Sunday, 25 September 2016

Week #39 - Preparation and puppies

While the long range weather forecast is suggesting that the coming winter will be brutally cold and snowy on the Prairies, the fall has thus far been relatively warm and many veggies are continuing to produce and ripen. In fact some veggies do better in the fall with the cool nights than in the hot summer weathers. 

It is always a bit of a guessing game on when the first frost will occur and how long you can leave things out in the field. We need enough time to do prep for next spring but don't want to pull plants until we absolutely have to! The other factor of course, is how much processing, drying, canning and prep for storage you can do at one time!

This time of year, the kitchen is always full with canning salsa, pasta sauce, pickling and dehydrating, making soups to freeze and pesto galore! This week after our usual weekly batch of salsa and pasta sauce, we made a load of kale chips, roasted red pepper sauce, a huge batch of pesto and some late pickles out of the abundance of cucumbers we have left.

This coming week doesn't look like it will come with frost and we are hoping to gather up all the herbs for drying, dig up those that are coming in the house for the winter and mulch those that will weather the cold season outside.

Our last batch of chickens and turkeys will go in on Monday night this week, so hope for a dry night with light winds to make catching 200 birds in an open pasture a little more comfortable.

Our regular followers will know that Ozzie, a blue heeler puppy came to the farm last week and it looks like he might be a permanent resident! At 9-10 weeks old he creates chaos most of the time but compensates with a cuteness factor that is off the charts! We are hopeful that he will earn his keep working on the farm helping move livestock and keeping predators away but for now he's simply entertaining.



Hope your upcoming week has some puppies cuddles in it..... after all every week should, don't you think! 

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Week #38 - Glimpses of the Farm

Today we welcomed approximately 120 visitors to the farm for Open Farm Day. A big thank you to all those that came out to learn what we do and why we do it. While it was a little wet for much of the day, the clouds eventually cleared and the sun shone. 

The event takes alot of work and planning so the whole family is involved. From selling veggies to parking cars to touring visitors around, everyone has a job. In between working the cash, our oldest son created this fantastic video so you too can catch some glimpses of the farm. 





Monday, 12 September 2016

FFF CSA - Week 12/12 - What's in the Box? - All good things must end... at least for the winter!


Alas we have come to the end of the summer... the end of our CSA share and its just about time to start putting the garden to bed for awhile. The season has been somewhat underwhelming with a number of veggies having a tough year. 


Our eggplants, broccoli and cauliflower, carrots and beets not to mention our kale - have all struggled or lacked vigor. The frequent and large rains were not conducive to high yields for those crops. Luckily when you diversify and have many different products you are seldom completely wiped out due to bad weather. Our baskets and bellies were never empty and nature's bounty was as always awe-inspiring.  


To our shareholders, thank you for sharing in our year, both when it was bountiful as well when things happened to be scarce! We love interacting with you each week both in person and online! We hope you will give us the opportunity to feed you again next year!  Just a reminder that we do have other products available throughout the rest of the year.... check back to our Products Available page on our website frequently for updated availability of meats, eggs and other goodies! 

So... What's in the Box this week?
  • Bag of mixed greens (lettuce, kale, swiss chard)
  • Zucchini  (fulls only)
  • Cucumbers
  • Potato
  • Pumpkins
  • Peppers (sweet and hot)
  • Squash - its a surprise! May include spaghetti squash, butternut, acorn and a few romanesca)
  • Kohlrabi (half shares only)
  • Ground cherries 
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Gourds (for your fall displays - not edible)
and a special farewell addition......
  • Green Veggie powder - dehydrated greens that you can slip into smoothie, soups, stews and sauces to amp up the nutrition! 

Romanesco squash
If you haven't been out to the farm, you are always most welcome! Why not pop by this Sunday between 11-5 on Open Farm Day!  More information can be found at www.openfarmday.ca 

Note: We do rinse the produce but it would be prudent to wash all vegetables when you get them home. Keeping the herbs (ends) in a cup of clean water will keep them fresh longer. (unless of course, you are drying them for storage later.)


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Sunday, 11 September 2016

Week #37 - Fresh starts, sad endings, and some new perspective

The first week of school... the last week of our CSA.... the first days of a new adventure. Now throw in a curveball and a tragic and sudden goodbye... week #37 has been full of the good, the bad and the ugly. 

Our kids all began school this week and Farmer Phil along with them (as he works at the highschool). The juggling of school, off farm work and farm work got a little bit crazier. 


Our oldest was pumped to be heading into his second year of University and a new line of study. So he (and all of us) didn't need the three broken bones in his foot the night before his first day. He is gaining fresh appreciation for why accessibility needs to be universal and woven into all building design. 

The first day of school for our two youngest kids (and Philip) was rocked by the tragic death of a long standing teacher on his way to school. While our children weren't taught by Mike Slobodian (Slobo as everyone called him), he was a much loved man who among other things took many highschool kids on annual canoe trips each year. Watching the school community come together to grieve, say goodbye and eventually to say goodbye has been sad yet rewarding. Rewarding to see how people reach out, help one another and look out for those that are struggling. The event certainly reminds you how quick lives can be altered and to remember to tell each other how much we mean to one another when we can. 

Ariane wasted no time taking Oakley for a test drive!
This weekend we welcomed Ariane into our home and hearts. She has come to stay with us for three months and we are so excited to get to know her and help her learn about our family, our community and our language. Once the three months have passed, our daughter will then go and stay with her for three months. Truly a life changing experience! 

We are looking ahead and preparing for our last CSA delivery as well as Open Farm Day next Sunday. We will once again be participating in this event this year. We, along with almost 50 other farms, will open our farms to visitors from across the Province for a day of learning and discovery. We will share our story and introduce visitors to everyone on the farm....both two legged and four! You can learn more about this event by visiting www.openfarmday.ca . We will be open from 11 am - 4 p.m. We will have a some veggies and some other treats for sale as well. Hope to see you there! 
Jet also came to stay on the farm this week! 



As we greet a new week tomorrow, please remember to be kind to each other and careful with our world. Show up, step up, speak up! 

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

FFF CSA - Week 11/12 - What's in the Box? - Melon-dramatic!

Our second last week of our 2016 CSA share and we are getting melon-dramatic! This week our shareholders will enjoy watermelon and cantaloupe! I must say they smell wonderful! 

Both melons can be eaten without any preparation besides cutting however you can certainly also get fancy by making sorbet or cocktails with them..  

If for some reason you aren't able to eat your melons right away and you want to freeze them for later, that works too.. they will be a bit more softer or mushier when they are thawed but can be great added to smoothies! 


When Farmer Phil was in Japan he saw that they take their melons very seriously. Cantaloupe and watermelon go for $10-$20 each! Watermelons are often grown in molds so they are square!  Have you ever had a square watermelon?


 


So... What's in the Box this week?
  • Bag of mixed greens (lettuce, kale, swiss chard)
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumbers
  • Potatoes
  • Peppers (sweet and hot)
  • Pattypan squash
  • Watermelon New!
  • Canteloupe (also called Muskmelon) New!
  • Eggplant (fulls only)
  • Ground cherries 
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Herbs in a cup - oregano, parsley, chives, basil
Important - As next week is our last CSA week, please ensure that you return all baskets, pails, and cups and that you bring your own bags/boxes in which to pack your last delivery of veggies! 

Our shareholders will see an Open Farm Day brochure in their basket this week. We will once again be participating in this event this year. We, along with almost 50 other farms, will open our farms to visitors from across the Province for a day of learning and discovery. We will share our story and introduce visitors to everyone on the farm....both two legged and four! You can learn more about this event through the brochure in your basket or by visiting www.openfarmday.ca 



Note: We do rinse the produce but it would be prudent to wash all vegetables when you get them home. Keeping the herbs (ends) in a cup of clean water will keep them fresh longer. (unless of course, you are drying them for storage later.)


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Sunday, 4 September 2016

Week #35 - Summer reflection

Summer in Manitoba is short... And this week, it always seems to feel especially so. The Sept long weekend marks the start of school, the end of vacations and what seems like an almost instant shift to fall weather. 

We have spent time this week getting ready for the coming winter including canning, harvesting, organizing and purging. We look back at the goals or intentions that we set at the beginning of the summer and feel pride and chagrin in  equal measure...That siding is not likely going to get painted. And that new fence in the corral is going to be re-scheduled for spring. But we relish in the new cattle, pigs and horse that have joined our farm family this year and are tired but satisfied that we fed our CSA shareholders well despite the somewhat miserable growing season and both of us working full time. 





 
 


Our family was blessed with much this summer from a trip to Costa Rica for our oldest, a realization of a lifelong dream for our youngest as she brought home her horse and our middle son hit the road as he passed his drivers test and is free to roam. (much to his mama's worry).

September is often a busy month, full of change, stress and the compression that comes from new things starting before the old ones have fully finished...Take time this month to breathe, to enjoy what is typically a time of lovely weather and great food. 


Tuesday, 30 August 2016

FFF CSA - Week 10/12 - What's in the Box? - Yellow gems!

I can't believe its the last week of August! Summer feels like it has evaporated overnight. Cooler nights and fall crops are upon us.

Week ten brings our shareholders another large haul of deliciousness but I specifically wanted to mention two yellow gems they will find in their box.

The first is a pale yellow oval shaped fall veggie known as a spaghetti squash. This vegetable gets its name from the texture of its fruit when baked. To cook, simply cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then bake at 400F for 35-45 minutes. Dragging a fork through the cooked squash results in noodle shaped pieces that can easily substitute for regular pasta in many noodle dishes.

The second yellow gem are ground cherries. Our CSA shareholders will find a sampling of these flavourful cherries in their baskets this week. Ground cherries are in the same family as tomatoes and closely related to tomatillos (same papery husk) and taste both sweet and tropical. Some people have said that they taste like a cross between a tomato and pineapple! Ground cherries are ready in early/late fall and thus we are sharing a snack size sample with our shareholders. As larger varieties are available, you can use ground cherries to make jam, chutney or wine!


So... What's in the Box this week?
  • Swiss Chard (in with herbs this week... cause we are running out of room!)
  • Beets
  • Baby carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumbers
  • Potatoes
  • Peppers 
  • Pattypan squash
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Turban squash (fulls only)
  • Ground cherries 
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Herbs in a cup - oregano, parsley, chives, basil

Note: We do rinse the produce but it would be prudent to wash all vegetables when you get them home. Keeping the herbs (ends) in a cup of clean water will keep them fresh longer. (unless of course, you are drying them for storage later.)



Reminder: Please return your empty box along with all re-usable containers (ice cream pails, plastic containers, etc) so that we can reuse them all over again. 


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