Ferme Springbrook Farm was first featured in the Summer 2015 Edition of the NB Family Farmer.
Jean-Pierre Gagnon calls himself an agricultural entrepreneur, rather than a farmer. He enjoys both connecting with his customers as well as growing La Ferme Springbrook Farm brand. For him, he’s not just selling a pork chop, he’s selling a Gagnon pork chop or a Springbrook pork chop, and for the past ten years his customers at the Dieppe farmers market have come to know and recognize the quality of the Springbrook name.
The land that Springbrook Farm is on has been in the family since 1979, and has been active farmland since at least 1890. When JP came came back to New Brunswick in 2002 with his wife, Sherry, and their first daughter, Isabelle, he was planning on continuing to work in construction, as he had done for the previous five years out west. After a few weeks of selling out by 9 am at the Moncton Farmers’ Market in 2002, he realised that there was a strong demand for pork, chicken and eggs. In order to meet the demand, he built a poultry abattoir and a shop to custom cut his red meat on the farm. Springbrook Farm’s business is guided by a conviction to steward the land without using any pesticides or chemical fertilizers as well as responding to requests from his customers and has been gradually expanding to meet their needs including grain fed, non-GMO grain fed animals.
Their business runs year-round and employs eight part-time staff during the peak season. According to JP the key to his success is his licensed abattoir that gives him access to many markets year-round, and a better value-added price than selling the live animal may. While some of the grains are grown on site, much of the grains are purchased through a local grain mill in Miramichi, and only when there is not enough supply he will buy from out of province.
Today, Sherry helps a lot on the farm, particularly in the butcher shop and they have 4 children, Isabelle, Stephanie, Janick, Genevieve. When asked what he enjoys the most about his work, JP says he enjoys it all; from seeing the baby chicks coming in the barn to their new pen that is all warm and dry, to providing food for families with celiac children, or hearing a congratulations from his customers. JP sees agriculture as an opportunity to do something great for the animals he is raising as well as doing something great for the people who are consuming the product.
JP says he’s a member of the NFU-NB because he doesn’t have quite enough time to do all the important things that he needs to be represented on in terms of being a voice in the legislature or by being in contact with the regulators who are supposed to represent farmers. “I believe that the NFU is a great vehicle for my voice in those lobbying terms.”
You can find his beef, chicken, pork, lamb, turkey and eggs at the Dieppe Farmer’s Market, by picking it up at Real Food Connections, or by placing a custom order online at springbrookfarms.ca to be picked up in Richibucto on Fridays.