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Chickabee Farm



Shawn McCarty

2572 Jerseyville road west

Jerseyville, Ontario

L0R 1R0



Exec summary


Business description



Chickabee aims to produce and market the best quality products using above standard production models. Organic regenerative strategies both cultural and biological will be designed into the system. By focusing on superior production models and breeds while maintaining a direct selling position will allow a specialty product to be sold at a fair price.


The growing organic market is not a 'trend', rather it is an awakening as the population slowly understands how food is grown and its impact on our environment and ultimatly our health. We anticipate the organic market will continue to grow as it is forecast at a 14% growth rate to 2018 (COTA). 43% of the organic market is produce and fruit but the diversity of products has their place.



  • At all levels increase life, improve water, energy, mineral cycles and life sustaining dynamics.

  • Increasing bio diversity, ecosystem health and vitality

  • Establish and operate a small diversified farm focused on high quality and value produce, fruits and hive products.

  • Achieve gross sales of $90,000 by functional stacking, intensive production and fertility growth strategies.

  • Increase sales yearly to reach $60,000 net within 5 years. 

  • Develop a demonstration site

  • Maintain records to track production and costs, proving a small intensive systems is profitable


Keys to success

  • Production models based on good design for functional stacking and supportive assembly.

  • Above standard high value crops and specialty products

  • Responsive customer service building relationships with consumers, restaurants and specialty retail locations.

  • Reducing off farm inputs through biological methods thus increasing gross margins.

  • Direct to customer sales achieving a higher gross margin.


Plan summary

Capital request


Business description


Chickabee Farm is a mixed Micro-farm focusing on high value produce, fruit, and Hive products. Smaller enterprises such as small flock hens, up to a maximum non-quota allowance. (99 hens) will be used to supplement the main enterprise, providing essential services such as weeding, and fertility cycling. Additional enterprises will be trialed on a small scale to find the right balance of farm sustainability, economic stability and ecosystem regeneration. Successful enterprises will be kept and others dropped to reach these goals.

Chickabee will develop a diversified customer base always focused on direct selling. Individual consumers whether through CSA, on farm market or farmers markets to develop personal relations. Restaurants and specialty shops are the second prong; with my experience and my partners in the restaurant and food retail markets we understand what is desired by this segment and aware of growing and future trends.

Diversity of products including produce, fruits, hive products, and eggs, help to buffer financial profit/loss on a year to year basis.


               Chickabee is located on a 0.9 acre homestead in Jerseyville ontario, with additional land located on an ecological farm only 2 km away. Hives are scattered on several locations all within a 15 minute drive from the main site.The close proximity of all locations to the main site and to available markets, and restaurants provide for excellent marketing oppurtunities.



Chickabee has a home and an 18'x45' Barn on the property, along with a 12'x36' green/hoophouse and a small henhouse 6'x12'. The Barn is 2 levels, the upper story houses the workshop and storage for hive repair and construction and other construction tasks. The bottom floor will be designed and developed to contain the cold room and storage, several 'closets' to seperate and store, market equipment, farm equipment, cleaning and sanitation supplies with a work bench and easy hallway access. The barn is on its own hydro with 100amp breaker box, potable water is brought from the house to a 4 way manifold were it splits into seperate wash, honey house, and irrigation lines.

The barn will need an overhang on the southern side running its entire length creating a permanently covered produce wash station, handwash sink and farm implement storage area.


Total greenhouse square footage is 432' for seedling propagation and season extension.  As the market garden grows the addition of low tunnels, hoop row covers and caterpillar tunnels will be implemented to bring the total undercover up to 5000 square feet allowing season extension and high value crop production.



Research and education have been an ongoing concern for the last ten years, including self-study, certifying programs and workshops held by EFAO and farmstart. Starting in 2011 a micro farm enterprise has been used to investigate the potential clientele and to trial production techniques and products while building skills in beekeeping, market gardening and livestock management. On a small production platform of ½ acre 2014 had sales of $5000 with expenses totalling $12,000. Expenses were high due to onetime investment in orchard establishment and hive purchases.  2015 is forecast due to improved techniques and increased hive numbers to reach $20-$27,000 with expenses under $10,000. 2016 would also see an increase in sales as the forest orchard reaches maturity, additional hives are added and production methods are refined. With only a ½ acre of production space 2016 will also be a peak year capping at roughly $35,000.00



Chickabee farm is a sole proprietorship owned by Shawn McCarty and Nathalie Coutayar (spouse). As the farm matures legal advice will be sought to explore the best possible structure for the sustainability of the enterprise.




Hive products; Honey, wax, and pollen. The value of honey is the main source of income from the hives. Produced organically with the use of no inputs, the honey is sold raw, and minimally filtered. The average in my hives 2014 was 68kg per hive, nationally it is 33kg. Honey will be sold at $8-$14 per kilogram. The goal is to have 100 hives in operation by 2018, producing $50,000 gross profit. Hives will be located on Chickabee farm and surrounding apiaries.


Produce; Market garden. With a land base of 1.5 - 2 acres over 2 or more sites, intensive production with hand tools and small machinery (Rototiller/BCS). Over 80 varietals have been trialed over the last few years with different cultural and biological methods.  A greenhouse is required for seeding and transplanting, using low tunnels cover cropping and interplanting to maintain fertility. By choosing high value and specialty products a gross profit of $40,000 will be achieved. See the Financial plan for further details. 1 person can maintain an acre, as the operation grows additional help will be pursued.


Fruits; Forest orchard.  Non-commercial varietals of mixed fruit have been planted. 50 fruit trees and  over 60 berry bushes will begin producing from 2015 onward. Using the forest analog trees, shrub and vine fruits will be interplanted with fertility and support species. Covering a total of .5 acres, the land was swaled on contour, with water catchment strategies to reduce drought possibilities. High value berry shrubs are mixed with heritage and specialty tree fruits. Omafra published statisitics state a potential profit of $16-$20,000 per acre, The forest orchard is supplemental to the market garden providing a small direct economic potential by increasing diversity and product offer. The greater impact is from fertility cycling, and microclimate support.

Fowl; Pastured eggs are a supply chain managed item and thus have limits to non-quota production. Pastured eggs (99 hens) can command a premium price. The current peri-urban land base has a limit to number of hens to be kept. It is possible but is it desirable to house the necessary 30+ to lay enough eggs making it profitable to have the eggs graded to sell at markets. Experience has shown an average 70% egg production for a maximum 12 dozen per week at $5.00/dozen gross profit, amounting to a yearly potential $2700.00.


Total production in economic terms amounts to a potential, $100,000.00, from the current 0.9 acre base with up to 1 acre offsite garden and several apiaries.


Production system

The overall production scheme for the entire farm is above standards organic production with a bent towards biological controls and ecosystem development. Farm design is integral to reducing labor, stacking functions and integrating all products into a management scheme that is mutually supportive. A design using permaculture ethics and principle swas developed in 2014. Currently this design is well into implementation revealing many areas with potential production not intially realized.


Honey production and hive management depends upon three areas, Colony management, honey processing and hive maintenance. A hive is the woodenware and equipment, a colony are the bees.

 Colony management includes both field inspections and colony inspections. Field inspections are required every 7 to 10 days and involve quick 5 minute inspections to ascertain colony strength, and add or remove honey supers (5minx100colonies=500min[8 hours weekly]). Colony inspections are more intensive inspections were the queen, brood chamber and overall health is assessed. A colony inspection takes 15 minutes per hive quarterly. (15minx100colonies=25 hours x 4=100hours).

 Hive maintenance is performed during the off season from November to April. Hives will be replaced at a rate of roughly 20% per year with replacement of 20% of frames. Frames construction and maintenance amounts to $5000.00 expenses per year and 2120 minutes or 35 hours work, to be accomplished in the slower winter months.

Honey is simply processed, it involves decapping, centrifuging frames and honey tank settling, finally honey is bottled, labeled and sold. A total of three supers per hive per year are produced with a workload of 15 minutes per super. (15minx300supers= 75 hours yearly).

Total management timing for hives 410 hours yearly


Market garden, with over 80 varietals grown yearly a separate document will lay out exact cropping plans, rotation, cover cropping and production, this is just an overview. Most of the crops will be started in the greenhouse and transplanted into the field. Using soil block technology, vacuum seeders, crops may be produced intensively. Current production on 1/12th acre has shown great promise and is scalable to the 1 acre intensive garden. Seeds are purchased from organic seed suppliers and/or open pollinated hierloom varities. Trialling will be ongoing to source out the best tasting, crops and specific timing/ cultural practices required. Weed management is focused on cultural, (hoe, cover crops, intercropping, companion planting, row covers, and occultation), while pest management is cultural and biological, (cover crop, interplanting, row covers, ecosystem development).

Livestock – need to look at specific types for details of what is required, e.g. for poultry must be raised under organic standard from 2nd day of life;

Manure – if organic is not available can use non-organic sourced but with restrictions

  • restrictions on when applied, e.g. at least 120 days before harvesting a crop with an edible part directly in contact with soil or 90 days before harvesting a crop for human consumption that do not come in contact with soil.


Other Resources


- Advantage Good Agricultural Practices Manual

- On-Farm Food Safety for Fruits and Vegetable Growers

- Reviewing Your Food Safety and Security Strategies

- A Grower’s Guide to Preventing Food-Borne Illness from Berry Crops

Region of Waterloo Public Health has an excellent Farm Food Safety Booklet (Resources ---> Reports and Factsheets)

“Food Safety Begins on the Farm”, Cornell University


Risk management

Environmental risks, weather wind sector analysis, regional assay, community/ neighbour effects.

Health and safety risks

Legal liability


Liability and facility insurance

Biosecurity issues

Insurance, crop

                Worker compensation

Food safety, haccp

Contracts, CSA restaurant, food retail


Environmental issues

The main site is over 160 years old, the home built between 1850-1860. The home sits on the northern side of the property below grade to the barn, forest orchard and 1/8th acre market garden. the land was the home acre of a larger mixed farm. From 1950 to 75 the site was grazed by a house cow and extensively gardened. After 1975 a perimeter fence was installed and the barn and lands used as a dog breeding site. Begining in 1995 the property was simply mowed, with 2 dogs on site. The owner at this time was a car enthusiast leaving behind pollution around the barn out to approximatly 10'.

The site is located within the village of Jerseyville and so it and its nieghbours are subject to urban pesticide laws. Surrounded on three sides by road access the perimeter should be planted to support species to reduce road pollution castoff.

Pollution concerns from within the site are negligible. A further dscussion on nutrient managment will be discussed elsewhere however as an overview, Chickens are housed on deep bedding and pasture. With less than 20 hens on over 3000sq' located below grade and seperated from the gardens reducing cross contamination issues. The quantity of manure produced is minimal due to the large land area and deep bedding. The coop is cleaned of bedding every spring which has resulted in less than a yards worth of composted material. It is placed into the composting bins with additional biomass and composted for 12 months until the following spring.

Additional inputs come from offsite produced compost and small amounts of bone/blood meal in the transplanting materials. No Chemicals are used and no soluble fertilizers or biocides.



Milk Act

  • Covers cow’s and goat’s milk.

  • Has regulations covering a number of items from workers to animal health.

Health Protection and Promotion Act

  • Requires pasteurization of cow, goat and sheep milk to be sold.

  • Food Premises Regulation ( Note: exemptions for Producer Based farmers’ Markets & community events, farmers selling only their own honey, maple syrup, unprocessed produce or grains)

Livestock and Livestock Product Act

  • Prohibits the sale of non-graded eggs, except at the farm-gate for the consumers own consumption.

Food Safety and Quality Act

  • Requires all meat offered for sale is inspected.

  • Persons delivering food animals to an abattoir must provide their name and address; poultry must also have on-farm health records.

Dead Animal Disposal Act

Safe Drinking Water Act

Nutrient Management Act

  • Applies mainly to new/expanding livestock operations.

  • Nutrient Management Act all have regulations around locations and activities of buildings, including farm buildings.

Farm Products Grades and Sales Act (O. reg.  119/11 food safety and quality act, 2001)

  • Honey regulations (containers, sizes, labeling, name, and address).

  • Fruits and vegetables (cleanliness of facilities and produce, grading and packing requirements). Name and address on containers.

Planning Act; Conservation Authority Act; Drainage Act; Building Code Act;

Healthy and Safety Act; Smoke-Free Ontario Act; Workplace Safety and Insurance Act

  • All have regulations that apply if you hire workers.

Ontario Water Resources Act

  • Water Wells Regulation gives well owners the responsibility to maintain their wells to prevent the entry of surface water.

Farm Registration and Farm Organization Funding Act requires all Ontario farm businesses with a gross of over $7000 to register with a farm organization, through AgriCorp (


Municipal Regulations/Enforcements

Local health units are responsible for enforcing the Health Promotion and Protection Act, which sets out food safety standards and policies for food premises.

 Health Units

  • Deliver Food Handler Training Course

  • Enforce Food Premises Regulations (ex: value-added processing)

Zoning and planning issues – vary among municipalities

Farmers’ Markets – may have rules around whom and what can be sold at their market e.g. must be a farmer selling only your own produce.


Some Requirements for Organic Certification

Organic Plan with details of transition, production, preparation, handling and management practices and updated annually;

Records on inputs, production, handling of crops and livestock;

Minimum 3 years between the use of a prohibited substance until harvest and under the verification of a certification body for at least 12 months;

Buffer zones of 8 m (longer for crops that may be contaminated by GE) but hedgerows and roads can be used as a part of the buffer strip;

Organic seed required but can get an exemption from organic seed if organically produced seed of a variety is not available commercially. Non-organic perennial planting stock can be used but not represented as organic for at least one year;

With under 1 acre of market garden tillage will require small machinery (BCS) and implements and hand tools (wheel hoe) with a similar focus for seeding. Currently used is an earthway seeder, future trials will include a jang seeder and other innovative small scale implements such as the 6-row seeder. With such a small yet intensive garden irrigation on demand is essential, in this regard rain water harvesting and storage in cisterns are needed. The market garden is the most intensive time requirements requiring 40 hours weekly from March to November, not including market attendance.


Forest Orchard; good design is integral for the forest orchard, to reduce labor and maintenance. Site design includes contour swales and flood irrigation systems. Species will be chosen for flavour leaning towards heritage breeds and other non-commercial varieties. The Orchard will be interplanted using polycrop design including understory berry production and support species for pest and disease reduction. As in other areas of the farm biological controls such as beneficial insects will be promoted. Management will be above standard organic using compost and biological sprays include fermented comfrey and horsetail teas. Understory vegetation management will be pulsed several times per year to build organic matter on top of the soil. As stated berry bushes but also other edible and wild flowers will be thickly sown. The orchard was started ongoing from 2011 and will continue to develop production from 2015 onward. With wild flowers and on site apiary pollination will be over required, thinning will be necessary.


Licenses, permits & regulations

Due to the diversity of products a number of regulations and permits must be followed or obtained.


Federal Regulations

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) administers and enforces federal legislation related to food inspection, agricultural inputs and plant health. It is generally responsible for products that move across provincial or national boundaries., 1-800-442-2342

Health of Animals Act

  • Covers the tagging of livestock or dead stock, reportable livestock diseases and the humane transport of livestock.

  • Cattle, sheep and bison must have id tags before leaving the farm.

Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act covers labeling of pre-packaged food.

Food and Drugs Act

  • Requires that milk from all species be pasteurized for sale for human consumption and approves drugs for animal use.

Pest Control Products Act, Feeds Act and Fertilizer Act approve various farm inputs.

The Canada Agriculture Products Act,

  • Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations requires potable water be used in the final rinse of produce.


Provincial Regulations

The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care are responsible for the protection of public health. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food is responsible for statutes designed to minimize food safety risks. 1-877-424-1300

Pesticides Act

  • Grower Pesticide Safety Course.

  • Storage, disposal of containers.

  • Prohibits transportation of pesticides with food or drink.


Good agricultural practices

Financial plan




  • Historical performance; Income statement

  • Financial projections; cashflow

  • Asset management

  • Benchmarks

  • Capital request

Implementation timeline

Implementation was begun in 2011 with observation and gradual planting and experience. The full farm plan was established in 2014 with major implementation through to 2015. At this point still further work is needed but most sytems are in place and producing.



Marketing plan

  • Market trends

  • Market strategy

  • Market contracts

  • Strategic partners

  • Competitive advantage


Management and Organization

Management team

The management team consists of the owners Shawn McCarty, and Nathalie Coutayar. A hired employee will be added in year two and will be vetted for and considered a management team member.

  • Shawn McCarty is the operations manager

  • Nathalie Coutayar will lend her experience with business management and marketing

  • A hired employee will operate as hands on farm manager


Advisory board

An advisory board will be considered to include legal and financial advisors, stakeholders and other pertinent requirements.

Communication with a weekly newsletter and a yearly report will be instituted to elicit participation from stakeholders.


Personnel plan

Operations, marketing,financial, legal

Employee management plan

  • Farm manager

  • Field Labor

  • Packer

  • Delivery driver

  • Professional services


    Financial advisor


    Custom operator, Hay

                                    Heavy machinery operator

                                    Irragation systems consultant

                                    Season extension agent

                                    Contractor and trades as needed

Small machinery and hand tools are used whenever possible.  Fossil fuel use is limited and storage will be nothing larger than jerry cans. No chemical storage needed.

Alternative energy production will be assessed. Power reduction strategies will be put in place. See the farm plan for further details


Quality control

Fruits, produce and honey are the main and initial crops of Chickabee farm


A clean structure will be required for washing, packing, and storage of all fresh products. Working with an existing structure the main floor will be renovated to include several clean rooms and cool storage. The southern side will have n overhang built for permanent wash station. To remove possibilities of cross contamination and possible adulteration of any product a HACCP plan will be implemented. CanadaGap manual has been consulted and will assist in planning and implementation of safe food practices. All plans are site specific so only an overview of key concerns and objectives may be stated.


Fruits, produce, and honey

  • Flow from field to wash, pack, storage and sell cannot cross.

  • Animal and animal products cannot contact or cross washed packed or stored fresh products.

  • Wash stations and honey house must have access to potable hot and cold running water.

  • All products will go thru 2 or more sets of eyes and hands from field to storage and on to sell.

  • A number of product inspection points occur along this path, daily in field crop inspections, observation during maintenance, harvest, field pack, wash station, packing, storage, and sale/delivery.

  • Products in storage over 1 month (honey, root/storage crops, fruit will be inspected monthly for spoilage

  • Employee education and empowerment to act in all cases. All employees will have safe food certification

  • Honey supers (full or empty) will be the only woodenware stored in the honey house.

  • The majority of products are sold fresh (less than 7 days); a color code system will be used to insure FIFO procedures are followed.

  • All crops will receive a master case lot number (month, day/ 517). This lot number will be used for tracking purposes.

  • Cleaning supplies/ sanitation chemicls, fuels, and farm implements must be stored seperatly.



  • Treatment/disease, breeds are very important to handle and thrive under pasture based management practices.

  • Animal segregation if minor illness or injury, holistic and food based solutions sought, culling as necessary.



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