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Archive for October, 2015

We’re not quite all done with our farming season – there are still beds to be put to rest for the Winter, and preparations for next season – but we are done with our regular weekly vegetable harvesting. After receiving some beautiful pictures taken from the last week of our CSA season I realized that all along the pics I post are from the previous week’s adventures. So of course I have to have a postscript to share these wonderful images. Many thanks again to Andrea Nickerson for all you’ve done for us this season, not the least of which is being a wonderful friend and photographer.

View of the fields showing the Brussel Sprouts before harvest. The Rainbow Chard is next to them.

View of a field showing the Brussel Sprouts before harvest. The Rainbow Chard is next to them.

Harvesting Brussel Sprout stalks required using Tree trimmers to get through the woody material.

Harvesting the Brussel Sprout stalks required the use of Tree trimmers to get through the woody material.

Can you see the spiral-like pattern on these Brussel Sprout stalks?

Can you see the spiral-like pattern on these Brussel Sprout stalks?

9yo Oddy harvesting Leeks. Our first time growing them so we only grew a few to experiment.

9yo Oddy harvesting Leeks. Our first time growing them so we only grew a small amount to experiment with.

Two new crops this year - Fennel and Leeks. We are letting the Fennel go to seed to see if we can collect it for next season and to see if it will self-seed. Perhaps we'll have enough to sell the seeds as a culinary treat. If nothing else the Swallowtails, Bees, and other beneficial Insects are appreciative that we left these Umbels.

Two new crops this year – Fennel and Leeks. We are letting the Fennel go to seed to see if we can collect it for next season and to see if it will self-seed. Perhaps we’ll have enough to sell the seeds as a culinary treat. If nothing else the Swallowtails, Bees, and other beneficial Insects are appreciative that we left these Umbels.

10yo Faenin harvesting Salad Turnips, our new favourite vegetable.

10yo Faenin harvesting Salad Turnips, our new favourite vegetable.

A beautiful morning for our last harvest day. Thanks to Amanda P for all her help. This is the Radish harvest.

A beautiful morning for our last harvest day. Thanks to Amanda P for all her help. This is a Radish harvest.

Winter Radishes and other Root crops provide beautiful and funny veggies for eating.

Winter Radishes and other Root crops provide beautiful and funny veggies for eating.

Heritage Pear Tree.

Heritage Pear Tree.

Fresh view.

Fresh view.

Squidget the Hunter. Circle of Life.

Squidget the Hunter. Circle of Life.

Mineral + Vitamin rich soil. Clay can be hard to work but the health benefits and more flavourful veggies are worth the trouble.

Mineral + Vitamin rich soil. Clay can be hard to work with but the health benefits and more flavourful veggies are worth the trouble.

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A much appreciated thank you note.

A much appreciated thank you note.

Local veggie lover Jessica McCracken brought home a whole lotta produce to stock up for the Winter and shared these pics and some of her pickling, canning, and dinner efforts:

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Bounty.

Pickled Carrots, Salsa Verde, Roasted Peppers, and more.

Pickled Carrots, Salsa Verde, Roasted Peppers, Chili, and more.

A lovely gift of Spicy Pickled Chard Stems.

A lovely gift of Spicy Pickled Chard Stems from Jessica McCracken.

Deliciously dirty.

Deliciously dirty.

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This coming week is a bittersweet time at the farm and in our farming lives. This week marks the end of a hard, busy, and rewarding season. It also marks the beginning of much needed time for rest and repose. In the final weeks of the farming season we are simultaneously burned out, weary from a job we love, filled with a sense of accomplishment, with hearts and thoughts full of planning for the next season, and a deep gratitude for the new friends and community we have created in our world full of sunshine and dirty hands.

around the farmWe have many people to thank for the successes of the 2015 season – our wonderful intern and friend Andrea N, our 3 awesome farm children, Marie W, Siobhan P, Amanda P, Jen R and her 2 children, Farmhand Andy, Jean T, Cara and her 3 children, Tavis L, Renee + Norm and their 2 children, Paul T, Nat T, Joce T, Steve + Jude, Union Herbs, our 2 retail partners – ShopEco and Take Back The Farm, Chef Ben, The Beacon Alehouse, the managers and vendors at the Belle River Farmers’ Market,  and last but not least all of our wonderful customers. Thank you everyone!

Some of the highlights and #workperks of our farm life….

creaturesAs Angie From Fertile Ground Farm said best, on Facebook, “Garlic planting – the first non-retractable act of commitment to the 2016 season.”

garlic plantedgarlic planted2And because this wasn’t enough we laid down more plastic to plant even more garlic, approximately 2,340 cloves that will each turn into 1 head garlic have been planted!

laying plastic

It’s a cooperative family effort.

While Andrea found a new calling and her next vehicle purchase ….

andrea's new vehicleSome of our beautiful rainbow-coloured produce from last week….

rainbow offeringsSome veggies to look forward to this week include (some items are in limited quantities and may not be available at all locations) : baby kale + bunched kale + parsley that have all been sweetened up by the frosts; salad mix; sweet peppers; tomatoes; tomatillos; beets; hakurei turnips; radishes; leeks; brussel sprouts; cauliflower; broccoli; salsify + scorzonera; fresh mint, dill, fennel, and chives; dried herbs like oregano, sage, thyme, and rosemary; vivid choi, rutabagas.

We’re highlighting 2 items this week – chard and watermelon radishes. Facebook friend Jess Mc shared a link for many ideas to use up chard including her own spicy pickled chard recipe (“Very simple recipe. Garlic and pickling spices in jar – then chard. Boil apple cider and white vinegar with a bit of maple syrup & hot sauce and s&p. Pour over the chard and voila!!!!”) and 19 Chard Recipes For Fall that includes recipes like Soup, Rolls, Pesto, Salads, Smoothies, Curry, and Pasta dishes. And some more ideas for veggies that can be pickled We Can Pickle That! Watermelon radishes are a pickled treat and National Geographic shared this Quick Pickled Watermelon Radish recipe. And Phickle shares some radish pickling recipes as well.

Don’t forget we are also carrying these limited edition 2016 calendars from local Nature Enthusiast Allen W of Nature Nuggets!

11755705_805178219602867_2397866539883179801_nWe will still have a limited supply of some veggies like lettuce and kale/chard and whatever else manages to survive until a hard frost hits. We will send out an email to our local farm-pickup folks but if you are local and don’t want to be on the list let us know. Or if you are from Windsor and *do* want to be on the list let us know. We can pick you some veggies and leave them in our on-farm self-serve fridge while supplies last. Members can also send us an email if they’re missing and craving their local produce.

Thank you to everyone who supported our small-scale ecologically-grown local food business this year! Looking forward to next season and keep your eye out for details on our program for 2016 – we are busy planning new changes, including a longer season for receiving your fresh produce! Let us know if you are ready to sign up for next season 🙂

we grow organic crop

Proud member and active participants with the EFAO!

Proud member and active participants with the EFAO!

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12140127_849743068479715_48046645832885106_oWith the threat of the F-word – that did indeed come this weekend – we were frantically covering up all the crops we could with frost blankets and harvesting the crops that couldn’t be saved (peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, hot peppers, okra, tomatillos, beans, summer squash). We won’t know the extent of the damage or how crops fared until we get out there and start harvesting on Monday morning. The root crops – beets, turnips, radishes – might be sold as roots only as the leaves may have been killed off but they will be sweeter with a frost.  And that is the good news of a frost – it sweetens up and makes extra tasty all the kale, chard, parsley, and roots.

tractors + garlic

We also managed to get a large garlic area prepared for planting!

Remember that this is the very last of the tomatoes. We’ve brought many of them indoors to ripen them up but this will be your very last chance to have field-grown, organic, heirloom, tasty tomatoes and you’ll be back to eating tasteless cardboard tomatoes until next July.

Multi-coloured Cauliflower

Multi-coloured Cauliflower.

On the frost note…. we can only guess at what will be available for veggies this week. Apologies to the folks that use these posts to help them in their weekly menu planning. Please refer to the previous post for a possible crop list – Week 18.

Family working together to get the harvest done on Thanksgiving Monday.

Family working together to get the harvest done on Thanksgiving Monday.

From Facebook: “Some of the benefits of joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) weekly box program: Fresh, Local, Seasonal Veggies; Affordability; Environmentally-Friendly; Supporting your Community + Small Community Farmer. Did I mention fresh and tasty vegetables? 😉 “- http://www.westchestermagazine.com/Blogs/Eat-Drink-Post/October-2015/7-Reasons-to-Join-a-Farm-Share/

Family Thanksgiving activities included kite-flying, tractor lessons, and tree planting.

Family Thanksgiving activities included kite-flying, tractor lessons, and tree planting.

We are having one last Foraging Walk to close out the season on Sunday October 25th. There are still plenty of edibles left to discover and explore so if you’ve been meaning to make it to a walk it’s your last chance until next year! You can find an event page on Facebook here – https://www.facebook.com/events/1068764633136247/. There is no obligation to pre-register, just show up on Sunday before 10:30 at our farm at 20600 Morris Rd (Canal St West), Tilbury.

Around the farm: #workperks (thinned baby carrots), woodpecker teepee, root crops soaking, plethora of sweet peppers, farm-bred baby chickens, asters (important nectar source for Fall migrating butterflies).

Around the farm: #workperks (thinned baby carrots), woodpecker teepee, root crops soaking, plethora of sweet peppers, farm-bred baby chickens, asters (important nectar source for Fall migrating butterflies).

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Here in the deep South we’ve still been enjoying warm days and warm nights with no threat of the F-word yet in sight, and that is a lot to be thankful for.

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A few interestingly-timed articles that I’ve come across in the past week ….

Most Farmers Are Not Rich

Confessions of a Community Supported Agriculture Failure – This author was part of a traditional CSA box program but it was fascinating to me that even when designing a more flexible program, one that avoids many of the pitfalls described, that there are still more unhappy consumers than I am comfortable with. It has been a life lesson in “you cannot please everyone and when you try, you will only hurt yourself.”

And in response to the above article ~ CSA Programs Are Essential To Farms

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On this week’s harvest list (may vary depending upon location) :

Cauliflower; Beans; Salad in jar; Crab Apples

Cauliflower; Beans; Salad in jar; Crab Apples

Beets, Salad, Kale, Chard, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Parsley, Sweet + Hot Peppers, Beans, Radishes, Hakurei Salad Turnips, Summer Squash, Eggplant, Fennel Fronds, Horseradish, Crab Apples, and the always to be expected unexpected surprises!

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Grab your green tomatoes while you can because you will miss the taste of Summer when you have to return to eating the tasteless greenhouse-grown Tomatoes. They ripen beautifully on the counter in just a few days.

The Horseradish root can be used fresh or you can plant it in your own garden for a perennial supply of this healthy herb for yourself. The leaves are a great addition to your own home-made lacto-fermented pickles as they keep them crisp and crunchy while adding a little bite. Some more ideas from HomeSpunSeasonalLiving.

5 Things You Can Do with Crab Apples

From Facebook this week: farm child Oddy was on a hunt for tasty edible mushrooms and came across these which, after getting them identified by professionals, made a tasty home-made pizza topping.

sunflower

In love with a bird-planted surprise Sunflower that has grown multiple heads rather than stretch up tall to the Sun. In a bed with Lettuce and Parsley, with Cauliflower + Compost in the background.

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We are approaching the time of year when we give thanks. Reflecting on all we have to be thankful for is a wonderful practice. A big THANK YOU to all the folks – big and small, human and non-human – who co-create and conspire to bring us a bounty of food to eat every day.

I am incredibly grateful, if not in awe, of my own little farming family. It’s amazing to watch small children be as competent + knowledgeable as any adult in almost every area of our little farming operation. It’s even more amazing to be working alongside my awesome children each and every day. We are blessed.

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We’ve had a veritable ABUNDANCE of veggies in the last two weeks! From our Wednesday on-farm market the last week of September 2015.

This is also a time to reconnect with our roots and with the teachings of those who inhabited this land before colonization, the First Peoples.

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The abundance of Fall produce is the perfect time to re-commit to another year of good health by securing yourself a spot in our CSA for the 2016 season. By signing up you commit to: feeding yourself and your family FRESH, ecologically-grown food you can trust; eating well by enjoying the fruits of our labour every week; a healthier community by buying local and by supporting our farming family.

You can also help build a strong local food system within our CSA program by being a part of our “core planning group” and providing input in to our planning for next season.

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A reminder for those who might have missed it: We have a new pickup time at Take Back The Farm for the rest of the season – 4:30-6:30 on Thursdays.

I came across an interesting article this week about the plight of small-scale local farmers – from the farmer’s perspective – on growing for a local, ecological market … Manure and Markets.

Our harvest list is very similar this week as last week so if you need information on certain veggies or are looking for recipe ideas you can reference last week’s blog post, Looking Towards The Future.

What we are harvesting this week:

Rainbow Beets – red, chiogga (candy cane), golden

beets'n'andreaWild Rainbow Salad Mix (the lettuce is just gorgeous and sooooo tasty right now!)

CSA member J shared this simple yet beautiful salad. Our mixes are perfect to just put into a large bowl and add whatever dressing you prefer. Can't get easier than that.

CSA member J shared this simple yet beautiful salad. Our mixes are perfect to just put in to a large bowl and add whatever dressing you prefer. Can’t get easier than that. A plethora of taste to please the palate!

Rainbow Kale + Leafy Green mixes

Snap Beans – dragon, purple, blu jay, fillet

Broccoli florets

And hopefully a few Cauliflower, too. This is 'Cheddar'.

And hopefully a few Cauliflower, too. This is ‘Cheddar’ – fresh in the field, complete with insect poo.

Green Tomatoes

Dried Basil + other dried herbs

Tomatillos

11224099_10153542008366280_2831436949346858097_nCalendula Seeds

Parsley

Rainbow Radishes – including some specialties like Ostergruss, Watermelon, Shunkyo, and Black Spanish.

In limited supply:

Cherry + Beefsteak tomatoes

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Salsify + Scorzonera – yummy root alternatives to parsnips + carrots

Sage Smudge Sticks

Okra

Hot Peppers

Sweet Peppers

Squash

Summer Squash

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Summer Squash in a raised bed; Carrots in the forefront.

Eggplant

Sun-dried Tomatoes – only a couple of bags available at each location

Hickory Nuts – only a couple of bags available at each location

Bee pollen + Pickles – until supplies run out

Horseradish root – you can also plant this root in your garden for a perennial supply

Turnips – almost done until the next batch are ready

bunching turnips

We have super awesome dedicated farm friends.

Scallions

Fennel

And there will certainly be surprises, like perhaps Sunchokes…..

What is to come before the end of the season…..crops we are still hoping will produce before the end of the season – Cauliflower (orange, purple, green), Brussel Sprouts, Leeks, and Rutabagas – as well as more Beets, Turnips, Salad (Hakurei) Turnips, and Kohlrabi. How long the season goes will depend on the weather. If the weather holds and we still have veggies we will keep bringing them until we can’t anymore.

A great salad preserving share from Facebook – Mason jar salads to-go! Farm friend Marie W has tried these and said they worked wonderfully so we had to share!

A snapshot of the abundance we’ve had and shared and the abundance still to come….

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