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

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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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Week 11: The bull was busy

Marshall singing to his carrots

Marshall singing to his carrots

This week in the pack we expect to have potatoes; 2 small cabbages; beans; 1 bunch of carrots; 1 bunch of beets; cucumber; zucchini; head lettuce; cilantro/dill/parsley; hot pepper; and Huntley’s unsprayed blueberries.

Don’t forget our Open Farm Day on Saturday Aug 9 from 2pm onward

directions to farm.

This week on the farm we had very helpful visitors; a cattle herd expansion; a cattle escape; and lots of beans.  This morning David and I took down the temporary fence around the hayfield where the cattle have been grazing for the past 3 weeks.  In those three weeks the cattle have escaped twice and two calves were born.  Pretty exciting times, but we don’t think we want to go without a permanent perimeter fence again.  We wanted to get the hayfield ready for plowing so we could expand the garden.  The cattle did a great job!

The calves born Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are all doing well, although Thursday was having trouble finding her mom.  Wednesday’s mother took her on, luckily.  Friday and his mom will be moved back to Parkside Farm (where they are from) because she is a milking cow.

Wednesday with her excellent mom

Wednesday with her excellent mom

Thursday with her excellent white eyebrow

Thursday with her excellent white eyebrow

This is Friday, right after he was born and before his mom licked him off

This is Friday, right after he was born and before his mom licked him off

Friday is an absolutely beautiful calf!  He’s chocolate brown and this morning he was  pronking all over the pasture.

Peter Gale was here helping out at the farm again this week.  He not only helps in the field, he washes dishes, and is training us in how to be cool.  We need a lot of training!  We also had a visit from George and his son Loïc.  It was a hot day and they were real troopers!  They picked 94 lbs of beans for Norbert, tacked down raspberry mulch, and picked blueberries and raspberries.  It is a great encouragement to have people like Peter, Loïc, and George helping on the farm.  Thanks guys!

Last night at 1:30 am David remembered he had to put the beans out at the end of the driveway for Norbert to pick up on his way to Market this morning.  He hopped out of bed, got them out of the cold room, and brought them out to the end of the driveway.  This morning when we got up, they were gone.  Phew!

Someone spilled the beans

Someone spilled the beans

Some growers refer to Open Farm Days as Farmer Mow Your Lawn Days because we often don’t make time to mow the lawn unless people are coming over.

Bruce trying to make the place look spiffy

Bruce trying to make the place look spiffy

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Can you see the nuts on this tree?

I went out to take a photo of him mowing in the orchard and I noticed that the hazelnut trees are loaded!  They got trashed during Arthur but the nuts are ok!!

Below are a few more photos from the farm this week.

Moonfire Farm crew picking beans

Moonfire Farm crew picking beans

Loïc

Loïc

David and George picking beans

David and George picking beans

George and Loïc resting after pinning down the landscape fabric around the raspberries

George and Loïc resting after pinning down the landscape fabric around the raspberries

See you all soon at the pick-ups this week!

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

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