The season is marching on and we are ready to start harvesting our fall bearing raspberries. Each year seems to bring something new for us to deal with. Last year we saw the arrival of Spotted Wing Drosophila in our raspberries. It is a tiny fruit fly originating in Southeast Asia. It arrived on the west coast about 6-7 years ago and gradually made its way across the continent. It lays an egg in the fruit before it is ripe and ruins the infected fruit. We pruned the raspberries to open up the canes to allow for more air movement. Apparently the spotted wing drosophila prefers a dark damp environment. It also opens it up for the natural predators to see the spotted wing drosophila. It is frustrating for us and challenging! We will have to wait and see if all our pruning efforts make a difference.

Harvesting Brassicas

Harvesting Brassicas

Mesh Row Cover Over Cabbbage to Exclude Swede Midge

Mesh Row Cover Over Cabbbage to Exclude Swede Midge

Last year we also had swede midge in our brassicas for the first time. It is a tiny fly that lays its eggs in the growing point of broccoli, cabbage, rutabaga turnip and ruins the crops. It also comes from Asia and was first found in Ontario in 2000. As organic farmers the only control is to cover everything with row cover to physically exclude them. We have invested in large sheets of row cover this year and have succeeded in producing some beautiful broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. It is a lot of extra expense and labour to cover and uncover the crops for cultivation and harvest, but it is satisfying to win the battle with a new insect and to be able to continue to produce organically grown brassicas for our CSA customers.

IMG_3107Sometimes our interns express an interest in a particular aspect of farming farming and we try to provide an opportunity for them to explore their interest. This year Charlotte came back for a second season and really wanted to milk a cow. We purchased Utah and Charlotte has been milking her twice a day all summer. She has been making butter, yogurt and fresh cheese on a regular basis. The laying hens and our composting pig, Joe Pickle, have been enjoying extra milk and whey.

Cockscomb Celosia

Cockscomb Celosia

Jeanne has been looking after the flowers and has spent many hours seeding, planting, weeding and mulching in the side garden for the cut-your-own flowers for the CSA. She would like to have a flower CSA in Quebec in the future. One of the flowers she wanted to try growing was Cockscomb Celosia. We purchased the seed and she grew the transplants in the greenhouse and planted it out. It is fun to see the exotic looking flower in the garden.

From CSA member Cheryl Losch:
Canadian Living gets the nod for this one, but we like that it contains just about everything in our current Orchard Hill share.
Plus we like the flexibility – I’m not an olive lover, so don’t use them; and any available greens work just fine.
Tear off a chunk of your favourite La Houlette de vie Bakery bread and you’ve got a great summer meal.

Potato Salad Nicoise Dinner
Portion size 4
14 mini new potatoes, quartered (about 1 lb/500 g)
2 cups (500 mL) green beans, trimmed
3 tbsp (45 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp (45 mL) lemon juice
1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried basil
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper
2 cups (500 mL) baby spinach leaves
1 cup (250 mL) grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup (60 mL) oil-cured black olives, halved and pitted
half sweet red pepper, diced
4 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
Preparation
In large pot of boiling salted water, cover and cook potatoes until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Add green beans; boil until tender-crisp, about 4 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, basil, salt and pepper. Add potato mixture, spinach, grape tomatoes, black olives and red pepper;
toss to coat. Top with eggs.

CSA Cut-Your-Own Flower Garden

CSA Cut-Your-Own Flower Garden

Sunflowers

Sunflowers

Gladiolas for CSA Customers

Gladiolas for CSA Customers

CSA Tomatoes

CSA Tomatoes

Onions Freshly Pulled from CSA Garden

Onions Freshly Pulled from CSA Garden