looking back in december

savoy cabbage at season's end

December greetings from Abundant Acre Family Farm!

We are thick into December and can almost count the number of crates of winter squash that are left on two hands. This year’s farming season is coming to a close.

It’s been a busy season, that’s for sure. Most of our crops did well this year and we had a great crop of tomatoes and peppers that extended into mid-November. Our summer potatoes, on the other hand, struggled with blight and our green pole beans had a short but enjoyed season after having the blossoms blown off in a strong afternoon wind. The soil we are on here in Greendale is very forgiving – it is rich and well-drained.

The fall potato crop was more successful than the summer potatoes and our winter squash also produced very well again.  We also enjoyed a crop of large-size carrots this fall and winter. We didn’t get to irrigating a particular crop of summer carrots which rendered them difficult to pull out from the hard, dry earth. Come late fall, we harvested them and they had developed a wonderfully sweet flavor – a bit of wire worm damage but lots of good carrot to enjoy still.  The record dryness this summer and early fall kept Andy busy moving sprinklers and enabled a small crop of melons to ripen and be available to our CSA customers.

Our family appreciated the favourable weather too, as we were commuting from Sardis to our farm in Greendale all summer. We packed and ate a great number of picnics.

We were involved in two farmer’s markets this year (Abbotsford Farm & Country Market and the Chilliwack Eco Market), and provided two restaurants and about 60 families with seasonal vegetables through our Summer and Autumn CSA Garden Box program.

At the end of September our family moved to the farm and we are finding it very convenient and peaceful.

Thank you to those who helped out with our farming efforts this year. We truly appreciate and are grateful for our new field lease situation, encouragement from family and friends, and enthusiasm and interest from customers who have bought our vegetables this season.

We wish you a restful and meaningful Christmas and a safe and healthy winter ahead.

~Andy & Cara Abrahams & children

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fantastic florence fennel

I’m still fairly new at cooking with Florence Fennel, but really enjoy this licorice flavored bulb.  The main way I have prepared it is in a Greek Fennel Skillet from the Simply in Season cookbook. One of our customers said it is great roasted and another tried it in a salad. Our daughter likes to munch on it raw too.

A bit of reading and I find it is quite versatile and is used in French and Italian cooking. Here are a few websites worth checking out.

http://vegbox-recipes.co.uk/ingredients/fennel.php (includes a Fennel and Potato Bake & Carrot I’d like to try and Fennel Coleslaw that I have made and enjoyed very much)

http://www.easy-french-food.com/fennel-recipes.html (scroll down for good storing and preparing tips and more recipes)

I’d love to hear what you have made with your fennel. Please leave a comment and let us know. Have a great day!

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first crops coming in from Greendale

It’s been a busy spring and a bit of a wet early summer again. This spring, we successfully moved our farm from the 3 pieces of land in Abbotsford to the 1.5 acres we are now leasing in Greendale. This included setting up the total of 5 greenhouses this spring.

We had some trouble with crane fly larvae eating seedlings and baby strawberry plants.

We are pleased with the good drainage this soil has and how Greendale seems to have a bit of a micro-climate. Rain  showers are often intermittent when it is pouring elsewhere. That said, we have had our fair share of rain this past month.

We are happy to have started our season at the Abbotsford Farm and Country Market and the Eco Market in Sardis Park.  We will start the CSA Garden Box program the second week in July.

We are excited about the delicious season ahead of us.  It is good to see the sun again.

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moving the abundant acre

As I said in the last post, “We have been thankful for the relatives we’ve been leasing land from these last two seasons. Thank you for your support, encouragement and generosity in having us farm a portion of your land.”

We have taken hold of an opportunity to consolidate and move our farm and family to Greendale. We will be in another lease arrangement and be able to live on the farm, in time.  We’ve actually already begun to move our farm tools and equipment over this winter.

We will be fully moved by early March and are thankful for the chance to have all of our farmland in one location. We’ve heard and seen already that our field has great drainage (something we’ve had trouble with in the past). We are also excited to be a part of the new Eco Market in Sardis this year (see our Markets page).

Andy was able to do some tilling during the dry days of this month so far, and he’s been seeding leeks and artichokes these last few days. He has placed his order for seed potatoes and we are making plans for crop rotations.

On the horizon are taking down, moving and reconstructing greenhouses, more tilling and starting many more seedlings. We are excited about the renewed activity of spring, as we head toward another delicious season of local and ethically grown vegetables.

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welcoming winter and a new year

We have already come through the shortest day of the year and look forward to the longer ones ahead. This fall we were encouraged by the great turn-out of people seeking local food at the Abbotsford Farm and Country Market’s pre-Christmas winter markets. People were excited about many of our winter crops including leeks, lettuce, cabbage, kale, carrots, pie pumpkins and winter squash (particularly Festival and Delicata).
Thank you to all who came out to the winter markets in search of organic food grown very close to where you live.

Our Autumn CSA Garden Box just wrapped up before Christmas and we are thankful for all our Summer and Autumn CSA Garden Box customers. Thank you for your enthusiasm and interest in what we are growing.

We are already enjoying the slower pace winter brings. Different work is around the bend – planning and looking back at our past growing season. It seems the seed catalogues get sent out earlier and earlier every year.

Winter squash took ‘first prize’ in crops that did really well this year. We also enjoyed a good crop of fall lettuce thanks to the low tunnels Andy put up for them to stay protected from the frost. Some of our crops were affected by lack of sun because of positioning in the garden (too much shade from trees) and the garden has turned to muck again in many places.

We have been thankful for the relatives we’ve been leasing land from these last two seasons. Thank you for your support, encouragement and generosity in having us farm a portion of your land.

Andy has been pricing parts for a new greenhouse and has already placed his first order for seed for next year.

We hope you had a relaxing and meaningful Christmas and have a good winter. We look forward to serving you again next growing season. Happy New Year!

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Autumn greetings from the farm!

Things have finally been slowing down a bit for us here at Abundant Acre Family Farm. This provides a bit of time for letting you know what we are up to.

This was a challenging summer again – weather wise – which resulted in a poorer variety of vegetables than we had hoped to offer. That said, we’ve made a good dent into the squash harvest, which seems to have done really well this year! Andy finished planting the last of our winter crops a week ago. He has made some vole traps recently and we hope that will keep their population under control and out of our root crops.

Lately, in the kitchen, I’ve been enjoying our toscano kale, fall lettuce and collards. I’ve also enjoyed baking with our winter squash – in muffins and pancakes, and baked with chicken so far. Autumn brings so many great flavors and colors.

Our Autumn CSA Garden Box has started up this past week and we are now selling vegetables 2 times a week (CSA box and Abb. Farmer’s Market) rather than 3.

We have secured a spot at the Abbotsford Farm and Country Market for some of their winter market dates. We will be there Oct.29, Nov.5, Dec.3 and 17th so far. If you’d like to sign up for an email reminder for the Abbotsford winter market, please visit www.mymarketsnews.com. The market reminder includes a helpful date specific list of vendors that will there.

Today we are gearing up for our pre-Thanksgiving booth at the Abbotsford Farm and Country Market tomorrow. We are bringing lots of pie pumpkins and winter squash and greens as well.

I’ve uploaded a few new pictures on our photostream as well. Enjoy.

We wish for you a meaningful Thanksgiving this weekend.

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weeding and seeding – high summer action

There is a lot going on at the farm right now. We are thankful for all the recent heat. It feels like summer has finally arrived. Our tomatoes are in full production and that feels very good – and tastes delicious.

This is the time of year that we are still very busy seeding fall and winter crops in addition to weeding, stringing green bean plants, transplanting fall broccoli and building trellises for the outdoor cucumbers, to name a few things.

We are harvesting three times per week between our CSA Garden Boxes and Saturday at the Abbotsford Farm and Country market.

We’ve bought a trailer which enables our family to be more involved at the farm. There is room for us in the car, and farm stuff in the trailer. We’ve started going down to the farm on Mondays to harvest together for our Monday CSA Garden Box.

Saturday was a wrap up event for Farmer’s Appreciation Week and I (Cara) shared a bit about our farm there and what we do and why we do it. That went well and maybe part of the speech will end up here sometime. It’s great to still meet people who are interested in our CSA Garden Box program…which we do almost every Saturday.

Our Summer and Autumn CSA Garden boxes are both now full, but feel free to contact us and we’ll put you on our interested-for-when-there-is-space list for the future (probably next year).

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garlic scapes! (updated*)

Garlic scape season is here! The season is short, but brings a welcomed mild garlic flavor.

Garlic scapes are the curly shoots of the garlic plant, picked before it blooms. Harvested in full curl, they are ‘tender and delicious.’

Last year my experimenting with scapes had me tossing them in the blender raw for hummus, roasting them with potatoes, sautéing them as a base for pasta sauce and really enjoying them minced in a garlic potato salad (see eating tab for recipe).

I found I just use the tender part of the scape – from the base up until it gets a little bulbus where the flower would start.

*Another use for scapes I tried this year includes just steaming them and eating as a side dish. Fresh lemon juice, butter, salt and pepper made a great topping. They aren’t as strong as the garlic bulb, so it wasn’t a problem to have a nice healthy helping of them:)

*I chopped them fine and added them to baking powder biscuits. Very nice.

*A great article about scapes can be found here. At the end of the article is a terrific recipe for pesto that I tried.

More reading here and I found more pesto recipes, suggestions for use in stir-fry and as a fresh bracelet (at the market perhaps?).

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anticipation continues for CSA Garden Box start

To all of our CSA Garden Box Customers:

Just wanted to put the official word out there for those who’ve signed up for the Summer CSA Garden Box, that we are hoping to be starting with the boxes at the end of June or early July. Our wet, cold spring has set us back by 3-4 weeks with some crops.

In the meantime you can find us on Saturdays between 9am-1pm at the Abbotsford Farm and Country Market.

Thank you for your patience and we will contact those who are signed up when we are ready to start this season’s local eating adventure.

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abundant in article

I invite you to check out the “Farm to Table: Keeping Food Close to Home” article in West Coast Families Magazine.  This is a great little article about CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in our area and Connie, one of our customers, was quoted half-way through!

Click here to see the online version of the magazine. You’ll find the article on page 15.

It’s neat that our farm is mentioned in the section on taste because that is one of our goals – to grow fantastic tasting vegetables. We select our vegetable varieties for flavor and based on how well they grow in our area. For example, we don’t have to select carrots varieties that can be mechanically harvested, because we harvest everything by hand. This allows us to grow for flavor — a sweet, crisp crunch — that’s what we like from our carrots!

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