Wednesday, May 28, 2008
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!
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
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:
- Bonnie Best, Yellow Pear, Green Zebra, Cherokee Purple, Patio, Mennonite Orange, Yukon Red, Early Girl, Sweet Baby Girl, Moneymaker, and more...
- Thai, Green Pesto, Purple Opal
- parsley, fennel, dill, cilantro, oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme, savory
Kale, Broccoli, Cucumber, Squashes, Zucchini, Melons, Pie Pumpkin, Green Onions
and some annual flowers...
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
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
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
|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
|FRANCES MOORE LAPPÉ|
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
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
Norman Bauman, Maplecrisp Orchard, Elmira
Roasted Seasonal Vegetables - Vegan
Oscar Lutz, Woolwich St., Waterloo
Floralane Produce, Elmira
Carrots, Garlic, Red Onions & Parsnips
Cleason & Elmeda Weber, Hawkesville
Orchard Hill Produce, Elmira
Three Fruit Crisp - Vegan
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
John Reimer, Cambridge
Produce was sourced through Elmira Produce Auction
(Growers usually Old Order Mennonite within 80 km)