Week 18: Strong farm women

Normally buckwheat seeds are black, but these ones are red.  I think I'll save the seed.

Normally buckwheat seeds are black, but these ones are red! I think I’ll save the seed.

This week in the pack we expect to have carrots; peppers; eggplants; hot peppers; garlic; kale; lettuce; a selection of herbs; bok choi; potatoes; arugula/mustards; apples.

How about another Open Farm Day?  Everyone is invited on October 11 from 2pm onward.  It is also David’s birthday!

This week on the farm was very invigorating.  Marshall came back from Quebec on Thursday tired, but full of ideas and stoked for farming.  Laura Lipniki from Laserena Farm in PEI helped us for a couple of days, hoping to learn a few tips.  I really appreciated having a strong farm woman by my side.  She is originally from Columbia and had many inspiring stories.  She encouraged me to take care of myself because I was quite sick.  To be honest, she bossed me around and took excellent care of me .

Laura Lipniki from PEI

Laura Lipniki from PEI

Marshall bunching greens

Marshall bunching greens.  He’s back!

We are still praying for rain.  The rye cover crop came up despite no rain (thank you thank you!!).

Rye cover crop coming up

Rye cover crop coming up

Back to the subject of strong farm women, I want to appreciate Lori, Hilary, and Nadege.  Lori is such a dependable and fast worker.  Practical, spunky, and sweet.  Hilary is Marshall’s girlfriend, and is always willing to pitch in, helping out with whatever is going on.  She and Marshall are going off on a bike tour in October and want to return here to Abundant Acres for another season in preparation for their own farm dreams.  Yay! Nadege is settling nicely into farm life.  She has made the bulk of the meals since she moved in.  This is huge, because there are a lot of people to feed and they are HUNGRY! She is strong in her faith and is determined to help her new husband in any way she can.  She took over when Laura left, making teas and hot drinks and encouraging me to drink them so I would get better fast.

Nadege and Bruce harvesting

Nadege and Bruce harvesting

Hilary getting ready for her bike tour

Hilary getting ready for her bike tour

Here are some more photos from this past week:

We have such a great farm crew that David has found some time to work on re-staining the house

We have such a great farm crew that David has found some time to work on re-staining the house

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Maggy the farm cat visits on my way to feed the hens

Maggy the farm cat visits on my way to feed the hens

Did someone decorate Flubber, the farm minivan?  The red pepper kind of looks like a nose...

Did someone decorate Flubber, the farm minivan? The red pepper kind of looks like a nose…

Y-rouge continues to patiently feed two calves

Y-rouge continues to patiently feed two calves

Look out for parsnip power

Look out for parsnip power

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See you all soon,

Jen, David, Bruce, Marshall, Benjamin, Lori, and Nadege

Posted in growing vegetables, Health and Diet, Produce Pack, Seed Saving, Uncategorized, visiting and events | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Week 17: Resistance!

brassicas in the mistThis week in the pack we expect to have carrots; peppers; tomatoes; spinach; apples; hot peppers; salad mix; arugula; chard/beets/kale; cilantro/dill/parsley; and garlic.  Unfortunately, our garlic was not a super crop, so we are giving out two per person in case one is soft.

On the farm, there’s a lot going on!  Bruce and Nash are back from their honeymoon and ready to start a new life together.  Yay!

Big News: Marshall is heading off for a week as part of a farm tour in Quebec.  We are very excited for him because he is going to meet some of the most innovative vegetable farmers, including Jean-Martin Fortier at Les Jardins de la Grelinette.  We are green with envy, but he deserves this week off.  He has been working so hard and has been so consistent.  Of course we appreciate our whole team here at Abundant Acres!  But Marshall has been a real superstar of effort.  I hope he learns a lot and has a great time.

Marshall

Marshall

In other farm news, I am very excited because our potato trial is showing some results.  In the spring we planted about 25 different varieties of potatoes to see if any of them had disease resistance potential.  It seems that two of them are pretty darned resistant to blight relative to the others.  They were handed to us by Raymond Loo, an organic farmer in PEI who has since passed away.  His family spent years selecting resistant potatoes and one of them was Island Sunshine.  He also gave us a few tubers of another variety that is not named.  Both are green and growing well, while ALL the other varieties have succumbed to disease.  To see more about our work on disease resistance in potatoes, we have a series of posts on the Heliotrust site.

Island Sunshine potato

Island Sunshine potato, green and growing, with weeds

Chieftain was the variety that seemed to be the most resistant to disease

Chieftain was the variety that seemed to be the most resistant to disease in the past, but here the blight got it

This week David planted cover crops and went to pick up a second hand greenhouse in Berwick.  Putting up the greenhouse will be the next big project.  It comes with fans so the seedlings don’t freeze or fry (a good thing).  We are also hoping to set up a heater in the greenhouse that can run on used veggie oil (like the truck).  But don’t tell anyone because someone might think to make it illegal.

Newly planted cover crop of rye.  In a week or so, it will have a fresh covering of green

Newly planted cover crop of rye. In a week or so, it will have a fresh covering of green.  The ginger greenhouse is in the background.

A load of greenhouse parts David brought home Monday night.

A load of greenhouse parts David brought home Monday night.

Here are some more photos of this week on the farm:

Benjamin cultivating

Benjamin preparing new beds

peppers17david carrotsmardave17vpa17vpb17charlene and GeoffDavid and AilisThanks to Ailis, Geoff, and Charlene for coming out to the farm to help on Saturday.  They weeded the onion bed, and the carrot bed — a total of 500 feet of thankful little seedlings!!  We also got in a great yoga session and made plans to change the world.

See you all soon!

Jen, David, Bruce, Benjamin, Marshall, Lori, and Nadege

Andrea at Bedford pick-up looking mighty fine

Andrea at Bedford pick-up looking mighty fine

 

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Week 16: Gush

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Our friends at Oulton’s farm. Very comical characters

This week in the pack we expect to have: Ginger; cilantro, dill, or rosemary; eggplant; head lettuce; tomatoes; carrots; peppers; potatoes; beet/bok choi, or swiss chard; spinach, and pears.

This week  on the farm in addition to farm work and chores, we were getting ready for a very special wedding for Bruce and Nadege on Saturday.  We are wishing them the best in their new life together!

We are feeling very positive about the farm right now.  All the crops affected by hurricane Arthur are kind of sad (like melons and cucumbers), but pretty well everything else is looking swell!  Check out the nice tender kale below:kale16

This is a good time of year to get ready for winter.  In addition to fermentation, food can be stored after drying, or freezing.  It is pretty sweet to have a nice supply of dried rosemary and thyme to use in cooking or infusion.  Rosemary is a great brain herb.  It brings oxygen to the brain and reputable herbalists have said it can be used as a tonic to prevent brain deterioration.  I was also harvesting hawthorn berries this week for drying.  Hawthorn berries are great for heart regulation.  Thyme is nice to counteract viruses, as long as the volatile oils are kept in the tea with a cover to avoid losing steam.

Thyme, rosemary, and hawthorne berries

Thyme, rosemary, and hawthorne berries

The gush of tomatoes has started.  I usually take the split or damaged ones for freezing.  freezetom16

Split tomatoes ready for freezing

When I’m in a hurry (which is most of the time) I just throw them in a freezer bag and put them in the freezer.  My pals at Heartbeet Organics in PEI like to roast their tomatoes before freezing.  They wrote:

We like it quick & easy: Olive oil, salt, 400 F for 40 mins. Let cool, slide into ziplock bag & freeze! Line the pan with parchment paper — easier to transfer the tomatoes and all their lovely juice into the ziploc bag.

We will try to have extra tomatoes, as well as pesto packs available this week.  Send me an email if you want to order some.

Here are some more photos from this week:

First ginger harvest, 2014

First ginger harvest, 2014

Clingy carrot

Clingy carrot

Marshall harvesting hazelnuts

Marshall harvesting hazelnuts

Anke Kungl from Conscious Catering harvesting flowers

Anke Kungl from Conscious Catering harvesting flowers

Marshall using the wheel hoe between raised beds

Marshall using the wheel hoe between raised beds

Neighbours bring us used veggie oil for the delivery vehicles.  They spring up in the lawn like mushrooms!  Sweet!

Neighbours bring us used veggie oil for the delivery vehicles. They spring up in the lawn like mushrooms! Sweet!

Slice eggplant, marinate in soy sauce, and throw them on the BBQ.  Delicious!!

Slice eggplant, marinate in soy sauce, and throw them on the BBQ. Delicious!!

Hens going after bugs in a new section of pasture.

Hens going after bugs in a new section of pasture.

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Posted in chickens, CSA, Ginger, growing vegetables, Produce Pack, Recipes, tonic herbs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Week 15: Dry

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This week in the pack we expect to have carrots; tomatoes; bok choi or beets or swiss chard; salad mix; beans; hot peppers; melons; peaches; peppers; and onions.

On the farm we would be most grateful for some rain.  It is dry.  We don’t want it to rain while you’re picking up your pack, of course, but it can rain at any other time.  The pond is so low and the well has run dry a few times.  Luckily it has refilled every time.  We’re very happy to have an irrigation system, but we have to be careful.pond15

The advantages of dry weather?  The farm roads are easier to drive on.  Weeding is more effective, and we don’t need rain gear.  The solar panels work brilliantly and we get lots of hot water.

Benjamin and I went to a workshop in Grand Pré on Thursday.  Sandor Katz was presenting on fermentation.  He’s been travelling the world finding out how people take care of food preservation, and learning about traditional fermentation in different cultures.  The potluck afterwards was very very yummy and my digestive system felt very happy.  Fermentation of vegetables has a very long history for a reason.  In the photo below, Sandor is demonstrating how to make a fresh ginger ‘bug’.  This is the starter for making ginger beer and other fermented root drinks.  I can’t wait to try fermenting some of the liquorice root and ginger root grown here.

Sandor Katz with ginger 'bug'

Sandor Katz with ginger ‘bug’.  Check out his fancy socks!

String bean ferment with white oak leaves

String bean ferment with white oak leaves to keep them crunchy.  Hope it works!

At this time of year my focus turns to putting away the harvest for the winter.  I’ve been making pesto to freeze; starting some ferments; making elderberry juice; and I’ll be canning peaches on Monday.  Next, we’ll be putting tomatoes in the freezer, and I might even get out the dehydrator.  This week coming is also the time for harvesting hazelnuts.  Buddy has been keeping the squirrels away so I think the harvest will be heavy.

Here are some more photos from this week:

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Good news! The pepper plants that lost all their leaves in Arthur are yielding lots of peppers now.

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Carrots

Carrots

Elderberries

Elderberries

The hens enjoy new pasture

The hens enjoy new pasture

Ginger growing at Abundant Acres

Ginger growing at Abundant Acres

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Posted in chickens, CSA, Ginger, growing vegetables, Health and Diet, Produce Pack | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Week 14: Fermented

cukeblossom14This week in the pack we expect to have tomatoes; spinach; fennel; chard; peppers; eggplants; melons; beans or small salad mix; small parsley; zucchini or cucumber; and hopefully peaches.

**On Monday we begin a new quarter, so for those of you who wish to make quarterly payments, please send them in before your pick up this week. For those who gave me post-dated cheques, I will be depositing them this week.**

Benjamin has started to offer his fantastic fermented vegetables at the city pick-ups.  Please be aware that although they are in mason jars, they have not been canned.  Keep them in the fridge.  Lacto-fermentation is a fantastic, traditional, low-energy way to preserve vegetables.  Eating them will help with gut health.  Please see this week’s email for more details.

On the farm, David is feeling stoked about the latest spinach crop.  We are also encouraged by many of the warm season crops.  At the same time, a lot of the fall crops have been planted and carefully weeded.

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A spontaneous sunflower blooming right outside Bruce’s door. It is so welcoming.

We’ve had a lot of raptors flying above us as we work, red-tailed hawks, eagles, and osprey.  The diversity of smaller birds always goes up at this time too as they feast on berries and bugs.  Marshall and Benjamin have been super encouraging to David and I because they both want to come back to work here.  We couldn’t be happier!  Bruce and Nadege are getting ready for their wedding on September 6 so David and I will take over some distribution work while they have their honeymoon. We are also working on improvements to Bruce’s shack and hope everything will be ready for them when they return.

On Monday we went to see Jean-Martin Fortier speak in Sackville NB while the rain poured down at home.  He is a young Quebec farmer who is setting the market garden community on fire with his inspiring example of profitable farming.  Because it rained all day Monday, Todd Huntley needed help picking blueberries so David and I went over on Tuesday.  What a pleasure it was to spend time with Todd, and hear his wealth of knowledge.  On Wednesday Todd was admitted to the hospital for emergency surgery.  We all went over to pick blueberries and kept him, along with his family, lifted in prayer.  Todd is ok but won’t be too active for a while.

Benjamin picking blueberries at the Huntley's.

Benjamin picking blueberries at the Huntley’s.

Lilly is in charge of pest control in the blueberry patch.  She also had a puppy Ruby who helps out.

Lilly is in charge of pest control in the blueberry patch. She also had a puppy Ruby who helps out.

Here are some more photos from this last week:

Thursday, Wednesday, and Isabel in the pasture.

Thursday, Wednesday, and Isabel in the pasture.

Applying compost to beds in the middle field.

Applying compost to beds in the middle field.

Crazy good spinach

Crazy good spinach

Such a great time of year!

Tomato and basil.  Mmmmmm…

Smiling egg??

Smiling egg??

Ugh!

Ugh!

Marshall and Rebecca washing dishes after lunch

Marshall and Rebecca washing dishes after lunch

Hens loving a new bit of pasture

Hens loving a new bit of pasture

Rebecca, Marshall, and Benjamin weeding.  Thanks Rebecca for your great weeding help!

Rebecca, Marshall, and Benjamin weeding. Thanks Rebecca for your great weeding help!

Lori's mom Charlotte came to visit

Lori’s mom Charlotte came to visit

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Sunjewel melon. It is like a sweet cucumber.

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Mom and daughter Isabel, born Sun Aug 17

Mom and daughter Isabel, born Sun Aug 17

See you all soon!

Jen, David, Bruce, Benjamin, Marshall, Lori, Nadege

 

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Week 13: Pete

Peter took this photo of a nest in the squash

Peter took this photo of a nest in the squash

This week in the pack we expect to have tomatoes; potatoes; carrots; kale; peppers; cucumber or zucchini; basil; onions; mustard mix; and Huntley’s unsprayed blueberries.

We are also offering pesto packs for those who are interested in making pesto.  This includes a large bag of basil along with garlic.  They are $10 each.  If you want one, please email Jen (jenredfox@gmail.com).  I will post a pesto recipe on the Recipe Page.

This week on the farm we said goodbye to Peter Gale, who has been helping us for the last several weeks.  Marshall started calling him ‘Pete’ when they worked together.  Peter would give Marshall ‘cool teen tips’.  We already miss Peter and hope he comes back to visit.

The guys lined up on his last day to say goodbye.  He asked me to take a photo that made him look taller than all the other guys:

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This is the time of year when we have to prepare ground for next year.  David has been plowing hay and pasture ground so we have another acre to put into cover crops.

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We were really happy when it rained Thursday night and Friday morning.  The ground was very thirsty!

Here are some more photos from the week:

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Todd Huntley and Bruce, with Todd’s blueberries

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The BCS in the machinery hospital Thursday morning.

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Peter got a chocolate zucchini cake from Marshall with 'Pete' spelled on top

Peter got a chocolate zucchini cake from Marshall with ‘Pete’ spelled on top

Check out Marshall's glasses!

Check out Marshall’s glasses!

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Ailis, Jeff, and Charlene volunteered their time on Saturday to helping out on the farm (and in the office). Thanks so much!!

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George and Isabelle were also on the farm on Saturday. They are regular helpers and their persistence in getting jobs done is so fantastic! Thanks again!!

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David and Nadege made a beautiful lunch for all the volunteer help.

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George, David, and Isabelle weeding in the carrots. This will save tons of time later on. :)

Elderberries after the rain

Elderberries after the rain

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See you all soon!

Jen, David, Bruce, Benjamin, Marshall, Lori, and Nadege

Posted in CSA, growing vegetables, Produce Pack, Recipes, visiting and events | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Week 12: Open Farm

Little Winston stole the show at Open Farm Day

Little Winston stole the show at Open Farm Day

This week in the pack we expect to have potatoes; eggplant; green peppers; hot peppers; carrots; onions; salad mix; cucumbers or zucchinis; beans; and Huntley’s blueberries.

Thanks to everyone who came out for our Open Farm Day!  We had excellent sunny, breezy weather.  People were really into harvesting veggies!!  Two people offered to volunteer on the farm if we can come up with some things we need a hand with.  I think we can do that  :)

Here are some photos from the farm this week:

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David pumping used vegetable oil for our delivery vehicles

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We’re keeping a close eye on the water in the irrigation pond. A little more rain would be welcome.

We finally got to meet Andrea and Benjamin's new little son Brendan.  He's pretty cute!

We finally got to meet Andrea and Benjamin’s new little son Brendan. He’s pretty cute!

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What’s so funny Marshall?

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Lori prepping cabbages

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Jasper cherry tomatoes

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Super Mom nursing two calves, Wednesday and Thursday

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See you all soon!

Jen, David, Bruce, Marshall, Benjamin, Lori, Nadege, and Peter

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