Thursday, 30 June 2011

Meet this week's vegetables

  • Heirloom Mesclun Mix — The delicate leaf lettuce and the spice in the mustard greens and arugula come together nicely with a red wine vinaigrette.
  • Bronze Arrow head lettuce — with oak-leaf shaped leaves, and a velvety-soft texture, a perfect summer lettuce.
  • Fresh sweet Spanish onion
  • Sugar snap peas — A variety of peas that combine the sweetness of shelling peas with an eatable pod. Can be eaten raw or cooked, if you can keep them around that long!
  • Baby beets
  • Carrots
  • Garlic scapes

The great scape

As they begin to enlarge their bulbs, garlic plants produce a flower stalk, or scape. By cutting the scape, all of the plant's energy is directed towards enlarging the bulb. The scapes are delicious, and are only available for a couple of weeks until we've cut them all.

Ontario has a perfect climate for growing hard-neck garlic like our Russian Reds. Surprisingly, finding anything other than a low-quality garlic from China requires a trip to a farmers market. Without import restrictions, cheap Chinese garlic pretty much put the Ontario garlic industry out of business.

Traditionally, there are very few pests that will trouble garlic, but last year, a new pest which has been moving East arrived on our farm, the leek moth. The leek moth is a pest of all the plants in the Allium family: Onions, garlic, leeks, etc. There are no organic controls to date other than covering, but we have found that manually removing the pests to be an effective control.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Meet this week's vegetables

  • Heirloom leaf lettuce mix — The mix is changing a little, we grow different varieties for early spring, summer, and fall.
  • Red bib head lettuce
  • Zucchini  — Our first pickings of the season!
  • Rainbow Swiss chard — Great steamed, boiled or stir-fried
  • Hakurei turnip — AKA the salad turnip. A delicious japanese white-flesh turnip that can be eaten raw. The greens can be eaten as well, and are great in a stir-fry.
  • Kohlrabi — We like to cut it in sticks and eat raw, or you can steam or stir-fry.
  • Spanish onion  — Before they've dried-down, fresh onions are two onions in one. Use the greens like you would a green onion.
  • Garlic scapes — The flower of the garlic plant. Scapes can be eaten raw or cooked, lending a delicious, mild garlic flavour.
  • Herbs: Cilantro & mixed basil

Potato Leaf

With all the heat we've had in June this year, the tomatoes are motoring right along. Here's Spencer, who's turning 5 next week, showing just how big the leaves of the 'Stupice' variety can get. 
Many heirloom tomato plants are referred to as 'potato leaved' because their leaves look like the leaves of potato plants.   This extra early, cold-tolerant tomato was bred in the Czech Republic, and has a  wonderful, low-acid flavour.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Meet this week's vegetables

  • Baby carrots — Our first carrots of the season! They're a little funny looking, but hey, we'd all be funny looking if we were stuck in the ground in early April!
  • Rouge Grenobloise head lettuce
  • Baby beets
  • Spring onions
  • Green garlic — This is garlic that hasn't matured yet, you can use the shank as you would a green onion, but with a mild garlic taste.
  • Collard greens— An underapreciated vegetable, collards are extremely nutritious. They're great in salads, steamed or boiled.
  • Parsley 

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Meet this week's vegetables

  • Heirloom leaf lettuce mix
  • Heirloom spicy mesclun mix —  A mix of mustard greens, baby chard, baby kale, a little lettuce, and anything green and tasty gets thrown in. A little hotter this week and even more variety!
  • Spinach
  • Green onions
  • Beets
  • Snow peas
  • Radishes
  • Fresh mint  — Use it fresh, or dry or freeze it for later use.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Meet this week's vegetables

  • Heirloom leaf lettuce mix
  • Spinach mix —  A mix of savoy and Bordeaux spinach
  • Easter egg radishes
  • Rainbow Swiss chard
  • Mixed Kale — Red Russian, black palm and Siberian
  • Snow peas!
  • Cilantro 

The politics of food

We're usually working too hard on the farm to spend much time thinking about the politics of food, but luckily, there are people who do. One of them is independent Canadian journalist Stephen Leahy, who writes from his home in Uxbridge, Ontario, mostly only with the support of his readers. This week, he has published a story that although is about agriculture in Europe, has relevance to the future of food in Canada as well.

Our farm is a member of the NFU, the National Farmers Union. It's president, Terry Boehm, sounded the alarm about an ongoing trade deal the Canadian government is working to forge with the EU. The laws threatening Europe's food system could be making their way here as well. I think you'll agree, this is a issue that needs to get more exposure.

A taste of things to come

In 2009, we planted a small orchard, including some sweet cherries. Mind you, this tree did get some special treatment, and these are the only two it produced this year, but there you have it, our first sweet cherries. And yes, they taste as good as they look!