Breault Stock Farm began in October 1993, when Alain (Al) purchased the 110-acre property at 117411 Sale Barn Rd., less than ½ mile from his childhood home. Al’s father had a few beef cattle and worked full-time off-farm to support his large family.
Breault Stock Farm started as an 18 cow/calf beef operation. Each spring Al sold the calves at the backgrounder stage (800 lbs.), to be finished in feedlots in southern Ontario. He worked full-time off-farm, as a farm equipment mechanic while doing farmwork evenings and weekends.
Nancy grew up in southern Ontario (near Listowel) on a pig/beef mixed farm. She moved to the New Liskeard area in 2002. Al & Nancy met in 2006 and in June 2008, Nancy moved out to the farm. Immediately, Nancy said she wanted to raise some meat birds/chickens. She had raised meat birds during her childhood, and she loved farm-raised chicken! So, in July 2008, they bought 20-day-old chicks from Frey’s Hatchery, and raised them for personal use. As a side note: Nancy’s maternal grandfather, Martin Frey, started Frey’s Hatchery, St. Jacob’s, Ontario in 1946. Frey’s Hatchery, currently owned/operated by Nancy’s cousins/uncle is one of the few chick hatcheries left in Ontario. Today, Frey’s Hatchery supplies day-old chicks throughout North America, including northern Ontario. Of course, Nancy & Al, get all their day-old chicks from Frey’s Hatchery www.freyshatchery.com
Both Alain & Nancy continued to work full-time off-farm (Nancy was in Banking-Financial Advisor/Small Business/Branch Manager, and Alain continued as a farm equipment mechanic). The beef herd had up to 40 cows and they were raising about 200 chickens each summer in the barn, while the cows/calves were out on pasture. On June 14, 2019, Al & Nancy woke up at 5:15 AM to a catastrophic barn fire. The century barn was destroyed in a matter of hours.
Being in their mid-50s and underinsured, they were forced to make some difficult decisions. Alain immediately wanted to rebuild, but Nancy, who was on stress leave from the bank, was hesitant. After much discussion Al & Nancy decided that they needed to change the business model if they were going to take on significant debt and rebuild the barn. So, from this difficult event, blossomed the start of their current “Farm to Table” business model: selling their farm-raised animals directly to local customers.
Since the barn was no longer available to house the chickens, the summer of 2019 was the start of raising the meat birds on pasture. Al & Nancy were surprised by the improvement in bird health, and increased flavour in the meat. The difference was so significant that they decided to continue raising the chickens on pasture going forward. The beef cattle have always been raised on pasture from late May – end of October, and then housed in the barn with attached spacious barnyard during the winter/early spring months. During the time in the barnyard, the cattle are fed dry hay/silage, which is essentially “dried grass”. Non-GMO barley, grown locally, is added to their hay/silage feed ration during the “Finishing Stage” of the beef life cycle.
In May of 2020, Nancy launched a Facebook page for the new farm enterprise. Al’s daughter, Jessica, created the first logo.
In June 2020 Nancy started attending the New Liskeard Riverside Farmers Market, www.riversidefarmersmarket.ca , initially only selling lean ground beef and stewing beef. The demand for steak and other beef cuts quickly became evident and changes were made. Construction of the new barn began in June 2020 and was finished in October 2020. Al & Nancy added bred heifers to the cow herd, increasing the total number to 52 cows.
By early 2021, Nancy, with help from Al’s daughter Jessica, figured out how to create a website, and the farm website was launched. Orders for Beef Boxes and other beef cuts were now coming in daily. An Instagram page was started in early 2021. While initially very uncomfortable with the social media aspect of the business, Nancy enlisted help from Courtney of Harley House Media www.harleyhousemedia.ca and gradually learned the ropes. Today, Nancy would say she enjoys this part of the business, as she is able to connect with customers directly and build relationships through the Facebook and Instagram pages.
The summer of 2021 brought laying hens to the farm, and Al & Nancy began farm gate sales of free-range eggs to their customers. At this time, all the beef/chicken was being stored in large chest freezers in the farm’s equipment shop. By the end of 2021, the business had seen 300% growth over 2020, and there were 8 large chest freezers storing meat. Over 50% of the farm’s beef was now being sold directly to local customers.
Al & Nancy recognized that the time had come to build a separate building, complete with a walk-in freezer, to store and display the meat products. Plans were made with a new local business, Outdoor Plus www.outdoorplus.ca, to build a 14’ x 40’ storefront on the farm property in summer 2022.
The opportunity to add pork and turkey to the product list arose in Fall of 2022. Al’s daughter, Jessica (Jess), and her husband Willie Cooper had purchased an 80-acre farm, just outside of Callander, ON in October 2020. In the summer of 2021, Jess & Willie raised 4 pigs and 12 turkeys on pasture on their farm. They launched their own “Farm to Table” business, Cooperstead Farms, www.coopersteadfarms.ca. It was Jessica’s suggestion that the two farms work together, rather than both farms trying to raise multiple sets of livestock. It is more efficient and cost-effective for Al & Nancy to focus on beef & chicken, while Jess & Willie focus on pork & turkey. As a result of this collaboration, pork and turkey from Cooperstead Farms were added in fall 2022.
By late June 2022, the store building was on-site, and open for visitors on Friday/other days by appointment. In the fall 2022, a few local non-perishable products were added to the store shelves.
With all this growth, Nancy & Al realized it was time to get a professional involved to redesign the website and do some rebranding in the summer of 2023. They decided to change the farm name to Breault Family Farm, as the farm had outgrown its original entity as a beef stock farm, selling stockers to live market. Courtney, from Harley House Media www.harleyhousemedia.ca , was chosen to create the new logo, and re-design the website. Nancy recognized that she needed help managing the store and putting orders together. So, in August 2023 the first two employees were hired. By September 2023, the store will be open Saturdays 10 AM - 2 PM, in addition to Fridays 10 AM – 5:30 PM.
Nancy is always sourcing and adding more local non-perishable products to the store shelves. As of today, the store offers:
Down by the Bay – Maureen Church (Charlton) – preserves, BBQ sauces and soup mixes
Garden Pleasures/Brubacher’s (New Liskeard) – homemade sauerkraut
Muskoka Brand Gourmet www.muskokagourmet.com – infused oils, dip mixes, garlic sauces, red pepper horseradish, hot & sweet pepper jelly
Outdoor Flavours www.outdoorflavours.net – seasoned coating mixes
Pop-It www.popitballoons.ca – freeze-dried candy
Singing Highland Acres (Lorrain Valley)– pure maple syrup
Sutton Bay Honey www.suttonbayhoney.ca – unpasteurized wildflower honey
Ted Reader www.tedreader.com – BBQ seasonings/rubs
Verger du Terroir https://instagram.com/superfizzcanada?igshid=OGQ5ZDc2ODk2ZA== - SuperFizz, alcohol-free haskap spritz
Al & Nancy are enjoying the journey of building this small business and look forward to the many adventures awaiting them as the business continues to grow. Al & Nancy want to express their appreciation and gratitude to all their customers. The support of the local community has been invaluable and makes all the hard work worthwhile. Thank YOU!
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