Brook Ridge Farm bringing locally-sourced lamb pot pies into market
When Rhonda McCarron introduced her lamb pot pies at the Antigonish Farmers’ Market, they were a big hit.
Two years ago, Brook Ridge Farm, owned by Rhonda and her husband Ian, began making the pies with locally-sourced ingredients.
“They really caught on. We were cooking in the winter, spring and summer making five-inch, cook-from-frozen pies,” said Rhonda. As the pies gained in popularity, she wanted to sell them in more markets but nutritional labels on the pies were required before she could make that leap.
“Nutritional labeling allows us to move into different markets, but it also confirms product quality for all our customers,” she said. “Our customers will know, based on those labels, that we undergo the same process with the same vegetables, same broth, and same crust with each pie. That’s comforting for people to know.”
The ProductSAFE program under Perennia’s Agri-Food Accelerator Program included support for their Nutrition Facts Table and regulatory guidance services. Farmers and food companies using locally grown food ingredients are eligible for this support. Guidance and development of a Nutrition Facts Table opened the doors for Brook Ridge Farm to sell in new retail markets.
“Our lamb is local. We source our vegetables and herbs locally and we make the pies from scratch,” said Rhonda. “I will be able to sell from my home, in small retail shops, and at unique businesses. And maybe we’ll sell to restaurants in the future. With Perennia’s help, we’ve been able to really move forward with this venture.”
With 250 ewes, they will have lambed more than 400 lambs this year. Rhonda says they’re still sheep farmers first, but now also have this new venture. From the day Perennia’s experts came to her home-based business to review ingredients and processing steps for
the pies, she’s been impressed with their knowledge.