Accepting new and returning customers for 2015 season

pickupIf you are interested in weekly deliveries of fresh farm produce, we invite you to join the Abundant Acres Farm family!

Information: here.

Sign up: here.

2015 payment schedule: here.

If you left your deposit with us last year, you don’t have to sign up again (unless your contact information has changed), but please check out the 2015 payment schedule, as we’ve made some changes.

Seaforth pick-up information: here

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Saturday April 11: Finance and Planning Workshop

crocus

Gardening is fun, right?  You’re working outside, getting your hands in the soil, breathing fresh air, listening to the birds, harvesting the fruits of your labour.  For many people it is a peaceful hobby.  But how do you make it into a career?

The Bethany Garden Apprentices have asked us to shed light on the way to make a living with gardening.  Not only do you have to be very good with the gardening tasks, but you also need to know a thing or two about planning the garden so that you are growing what people will love, and buy.  You need to grow it in the right quantity, and at the right time.  You also need to leave space in the garden for soil-building crops, like clover and rye.  At the end of the season, it is important to ‘put the garden to bed’, by planting cover crops so the soil is protected over winter.  But you also need to know what you are going to plant in the spring.  This all takes a lot of planning.  Everything from ordering seed to mapping the garden rotation needs to be in the plan.  David Greenberg will be sharing all his ‘rules of thumb’ that make planning easier in the afternoon.

The other element that is needed to make a career out of gardening is financial.  This includes having money for garden inputs and other expenses.  Keeping track of expenses and income.  Tax reporting.  Forecasting, backcasting, and looking at other garden models.  Jen Greenberg will lead a discussion of these elements.

Please join us for this workshop from 10am to 4pm on Saturday April 11 at Bethany Centre, 45 Bay St., Antigonish.  Lunch is included.  Cost: $20.  Please register ahead by April 4 with Jen Greenberg (jenredfox@gmail.com).

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At least the hoop houses didn’t blow away…

No, the plastic covered hoop houses didn’t blow away last night when the wind howled around here.  They stayed put.  With tons of snow around them, they weren’t going anywhere!hoopsnow

This winter has been a challenge!  Snow, intense freezing temperatures, more snow!  In my 23 years on this farm, I’ve never seen so much.  It got up to the barn roof at one point.

In other news, our fabulous, veggie oil chugging white delivery van was deemed unfit for the road.  Very sad!  VanGo was very inexpensive and we made good use of him in the 2014 season, but his frame was rotting.  So we had to get a replacement rightaway.  vangone

In a typically bold and outrageous move, David grabbed Bernard (one of our interns came early to learn what farmers do in the winter) and they flew to Ontario on a cheap Porter flight to buy a Sprinter van (diesel) for a great price.  It was posted on Kijiji, and within 6 minutes, was sold, with 6 interested back-up buyers.  We looked in the Maritimes, but there were no Sprinters to be had.  Bernard was happy because he got to visit his friends and family on their trip home.  So let me introduce you to our new delivery van:

sprinter

Do you like the lady on the side?  It was a retirement home excursion van.  David removed the retirement graphics, got her properly serviced, and she’s been incredibly useful in transporting all kinds of building materials and farm supplies ever since.  Can you help us name her (or him)?  We still have to work on the rust and get her ready for delivering produce to y’all.  Yay!

Another thing that has been going on here is we have been hiring our crew of paid interns.  Bruce and Nadege got offered a free house in Halifax in exchange for Bruce’s work on it, so they are moving on.  Bruce will be contributing a blog post of his own soon so stay tuned!  We wish them well, and we’re sure they’ll continue to be involved in some way on the farm.

We’ve been building cabins for the interns.  raisewall

bsfjan29Bernard also built a big door for the barn packing area and fixed all my computer technical issues.  And he made amazing pastry treats. Thanks Bernard!!  I will properly introduce all the crew soon.

machine2

David has been working with Lori’s partner Andrew on his machine idea.  It turns out that Andrew is a genius!  Thanks to Gretchen Bauta, the Weston Foundation, and the Ecology Action Centre for pulling together to make this happen!  I am really hoping this machine will be ready for the 2015 production season.

David spent a lot of time shovelling off the hoop houses as part of his winter exercise routine.  Because we’re in our 40s, we both have to stay in shape over the winter to be ready for the spring.  It’s critical, but also comical!  You’ll have to trust me because I am NOT including any pictures of us kickboxing in the livingroom.

This has truly been an excellent winter to test the hoop houses!  The end of one of the hoop houses got bent the other day, but otherwise, the 4 hoop houses are ok (so far).  We leave the plastic on to get extra early kale and salad mix.  But mostly we wanted to test the design and materials.  This was also a project in co-operation with the Ecology Action Centre.

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Action shot! See that snow flying?

bentrib

There were 5 bent hoops on the kale house. Not bad, considering the immense loads of snow and rain, and then wind

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We are so grateful we didn’t get more damage (yet).  It is truly humbling working with the forces of nature!  We are looking forward to seeing everyone soon.  Stay safe, stay warm.

jendave

puffpastry

Bernard’s amazing puff pastry. There is nothing home grown about it! But man it is delicious!

bernard hazel

Bernard also made an amazing german Hazelnusse Torte. With our home-grown hazelnuts.

 

Posted in CSA, growing vegetables, Produce Pack, Season Extension | 1 Comment

New Logo!

LogoFullCLarge

Our new logo was designed by our friends at Starling Design, located about 20 minutes up the Shore of the Avon River from us.

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Four Paid Internship Positions for 2015

Abundant Acres Farm is hiring four interns for the 2015 seasonml14

Application Deadline: January 16, 2015

Apply by email to: Jen Greenberg,  jenredfox@gmail.com.  Please send a letter of intent, resume, and three references.

The internship positions begin in early April and continue until the end of November, 2015.  We provide room and board, workman’s comp insurance, a week of vacation in mid-summer and a salary of $400 a month plus 10% of the farm’s profits. The farm’s budget, earnings, and expenses will be shared with the interns throughout the season.

We work long hours, five days a week, with weekends off except when its your turn for animal chores or farmer’s market.

The main focus on the farm is growing vegetables for a 200 family CSA program plus selling at the Seaport Market in Halifax and several wholesale accounts. We also rotationally graze about ten cattle and care for 200 laying hens, tend young fruit trees and table grapes, cut firewood and engage in other homestead arts throughout the season.  Feel free to browse through our blog to get an idea of farm activities from 2014.

About us

David and Jen have many years experience with farming and farmer training.  In addition to farming at Abundant Acres, they direct the Bethany Gardens apprenticeship program at the Sisters of St Martha’s convent in Antigonish NS.  They are active members of a church in Halifax.  People from the church often come to help with farm work and we bring produce to church every Sunday throughout the harvest season.

Jen is in charge of animal care, fruit tree, grapes, berries, and business administration

David is in charge of vegetable production and fixing things.

Benjamin Lee will be returning for another year on the farm team.  He will be responsible for wholesale orders in the Summer and Fall and will take a leadership position in spring and early summer field work.  Benjamin brings many skills and interests to the farm.  He is a gifted cook, a classics scholar, and has nine years of tree planting experience.

What we are looking for:

People who can meet the challenges of farming: physical, mental, and social.  We are outside in all weather for long hours, moving at a fast pace, doing hard work.   It  takes clear thinking, attention to detail and a lot of endurance to make it here. Since the interns live, work, and eat together, this position requires good social skills as well.

Experience with farming is a plus but not required.   We will hire based on a work history that requires good hand-eye coordination and stamina, the ability to demonstrate an interest in farming, and excellent references.

A primary goal of this program is training  aspiring farmers. Transplanting, weeding and harvesting take up the majority of the labour on our farm, so we usually do these jobs all together as a crew.  Since there is so much more to learn about farming than these “bulk labour” jobs,  we will rotate each crew member through several areas of responsibility on the farm. We plan to group these tasks into a rotation that one intern will be in charge of for a few weeks at a time in addition to the main field work. For example:

Week 1-3  Greenhouse  irrigation and ventilation,  Lunch cook

Week 4-6  Field irrigation, cattle chores

Week 7-9  Chicken chores, mowing, trellising, and row cover

Week 10-12  Machinery maintenance and operation, direct seeding

Two interns will do CSA packing and delivery every Tuesday and the other two will do it on Thursdays

The amount of training time will be directly related to our ability to get the farm work done on schedule.

The internship will begin with an orientation week in the beginning of April.  This is a chance to learn where things are, how we do things, and why.brucehh14 14 crew marshall14 dmb14 garlic14 tractorsun14 ginger14 bm14 market14 md14 vppp14 md14van ben14 lori14 cattle14

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Week 26: First Snow

ben26This week in the pack, we expect to have double potatoes; a large portion of storage carrots; salad mix; herbs; parsnips or cabbage; kale or chard; curly cress; leek; and apples.  We will also offer extra storage roots at the pick ups for $1.20/lb.  I’ve included a recipe for Szechwan Carrot Soup from my neighbour Suzanne at the end of this post.  She was raving about the carrots so she told me about it.

Benjamin will have his ferments available during this week at the pick ups.

Thanks so much to all our loyal customers for showing up to pick up your packs week after week!  You made our business a delight.  Please let us know what suggestions you have for improvements, and how it went for you this season.  You can send us your thoughts by email, or fill out an anonymous survey online.  Or visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8LDQSQQ.

If you are missing the veggies, or you miss Bruce and Nadege, they will be at the Seaport Market on Saturdays.  Right at the front door.

This week on the farm, the weather was glorious!!  On Wednesday David and I went to the ACORN conference (Organic Regional Network) in Halifax.  Bruce and Nadege held things together on the farm while we were comparing notes with other farmers, and learning about the latest in organic farming practices.  We came home on Friday, and the conditions were snowy and slippery.  We passed a lot of vehicles in the ditch.  First snow. Good thing we got the last hoop house covered earlier in the week!

Covering the last hoop house

Covering the last hoop house

bcover26hoop26bdhoop26Here are some more photos from last week on the farm.

Laura and Mitch came to the farm on Saturday to help out.  Here's Laura cracking garlic for planting.

Laura and Mitch came to the farm on Saturday to help out. Here’s Laura cracking garlic for planting.

Eggwink

Eggwink

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Harvesting salad mix for the conference

Harvesting salad mix for the conference

This is what the fox field looks like going into the winter.  We like to have fields covered if we can.

This is what the fox field looks like going into the winter. We like to have fields covered if we can.

See you all soon!

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

Szechwan carrot soup recipe.  Suzanne said she usually doubles the recipe to use the full can of coconut milk.

1 medium onion, chopped

1 rib celery, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 lb carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

3/4 inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced

1/8 tsp dried red pepper flakes

3 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 1/2 Tbsp smooth peanut butter

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp sesame oil

1/2 can coconut milk (leftover can be frozen)

In a large, heavy saucepan, cook onion, celery and garlic in oil over med-low heat.  Stir until onion softens.

Add carrots, ginger, pepper flakes and broth.  Simmer 45 minutes until carrots are very tender.

Stir in remaining ingredients and cool slightly.  Blend in food processor in small batches.  Return soup to pan and heat over low heat.  Do not boil.  Makes approx. 6 cups.

Posted in CSA, growing vegetables, Produce Pack, Season Extension | Leave a comment

Week 25: Migration

poppy25This week in the pack we expect to have leeks; kale or chard; cauliflower, brussels sprouts, or cabbage; potatoes; carrots; beets; squash; herb; and golden russet or ambrosia apples.

This week on the farm we’ve been blessed with more warm fall weather.  It’s nice, but its discombobulating!  It’s hard to believe that it is this warm, and there are only two weeks left of produce packs.  At the end of the season, we always ask our customers to give anonymous feedback in a 3rd party survey.  This survey is conducted by ACORN, the local organic network, so we don’t see who is sending in what comments.  We encourage you to be very honest.  We want to keep building a better business, so we take feedback very seriously.  This is your chance to, once again, help us out.  Please go to this survey link, and fill it out before Nov 28.

On Wednesday of last week, Nadege and I used our sister power to do a produce pack distribution all by ourselves in Fleming Heights.  I really have to thank Nadege for all her spunky volunteer labour contributions to the farm!  It was a beautiful, warm evening, and when we returned to the farm, the full moon illuminated a very unusual migration!  The caterpillar tunnels had migrated, and were transformed from 100-foot hoop houses to 200-foot hoop houses.  Bruce and David had been working hard to set everything up while we were gone.  We had wondered if they just wanted some bro time without us girls.after25

These hoop houses will be covering lots of veggies for the rest of the fall and protecting them from cold temperatures.  We are curious to see if they will last through the winter, and provide extra early tasty, tender produce in the spring.

Some people have mentioned that they will miss our produce after produce packs end.  We will have a market stand at the Seaport Farmers’ Market, right by the front doors.  This will continue as long as Bruce, Nadege, and Isaac are willing to keep going with it.  They’d love to see some familiar faces.

Here are some more photos from the farm:

Wednesday and Thursday are showing off their new winter coats

Wednesday and Thursday are showing off their new winter coats

Buddy watches patiently as David is harvesting the last leeks.  Buddy loves David.

Buddy watches patiently as David is harvesting the last leeks. Buddy loves David.

The hens are totally stoked about the new ground we gave them.

The hens are totally stoked about the new ground we gave them.

Bruce getting ready for market

Bruce getting ready for market

orange25

Benjamin harvesting for a wholesale order

Benjamin harvesting for a wholesale order

See you all soon!

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

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