Omnivore Acres Farm

About Us

“Growing Food and Creating Hospitality Through Sustainable Agricultural Practises.”

Jim and Catherine Gowans are farmers and foodies who own and operate Omnivore Acres Farm in Central Saanich & own Braun Custom Meat Processors in the Cowichan Valley.

In 2008, we were lucky to have been given a timely opportunity to explore these questions:

“What can a small farm practising the principles of sustainable agriculture really produce?”

“What is the interest in our community to support such a venture?”

“Can we transfer the skills we have and be profitable?”

A 6 week trip to New Zealand (both islands) in a minivan convinced us we were solid partners with a solid reason to go forward. We read “The Omnivores Dilemma” on that trip and knew we had to try to realize our dream.

After full careers in agriculture and nursing, we bought our farm as a project to explore the local food market and shared a passion for food, hospitality, and hard work! Omnivore Acres was born in 2008.

Stemming from the limited access to Island Abattoirs to process their pasture raised pigs, Jim and Catherine purchased Braun Custom Meat Processors in the Cowichan Valley in January 2018 from Alfred & Karen Braun.

Jim holds a degree in Agriculture and practised livestock nutrition for many years, owning a feed mill, consulting for larger farms and managing/prescribing diets for herds. His specialty is in swine and poultry.

Catherine practised nursing for 38 years primarily as a community nurse and nurse educator.

It is really about consumers regaining the trust of their food supplier and knowing that their Farmer is transparent to their questions over the life and care of the animal. There is a commitment to the animal from us as Farmers and our patrons. We believe that many of our customers not only enjoy the excellent quality of meat but also see first hand how we compost animal waste, recycle compost back to the soil and observe the ethical treatment of animals. Our customers understand the issues of food security and sustainable agriculture by directly supporting local food producers.

 

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Our Approach to Farming

The major difference is the diet we feed our poultry and swine. They eat a vegetable protein diet as well as forage in the pasture and enjoy garden leftovers. Our animals are raised without the use of antibiotics. We have a consulting veterinarian when required. It has been suggested in the literature that animals raised using antibiotics for the prevention of disease increases the possibility of antibiotic-resistant strains of many human diseases. This is a problem being recognized in the inappropriate use of antibiotics with humans as well.

On our farm, free range animals have access to pasture and a balanced vegetable diet. Fresh grass is an excellent source of vitamins, fiber, protein, and minerals. The fatty acid profile of the meat will be quite different then meat from animals fed a typical diet containing animal fat and protein. Most people report an enhanced and improved palate feel, like comparing olive oil to lard or butter. Our patrons enjoy establishing a relationship with the animals, watching them grow and observing their typical behaviors. Children learn how their food is grown and how farmers provide for that.

It is really about consumers regaining the trust of their food supplier and knowing that their Farmer is transparent to their questions over the life and care of the animal. There is a commitment to the animal from us as Farmers and our patrons. We believe that many of our customers not only enjoy the excellent quality of meat but also see first hand how we compost animal waste, recycle compost back to the soil and observe the ethical treatment of animals. Our customers understand the issues of food security and sustainable agriculture by directly supporting local food producers.