Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New sign for Little City Farm











We are attempting to make our place more visible, as some guests have had trouble finding our location without a sign out front. Our friend Margaret, an expert woodworker (among many other talents of hers) has generously created a rustic wooden sign made from an old reclaimed board that now hangs on our front fence near the gate. Another friend Susie, an accomplished artist whose main medium is painted tiles, created a new address tile for us - gorgeously surrounding our house number with lush vegetables, herbs, flowers and a garden rake. These photos don't do justice - look for these signs next time you come by our place. Thank you Margaret & Susie!

Seedling Sale Success!



The 6th annual seedling sale was a great success! Thanks to everyone who came out, helped set up, bought seedlings, tasted baked goods, toured the gardens, took part in the workshop, ate picnic lunches, played with our dog, and

generally created a vibrant community event for our neighbourhood! We lost track of counting, but estimated that more than 200 people came by during the morning. The long row of bicycles, baby strollers and vehicles up and down the street, and our depleted flats of seedlings can attest to the fact that this was one of our busiest public days ever. We are so inspired to meet so many people in this community who are excited about organic heirloom plants, and to know that gardens will be flourishing around town with our happy green striped tomatoes, yellow cherries, purple basil, herbs, melons, and more!

A huge thank you also to Angie Koch who led a highly informative workshop on biointensive gardening (i.e. how to garden more productively in small spaces). We heard many great reviews for the workshop and all the wealth of information that people took away from it. We will definitely run this event again next May 24.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Greenhouse filled with seedlings for sale


Our annual seedling sale is coming up next Saturday, May 24 from 9 am-12 noon. We've been growing seedlings since early February and the greenhouse is filled to bursting right now. There's still some transplanting to do this week, to get more herbs and flowers ready, and we are expecting a great crowd! This is becoming a regular neighbourhood event, and we decided to add in some extra advertizing this year on our website and in the local paper just to spread to word a little further.

This is the 6th year we are holding the sale, and this year we are also offering a free bio-intensive gardening workshop (how to grow more vegetables in small space), led by our good friend Angie Koch of the Fertile Ground CSA. We hope also to have fresh baking, bread, and treats...

As many people have been asking for a list, here are some of the seedlings that we'll have:

Tomatoes
- Bonnie Best, Yellow Pear, Green Zebra, Cherokee Purple, Patio, Mennonite Orange, Yukon Red, Early Girl, Sweet Baby Girl, Moneymaker, and more...

Basil
- Thai, Green Pesto, Purple Opal

Herbs
- parsley, fennel, dill, cilantro, oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme, savory

Kale, Broccoli, Cucumber, Squashes, Zucchini, Melons, Pie Pumpkin, Green Onions
and some annual flowers...

Growing Shiitakes - our woodland mushroom garden


Recently took a drive up near Stouffville to visit the farm of Bruno, "The Fun Guy" (fungi), who sells innocualted mushroom logs. We have been wanting to add fresh home-grown mushrooms to our roster of locally produced garden harvest, and were very happy to find a supplier of these logs within about an hour of where we live! Back in March we placed our order for 5 shiitake logs (he also has oyster logs, kombucha, etc), and now in May they were ready to be picked up.

After a little searching up and down the back roads, we finally found the right farm and drove in a long laneway lined with endless rows of oak logs stacked upright neatly along wire fences. The forest was also covered with white trilliums, fiddleheads, wild leeks and the scent was fresh, damp, earthy and wonderful.

Bruno sells his mushrooms at various farmers markets in the Toronto area, leads workshops on mushroom cultivation, does consulting for those wanting to start a mushroom business, and is planning to install a commercial kitchen in his greenhouse in order to produce value-added mushroom products. He gave us a detailed tour, explaining how the logs are innoculated by hand with plugs, need to be kept moist but not too wet, and how to harvest. Then we walked over to our section of logs and got the first taste - delicious! Delicate, almost sweet, like no other shiitake we've eaten before. We decided to take not only our 5 logs, but a few more to pass on to friends, as at $20/log (which will hopefully bear mushrooms for 3-5 years) this opportunity was not to be missed.

Our mushroom log collection is now neatly stacked behind our greenhouse, with just enough shade, a little access to rain, and close at hand to make observation and harvesting easy. In the photo, the white dots are the plugs out of which mushrooms will sprout (and log on far left has shiitakes growing ready for harvest).

For more details see Bruno's website at: www.mycosource.com

Fresh asparagus season


We've been enjoying the first new spring crops from the garden (and forest) lately - dandelion, chives, sorrel, fresh garlic, spinach, fiddleheads, wild leeks, and of course asparagus. The asparagus was planted about 5 years ago near our strawberry patch, and dug into a trench. The first year the shoots were too small to harvest, but over the years have become mature enough and so well-established that we have a decent sized patch to feed the two of us plus guests. Worth the wait!

Asparagus Frittata (with our farm fresh eggs)

A frittata is the perfect quick use for a time when there are just too many eggs in the house! Our hens have started laying well again, and we need to find new and exciting ways to use the excess. Friends and neighbours are generously happy to take eggs from us, but we still eat our fair share. The frittata is an Italian open-faced omelette - use whatever vegetables you have that are in season. Especially nice with asparagus and tomato...

3 Tbsp margarine
1 cup chopped asparagus (1-inch pieces)
2/3 cup chopped green onions, or other onions
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup shredded cheese, optional
1 Tbsp fresh basil or oregano
6 eggs
1/4 tsp sea salt and black pepper

1) In well-oiled cast iron skillet heat margarine, then add vegetables and saute until tender.
2) In medium bowl combine sauted vegetables, herbs, cheese, and spices.
3) Beat together eggs and add to vegetable mixture.
4) Re-oil cast iron skillet and heat on medium high.
5) Pour eggs into skillet, cook until bottom of egg is slightly set. Then place in preheated 350F oven and continue to cook for about 10 minutes until all egg is set and cheese is golden.
6) Can place under broiler for 2 minutes if desired.
7) Excellent with wholegrain bread as breakfast, lunch or dinner. Serves 2-3.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Fertile Ground CSA featured on CBC Radio

Angie Koch, of Fertile Ground CSA, plus friends and co-farmers Tarrah Young and Caitlin Hall, are featured in this recent CBC documentary "Down to Earth" (description from CBC below). They talk about the "new breed" of young farmers, who are city-raised, university educated, but are choosing to move to the land in search of sustainable ecological farming and organic food production in new and creative ways (e.g Community Supported Agriculture ventures such as Fertile Ground!). Angie will be distributing her 30 member CSA at Little City Farm each Tuesday this summer (from July-October) and we are extremely excited about her venture and this partnership!

Following the first documentary, is a short interview with legendary food justice advocate Frances Moore Lappe (author of Diet for a Small Planet, among many other writings) who talks about the current state of the global food system and the future of global food security.

DOCUMENTARY: DOWN TO EARTH


Here's one picture of a farmer: tough, weatherbeaten, pitchfork in hand, a bit grim, proud member of a vanishing breed. Here's another picture of a farmer: Thirty years old, five foot two, fresh-faced, female, city-bred. Meet Tarrah Young, proud and very determined member of a NEW breed. Tarrah - and people like her - are real risk takers. They're not starry-eyed back-to-the landers, and they know know what they're up against. Across Canada, the number of farmers under thirty-five has declined by more than 50% in the last ten years. For those who want to loosen the grip of the agribusiness giants, to spurn cheap pesticide-laden imports, and to eat local - this is really bad news. And we all have enough of that! So this morning, venture out with a few of agriculture's young pioneers. Frank Faulk's documentary is called "Down to Earth"

http://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/sundayedition_20080505_5659.mp3

FRANCES MOORE LAPPÉ

In the past few weeks, a hungry planet has become dramatically , and suddenly, even hungrier. Food riots have shaken communities as diverse as Austria and Uzbekistan, and as far apart as Egypt and Mexico. The Canadian government pledged fifty million dollars this week to be channeled through the United Nations. Individual Canadians are helping as well. The situation is desperate. Incredibly, Filipino Canadians are buying twenty and forty pound bags of rice and shipping it to relatives back home. And in Montreal, people are desperately trying to send food to their relatives in Haiti. At least six people were killed during riots in that country earlier this month in protests against rising food prices.

Frances Moore Lappé has been an activist in the fight against world hunger for thirty seven years, ever since the publication of her blockbuster bestseller, " Diet for a Small Planet". That was in 1971. Ms. Lappé has written sixteen books since then.

She is also a co-founder of the Small Planet Institute. Frances Moore Lappé is in our studio in New York this morning.

Small Planet Institute: World Hunger Solutions

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Locavore Meal a delectable experience!

On Sunday (May 4) we held the first "Local Community Dinner" featuring a menu based solely around locally grown and produced foods. The meal was organized by the Locavore KW group, who volunteered their time to plan, promote, source produce, cook the meal, serve, host and clean up! A HUGE thank you to the group, as well as all the volunteers who helped out to make this event a great success!

The meal sold out at 125 dinner guests, with very little promotion and only about 2 weeks notice. We will need to find a larger venue for the next time, (and there will be a next time!) as there is certainly a growing interest in our local community around celebrating and eating "100 mile" meals such as this.

Even for May, which is one of the leanest months for sourcing local foods (end of fall root crop season, and not yet starting new spring crops)...the menu was delicious! We were especially pleased to find local greenhouse grown tomatoes, cucumbers and GREEN BEANS! Wow - what a treat. Here' s the menu:


Organic Bread - Vegan

Golden Hearth Baking Co., Kitchener

Whole wheat, spelt & foccacia breads made with organic, locally milled grains

Greek Salad - Vegan

Tomatoes & Cucumbers.

Martin's Family Fruit Farm, Waterloo

Red Onion & Garlic

Cleason & Elmeda Weber, Hawkesville

Mozzarella Cheese (optional)

Oak Grove Cheese, New Hamburg

Maple Glazed Tempeh - Vegan

Tempeh made with locally grown soybeans

Henry’s Tempeh, Kitchener

Maple Syrup

Norman Bauman, Maplecrisp Orchard, Elmira

Roasted Seasonal Vegetables - Vegan

Garlic

Oscar Lutz, Woolwich St., Waterloo

Green Beans

Floralane Produce, Elmira

Carrots, Garlic, Red Onions & Parsnips

Cleason & Elmeda Weber, Hawkesville

Potatoes

Orchard Hill Produce, Elmira

Three Fruit Crisp - Vegan

Empire Apples

Martin's Family Fruit Farm, Waterloo

Raspberries & Rhubarb

Nauman's Fresh From the Farm Market, St. Clements

Organic Soft Whole Wheat & Rolled Oats

Perry Reibling, Oak Manor Farms, Tavistock

Organic Ice Cream

Mapleton’s Organic Dairy, Moorefield

Apple Cider

John Reimer, Cambridge

Produce was sourced through Elmira Produce Auction

(Growers usually Old Order Mennonite within 80 km)