Tuesday, October 22, 2013

18th CSA Week

Well, that's it folks.

The 2013 CSA season officially wraps up for another season this week.  It's been an amazing season although it was a tad bit stressful during the summer with the lack of rain but looking at the fall crops we had you'd never know it!!  I love this time of year when all of the old summer growth has been disked under and the dark blue/green cold hardy brassicas are going strong.  We have had amazing broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower the last few weeks and will continue for another few weeks as well.  We will be sending out weekly custom harvest e-mails to the CSA members for a few more weeks so there is still opportunity to receive more farm fresh veggies for a few weeks at least or until the ground freezes. 

This weeks large share has carrots, parsnips, spinach, broccoli, hakurei turnip, winter squash, green and red peppers, stirfry mix, onions and lettuce heads.  The grab bins were overflowing tonight with bok choy, beets, kale, chard, collards, hot peppers, parsley, tomatoes, purple and green cabbage, fennel, garlic, leeks, and green onions.

It's survey time of the year and we've been getting back some great feedback from our members.  It's always great to get to the end of a successful season and receive such great comments from members letting us know we are on the right track.  Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to complete their surveys and we look forward to reading more as they are completed.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this season amazing.  I don't like to name names in case I forget anyone but here goes nothing.  Thanks to the following folks for all their help harvesting, transplanting and/or weeding.  Christina, Rachael, Pauline, Erin, Coral, Sandie and Kim.

Thanks to Sally, Sarah and Shannon for their wonderful blogs which were entertaining and informative.

Thanks to my parents Gordon and Ruthanne for taking care of Ben & Jake often so that farm work could happen on weekends and during the week as well.

Thanks to B&B carpentry for the most awesome wash/packing building that has made such a giant difference in the day to day activities on the farm.

Thanks to my brother Andrew for creating the super awesome carrot digger that definitely saved my sanity this season. 

Thanks to Tim Dixon from Dixon Farms and his amazing beef and HoneyDew Apiaries for taking part and offering "add-ons" to our CSA program

Big thanks to Derek for often taking more than his fair share of "monster" duty during the crazy busy veggie season.

And last but not least, thanks to all our amazing CSA members for joining us again for another year of crazy farming adventures!!!!

I plan to blog now and then during the "off season" so check back now and again to see what we've been up to.  I was pretty slack lately with the picture taking but here are a few snap shots from this past week. 

Now that's some heavy cabbage!!!

Sweet baby spinach growing happily in the greenhouse

Such amazing red peppers this season


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

17th CSA Week

It's the second last CSA pick-up for the 2013 season.  It seems crazy that its coming to a close already as the weather has been amazing and feels more early September than mid October.  I'm very thankful its been so nice as its made it much easier on the fingers harvesting.  I still have some pretty crazy cracked fingers and knuckles but it could always be worse.

This weeks large share has lettuce mix, spinach, tatsoi, carrots, parsley root, onions, shallots, bok choy, winter squash, lots of sweet peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and white salad turnips.  The grab boxes had leeks, parsnips, cauliflower, beets, kale, collards, hot peppers, dill, cilantro, purple and green cabbage.  The herbs are pretty well toast so I wouldn't expect any in next weeks bins except good old parsley.

Beautiful direct seeded bok choy
So, I was all set to give everyone a nice large celeriac.  It's basically celery root but its not really celery like we're used to eating.  Anyway, its been growing since early April and this was the week to harvest it.  I was really excited as its the first year where they sized up nice.  So I used my fancy carrot lifter to cut the roots off because they can be a real pain to cut with a knife and got to work cleaning them up.  Much to my surprise many seemed hollow.  So I started cutting a few open to see what they looked like and everyone was either completely hollow or semi hollow!!!!!  Every single one!!!!!!  There goes 6.5 months of growing for nothing.  Grrrrrr.  But as they say, the show must go on. Check out some of the pictures I attached to check it out.  I'm leaning towards boron deficiency.  Crazyness indeed.

Everything looked great when I started into the celeriac patch.

Yikes!!!  This is what I found when I started cutting into a few of them

The worst were completely hollow and mush
But on a happier note the broccoli and cauliflower today were lovely so that more than made up for the celeriac.

We had a great Thanksgiving at my brothers and ate our faces off!!!  Wonderful.
Here are a few pictures from our first frost on Saturday evening.  We were lucky that it was so late this year!!

Frosty tomatoes

9:30am and the broccoli was still frosted

Basil the day before the frost.  Not looking its best but still growing and green

After frost.  Basil is always my tell tale plant on the degree of frost we had.
The eggplant were still flowering outside the day before the frost. 

Tomatoes were still thriving outside.  Frost took care of them
I harvested all of my sweet peppers from outside before the frost.   I got so many!!!

Fall clean up
Still lots of broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage in the field

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

16th CSA Week

It was a rather damp start to the day with some interesting windy down pour moments but the skies cleared and it turned into a very lovely day.

This weeks large share has carrots, spinach, parsnips, leeks, brussel sprouts, winter squash, tomatoes (so many tomatoes!!!), peppers, garlic, lettuce heads, onions and cabbage.  The grab box selection was pretty awesome with dill, cilantro, parsley, mixed winter squash, hot peppers, salad turnips, beets, green onions, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, lots of extra carrots and swiss chard. 

We gave out the brussel sprouts on the stalk this week.  Last year we snapped the sprouts off the stalk with our thumbs but that was NO fun at all.  So this year I bought a pair of heavy duty loppers and I cut off the stalks and put one in every CSA bin.  I know not everyone likes brussel sprouts but I thought it would be interesting for folks to see how they grow.  To get the sprouts off just snap them with your thumb and then peel away any not so nice outer leaves. 

Ben and Jake showing off the brussel sprouts they helped harvest. 
We had our organic inspection on the weekend and it went very well. I always get nervous and anxious before hand and worry I will have forgotten something but all of our paper work was in order and our inspector seemed pleased with how things are going.  We are certified right now to grow "certified organic transplants" and next spring the entire farm will be certified organic. We currently are in "tranistion".  It takes three years from the last prohibited substance was used to be able to be certified.  We were certified on our last farm so are not new to the process. 

We have two weeks left of the CSA season.  I have mixed emotions about the season coming to a close, one one hand I'm happy and relieved that it was a successful year and we're ending with lots of veggies and lots of variety but I'll miss seeing everyone and hearing about everyone’s new favourite way to cook a certain vegetable or seeing the kids get so excited about picking out their veggies.  I am looking forward to getting some time to sit down and analyze the season and get caught up on some crazy stacks of paper work.  But the winter somehow flies by so I'll be back at it before I know it!!  It's been an amazing season despite the weather and I'm so lucky to have such a great group of CSA members to share in this crazy farming adventure. 

Here are just a few pictures from this past week.  Enjoy your veggies :)

Savoy cabbage

Getting the winter squash all gather and into the greenhouse.  What you see above isn't even half of what we collected.
Squash anyone???

The cutting bar is not just for carrots and parsnip.  Works great on leeks too

Beautiful swiss chard

Love love love my cutting bar.  It's saved me sooooooo much time this season

Jake showing off the potato he found in Gramy's field. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

15th CSA Week

October 1st??? How did that happen??  This season has flown by and its hard to believe we only have three weeks left to the 2013 CSA season.  Despite the dry weather this summer it truly has been a pretty great growing season.  Our onions, leeks, carrots, parsnips, tomatoes, peppers, greens and so many others thrived this year.  The broccoli and cauliflower suffered from the dry weather but the bumper crop in other areas sure makes up for the less than stellar broccoli/cauliflower crop.  The recent patch we've been harvesting the last two weeks has been much better which is great.

This weeks large share has coloured carrots, lettuce mix, spinach, peppers, tomatoes (2.5lb), winter squash, garlic, broccoli, brussel sprout tops, parsnips, and onions.  The grab box has lettuce heads, swiss chard, leeks, hot peppers, celery, salad turnips, beets, zucchini, cabbage, green onions, kale, collards, dill, cilantro, sage, parsley and summer savoury!!  Wow, now that's selection. 

Brussel Sprout tops

Parsnip I found this week. 

Beautiful lettuce mix
 This past Sunday I attended farm day in the city with three other farmers.  We had a great day and the crowds were amazing.  I am already planning and looking forward to next year.  An event not to be missed!!!
Setting up for farm day in the city

The boys sure love their Grampy!!  That is a great dirt pile by the way :)