MARTOCK, NS – A appointment to Oulton’s Meats and Martock Glen Agri-zoo is about like demography a cruise aback in time.
Driving up Sheep Acreage Lane – a long, arenaceous clay alley amid off Highway 14 abreast Martock – a adolescent boy, crowd in hand, navigates beasts bottomward the alley to the pasture. He nods in your direction, acutely beholden that you slowed down.
To the right, ducks accessory their wings while adequate a dip in the adjacent pond. A aside aroma of admixture tingles the senses.
Farm easily are alive acid wood, alive tractors, disposed to the animals sunning themselves.
It’s a alive spot, alive with activity.
Visitors are encouraged to bout the property, exploring the acreage of calm and alien animals on site, afore endlessly by the meat boutique to aces up some freshly-cut meat.
The acreage absolutely provides visitors with a ‘from acreage to table’ acquaintance — article that may be a bit arrant for those alien with how meat ends up in grocery stores.
Blood beat smears the white smocks blind off the advisers acid meat abreast the advanced counter. Anniversary allotment is cut beginning and to order.
“I anticipate there’s a huge abstract now about area our aliment comes from — whether it’s a carrot, an angel or a chicken,” says Wayne Oulton, demography a attenuate afternoon breach from work.
“There’s a abstract on how it’s produced, why it’s produced and why it’s produced in a assertive way.”
Meat cutter Greg Cummins, who has been alive in the meat boutique for about six years, shares a agnate belief.
“What you appetite is consistently cut fresh. It’s not sitting on a shelf, (and you’re not) apprehensive how continued it’s been on there,” said Cummins.
Cummins said the agri-zoo is a abundant basic for accouchement as they get to see an beastly afore it apprehension up on the banquet table – admitting not every beastly at the zoo becomes dinner.
“It’s aloof an acquaintance actuality on a farm. You can airing around, see how things are done,” said Cummins.
Where it started
Mike and Diane Oulton started the acreage in 1963; the meat boutique opened in 1979. The acreage was primarily a livestock operation, featuring beasts and sheep.
Their accouchement were accomplished at a adolescent age about farming, husbandry and acceptable administration of the land.
Now with accouchement of his own, Wayne Oulton is appreciative to abide the tradition.
After aerial school, he abounding the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, which is area he met his approaching wife, Nicole, again went on to Olds College in Alberta. He went on an all-embracing agronomics barter cruise to New Zealand and, in the backward 1990s, alternate to the family-owned acreage to work.
“I assumption the highlight is now bringing my ancestors into it,” said Oulton. “I assignment with my wife. I accept bristles kids that are bristles to 11. They’re all somewhat complex or are about the acreage consistently all day long. That’s the advantageous allotment — seeing them growing up in the aforementioned blazon of affairs back I was a kid.”
His brother, Victor, and his ancestors are additionally complex with the farm.
In 2007, Wayne and Nicole Oulton were called Atlantic Canada’s Outstanding Adolescent Farmers for 2008. The columnist absolution announcement the honour acclaimed the brace was actual alive in assorted agronomics organizations, such as the Sheep Producers of Nova Scotia, the Hants County Agricultural Association and the Federation of Agriculture: Hants County.
“They produce, action and absolute bazaar beef, chicken, turkey and added poultry, as able-bodied as deer, added exotics, and sheep beneath the Martock Glen Farms brand. They additionally administer 40 acreage of angel orchard and 500 acreage of woodlot. They accept actively partnered with the Slow Aliment Movement and top chefs in the province, who acclaim their high-quality product,” the columnist absolution stated.
The Oultons are additionally absolutely complex with the bounded 4-H movement.
Catering to barter
Hants West MLA Chuck Porter said he’s accepted the ancestors back he was young. His family, which is distantly accompanying to the Oultons, frequently bought meat there back he was growing up. He still picks up the odd account on occasion.
“You apprehend about beneath and beneath farms, beneath and beneath absorption with farms, but those like Mike and his family, who are life-long farmers, abide to innovate,” said Porter.
“This altered artefact that he offers… allows him to break accepted in the bazaar if you will. You’ve got to be cerebration outside; you’ve got to accept a alcove to be successful.”
And that alcove is the adeptness to baby to a advanced array of clients.
From the restaurant industry, area Oulton’s articles can be begin on airheaded such as those at the Old Orchard Inn, Domaine de Grand Pre and the Stubborn Goat, to abundance shelves, like at Pete’s Frootique and Noggins Acreage Market, the Martock Glen cast is in aerial demand.
“Customers choose, indirectly, how all aliment is produced,” Oulton said.
“If you appetite to acquirement the everyman affection stuff, accession has to aftermath that for that price. I’m not adage you accept to buy the accomplished priced artefact in the exchange either, because I don’t consistently anticipate you’re accepting amount for your dollar.”
Rather, there is an alternative.
“There is a average arena there area you can get aliment amount for your dollar but additionally abutment the blazon of agronomics you feel is good, or you feel is acceptable for our ambiance or is acceptable for the animals that are actuality produced,” he says.
That’s area Oulton’s is excelling.
The business offers all the accepted meat articles additional specialized and alien cuts. It has a growing retail and broad business and is a featured artefact on airheaded at several high-end restaurants in Halifax and the Valley.
The acreage additionally caters to religious and cultural groups, including alms halal meat, which is a assigned adjustment of slaughtering animals per Islamic law.
“It comes with alteration markets. We’re aggravating to accord what the chump wants. We are acceptable a added assorted association all the time,” said Oulton.
His ancestor began alms the religious basic decades ago, he added.
“We serve a lot of indigenous groups and anniversary one has their own altered appearance of meat that they want. The Muslims, they appetite it beginning off the floor,” said Cummins, acquainted bodies afterward the Muslim acceptance don’t absorb any pork products.
Chinese clients, however, will generally appeal pig feet, aerial and stomachs — items Cummins said usually aren’t begin on abounding Nova Scotian supper plates.
Cummins estimates about 80 per cent of the barter appear from Halifax.
“It’s aloof a accomplished altered angel up here,” said Cummins, who is now accomplished at acid aggregate from agrarian beastly to emus.
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“Basically, our aesthetics is we appetite to abound animals the way we feel they should be developed and alive out there lives actuality or on our neighbours’ farm. We additionally acquirement a lot of our articles from our neighbours now,” said Oulton.
He said the business has developed so abundant back it aboriginal started that it now purchases articles from about 50 farmers amid aural a 30- to 40-kilometre radius. It additionally employs upwards of 20 people, compared to the scattering active back he was growing up.
The personable agriculturalist says some articles are seasonal, as there are assorted rules and regulations that they charge attach to.
“You can’t consistently accommodated what the bazaar wants all the time because assertive things are seasonal… We may not accept lamb consistently year-round, alike admitting we try to. It doesn’t necessarily appear that way,” said Oulton.
The aforementioned applies to free-range chickens, which are produced in the summertime.
“We accept a beginning artefact for a assertive allocation of the year and again a arctic artefact for the blow of the year.”
In accession to the meat store, the alive acreage has two provincially-inspected abattoirs.
Oulton, who has an absorption in all animals, said the government appropriate the acreage to become an agri-zoo as the business houses such a array of alien animals. The best alien are the zebras and the lemurs, but the agri-zoo additionally has kangaroos, monkeys, agrarian boars, yaks and a host of birds.
“Not all animals that we accept actuality end up actuality processed,” said Oulton.
“I aloof accept an absorption in any blazon of animal, whether it’s calm or undomesticated.”
The agri-zoo raises some animals that go on to alive in zoos.
“And again we accession addition accumulation of alien animals that are for our meat abundance — elk, yak, agrarian boar, emus, llamas,” said Oulton.
His favourite alien beastly to eat is a kangaroo.
Consumers, now added than ever, accept the ability to behest how animals are aloft and killed, and what businesses they accept to support, Oulton said.
He said he hopes the ancestors business can abide able-bodied into the future. It’s a affect the bounded MLA additionally shared.
“It’s a continued day (working on a farm),” said Porter. “Those guys assignment adamantine and it’s abundant to see them actuality successful. I ambition them able-bodied for many, abounding years to come.”
If you go
What: Oulton’s Meat Boutique and Martock Glen Agri-zoo
Where: 5246 Highway 14, Sheep Acreage Lane
When: The acreage and meat boutique is accessible to the accessible from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays. They are bankrupt Sundays as that is aloof for ancestors time.
Contact: For meat boutique inquiries, alarm 902-798-4734. For accepted inquiries, appointment their Facebook page, which is listed as Oulton’s Meats and the home of Martock Glen Acreage & Agrizoo.
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