantees for the 2019 growing season:

1) Demand for organic chickens being so high, the batch of chickens I will be raising will be fed 100% organic feed. As soon as I know my dates, pre-sales will start.

2) There will be no turkeys raised this year. I absolutely loved raising them, and they were profitable for us, but I cannot guarantee being home all summer. As such, their place among our products will take a pause. Same with ducks, which I had hoped to add this year – they will have to wait.

3)Website optimization will come through in the next few weeks. There was some confusion for a few people when, by entering blackduckfarm.ca, they were redirected to bdfarm.co. That should be fixed very soon. And I am working on getting an online order form set up soon, to make pre-orders easier.

4) 2019 will be the year of infrastructure investment into the farm. I just attended Eco Farm Day this past weekend, and the keynote speaker was Ben Hartman, a champion of lean, efficient, and profitable farms. Armed with his book and more ideas than I can put my head around, I will be finding ways to improve my product value for you, and to spend even more time at home.

In addition, since the orchard was started in 2018, I won’t be adding fruit trees this year, but rather expand our plantings of small fruits and nuts (200+ trees ordered from the RRCA!), and preparing ground for further expansion of the orchard in 2020. The vision here, is to have about 100 trees in total and 250+ small fruits producing for a u-pick farm in the near future. I will be continuing to dabble in flower plantings for diversity both of ecosystem, and of potential products. Let me know what you think!

So that’s it. Hopefully good news come our way this afternoon. At least, with the conference this past weekend, I feel as motivated as ever to make this farm work. We achieved profitability in 2019. Now I am working on sustainability.


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Chicken Breast Spice Rub Recipe

Here’s another recipe, this time with chicken breasts!

Marie-Rose’s homemade spice rub for chicken breasts

1 part salt
1 part pepper
2 parts garlic powder
2 parts rosemary
2 parts thyme

Mix and rub onto your chicken breasts. Oven-roast or bbq until an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. Serve with your favourite starch, veggies, and white wine.

How to order Black Duck Farm chicken breasts:

1. Call or text (613)662-2188, or
2. Email adrien.quenneville@gmail.com

Happy New Year!


Chicken Breast after applying the rub

The Final Product

Chicken Stock Recipe

Winter is here, and there is nothing more nourishing, warming, and delicious than a nice chicken soup after working or playing outside. The main ingredient that people often say “makes or breaks” soup is the stock.

While you can buy stock at the store, it is often over-processed, over-salted, or over-priced! And yet, it is very easy to make your own, all the while keeping the wholesomeness and making the house smell delicious in the process!

Here is a recipe we have used to make stock – and it’s super easy!

Celery sticks and tops
Chopped Onions
Chopped Carrots
Chopped Parsley
Pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon)
Salt (to taste)
1 or 2 Black Duck Farm chicken back or carcass

For the ingredients above, use your creativity to decide how much of each to put in the stock! We love the bitterness of the celery tops combined with the sweetness of the carrots, so we are quite liberal in how much we add those. A Red onion will add even more sweetness, while a yellow or white onion will add a bit of “zing!”. And while you can add more salt than pepper, we add equal amounts, because a health chicken carcass has very nutrient-dense profile that transfers its salt naturally to the stock.

1. Place your chicken back/carcass in a large stock pot along with your veggies.

2. Cover with water, and add pepper and salt to taste. Remember, more water = more stock, but you can always simmer for longer for a more concentrated taste.

3. Bring to a rolling boil and then immediately reduce the heat so that the boiling is reduced to a simmer. Simmer partially covered for at least 4 hours, depending on your flavour desires, occasionally stirring and removing any foam that forms.

4. Use a slotted spoon to remove the veggies and bones, and then pass the stock through a sieve or cheesecloth to remove smaller particles.

And Voila!

You can keep your stock in the fridge for a few days, or pressure-can it for long-term storage!

Inbound chickens for sale!

Hello dear fans and customers,

As promised by my previous post, I have 1 batch of chickens that is almost ready for this season. Starting October 11th, I will have chickens available for purchase in the size range of 2.5-4.5lbs each, and then each subsequent week in October will have larger chickens (3.5-5.5 lbs in the week of Oct 18th, and 4.5-6.5lbs in the week of Oct 25th).

So far I am very happy with how these chickens are growing, they might even come up a bit heavier than I expected.

In the coming days, a pricing page will be placed on the website, as well as a contact information for orders. I can now deliver within Stormont and Glengarry for a small fee!


2017 season shaping up!


Our 2017 farming season is shaping up! We have received the CFO Artisanal Chicken permit to allow us to increase our numbers of chickens raised this year, and so we are targeting 600-800 this year. Small hiccup though…

Being a small startup farm, we depend on an outside income to live and bankroll the farm. I work in a seniority-heavy environment, and have just received a promotion which, once training is complete, will bring me to the “bottom of the list”. So I’ve volunteered – and received – a deployment to Europe for 3 months this spring. This means I will not be able to start raising chickens until mid July, and they will not be ready til mid-September.

No matter, this gives us a bit of time to work on 2 changes compared to 2016:

  1. We’re planning to start doing business with another processing facility that offers vacuum-sealing of finished product.
  2. We’re also looking to start offering individual chicken cuts (breasts, thighs, legs, wings, etc)

While the farm takes a small hiatus, this is actually a great thing, because it will allow me to spend quality time with my family in Europe this spring (“happy wife is a happy life”, am I right?), and the promotion will also have a very nice pay increase which will help me improve the speed at which we add to the infrastructure of our farm in preparation for future transitions to full-time farming.

Look for more updates in the near future!