Many of you may have seen our hot bed in the yard in front of the greenhouse. It was a great home for our peppers after they were kicked out of the greenhouse to make room for other seedlings. We made the hot bed the end of March with fresh horse manure inside of the straw bales. When the manure heated up it went up to as high as 16o degrees F. We waited for the temperature to drop to around 100 degrees F. before it was safe to put the trays of pepper plants in over it. We covered the wooden frame with plastic covered frames on cold days and at night we covered the frames with the green compost cover to hold in the heat. The other advantage was that when we removed the lids in the day time the peppers became accustom to the direct daylight.

Thanks to Carey Wood we have another rhubarb recipe to share:

Rhuberry pie

2 c Cut-up rhubarb
2 c Blueberries
3/4 c Sugar
1/4 c Flour
1/8 t. Nutmeg
1/4 t. Salt

Prepare pie crust according to pkg. directions for 2 crust pie or make homemade pastry for 2 crust 9″ pie. Heat oven to 400Ff. In large bowl, combine all filling ingredients. Toss lightly. Spoon into crust-lined pan. Top with second crust. Seal edges and flute. Cut slits in top crust. Bake at 400 F. for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Cover edge of crust with strips of foil after 15-20 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning.

My mother’s tip of the week for using Rhubarb is to cut it into small pieces and stew it up with a very small amount of water on low heat and add a bit of minute tapioca or cornstarch to thicken. Cover it and stir frequently. After it juices up add sugar to taste.

The following two recipes are thanks to CSA member Pat Wieler.

Easy Rhubarb Jam
5 cups diced rhubarb
1 small can crushed pineapple (drained)
2 cups sugar
1 small package strawberry jello
Mix rhubarb, pineapple and sugar and let stand for 2 hours.
Then boil for 12 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in strawberry jello. Stir and put in jars.
Refrigerate or freeze.
Rhubarb Custard Pie
3 eggs
1.5 cups white sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. butter
4 cups diced rhubarb
Mix eggs and beat slightly. Add sugar, flour, vanilla, milk and butter. Pour mixture over rhubarb.
Use your favourite crust recipe.
Bake at 400 degrees for 50 – 60 minutes.

This week we expect to have the following produce:
1 small bunch asparagus
8 radishes
8 green onions
1 pail spinach
12 stalks rhubarb
2 quarts storage potatoes ( the last until the new potatoes come in)
Mesclun or Head Lettuce

Please email me some recipes for rhubarb to publish on the blog.
** **Remember from last year the tip about filling a mason jar with chive blossoms and then cover with vinegar. Let is sit for a few days and strain. The product is a beautiful pink vinegar with chive flavour!

Many of you are wondering about our apprentices for this season so I thought I would high light a bit about each of them in this blog entry.

Jonathan Bruderlein was born in Switzerland and is currently from Quebec. He is a graduate of McGill University with a degree in Agricultural Environmental Science. He apprenticed previously at La Ferme Terre Bleue and La Ferme Co-op Tourne-sol in Quebec. In the future he hopes to start up a vegetable and livestock CSA in Quebec.

We are happy to have Anna McFaul back for her second season at Orchard Hill Farm, as our Senior Apprentice. It is helpful that Anna knows the ropes around the farm. She comes from a farming background having grown up on the McFaul Family Farm in Prince Edward County as at least the sixth generation on the farm. Her skill in picking strawberries acquired as a child sure comes in handy! She is almost a graduate of the University of Guelph. (She is working on her last two courses by correspondence in her free time this season.) Anna is an avid field naturalist with a special interest in entomology. Some of you may remember her jars of butterfly chrysalis in our wash area last summer.

Devin Hickman grew up outside of New York City. He trained as a horse farrier. Devin apprenticed previously at Food Bank Farm and Cold Pond Community Farm in New England and expects to return to New England and start a CSA of his own in the future. He also enjoys fly fishing and outdoor activities. Devin is proud to be carrying on his grandfather and great-grandfather’s tradition of farming with horses.

Jolianne Demers was born in Quebec and is a graduate of McGill University with a degree in Agriculture. She has worked on a number of farms in previous summers including an apprenticeship at Meeting Place Farm in Ontario. Jolianne is an avid cyclist often rising before anyone else and cycling the five miles around our country block before breakfast. She plans to farm in Quebec in her future following in the footprints of her grandparents. She has quite a bit of horse riding experience and is able to transfer those skills to working with our horses. Jolianne has a special interest in herbs and medicinal plants.

We had our first Theme Day at Orchard Hill Farm this week. Our Super Heroes came to the rescue to plant our early transplants of leeks, onions, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.

We also seeded our first planting of sweet corn, weeded our perennial herb gardens and direct seeded our second planting of carrots, beets, spinach, lettuce and radishes.

The pick-up room is cleaned out and we are saving asparagus for the first pick-up of the season on Tuesday. It’s exciting to anticipate the start of another season.

Ken and crew have the chicken palace almost ready
to go. Just in time, because the Red Tail Hawks returned this week and we have had one chicken casualty already!

We look forward to seeing you at your first pick-up next week!

The first Tuesday CSA pick-up will be May 12 and the first Saturday pick-up will be May 16. Members can come on their pick-up day anytime between 11:00 am and 7:00 pm. Remember to bring bags or containers to hold your produce.

All of our apprentices are here for the season. Jonathan managed to get our lawn mower going and cut the front lawn for the first time last week. In the back ground of the picture you can see the chicken laying hen hoop house. It will be covered with aviary netting to keep the hawks away.

Anna and Jolianne were horsing around on Gwen after they cultivated the raspberries. Along with Devan and Jonathan they make a great foursome and will be busy this week with lots of planting. We have the early cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower to transplant as well as the leeks and onions. There is also another batch of direct seeding to be planted in the main garden. Hopefully we will be able to get these jobs finished before it rains again.