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Time to Renew!

Is it that time already? Yep, time to start wrapping up 2014’s gardening season and preparing for next year.That doesn’t mean we’re done! There are still two more weeks of main season CSA left, and two more weeks of extended CSA season after that. Our farmstore will also remain open for at least another few months. It’s just that farmers like to plan ahead. I see the winter coming fast!

I think in general it has been a decent gardening season. An ultra rainy spring delayed the start a little but we took full advantage of the warmth and sun that came after that. As result we saw some of our earliest summer squash and tomatoes. Carrots came on early and we were able to supply them every single week all summer. I’m also very happy with the kale! We had lots of it and it was in great shape.

It’s too bad July and August were so cold and wet, however. On our clay soil, wet weather is extremely challenging since it takes so long for the garden to dry out. That makes weeding and tilling very difficult to keep up with. With an intern bailing out on us and WWOOFers doing the no-show game, Charlie and I were slightly overwhelmed by the amount of work to do. On top of that the frost we got a few weeks ago was exceptionally strong for mid-September and many of our crops got wiped out.

As a result, we’re not getting the yield and variety I was hoping for this fall, with a few key players like turnips, rutabaga, radishes, daikon, watermelons and cabbages totally failing to make an appearance.

Luckily we’ve got lots of other things like celery, leeks, squash, beets, parsnip, nappa, lettuce and kale to keep the weekly boxes full and the store shelves stocked. And of course our famous garlic!

We’re really starting to get the hang of our new permanent raised beds system, and we’re shrinking the garden even more next year. Intensifying production to smaller spaces enables us to take better care of our crops and make better use of our compost as well as other resources and equipment like row cover and irrigation.

Combined with a returning Charlie, a bigger staff, better equipment, more compost and an excellent post-season wrap-up already under way, we are in a very good position for a strong garden in 2015!

Sign-up is now available for 2015 weekly boxes, pastured chicken and beef quarters. Sign-up before Christmas and get a free kilo of garlic!

We Need a New Centertown Pickup Location!
After hosting us for two years, our generous Centertown hosts have announced they are moving away. Congratulations James on the new job in Toronto!That means the search is on for a new Centertown pickup location. Can you accommodate us? All we need is a spot to leave the bins once a week where about 15 members can drop by between 4 and 7pm to pickup their vegetables.

Imagine, fresh produce delivered right to your house and getting a hefty discount! Contact me ASAP for more information.

For renewing Centertowners, this means we’ve got to cross our fingers and hang tight until someone steps forward.

CSA Update
Week No.16           
Sign-up Now for 2015!
Sign-up before Christmas and get a free kilo of garlic!

This week, our CSA members will get:

More celery?? Yep, there sure was alot of celery this year! For some reason the first planting was slow and the second was planting was fast. So we’re getting it all at once! Celery can be added to all sorts of meals, from soups to stews to stir fries. It adds a natural saltiness to meals and its crunchy texture is always welcome. One member mentioned a delicious cream of celery soup he made and if all else fails, make Caesar cocktails for all your friends!

Kale & Collard:
We have curly green kale, Red Russian kale, black kale and green collards available. They all have their taste differences but they’re all amazing. Take your pick!

A delicious fall treat. They are great roasted in the oven on their own or with friends, and in soup.

Garlic: Some of you may be receiving a little more garlic than you can get through in a week. No worries, just keep it cool and dry and it will last for months! A basket on the counter, in the pantry or in the basement works great. Have you ever tried roasted garlic in the oven or on the BBQ?

More beets to satisfy your fall craving. The tops are in great shape, so be sure to use them in a raw salad or cook them like chard or spinach. Steam or roast your beet roots for best flavour.

Squash: A variety of squash to choose from. Take your pick! Yes, the pumpkins are edible. They make great pie and muffins and loaves, and you can use the sweet flesh in soups. You also roast it!

Parsnip: These remarkably sweet roots can be chopped finely into a salad, but they are amazing roasted in the oven with a light glaze. Hmmm, can you tell I’m craving roasted vegetables? It’s been cold Ok? Cut me some slack!

Delicious, healthy, humane, pastured meat!
The Caquilac was a great new innovation on the farm in 2014. It really sets us apart from the other poultry available in Ottawa. On top of feeding on certified organic grain, our chickens are moved onto fresh pasture every single day. Unique to the shelter we are using, our birds enjoy a remarkable amount of space, fresh air and predator protection.Vegetable CSA members can make a reservation for 2015 birds right now! Non members will have to wait a little longer. Why? Because we don’t make much money selling poultry products. We mainly keep birds to thank our vegetable customers for sticking with us. Thank you!

We will also be raising more beef next summer. Because expanding our operations is so resource intensive, pre-selling beef quarters makes the project financially possible. 80 lb beef packages can be purchased online right now! They will be ready next fall.Our beef is raised on pasture with no additional feeding besides veggies from our garden.

This is a single weblog entry, posted on October 6th, 2014. Comment here »

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