Our CSA got off to a great start on Saturday, May 18 followed by the first Tuesday pick-up on May 21.  It is always very satisfying to gather together the first of the produce we have been working so hard to produce and display it in the pick-up. Seeing returning CSA members is like a reunion of friends and welcoming new members into our food centered community is a joyous occasion. Our apprentices feel a sense of accomplishment when they harvest the first of our crops, that they helped plant and nurture. It is impossible to communicate how much care, planning and preparation goes into the production of the spinach, spears of asparagus, heads of lettuce etc. we grow, using organic methods, starting with attention to soil fertility and the love of our land, but when I see the bounty and taste it’s goodness I am deeply fulfilled to know that we are blessed to be able to share it with so many families through our CSA.

New Transplanter in Action!

New Transplanter in Action!

We have had the successful launch of our new horse drawn transplanter.  We started with the onions and leeks, which are the most difficult to  plant, at, 6 inch spacings, however it sure did make the tomatoes, at 2 feet spacing, seem like a breeze by comparison. Gena and Gwen, our older well trained Suffolk horses, were the stars of the show as they walked VERY slowly down the row giving us time to get the plants into the carousel. We still have some kinks to iron out, but overall it has gone very well with a minimal amount of swearing.  My back appreciates the change and it has pulled Ken on to the transplanting crew!

Plough Day

Plough Day

On the holiday Monday, May 20 we  had a Plough Day here at the farm for the Southwestern Ontario Draft Horse Club. We had 19 heavy horses ploughing in our south field. It was a beautiful day and our apprentices all enjoyed to opportunity to try their hands at ploughing and to see other teams and teamsters.

We are very happy that Sam Bass has arrived from the U.S. as our fifth apprentice. He has been here for a week now and already we are feeling a bit more caught up with our weeding!

 
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Apprentice - Stephanie Vali

Apprentice – Stephanie Vali

Apprentice - Jean-Francois

Apprentice – Jean-Francois

Apprentice - Sam Bass

Apprentice – Sam Bass

Senior Apprentice - Bill van Zanten

Senior Apprentice – Bill van Zanten

Bill Weighting Grain to be Planted

Bill Weighting Grain to be Planted

May has arrived with warm dry weather that has resulted a big push to catch up with all our planting at once! The past week has been very busy…the spring grain is in for us as well as Bill’s two small fields. Our Suffolk Punch Draft Horses worked hard on the process as they cultivated, spread compost, cultivated again, seeded and rolled all the grain fields. We also got the final hoop house up and the hoop house tomatoes are crying to be planted! We did manage to plant the strawberries for 2014, a new asparagus field and all of this years potatoes. The greenhouse was bursting at the seems and we moved our transplants out doors to “harden off” so that we had room to start the next flush of brassicas as well as cucurbites to be transplanted later this month (melons, squash, pumpkin and cucumber). Hopefully, in the coming week we can get the onions, leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, celery, celeriac transplants that are ready out into the field. Ken still has some work to do on the new horse drawn transplanter and I have my fingers crossed that it will run smoothly!

Looking at the sudden growth of the rhubarb and the first spears of asparagus we have decided to have our first Saturday CSA pick-up on May 18 and first Tuesday CSA pick-up on May 21. It’s always a leap of faith to make our initial deep dive into the CSA pick-up season. However, things seem to be jumping now and we expect they will come along as usual. We just have to keep swimming and remember to come up for air once in a while.

Planting New Asparagus Field

Planting New Asparagus Field

Stephanie Seeding Brassicas

Stephanie Seeding Brassicas