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Archive for the ‘Crops’ Category

June has come and gone too quickly. The rain has mostly missed us, besides a few gentle showers. Every day it looks like it will rain but the gardens are so very thirsty. Others who live not far from here are experiencing the opposite. We do our best to be adaptable to whatever the weather brings.

Farmer Andrea started the CSA this month, here are some highlights …

Veg-Head Andrea

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Garlic Scapes, Peas, Lettuce, very HOT days

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Photos by Andrea Nickerson

The most beautiful Kohlrabi I’ve ever seen, ‘Azur Star‘, pictures cannot do it justice.

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Photo by Andrea Nickerson

Market Set-up for Week 1 of fresh, local produce

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Photo by Andrea Nickerson

The Farm Toddler helping with the Garlic Scape harvest + cleaning

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Photo by Andrea Nickerson

Andrea also took some beautiful panoramic pictures of the raised beds …

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Our family gardens are coming along nicely. We’ve eaten our fill of pea shoots and sugar snap peas and are leaving the plants as a seed crop. We’ve also been collecting onion seeds. We found this beautiful surprise in our ‘Rattlesnake‘ Pole Beans, little leaves that resemble the seeds and bean pods …

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A look at our Pole Bean bed, using a re-purposed swing set, with marigolds as a companion plant to deter bean beetles …

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And the view from the other end of the bed …

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Most of the beans in this bed will be a seed crop as we need to grow out the ‘Trail of Tears‘ beans we started saving in 2008, and we’re starting to save the seeds from other varieties so we have seeds that are regionally-adapted. Beans are the perfect starter seed-saving crop as they’re super easy to save.

A teeny tiny Lunchbox Pepper on a tiny little plant …

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A new favourite, an heirloom Lettuce “Grandma Hadley” from Seed Savers Exchange

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Another example of companion planting that Rashel has wanted to try for many years, but couldn’t make feasible on a larger scale, is using radishes as a trap crop to protect Cucumbers from flea beetles, cucumber beetles, and squash bugs. The radishes will be left to go to seed and be another seed crop.

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In the trellised Cucumber bed we’ve also planted Lettuce as a companion but there were these beautiful “weeds” – 2 Sunflowers and a blooming Cilantro – that we decided to leave in the bed because they were just too nice to pull out.

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While we’ve seen many Insect friends – especially a variety of Swallowtails – we only got this one picture is a newly hatched Praying Mantis.

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We’ve had our first Lavender blossom harvest of the season …

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A medicinal plant harvest of Yarrow, Wormwood, Bergamot, St. John’s Wort, Red Clover, Plantain, and Comfrey. Most of these will be dried for later use and some will be infused in oil for later use. All but the Comfrey have come from the new wild area Rashel started in 2016.

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We are harvesting Chamomile and Calendula every couple of days, and dehydrating them to use later in teas and salves. In honour of the Summer Solstice why not try some of these recipes using a variety of edible blossoms ~ Sweet Magic: Honey Cookies

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Farmer Andrea has been busy this Spring getting ready for the 2017 CSA + Market Season! Spreadsheets, Seed Catalogues, Sterilizing Seedling Trays, SEEDS, Planting, all part of the Farm Lyfe.

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Photo credit: Andrea Nickerson + rashel t

Seedlings Indoors …

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Photo credit: Andrea Nickerson + rashel t

Seedlings Outdoors …

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Photo credit: Andrea Nickerson

Over-wintered and self-seeded Spring surprises …

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Scallions, Gorgeous Lettuces that popped up in beds, outside of beds, gorgeous Lettuce everywhere! Photo credit: rashel t.

Every year we let a couple of broody Hens hatch out a clutch of eggs. We don’t purposely breed them so they become Tremblay Farm Mixies. Farm child Oddy wanted to make sure we had some new chicks this season and Farmer Mike (Pepe) helped get them all set up before his major heart surgery this Spring.

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These Mamas are very protective of their babies. Here they are showing their newly hatched offspring how to scratch and forage for grains and seeds. After eating very little while incubating their eggs these Mamas are ravenous! Photo credit rashel t.

 

Interesting things found around the farm in May …

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Wallflower, ancient Pear Tree covered in blossoms, Wild Ginger, Fungus, Lilac, Chives with Busy Bees, Kildeer eggs, Scat, Insect Eggs. Photo credit: rashel t.

While Farmer Rashel is taking a break from Market Gardening they are turning their focus towards creating and maintaining a new Wild Space in an awkward part of the farm. This will serve as an Insectary (habitat) for beneficial insects + pollinators, as well as a space for Medicinal Plants. The focus is primarily on Indigenous Perennials and self-seeding annuals with the goal of having the space be self-sufficient and diverse, as well as a place to learn from and harvest medicines.

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Plantain infusing in oil, Chamomile, Nettles. Photo credit: rashel t.

This blog will have a different focus in 2017. Instead of being a weekly round-up of farm happenings and seasonal veggies it will be a monthly update of interesting things found around the farm, musings on gardening with children, current experimentations in permaculture and sustainable ecological food growing.

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Our “little” garden this year – only 15 4×18 ft beds – and our new little helper. Toddler S is a natural forager! Photo credit: rashel t.

More fun around the farm in May …

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The big farm children take the toddler on adventures, pea shoot snacks, plants in flower / seed saving, rainbow, potatoes planted by Rashel + Toddler S in an experimental hay bale bed, carrots, flooding. Photo credit: Mike Tremblay, rashel t.

Unsurprisingly Rashel’s favourite bed is the most diverse one. Lettuce self-seeded, Parsley over-wintered, Sunflowers showed up, and Rashel didn’t want to remove anything so they planted seedlings in the available spaces. Trying out Celeriac + storage Kohlrabi for the first time. Also planted Collards, Brussel Sprouts, and Radnips.

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Photo credit: rashel t

A new experiment this year is Trench Composting. This bed was in need of remediation so it was the perfect first experiment. A trench was dug out of the middle of the bed and in it’s place we placed unfinished compost and seaweed. Various squashes have been planted in to the middle where the compost is. If this is successful we will do a variation on this in years to come. Each year one third of a bed will be dug out and composting materials thrown in as the season progresses. The following year we will plant on top of the trench, rotating which area gets the compost from year to year.

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Photo credit: rashel t

We are also experimenting with more Companion Planting, with plants in closer quarters in our 4 by 18 foot raised beds. Some friends include: Peas + Carrots with Lettuce; Cucumbers + Squash with Radishes + Beans; Alyssum all over but especially near Lettuces; Garlic + Tomatoes with Basil; Marigolds + Pole Beans.

Looking forward to sharing more Cute Creatures, Garden Stories, and Farm Lyfe with everyone 🙂

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Newly hatched Praying Mantis in a pot of Succulents. Photo credit: Andrea Nickerson.

 

 

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VEGGIE OF THE WEEK IS CHERRY TOMATOES

There is a reason we call them ‘candy’, this is nature’s finest candy. We select the most delicious heirlooms varieties, mixing up the colours, the flavours, and the shapes to make eye-engaging and taste-bud pleasing treats. Did you know that botanically speaking tomatoes are berries? It’s true! Check out the definition of Berry from Wikipedia. Cherry tomatoes are perfect for turning into sundried tomatoes treats as well – 2 boxes fill 1 tray so 8 boxes fill a standard dehydrator. These sweeties will blow you away with how much sweeter they are than grocery store fare. Lucky for you they are at their peak right now – peak sweetness and peak production – so we’ve been selling them at a discount. We’ll have small amounts of sundried tomatoes for sampling so you can see just how easy and tasty it is to turn the cherries into dried snacks. One slice and they’re ready!

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There are new links up on the Veggies! page for new ways to use tomatoes including drink ideas and how to use over-ripe tomatoes. This page also has links to the varieties we’re growing, check it out as some of them have lovely historical stories behind them. We’ll tell you all about them at our Heirloom Tomato Taste-Test Fest on Saturday September 3rd!

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Eat The Rainbow?

A lovely farm friend said this week that when they go to the grocery store that it seems “wrong” and “weird” to see only red or only yellow or only orange tomatoes for sale. We agree, our colourful mixes are the only way to go, especially when you want to Eat The Rainbow.

Are you still looking to can tomatoes? We’ve got some extra hampers for sale for this Saturday – tomorrow! – August 27th, swing by the farm during our market hours of 8 am to 2 pm.

We’ll be joined by Another Way for a special Crystal event tomorrow too!

And we’ll also be joined by Neo-Vintage Artistry ~ one of a kind, hand-crafted jewelry!

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While we love the flavours of Summer finally ripening it’s also been challenging as a few of us have severe allergies and growing organically means weeds, like ragweed, and it’s doing a number not just on our sinuses but harvesting leaves us with prickly rashes, which means we have to have several cold showers with the hose to get the yuckies off (we’re even allergic to tomato plants!) …

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With some of the harvest.

“Why did the tomato blush? Because it saw the salad dressing.”

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We gave away all of our melon harvest this past week. It was quite sad to see all the plants dead but we were happy to hear that most of the melons were ripe, sweet, and delicious. And since we can’t have melons as veggie of the week here are the jokes we’ve been saving …

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Another surprise this week was Spaghetti Squash and Delicata and Sweet Dumplings. These are not long-term storage squash but they will last up to a month in dry, cool conditions. They have thin rinds and you can eat the rind of the Delicata and Sweet Dumplings. They are great for stuffing. More recipes on the Veggies! page. These will be available until they’re all gone. We also harvested most of our long-term storage squash and they’re currently curing. More on those later but for now a sneak peek ….

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With many thanks to Joce, Nat, Lennon, Faenin, and Oddy for pulling in this harvest!

Before we get to the pick list, we came across a wonderful article on being part of a CSA and ideas for Hearty Vegetarian Dinner from the Kitchn.

Veggies available this week: Cherry Tomatoes, Tomatoes for Canning, Snap Beans, Sweet Peppers (still producing prolifically!), Scallions, Kale + Chard, Succulent Salad Mix, Fennel (bulbs and in salad mixes), Fresh Herbs, Dried Herbs, Squash (mostly Spaghetti), Eggplant + Patty Pans, Garlic, and very HOT hot Peppers.

 

 

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It’s August 12th and we’re on our 12th week of fresh, local, weekly vegetables. It’s also the halfway point of the season – peak time for Summer goodies.

“Beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you toot. The more you toot, the better you feel, so have some beans with every meal.”

Can you guess what the veggie of the week is?

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Farmer Rashel waits every year for the first bean to be ready, it’s a rite of Summer to eat Beans, and they’ve always been Rashel’s very favourite thing to eat straight out of the garden. It’s no wonder we grow such a large variety of them every year! We are growing bush beans, snap beans, string beans, pole beans, dried beans (to come later in the season), purple + yellow + green + red + of course multi-coloured beans, and mostly heirloom + historical varieties. These resilient creatures grow despite drastic drought and no irrigation. Many thanks to an old friend who introduced me to Rattlesnake beans when we made a friendly exchange a number of years ago – they are a super producing and tasty pole bean. Every year we grow more varieties because we just can’t get enough.

Knock Knock!
Who’s there?
Bean
Bean who?
Bean a while since I last saw ya!

Q: What’s a tailor’s favorite kind of vegetable?
A: A string bean!
When it comes to certain veggies we are at a loss about what to tell people how to use them because we eat them in the car before we even make it home! Beans are one of those. The farm baby has been cutting their little teeth on beans (under close supervision, in case of choking), and lightly cooked beans are a great baby food for children who want to feed themselves. They can be canned and pickled, and they are great in salads. Some other ideas include:  Vegan Chinese Green Beans, Fermented Dragon Beans, and 13 Fresh Beans Recipes (that include a number of other seasonally available veggies), Spicy Pickled Beans.
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Every Bean is hand-picked and super chilled for longer freshness.

To go with many of the bean recipes above we still have GARLIC. This is a great keeper and a great way to use up some of your credits. Us farmers eat the damaged Garlic and it keeps well until June so stock up for all your Winter needs. We came across this interesting Garlic recipe that we think you’ll like, too – Garlic Confit is the Magic Secret to Loving Any Vegetable. We’ll have Portabello Mushrooms and mini-cucumbers for a short time only.
Now is the time to send us a message letting us know if you want hampers of Tomatoes for canning, making sauce, or for sun-drying. This is another great way to use up credits. We’ll be hitting peak tomato time in the next 2 weeks. We have a wonderful and delicious variety of heirlooms this year, in preparation for the Heirloom Tomato Taste-Test Fest!
You must try our ‘Candy’ Cherry Tomatoes, their sun-ripened goodness cannot be beat!
Sweet Peppers and Hot Peppers will be available in bulk quantities as well, please let us know if you’d like a large quantity of either for canning or freezing.
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These “glow” orange peppers have really caught our attention this year!

If you’ve been wondering what these strange “umbels” are in your Salad Mixes it’s the forming seed head of Parsley. We took a taste and found them quite pleasing with a mild Parsley taste. We’re making a lot more seed than we need so we thought we’d throw them in for a taste punch in the salad mixes.
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We have small quantities of Kale and Chard and mixes of the two; also small quantities of eggplant and summer squash. Our trusty staple, Scallions, as well as Fennel (bulb and fronds), Basil, fresh Mint, assorted fresh herbs, and our gorgeous Sunflowers and other fresh flower mixes. Dried Nettle Tea is also available again.

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Styled and Photographed by farm child Faenin (11) – Fennel, Beans, Garlic, Kale, Lunchbox Sweet Peppers, Scallions, Cherry Tomatoes, Beefsteak Tomatoes, Portabella Mushroom, Salad Mix, mini-Cucumbers.

 

 

Good things to come … things we hope and dream for in these unbearably hot days ….

 

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The Coriander crop is ready and has been harvested. All that’s left is stripping the seeds and letting them dry before they’re ready to be sold.

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So far our first year growing Celery has been successful. Though we must take care to water it every single day. They still have some time to go but we can’t wait to take a bite out of this forest of crunchy goodness. Or maybe that’s the heat talking ….

 

 

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Today, Friday August 5th, was yet another “heat alert” in our area. But when it’s harvesting day we have to work, no matter the weather. We take more breaks, drink more water, and take cold hose showers, but we still suffer the side effects of dehydration. On most days even a simple walk down a row of Tomatoes leaves us covered in sweat. This unending heat wave would be more bearable if we weren’t also in extreme drought conditions. But, we must harvest to meet our commitments to our dear members. And we hope that you, dear members, understand that we might not harvest as much, and that our crops are also suffering from the weather conditions.

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How we feel: as slow as a snail and desperately looking for water.

We also feel like Squidget ….

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Reposted from Andrea N’s Instagram: “Oh the life of a farm cat. This expert hunter is relaxing in the shade after a job well done. She was very proud of herself this morning by showing off her bounty before snuggling in for her afternoon siesta.”

This snake was also looking for shade and water and knew that the lettuce is the best place to find both …

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I hope the newest members of the farm survive the heat ….

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We are pleased to be offering a very special and unique calendar again this year. Photographs and descriptions by Naturalist and Blogger P. Allen Woodliffe, the 2017 calendars highlight the wonders and beauty of Rondeau Provincial Park. Calendars are always available at our on-farm market and will soon find their way to our ShopEco market tables as well. There are limited numbers of these calendars printed so get yours before we sell out! If you pick up at ShopEco you can ask us to bring one in for you! To find out more about Allen and about the calendars check out his website ~ http://pawsnaturenuggets.blogspot.ca/2016/05/rondeaunaturally-photos.html

A few of the photographic highlights ….

 

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Now on to the veggies available this week! Including the VEGGIE OF THE WEEK – FENNEL!

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There are many ways to enjoy Fennel including: using the fronds in salads or in pesto; grilling the bulbs on the barbeque; Apple Fennel Slaw; Soups, Pasta, Salads; 15 Fab Fennel Recipes from Canadian Living; and Martha Stewart’s take on this delectable herb. This delightful herb is a favourite of the farm children as a “passing-by snack”. Fennel is also very good for the digestive system, soothing sore tummies and colicky babies, as well as a great natural way to boost milk production in breastfeeding mothers (in honour of World Breastfeeding Week going on now!). If you’re not sure you’ll like the anise/licorice flavour just sample a small bit of the frond and see if the sweet flavour appeals to your palate. We’ll be selling this as whole bulbs with fronds as well as bunches of fronds.

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Eat The Rainbow!

Other veggies this week include: Heirloom Cherry ‘Candy’ Tomatoes + Beefsteak / Slicers (these are still slow coming on as we had several delays that were out of our control); Sweet Peppers (we’ve had weather + insect pressure that have made many of our early peppers unappealing and instead of throwing them all out we’ve discounted them from $8/lb to $1/lb); Hot Peppers (must be pre-ordered and they are VERY HOT); Kale + Chard; Salad Mix is back!; Scallions; Garlic (cured + fresh); hand-picked, heirloom, multi-coloured Snap Beans (for raw snacks but also for light cooking); Eggplant; Summer Squash (Again this year, what should be a reliable producer, has taken a hit. Striped Cucumber Beetles aka Fornicating F******, after a mild Winter, have attacked our Summer Squash seedlings, blossoms, and fruit.); Broccoli; Savoy Cabbage; fresh herbs such as Mint, Basil, and Sorrel; Kohlrabi; and fresh flowers (including Sunflowers).

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A few quick notes before we bid you all a most wonderful and delicious week …

We are planning an Heirloom Tomato Taste-Testing Day during a farm market in late August so please keep an eye on our Facebook page for event details. There will be a large variety of Heirloom Tomatoes available to taste and to rate and we’ll announce the winners at the end of the market (and online). This event may coincide with a Tomato Canning event for those of you interested in learning how to preserve the bounty and in making your own sauce to make Summer’s goodness last all Winter long. We’ll be taking orders for bulk tomatoes (hampers) in the next few weeks once the harvest is plentiful. Bulk garlic is also available by special request. If you are a member using the credit system you can order any veggie we have in large quantities and apply it to your credit, please let us know if you’re interested!

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We are praising the Sun and it’s heat, and the Rain and it’s moisture, for providing us with an abundant harvest on Week 10 of the season!

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Lettuce in Flower, the face of the Sun

VEGGIE OF THE WEEK IS GARLIC!!!

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We are finally able to offer our sought-after GARLIC in large quantities and to the public!!!

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Garlic hanging to dry and cure

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From last week’s market table

Garlic is a must for every meal in our house, it isn’t a meal without Garlic! The variety we grow is called Music and it thrives in our rich soil.

New this week is our much loved mix of fresh snap Beans, folks who’ve tried our mixes ask for them year after year. They include Dragon, Tongue of Fire, Rattlesnake, Blu Jay, Amethyst, as well as a variety of red, yellow, and green beans.

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Also new this week (in limited quantities, for now) – Candy Tomatoes!

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On our market tables this week we’ll also have: Red Cabbage and Cabbage Leaves, Chinese (Napa) Cabbage, Spaghetti Squash + Sweet Dumpling Squash, Mini-Cumcumbers, Mushrooms, Sweet Peppers, Eggplant, Summer Squash, Scallions, Grape Leaves, Rainbow Leafies, Kohlrabi (limited), Fennel, Basil and other fresh herbs, Broccoli, and small amounts of Beets.

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Week 10 is looking fabulous!

From around the farm this week …

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Polyphemus Moth

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Red Spotted Purple Butterfly

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Baby Ants, newly hatching from their nest under a Tree.

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The farm children were quite surprised with the Cucumbers they’ve been growing in their own personal garden! These were shared and enjoyed with all our neighbourhood children.

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Once again we find ourselves betwixt and between, a season that comes every year, when it’s too hot for salad, kale, and roots, and when the goodies of summer like tomatoes, peppers, and beans, aren’t quite ready. But take heart, the tomatoes and beans have indeed begun, we’ve had our first taste of them this week *smiles* This heat, while making harvesting quite a challenge for us, does wonders for Summertime veggie favourites.

This is also a week when we’re unsure of what we’ll find to fill out the weekly veggie shares so keep in mind there will be a lot of SURPRISES in the next couple of weeks. We found some spaghetti squash as well as delicata and sweet dumpling squashes that might find their way to our market tables next week.

A note about the purple peppers – these are actually green peppers that have been bred to have a purple skin so think of them as purple green peppers, if that makes sense, haha.

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Much thanks this week to our “extension” farmer, Siobhan P, who brought us big, juicy purslane and baby beet greens and who will later have beets and other treats for our members. This is a work share partnership where we exchange veggies for veggies and harvesting help for veggies. We’re very grateful for these farm friends.

The veggie of the week this week is: BASIL!

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A fragrant treat while we wait for the flush of Tomatoes, Basil is a versatile kitchen herb. Traditionally used to season tomato-based pasta sauces it stores better when it’s turned into Pesto (drying and freezing drastically reduce it’s volatile oils, those to which is owes is fragrance). There are as many ways to make Pesto as there are ways to use pesto.

A basic pesto recipe looks like this:

GARLIC SCAPE PESTO

1 pound Garlic Scapes or 1 whole head of garlic

1 bunch of Basil, Arugula, Kale, Fennel or any other leafy green

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast

1/2 to 1 cup of Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons lemon juice (optional)

1/2 cup Walnuts, Almonds, Pecans, Pine Nuts, Sunflower seeds or Pumpkin seeds (optional)

Chop the Scapes into 3 inch lengths (for easier processing). Put it in the food processor and process until pureed. Add the Basil or other leafy green and process until smooth. Add the parmesan or nutritional yeast and nuts or seeds and process until smooth again. Add lemon juice then slowly add the olive oil as the food processor is running and continue until all the oil is combined. You might need to slowly add the oil and lemon with the leafy greens to get your processor to blend everything properly. Store in an air-tight jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze.

A recipe for a nut free lacto-fermented pesto can be found here.

CSA member Wendy Rose shared this recipe last season (Basil can be swapped out for Fennel) ~

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.

Basil can also be blended with a small amount of water or with an oil and put into ice cube trays and into the freezer. Pop them out when frozen and put into a freezer bag. Each cube makes for an easy way to add flavour to a plain tomato sauce. Or use the pesto for a tomato sauce free alternative for your favourite pasta noodles. We love pesto on fresh tomatoes, as a veggie dip, on sandwiches.

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Veggies you might find this week include: Cabbage leaves, Grape leaves, Scallions, Red Cabbage, Napa/Chinese Cabbage, Kohlrabi, Portabella Mushrooms, mini Cucumbers, fresh Garlic, Peppers, Eggplant, Summer Squash, Winter Squash, Broccoli, and of course, Basil and other fresh and dried Herbs.

P.S. The Veggies tab has been updated with links to Summer Squash and Eggplant recipes!

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We took time this week to pick organic Blueberries from Blueberry Hill in Rodney.

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