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Sally & Mark Bernard, Barnyard Organics - Freetown

Freetown - Of all the farm products produced on PEI, fresh lamb is perhaps one of the more under appreciated ones. Many people are unfamiliar with the taste of fresh Island lamb because it is not widely available in the major supermarkets due to limited supply. This is where a connection with a local lamb producer is helpful. Sally Bernard and her husband Mark are the third generation to operate the Bernard family farm in Freetown. The farm is now called Barnyard

Organics and as the name implies, it is an organic farming operation. The farm produces certified organic grains, soybeans, hay, chicken, eggs and lamb. While crops may be the focus of the farm, it is fresh lamb that Sally is specializing in and becoming known for. While growing up in New Brunswick, Sally inherited a love of raising sheep from her mother who kept a flock of Polled Dorset ewes. Sally was involved in 4-H by showing her own Polled Dorset lambs and from this, developed her own flock. After graduating from Mount Allison University, Sally attended the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Truro where she met her future husband, Mark. After college, Mark and Sally decided to make farming on PEI their career choice and so Sallys flock made the trek across the Confederation Bridge from New Brunswick to Freetown. Currently, Sally keeps 25 ewes or mother sheep and is increasing the flock as time goes on. Each year she feeds a number of her lambs for the fresh lamb market. The lambs are born in the spring and are ready for market at approximately six months of age in September and October. These lambs are fed a diet of organic oats, soybean and hay for both growth and to produce a flavourful lamb product that is certified organic. Lamb has a distinct and pleasant taste when fed properly to produce meat. Some people may remember the strong taste of mutton from years ago and associate it with lamb. But as Sally says, Lamb is a much more delicate and subtle tasting meat. It also has benefits such as being a lean red meat with smaller cuts than beef or pork. When asked about cooking lamb, Sally points out Lamb can be prepared like any other red meat but take care to not overcook it she says. It should be cooked to a medium-rare at most. She says that roast leg of lamb is one of her favourite ways to enjoy lamb and that barbequed lamb is excellent as well. At the moment, Sally has some frozen cuts of lamb available for sale direct to the consumer and will have fresh lamb available in September. The fresh lamb will be available to individuals and to restaurants and can be purchased by the side or in smaller amounts. As time goes on and the flock grows in size, Sally aims to develop lasting relationships with customers and supply them with fresh, delicious lamb. To contact Sally, call her at 902-887-3188 or send an email to info@barnyardorganics.ca .