Posts Tagged ‘fennel’

Fall has arrived but it seems the weather has decided that we need more Summer and I’m happy about that.

By September we see what experiments and new techniques have failed or succeeded in the gardens.

Big failures were Cucumbers, Squash, and Melons. The companion planting technique of growing radishes nearby didn’t stop the voracious appetite of the Cucumber Beetle, not even a little. Without a Winter-kill these insects have HIGH numbers and they not only munch on blossoms (so that fruit doesn’t set) but they also eat tender fruits. Cucumber beetles enjoy the whole Cucurbit family which includes Cucumbers, Zucchini, Squash, and Melons like Cantaloupes. The Squash Vine Borers put the nail in the coffin of any hope of having Squash and Pumpkins this year. It seems that the best strategy will be to not grow any of these crops for a number of years in order to discourage the insects by not giving them their favourite foods to eat.

It was also a bad year for Watermelons and a sad year for us as we grew out the last of the seeds that Farmer Faenin has been saving for 8 years. Not sure what happened with the Watermelons – raised bed, too much shade, not enough water, something else? – but they were a failure.

Fortunately other techniques and crops worked out very well.

These Marigolds successfully kept away insects from the Pole Bean seed crop.


Alyssum made a wonderful companion in many beds, to many veggies.


This was the first year that Tomatoes and Peppers were grown in the raised beds and at first I was skeptical that they would turn out due to the high nitrogen in the beds (which encourages leafy growth and discourages fruit production). I was very pleasantly wrong!

The Sweet Peppers were a bumper crop again this year! They love the heat and don’t mind not getting rained on!



We theorized that we wouldn’t have many Hornworms this year, as the Tomatoes were planted quite far away from any place they’ve been planted ever, but they arrived anyway. It wouldn’t be Summer without a pic of these creatures.

hornworm collage1.jpg

The Tomato plants and fruits were the largest we’ve ever seen. Tomatoes that should have been on the smaller size were as large as any other Beefsteak. Some grew like Tree trunks!

tomato tree1

tomato tree.jpg

In Fall we see new blossoms and new blooms.

From the Wild Area….

Some unknown flowers

unknown bloom

unknown bloom1

Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan)

This wildflower has really taken off and spread despite 2 years of drought.


Colourful Yarrow still producing blooms. Two different colours on the same stalk.

yarrow colour

There are many new creatures, and food for the creatures.


The Lemon Balm is also thriving despite 2 droughts and getting frost-bitten in April.

lemon balm

Hummingbirds enjoy visiting this Nasturtium Forest.


Fennel is planted as a host plant (food source) for Swallowtails and a late season treat for humans.


Fennel fronds are beautiful and tasty.


Behind the Fennel you can see a small “tunnel”, it’s a way to protect crops from insects but also from frost. We have a small patch of Red Cabbage, Napa Cabbage, and Cauliflower that we’ll be harvesting and eating in to November.


Can’t get enough of the Praying Mantis. This female is in her Fall colour and looking for a suitable place to lay her eggs.


From the Veggie-Table….

Our beautiful Garlic can’t be beat, be sure to stock up and get bulk amounts to last until next June!


Farmer Andrea having fun with Peppers …. “Hello, Operator? These Peppers are off the hook!”



Despite what heat alerts say, Fall has indeed arrived and we are getting less and less Sunlight every day …. There’s something about Fall shadows ….


Monarda (Bee Balm) in Fall colours.

bee balm

Yarrow flowers in Fall colours.


Soft and fuzzy Yarrow leaves.

yarrow sof

My last chance to get dirty and enjoy the heat before Winter sets in …

dirty feet




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The Autumnal Equinox – the balance between the light and the dark, the day and the night.


A perfect time to highlight the Super Squash Squad.




L-R: Acorn, Honeynut, Butternut, Long Pie Pumpkin, Thelma Sanders (Sweet Potato), Heart of Gold

Autumn’s sweetness seems to come with Winter Squash. Check out the Veggies! page for storage tips, recipes, and variety information. Our Heirloom have been the best performers with all the problems plaguing the Squash this year (no Winter kill = more insects to eat all your blossoms + fruit + stems, for example).

“What game do Elephants like to play with mice? SQUASH!”

While the Equinox has come, the weather doesn’t feel like Autumn quite yet and we’ve been blessed with a long season of Summer’s fruits – the longest season we’ve ever had Tomatoes a’plenty (we can still squeeze you in for a last chance at a hamper of tomatoes for canning!!!) … we can still Eat The Rainbow ….


We took the time this week to preserve the bounty and we pickled Beans and Ghost Peppers and Ring of Fire Peppers.

pickled peps.jpg

New this week we’ll have available Shepard’s Purse Tincture. We gathered the fresh leaves in April to make a tincture for ourselves but we made so much that we wanted to share! Available in 120 ml glass jars, you only need to take 1 ml (1/5 a teaspoon) per day, and the tincture will keep for 2 years in a cool dark area. Shepard’s Purse is used to reduce bleeding. Take 1 to 2 days before menstruation and up to 3 days during menstruation. Also helps with nosebleeds. To find out more, including safety information, precautions, and dosages,  please check out this article on WebMd and detailed info from Herbalist Richard Whelan.


After filtering out the tincture.

We also have small amounts of Yellow Dock Tincture but only if requested. If you want to know if Yellow Dock would be beneficial to you please read this article.

We’re very excited to be having local company The Cheese Bar at our farm market this Saturday September 24th! 100% Canadian Artisanal Cheeses! They will be at the farm from 10 am to 2 pm tomorrow, don’t miss it!  Facebook event and The Cheese Bar info here. We are still offering Dig Your Own Tree at the farm during market times on Saturday’s 8 am to 2 pm.



This is what Fall looks like to Rashel …. the gorgeous hues of Goldenrod, Purple Aster, White Aster, and the ripening goodness of Rosehips that will be harvested after a frost ….


Tremblay Creek bank, while looking for the Heron.

And just for fun …

A Melon blessed by our local Heron 😉






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While we were finishing up for the day, farm child Lennon was still busy picking BEANS and came back with SO MANY BEANS that he couldn’t even pick them all! It’s amazing what a couple of good rains and prolific pollinators will do!


Photo by Jessica McCracken

This is the perfect week to try your hand at pickling beans, we have them in bulk!, and Jess is joining us at the farm again to do a demonstration for an easy way to pickle a multitude of vegetables. Stop by tomorrow between 9 and 10 am for the pickling demonstration and until 2 pm for the farm market!






This is our first attempt ever at growing Celery and it’s been a resounding success! This is a very advanced crop to grow, so we only planted a small amount, in our richest and fluffiest raised bed, we watered it every other day, planted it densely, and voila! Beautiful Celery! This is a member exclusive as we only grew a small amount. To make sure your Celery last as long as possible in the fridge please make sure to store it in a sealed plastic bag. We’ve kept the big beautiful top leaves on as they are perfect for freezing, as is, and using later for vegetable/soup stock.


Eat The Rainbow!

Another new (ish) crop we tried this year was sweet corn but it turns out it needs it to rain to produce large cobs, a failed experiment. We’re giving what we harvested away for free (some of you have already received these). The dried beans we planted with the corn did well and you’ll see those later in the season once they’ve fully dried out and we shuck them.

Results from the Tomato Taste-Test Fest confirmed that our favourites are indeed the best and let us know which new varieties to keep growing.

Top rated heirloom tomato varieties were: Lemon Boy, Black Cherry, Yellow Pear, Chocolate Stripe, Banana Legs, Bosque Blue, Black Plum, Nebraska Wedding, Oxheart, Peach, Missouri Love Apple, Sweetie, and Elfin.

Thank you to everyone who tasted and rated our tomatoes!


Some dear CSA members shared with us another of their family dishes made with their weekly CSA veggies. “So I had all these little peppers that I got from you and decided to make stuffed peppers! I cut them open and made little boats that were fantastic! I also roasted your tomatoes and used that to cook them in! Your kale made it to the plate as well! What a great dinner tonight! Thanks!




Another lovely surprise this week was that not all the cantaloupes and watermelons were dead and we found a basket full of melons, with more to come!

Veggies available this week …


Week 16, September 9th, Leafy Greens, Tomatoes, Sweet + Hot Peppers, Spaghetti Squash, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Parsley, CELERY, Winter Squash (sweet potato, acorn, butternut), Scallions, Patty Pan, Eggplant.

Not pictured: BEANS, Basil, fresh Mint, Corn, Fennel, Kale, GARLIC.

What an abundance we’ve received with Summer’s last hurrah!


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If you want to can your own tomatoes, make tomato sauce, or salsa, this is your last chance! If you want to try some of the varieties of heirloom tomatoes we grow come out to our Heirloom Tomato Taste-Test Fest this Saturday September 3rd! We’ll be doing a blind taste-test where you’ll rate tomatoes and at the end of the market we’ll announce the winners on Facebook. Try varieties such as Striped Chocolate, Black Cherry, Brandywine, Japanese Trifele, Eva Purple Ball, Banana Legs, Sweeties, Coyote, Black Plum, Oxheart, Lemon Boy, Peach, Nebraska Wedding, Yellow Pear, Elfin, Bosque Blue, Bing, and Missouri Pink Love Apple. From 10 – 11 we’ll have an educational presentation on tomato canning, with hand-outs.


A CSA member getting ready to can tomato sauce!


Why did the tomato blush? Because it saw the salad dressing!

From one of Rashel’s favourite movies, Pulp Fiction, the Fox Force Five joke: “three tomatoes are walking down the street- a poppa tomato, a momma tomato, and a little baby tomato. baby tomato starts lagging behind. poppa tomato gets angry, goes over to the baby tomato, and smooshes him… and says, catch up!” Mia Wallace [Uma Thurman]

How do you fix a broken tomato? With tomato paste!

Why did the tomato go out with a prune? Because it couldn’t find a date!


A dear friend reminded us that vegetables with holes in them are healthier for you. Plants can “hear” when other plants are being chewed on by insects and they are able to protect themselves by creating anti-oxidants. Blemished, “ugly” produce is healthy produce! Find out more at the Huffington Post.


Rainbow Chard from 2014.

Fresh-picked produce available this week includes: Salad Mix, Sauce + Beefsteak + Cherry Tomatoes, Sweet Bell Peppers + Sweet Snacking Peppers, HOT Peppers, Spaghetti Squash + Delicata Squash, Broccoli, Beans, Eggplant, Summer Squash, Parsley, Fennel, Mint, Scallions, Garlic, Kale, Chard, and always some surprises! We still have Rondeau calendars from PAWS Nature Nuggets as well!


The crystal event was had last Saturday was a huge success and we’re talking about doing it again. Andrea from Neo-Vintage Artistry created necklaces on-site for folks after they bought a crystal from Jackie of Another Way. Wonderful, creative energy all day!


ShopEco is such a beautiful store and we’re so blessed to be bringing our produce to their store each Wednesday. Some shots from a recent market day ….

shopeco collage.jpg

Pictures by Marie Woodliffe.

Does it seem like Fall is around the corner? We’ll see soon, have a great week everyone!

Next week we’ll be having another educational canning presentation, this time about peppers and chard, from 9 am to 10 am at our on-farm market. Here are some of the canned veggies that Jess has made and can help you to make for yourself!


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


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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!


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!


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!


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!) …


With some of the harvest.

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



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 …




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 ….


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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Sweet peppers, lunchbox peppers, bell peppers, Italian frying peppers, hot peppers – so many PEPPERS to choose from!

We started growing lunchbox peppers in 2014 and the first time we harvested them we thought, “I don’t think this is worth it, they’re so small and it’s back-breaking to pick them.”. But then we tasted them … and we were hooked. We pack them for customers in half pound bags but we take home 2 pounds a day and eat them in a sitting. As I sit and write this I’m snacking on these sweet treats. They are a dream to grow but even better to eat. With few seeds, all near the stem, you can eat the little red ones in one bite, leaving only the stem, making these a perfect snack for busy families. This variety doesn’t have the problems that bell peppers do so they’re also our most productive pepper. For a list of all the peppers we’re growing check out the VEGGIES! page.



Not to be confused with HOT PEPPERS. Lunchbox Peppers and some of our Bell Pepper varieties look like hot peppers but we’re very careful to grow them far away from each other, to pick them at different times, and to carefully label them. We would never want someone to take a big bite out of pepper and find out it’s HOT. But we are growing hot peppers, and this year, with all the heat and drought, they are really hot. If you are a hot pepper connoisseur these are the peppers for you. Carefully selected and harvested by our farm children, who are hot pepper connoisseurs, these freeze well and make superb hot sauce.

“What do you get if you cross a chili pepper, a shovel, and a terrier?

A hot-diggity-dog!”


Hot, hot, hot.


With all the rain we got on Saturday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, our Tomatoes exploded, literally. They didn’t know what to do with all the water (having acclimatized themselves to a slow irrigation drip) – and they split, cracked, exploded all over. We’ve worked at removing all the tomatoes so that new ones can come in all sweet and shiny.

Which is a good segue into imperfect produce …. We’ve all been accustomed to “perfect” vegetables that are sold in grocery stores. What most of us don’t know is that in order to get those “perfect” veggies a farmer must not only use unsustainable, polluting, and harmful methods, they must also plant 3 to 4 times more of a particular crop, which means 3/4 of a crop goes to waste. We cannot farm in this way, it goes against all we are and how we live. Our chickens and our composters don’t want or need that much food.  So yes, our produce is often imperfect, it looks the way it would if you grew it yourself. But it’s healthy and fresh, it’s good for your body and good for the environment. Imperfect produce is a trend, google it!

Before we get to the vegetable selection for the week (ignoring the BIG name we gave this blog post 😉 ) we want to thank our dear, dear farm friends who’ve stepped up to help us this week. It’s been hot, the work has been hard, it’s rained hard on us, we’ve worked long, long hours, but in the end everything gets done. Young and old, new and familiar, have all helped out this week. We had a lovely visit from a member and their little one who came to pick their own basket of tomatoes for turning into sauce and salsa. So many lovely visitors this week. Thank you all 🙂


This week our salad mix contains some borage leaves. They feel a bit prickly on the lips but once you chew them they’re like a refreshing cucumber and the prickliness becomes but a memory.

We have cherry tomatoes, a variety of other tomatoes, beans, eggplant, gorgeous scallions (try dehydrating them for a surprising snack!), garlic, and some surprises.


Mint drying to make mint tea.

On Saturday August 27th we welcome back Jackie from Another Way to our farm market, this time to talk about Crystals! Facebook event can be found at this link.

From 8:00 AM until 2:00 PM, Jackie will be available to answer your question as it relates to crystals. She can share which crystal would be best suited for you or how to use crystals. You could ask which crystal would be the best to use for a specific condition; how to use your crystal; what to use your crystal for. Using Hibiscus Moon Training and intuition to answer your crystal questions. Crystals will also be available for sale.

Until next week!

candy toms.jpg

Photo by Andrea Nickerson. Mark your calendars for Saturday September 3rd for our Heirloom Tomato Taste-Test Fest!





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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?


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 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.

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.

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.


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.

veg week 12

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 ….



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.


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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