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Archive for August, 2015

….we have planted the last of the seeds for the season – carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, winter radishes, lettuce, and kohlrabi. Sadly, despite all of our efforts, the brassicas and bok choy seedlings were devoured so there won’t be late season cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower.

bedsIt’s also the end of field cucumbers for the season though they didn’t perform very well this year, and the end of tomatoes is sadly coming closer then we’d like it to.

I had a bit too much fun photographing these gorgeous heirloom tomatoes.

I had a bit too much fun photographing these gorgeous heirloom ‘Copia’ tomatoes.

There is only a little bit of fennel left but there is more coming later. If you haven’t tried it yet then you have time to try this recipe that a member shared with us.

Fennel Fronds Pesto
Ingredients:
2 cups fennel fronds, stemmed removed and packed
1/2 cup almond flour or slivered almonds
2 tbsp hemp hearts
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 – 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Directions:
  1. Add all ingredients into a high powered blender and blend until smooth.

There will be small amounts of rainbow kale and rainbow chard again, perfect time to try this recipe from chef Dan at the Beacon Alehouse

Caprese salad on a bed of kale and chard, with heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, boconcini cheese, and a balsamic reduction.

Caprese salad on a bed of kale and chard, with heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, bocconcini cheese, and a balsamic reduction.

Also available this week: delicious salad mixes, broccoli, parsley, beans, salad turnips, sweet snacking peppers, eggplant, slicing and sauce tomatoes, very limited amounts of cherry tomatoes (for the rest of the season), limited amount of onions as our stock has almost run out (this was a trial year for growing onions so we didn’t grow very many but they performed very well so they will get more space in the gardens next season!), limited amounts of scallions, a variety of squash (if I find the time this week I will post a full list of what varieties you might find throughout the rest of the season), herbs such as rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage, and basil – this is a great time to order extra basil for making large batches of pesto that you can freeze for the winter just send us an email and we’ll make sure to bring you extra. No picture but we found big and beautiful purple top turnips as well this week! And of course we’ll have garlic. In case you’re not convinced of the power of locally-grown garlic here’s an article we shared on facebook this week about garlic grown in China….http://www.realfarmacy.com/bleached-chemical-garlic-china-how-to-spot/

And as a follow up from last week’s talk of the health benefits of colourful vegetables – Surprising Health Benefits of Purple Carrots.

Last week's market displays.

Last week’s market displays.

Coming soon….

Can we make Halloween cool in September? We'll see....

Can we make Halloween cool in September? We’ll see….we will see….

As an experiment we are going to try cooking up some rainbow chard root – if you’ll remember it’s the same plant as beet but with an “ugly” root – stay tuned for those results because if it’s yummy….you’ll be seeing this new root soon enough!

As a final note, some folks are getting concerned that they may not be able to use up their credits before the end of the season. Please feel free to ask me or whomever is at the market tables what you can buy in larger quantities and easily preserve for the winter. There are always pickles and honey, too. But also, please let us know if there is something you want to see us bring in larger quantities that you can buy in bulk or just some veggies you’d like to see more of. Some examples are potatoes, sweet potatoes, storage onions, portabello’s. We will see what we can source locally that is ecologically-grown and what other growers may have in abundance. Let us know what you’d like to see and we will do our best to bring it in!

Dried herbs ready to be jarred and used for winter cooking.

Dried herbs ready to be jarred and used for winter cooking.

ps. I had the twelve days of Christmas song in my head as a title but nothing clever to go with it, sorry folks!

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We’re often asked why we grow such a diversity of colours and if the colourful veggies taste the same as “regular” ones. Well…there are many reasons we grow colourful vegetables! You can’t deny that the pop of colour pleases the eye as well as the palate but growing a variety of colours also makes for better growing conditions (most of the time). Take Kale for instance….the “regular” green curled Kale is the slowest growing and least productive of all of the 10 or so varieties we’ve grown and the non-green Kales aren’t a tasty treat for the White Cabbage Moth’s Caterpillars that decimates crops so quickly (and requires an investment in insect netting as well as regular applications of organic pest controls, which has it’s downsides even in organic/ecological farming). As seen here…you’ll understand why we haven’t had Kale available for a couple of weeks now….

Skeletonized Kale (yes, we made that word up).

Skeletonized Kale (yes, we made that word up).

This is also why we grow Red Cabbage vs Green Cabbage – to fool the Cabbage Moths. Sometimes a crop that is colourful is just more productive, take Dragon Beans for example, they produce Beans over the whole season instead of the 2 pickings you get from green or yellow Beans, and they are tastier! Purple Peppers are the first to ripen. Yellow Cucumbers like Poona Kheera and Lemon are more resistant to the diseases that plague Cukes and they are more productive. Colourful Tomatoes are more flavourful but also give a diversity of flavours when you’re snaking on our Candy Cherry Tomatoes. The more colourful the veggie the more diverse the vitamins and minerals and the healthier they are. And of course….I cannot resist anything that is purple but everyone already knows that, hahaha.

Double Dragon Carrot, Dragon Beans, Brocco-flower, Heirloom Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers.

Double Dragon Carrot, Dragon Beans, Brocco-flower, Heirloom Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers.

Sometimes we grow colourful and strange vegetables in order to try and find a couple of varieties that will produce and withstand tough conditions like the Squash Vine Borer, Downy Mildew, Powdery Mildew and more that plague Squashes (we haven’t been very successful so far but there are many more varieties to try)….

squash and bug

‘Winter Sweet’, ‘Spaghetti’, ‘Delicata’ + ‘Sweet Mama’, Squash Vine Borer

On a happier note we have seen Squash Bees around….no pic but here’s a link for more info on this native pollinators.

We’re curing our pumpkins and squash right now but you will see some of the varieties that aren’t good for storage in the coming weeks. Spaghetti Squash has many uses – cooked or raw. For fun, Why Is Squash Called Squash.

This week’s pick list includes but varies depending upon location …..

  •  Our Salad is thriving again and we’ve got plenty of delicious Salad Mix
  • We’ve picked the last of the Kohlrabi and the Cucumbers have almost seen the end of their days as well
  • Some of you have already seen the Broccoflower and others will see it this week while supplies last
  • The Sweet Peppers aren’t at peak yet but are starting to come on strong, much to my delight! I love the little Snacking ‘Lunchbox’ Peppers (last season’s post on them) and like last season I cannot stop eating them!
  • We have limited amounts of hot peppers and okra for those who are interested
  • Chinese Eggplant
  • Garlic and Onions (Onion supplies are running low so stock up now if you want some for the Fall and Winter)
  • limited amounts of Scallions will be ready again
  • new this week is the long awaited Dragon Beans, included in a mix with Cherokee Trail of Tears and Rattlesnake Pole Beans
  • Our Heirloom Tomatoes and Candy Tomatoes are still going strong. If you want to use up some of your remaining credit we are still taking orders for bushel baskets (must be ordered in advance) – $25 per 20+lb basket. It’s also super easy to make sun-dried Tomatoes using the Candies – just slice once and put in a dehydrator. Here’s a great recipe using Sun-dried Tomatoes. Some raw food recipes using Tomatoes, and a plethora of recipes using a multitude of veggies at once!
  • Also new this week…Hakurei Turnips! After hearing other CSA’s rave about these I had to try them this year! They’re like a sweet Radish or a juicy Turnip – both and neither at the same time – with leaves that taste just like a mildly spicy lettuce mix we grow. Here are some recipe ideas (if you don’t eat them raw like I do) – The Better Turnip, Salad Turnips, Pickled Harukei Turnips.

10339569_820975638023125_7573863776127053480_n* We’ve always got a variety of fresh herbs for sale, too, and if you don’t think you’ll use them fresh just string them up and let them dry so you can use them when needed all year long. Thyme, Oregano, Basil, Rosemary, and Sage.

Tyler from Union Herbs getting your fresh herbs ready for market!

Tyler from Union Herbs getting your fresh herbs ready for market!

From the “what you missed on Facebook” this week file….

From chef Ben at The Iron Kettle Bed & Breakfast - "I split the fennel down the seam but left the core so that the strands can stay together, like a cabbage, and I grilled it with some olive oil, salt and pepper over extremely high heat. Served it with a roasted chicken basted in butter that was whipped with the fennel fronds. Roasted the tomatoes whole and made a chutney to serve with the chicken."

From chef Ben at The Iron Kettle Bed & Breakfast – “I split the fennel down the seam but left the core so that the strands can stay together, like a cabbage, and I grilled it with some olive oil, salt and pepper over extremely high heat. Served it with a roasted chicken basted in butter that was whipped with the fennel fronds. Roasted the tomatoes whole and made a chutney to serve with the chicken.”

#workperks

#workperks Farm friend and employee Andrea has been busy turning Tomatoes into sauce, paste, salsa, ketchup, and sun-dried tomatoes.

At the new ShopEco location at 1645 Wyandotte with Envy Boutique.

At the new ShopEco location at 1645 Wyandotte with Envy Boutique.

Our market offerings at the Belle River Farmers Market on Sundays.

Our market offerings at the Belle River Farmers Market on Sundays.

Coming soon from our experimental strawbale bed (with thanks to farm friend Siobhan for the idea!)….

tomatillos

Tomatillos

The weather sure can be hard on the soil….

11889704_819390608181628_8194545194329195189_nTill next time!

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We are at Week 10 – the halfway point, the middle – we are betwixt and between. To celebrate we’ve added up everyone’s total credit used so far this season, feel free to check in to see where you’re at. 🙂

An important note for members who pick up at ShopEco! Pickup will be at their NEW location this Tuesday August 18th – located at 1645 Wyandotte St E (with Envy Boutique). To reach the parking lot, just turn down Windermere, and then make a right at the little alleyway. The parking spaces for Envy and ShopEco are the first five spaces right outside the shop. ShopEco will NOT be open this Tuesday as they are moving but will re-open on Wednesday August 19th.

11112481_799600493493973_7599578116448054026_oOur Kale has been hit hard by little green caterpillars who somehow got under the insect netting and hatched out by the hundreds and have decimated the crop. We’re giving the Kale a break but will have more next week along with some delicious new recipes to try.

There are some caterpillars we don’t mind seeing…..We shared pics of Swallowtail caterpillars in with the Dill but now we are finding them in with the Fennel….Love these creatures!

fennel swallowtailNew this week is Fennel!

fennelSome recipes for Fennel….

From chef Dan at the Beacon Alehouse in Amherstburg: Apple Fennel Slaw, it’s great with pork dishes or a salad. I got a sample of this and it was awesome!

3 apples, shredded or mandolined

1 Fennel bulb, shredded

1/2 tbsp fresh cracked pepper

1 Garlic clover, minced

1/3 cup of oil

3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar (or malt vinegar)

Mix all ingredients together

We’ll have more chef recipes for Fennel next week but keep an eye on our Facebook page for more yummy ways to eat this unique veggie!

Other recipe ideas can be found on allrecipes.com, Canadian Living, Fennel Zucchini Tomato Soup, and if you’re adventurous on Martha Stewart’s website.

In limited quantities this week we have…..

Inter-varietal Carrot Love

Inter-varietal Carrot Love

bunching carrotsOn the pick list this week (will vary from location to location):

Rainbow Carrots

Heirloom Tomatoes

Wild Rainbow Salad Mix

Pea Shoots + Parsley

a variety of Herbs – Basil, Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage

Fennel

Garlic and Onions

Field Cucumbers

Sweet Peppers, Hot Peppers, Okra, Eggplant

Cabbage – Red, Chinese.

Delicata Squash

We may even see some early Cauliflower! We never know what surprises lurk…..

Kohlrabi

Cool Kohlrabi

Cool Kohlrabi

We had to pick most of our Squash and Pumpkins this week due to the Squash Vine Borer and it’s now curing for later use. More on that next week but at least the chickens got some good treats! Speaking of chickens…..some new chicks came this week and we discovered something sweet and cute with our broody mom and her wee ones ….

Broody mama has 4 chicks and they sleep like this every night - 2 under her wings, 1 underneath her, and 1 on top.

Broody mama has 4 chicks and they sleep like this every night – 2 under her wings, 1 underneath her, and 1 on top.

Time to sign off and get some rest in preparation for the Belle River Farmers Market tomorrow and another busy farm week ahead – can’t wait to hear what you’ve all been cooking up this week!

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If you’re interested in canning whole tomatoes, making tomato sauce, making fresh salsa or salsa for canning, or in making sun-dried tomatoes now is the time to let us know that you want tomatoes in bulk. We can sell bushel baskets (approximately 20 pounds) of our heirloom and organically-grown field tomatoes for $25 but you must let us know in advance.

Zapotec Pleated, Forme de Coeur, and Striped Roman varieties; a baby belly tomato and a tomato with a nose; our display at the Belle River Farmers Market.

Zapotec Pleated, Forme de Coeur, and Striped Roman varieties; on the day we welcomed a new baby to the family we picked this fertility Goddess / baby belly Tomato; sometimes Tomatoes have noses and appendages; our display at the Belle River Farmers Market.

Our Candy Tomatoes are perfect for making sun-dried Tomatoes in a dehydrator.

Our Candy Tomatoes are perfect for making sun-dried Tomatoes in a dehydrator.

With Tomatoes (and Peppers, and Eggplant) comes…Tomato Hornworms….

11802788_756521694456875_3233170437779635782_oThe pick list is the same this week and please keep in mind that not all items are available at all locations. This week you’ll see lots of Tomatoes, Basil, Sweet and Hot Peppers, Okra, Chinese Eggplant, Rainbow Kale + Chard, Salad, Red Cabbage, Kohlrabi, Garlic, Onions, Field Cucumbers, Parsley, and perhaps some surprises!

We've been enjoying lots of variations of Tabouleh lately - Parsley, Garlic, Onions, Cucumbers, and Tomatoes from the farm tossed with lemon juice, salt, and olive oil and served with a variety of grains like couscous, quinoa, or wild rice.

We’ve been enjoying lots of variations of Tabouleh lately – Parsley, Garlic, Onions, Cucumbers, and Tomatoes from the farm tossed with lemon juice, salt, and olive oil and served with a variety of grains like couscous, quinoa, or wild rice.

Armenian Cucumbers will be ready soon…..not quite big enough yet….

11865123_814044772049545_1867051037210514359_oFrom around the farm this week….the baby chicks already have their feathers and Oddy (our 8yo farm child) found “The World’s Smallest Chicken Egg” and wanted to share with everyone.

littlest egg everWhat you missed on Facebook this week….

Our produce found it’s way into the kitchen of Chef Ben from The Iron Kettle who created lovely dishes for a local wedding.

Ben chef pics1

A purple cabbage and cucumber slaw done 2 ways – one mixed and the other decomposed – the vinaigrette was made with the purple basil. Swiss chard mixed with green beans and bean sprouts to mix textures and balance bitterness. And lastly more chard wilted in a pan with mushrooms and caramelized onions.

Marie W shared some ways she’s been enjoying our produce….

Marie said, "Packing fresh pickling cucumbers from Locally Germinated: a farmer's cooperative into a 5 litre Fido jar. In about 4 days, I hope to have crunchy, fermented dill pickles!";  Cooked, chopped leaves and julienned bulb of Kohlrabi topping a Zucchini Mushroom Egg dish.

Marie said, “Packing fresh pickling cucumbers from Locally Germinated: a farmer’s cooperative into a 5 litre Fido jar. In about 4 days, I hope to have crunchy, fermented dill pickles!”; Cooked, chopped leaves and julienned bulb of Kohlrabi topping a Zucchini Mushroom Egg dish.

A nice little post about crops to plant for an Autumnal Garden (we are still planting, planting, planting and will be until the end of August). We are growing the Hakurei Turnips and they will be ready in the next 2 weeks! Still deciding on planting more Kohlrabi…..does anyone want to see more Kohlrabi?  http://savvygardening.com/three-crops-to-plant-now/

And a farm pic to end things…..as always a big thank you to Andrea Nickerson for providing most of the photographs for the blog!

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You will soon find out why we call them Candy Tomatoes!

You will soon find out why we call them Candy Tomatoes!

We put a lot of time and effort in to perfecting our Candy Tomato mixes by choosing just the right varieties to please the palate and the eye. This year we are growing Black Cherry, 42 Days, Fargo Yellow Pear, Bing, Sweetie, Peacevine, Isis Candy, Blush, Pink Tiger, Green Tiger, as well as Sunrise, Pink and Purple Bumblebee.

Our slicing, beefsteak, and sauce Tomatoes are coming on as well – thank you heat! – heirlooms like Japanese Trifele, Moonglow, Druzba, Black Krim, Eva Purple Ball, Bison, Djena Lee’s Golden Girl, Zapotec Pleated, Forme De Coeur, Rose De Berne, Cherokee Purple, Copia, Striped Roman, Purple Russian, Bellstar, Gilbertie, Black Plum and more.

We are full swing in to harvesting season so we’ll let pictures tell the story of life around the farm this past week as well as what fresh vegetables to expect in the coming week.

Can you see the face in the picture on the right?

Red Cabbage. Can you see the face in the picture on the left?

The tasty mini-cabbage that I eat like an apple. Mmmmcrunch! Don't be afraid to try Kohlrabi!

The tasty mini-cabbage that I eat like an apple. Mmmmcrunch! Don’t be afraid to try Kohlrabi, even if it sometimes looks like a monster face… because only the farmers eat the monsters <wink>

Purple Peppers, Chinese Eggplant, Summer Squash, Okra, and Field Cucumbers (yes, they are supposed to be yellow, that's Poona Kheera!)

Purple Peppers, Chinese Eggplant, Summer Squash, Okra, and Field Cucumbers (picklers, green slicers, silver slicers, poona kheera – yellow – and Armenian) as well as a super Cucumber picker + taste-tester farm child.

Add flavour to your dishes with our fresh Onions - red, white, spanish - and our Purple + Green Basil.

Add flavour to your dishes with our fresh Onions – red, white, spanish – and our Purple + Green Basil.

The Garlic harvest over, we recently sold 24 heads of Garlic to be enjoyed at a wedding that features all local food. Our veggies will be gracing dishes such as - Creamy garlic dressing, Green goddess, Shallot vinaigrette, Avocado corn soup, Rub for the prime rib, Anti pasta grilled veggies.

The Garlic harvest over, we recently sold 24 heads of Garlic to be enjoyed at a wedding that features all local food. Our veggies will be gracing dishes such as – Creamy garlic dressing, Green goddess, Shallot vinaigrette, Avocado corn soup, Rub for the prime rib, and Anti pasta grilled veggies.

Dried mint with pestle and mortar; Quiche

Dried mint with pestle and mortar; Quiche with Kale

Helpers around the farm....Everyone has a job and we all have fun!

Helpers around the farm….Everyone has a job and we all have fun!

Baby Mourning Doves; Caterpillar Larvae of the Cecropia Moth

Baby Mourning Doves; Caterpillar Larvae of the Cecropia Moth

We are looking for harvesting help this coming holiday Monday and would love to show you around the farm. We’ll be working from 9 am until 4 pm, come if you can and see where your food is grown.

Happy Long Summer Weekend everyone!

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