commuter farmer

You know you are a commuter farmer when:

-you have to cut your day’s work short because you didn’t pack a big enough lunch

-your trunk is a toolbox

-vacuuming your car seems pointless

-it takes 10 min. to transform the car from a farm vehicle to a family car (farm stuff out, car seats in)

-you keep looking out your window in the morning, trying to guess how warm it is getting inside the greenhouses

-you spend more time chaperoning underage plants than you wish to

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spring reads

I wanted to point you in the direction of a few books we’ve had in our house lately. The first is more inspirational in flavor and the next more of a resource (recipes, planting). Both are available through the Fraser Valley Regional Library.

Edible Schoolyard by Alice Waters tells the inspiring story of the creation and flourishing of Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School’s schoolyard garden in Berkeley, California.

Waters is the founder of Chez Panisse restaurant – also of Berkeley – which is guided by the philosophy of serving ‘the most delicious organic products, only when they are in season.’

The transformation of an abandoned lot adjacent the school comes to life with full-page photos of the students working, learning and enjoying meals together. It is inspiring to see how their one acre vegetable garden, chicken coop, and school kitchen are integral to the core academic mission of the school.

One of my favorite parts of the book were photos of the student’s written work where each recounts a memorable cooking moment. Reading these reminded me of how impressionable kids are and how everyone connects with food in some way, even those considered ‘picky eaters.’

Waters states, “Right there, in the middle of every school day, lies time and energy already devoted to the feeding of children. We have the power to turn that daily school lunch from an afterthought into a joyous education, a way of caring for our health, our environment, and our community.”

I encourage you to pick up this book for a refreshing view of holistic education – one where children engage in some of the most basic activities of life — growing food and preparing it. In doing so, these children look at a whole range of subjects through events happening in the garden.

After you’ve checked out the book, you can head to http://www.edibleschoolyard.org/. Of particular note is the ‘resources’ page where they list publications available for creating an Edible Schoolyard of your own.

Another book that caught my eye here was Raising an Adventurous Eater: Ideas & Inspiration from the Edible Schoolyard which gives parents ten ways to help their children love healthy foods. 

Growing at the Speed of Life: A Year in the Life of My First Kitchen Garden by Graham Kerr.

Career chef Graham Kerr recounts the story of his first kitchen garden in a light and amiable way. Starting with his personal journey toward gardening and the resources he gathered to do so, he continues to list cooking methods and a glossary of gardening/growing terms. He then profiles 60 vegetables, fruits and herbs that one may grow or can find easily. Included throughout the book are over 100 recipes.

I found this an enjoyable read or flip through (what I did mainly). Most of the vegetables we grow were included in this book, so in that way it is a great resource for getting to know some of the vegetables that will be in your CSA Garden Box (there are a handful of recipes for each vegetable he highlights).

This book acts as both an introduction to gardening and a resources for home cooks although I don’t know how much I’d rely on this book for gardening advice. It’d be best to compare and consider a range of books (Eliot Coleman and Steve Solomon are some of our favorites).

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tending to the tomatoes

It seems we are getting some windy and wet spring weather this week. Before the rain our family made it out to the farm to fill sandbags to be used around the farm to hold down things like plastic that is used for covering plants.
Andy has been busy potting on the tomato transplants and preparing pieces for another greenhouse.

There is still time to register for our CSA Garden Box program. Great to hear from all who have signed up so far.

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spring is here

We’ve been enjoying the warmer spring weather and been at the farm as a family lately. We were happy to leave our winter coats at home, get our boots covered in mud, soak up some spring sun and hear the birds call to one another. Together, we moved the two greenhouses that were up last year, so they could be tilled under.

I was happy to harvest some over-wintered cabbage and kale for our family. You can tell it is spring when kale and cabbage make my day! I shredded the deep green/purple cabbage, tossed it with miso dressing (see “Eating” tab) and topped it with raisins and sliced almonds. Very nice. Simple and satisfying, fresh spring fare.

Andy has been busy moving transplants from our home, where they’ve been raised, to the nursery greenhouse. Onions, leeks, tomatoes and broccoli have all been seeded and our first crop of carrots and beets have been planted in greenhouses.

I’ve (Cara) been making changes here on the website and working on spreading the word about our CSA Garden boxes.

We are excited about the season of local eating ahead of us and our family is looking forward to the tasty variety of vegetables we know are coming. We also look forward to seeing and meeting our customers again – those who love to feed their family good, local food.

There is still room if you are interested in signing up for the CSA Garden Box. Details are on that page.

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folks flocking for fabulous food

We are currently taking names for our 2011-2012 Garden Box season. Please see our CSA Garden Box page for all the details and to sign up.

We are gearing up for another great season of fresh, local, organic and sustainably grown vegetables and herbs.

We’ve received our seeds, some of which are already germinating as seedlings, Andy is scheming about a new greenhouse and we are working on marketing as well.

Some of our produce will be at the Abbotsford Farm and Country Market this week, Saturday, Feb.19, 9am-1pm. You’ll find it at the Market Info Booth. Yellow and red onions, and a few French Fingerling and Red Chieftan Potatoes.

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winter reflections

Hello everyone. Winter solstice is upon us and we have been tasting real winter weather already.  Our carrots and beets survived that cold snap we had, below a mulch of leaves covered with plastic and sand bags. It will sure be nice to have the days getting longer soon; spring shall return.

Andy has been making plans for next year, and placing orders for seeds. We also wrapped up our Garden Box program this week. This Saturday is our last time at the Abbotsford Farmer’s Market until next Spring .

Thank you to all our customers for your support and partnership in our sustainable and organic farming effort this year. It has been a very rewarding endeavour that we look forward to continuing and improving on. We hope you have a Merry Christmas!

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keep the oven on

Well, things are really seeming like they are slowing down a little now.
Andy has been doing some flame weeding, transplanting over-wintering Walla Walla onions, cleaning up greenhouses and cooking a few more meals at home.

One of the things we do this time of year is to slice into some of the big pumpkins or squash and bake them. Then we freeze the baked squash in two cup batches to be used later in soup or desserts.

I posted a couple of recipes we use a lot during the winter. Winter Squash Bars and Potatoe Pancakes (Latkes). Our whole family loves Latkes (the one-year-old, the six-year-old and their parents!).

We will be at the Abbotsford Farm and Country Market this Saturday, Nov.20th and then again on Dec. 4th and 18th. Hope to see some of you there.

We are looking forward to getting some more curry powder from Ace Curries to go. See http://www.acecurriestogo.com/ They roast and grind their own spices in North Vancouver and will be at the Abbotsford market on Saturday (Nov.20). Very tasty stuff.

We were outside last time we were at the Abbotsford Farmer’s Market and got to making a great plan with some other vendors for a bonfire. If we had put the plan into action, we would have had roast potatoes and carrots, sausages and baked apples. Yum! Usually you’ll find us inside the United Church during the Abbotsford winter markets.

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autumn among us

   

We had a beautiful stretch of bright crisp weather this month, following a very wet September.  

Although things have slowed down a little for us, there is still a lot going on. Last week Andy planted the garlic and all of our potatoes are now out of the ground. Andy’s been busy getting the cover crops in and we’ve been harvesting our salad mix and also some leeks. Some crops, like the salad mix, were ready earlier than we  expected. We are still scheming about how to move the greenhouses to their winter position.

Oct. 15th marked the date of our first frost this year after which Andy and Sarah harvested the rest of the pumpkins and winter squash. 

I’ve been really enjoying our broccoli lately. It does taste like there is butter already on it. Fat green caterpillars like it to, so don’t be surprised if you find one in amongst the florets.

 We are also enjoying trying the different varieties of squash and have tried the Marina Di Chioggia varitey now (pictured in last post). It a drier squash, with a pleasant nutty flavor.

This Saturday is our first indoor market downtown with the Abbotsford Farm and Country Market. We hope to see some of you there.

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Squash’s view

Many people stopped to ‘say hello’ to this fine squash last Saturday. Children would run their hands across its skin saying, ‘bumpy,’ while one lady declared it ‘so decorative.’ Many people said they had never seen anything like it before in their lives.

This variety of winter squash is ‘Marina Di Chioggia.’

I quote from the seed catalog: “This heirloom squash traces its roots to the coastal town of Chioggia, Italy. These large, dusty-green, bumpy, turban-shaped squash average 10 pounds. The rich sweet flesh is deep yellow-orange and simply delicious in pies or baked. In Italy it is prized for gnocchi and for roasting.”

I look forward to trying this fantastic looking squash.

Here are some sweet pie pumpkins (all three in foreground) with other winter squash at our booth at the Bakerview EcoDairy’s Vintage Fall Fair last week.

This Saturday marks the first week since the beginning of August that we have not been at the Abbotsford Farmer’s Market. Beginning Oct.30, you can find us at the Abbotsford Farm and Country Market’s indoor winter market. Come to the site of the outdoor market, but come inside the United church to find most of the vendors. For winter market dates please see their website.

I have added a few new recipes on the “What’s Cooking” page. I especially enjoyed the Roast Beet-Kale Salad with Balsalmic Vinegrette. Enjoy.

Also, we still have more space in our Garden Box program. If you’d like to sign up please call or email us.

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Farm Tour

We were happy to show about a dozen people around our farm at one of our locations last Saturday. The sun was shining, people seemed excited, had good questions and everyone got to crunch on a carrot. Thanks to those who came out for the tour and to those who sent us best wishes for this day.

photos by Paul Leppky

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