Beautiful Fall Flowers

Beautiful Fall Flowers

It is a sure sign that fall is progressing when the flowers in the garden take on their rich fall colours. It is hard to believe that we only have three weeks left after this until the end of our main season CSA. The last Main Season Pick-up days are Tuesday, October 4th and Saturday, October 8th.

One Selection from our Organic Potato Trial

One Selection from our Organic Potato Trial

This season we took part in a trial for trying out new crosses for organic potato production. The potatoes were dug last week and we selected the varieties that performed the best, both in terms of yield and leaf hopper resistance. We have a number of selections to keep and grow out again next year to see how they perform. At the end of the month researchers are coming for a field day and we will cook some for a taste test. Ken is looking forward to continuing to work on this project in the years to come.

Bunkhouse with Plaster Damage

Bunkhouse with Plaster Damage

As we make room for the next generation on the farm, Ken and Martha are looking to move into what has been the bunkhouse. It is a timber frame with straw bale walls. Unfortunately, the lime sand plaster layer which covers the straw bales, particularly on the east wall, developed cracks. They were patched, but re-cracked and  water got in and the lime sand outer layer separated from the clay under layer. Apparently, we should have added lime to the clay layers to help bind the lime sand layer. It would also have been better to have a larger overhang and perhaps not taken the straw bale wall so high on the east side. An added problem is that there is also some serious air leaks, making it challenging to heat in the winter months. As a result, we have decided to remove the straw bale walls and replace them with stud wall construction.

Solar Wood Drying Kiln under Construction

Solar Wood Drying Kiln under Construction

We need to dry some of our lumber to use in the renovations. Aaron and Heidi have been building a solar wood kiln to speed up the drying process.

Draft Horses Seeding No-Till Cover Crop

Draft Horses Seeding No-Till Cover Crop

Ken is continuing with is no till drill and has planted a series of cover crops and is expecting to plant fall grain later this month both for the horses and for Seth to mill and make into his delicious bread.

Or ‘Thoughts on Autumn, Fall CSA, End of Season Potluck, with Cabbage & Eggplant Recipes’

Bryan's last day

Bryan’s last day

Somehow I find the changing of seasons simultaneously invigorating and relaxing. How can it be both? It seems like the tasks turn a little more inward this time of year. There’s less planting and casting the net forward and more gathering, harvesting and reaping the rewards of all the work earlier in the season. Not that it’s less work, it’s just different work – less hopefulness and more satisfaction.

One of the interns, Bryan, has left to start school – he’s going to be learning about heritage masonry. Next week Martha’s nephew Jesse will be starting to work with us for a few months.

IMG_5706There’s a lot of harvesting and preserving going on – we’re making sure that we’re stocked for winter, as well as starting to stock pile and prepare vegetables for the Fall CSA (see below there’s still room!).  Here’s a little snapshot of what our basement looks like right now – keeping in mind that there are a lot of hands at work here! We have done 80 quarts of tomatoes and sauce, 20 or so canned peaches and pears, numerous chutneys and salsas, as well as sweet pickles and rhubarb, blueberry, and black currant juices. It’s such a treat to pull out a little taste of August in the middle of the winter.

Onion harvest! Heidi, Ellen & Kelsey

Onion harvest! Heidi, Ellen & Kelsey

We brought in all of the onions a few weeks ago and now we are starting to bring in all the potatoes. We use the horses and the potato digger to dig the potatoes and then gather them by hand into bags to bring up to the house before washing them in the root washer. This year we have a row of potatoes that we are testing as part of the Bauta Seed Initiative. They help to save and develop varieties of vegetables specifically geared toward organic production. There are a few plants that have done really well and been resistant to leaf hoppers, which is great. They will use the information from our farm and others to narrow down and find the best varieties of potatoes for organic growers.

There are still a lot of raspberries out there to pick!

You have probably noticed the big blue tarp on the bunkhouse the past few months – now that the field and garden work is starting to ease up, the renovation project is going to begin! The plaster cracked and moisture got into the straw bales, so we’re doing a wall removal and will replace the walls with studs and insulation. Ken and Martha will also be getting their own kitchen. They’re going to retire in style :).  You should see some progress in the next few months!

Fall CSA – $240 – only 25 spots left –  don’t miss out!

The Fall garden is a short and sweet one – there are only 4 pickups (every other Saturday 11am-3pm, October 15, October 29, November 12 and November 26), but there’s a ton of action! Fall is a bountiful time – expect plenty of salad greens, leafy cooking greens, root crops such as onions, carrots, beets, turnips, celery root, winter radish, parsnips, potatoes and sweet potatoes, as well as popcorn, winter squash, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli and herbs.

Many of the crops in the fall keep well in your cupboard, covered porch, or fridge – what you will receive may last you into the middle of December!

End of the Season Potluck –  Saturday, September 24th 2-6pm. There will be wagon rides, apple cider, a shared meal (bring a dish to share as well as utensils and cups!), obstacle course and a musical guest! Come celebrate fall with us.

Digging potatoes

Digging potatoes

Thai Crunch Salad

From Suzanne Steed (of Steed & Company Lavender)

Dressing:

¼ C peanut butter

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 Tbsp lime juice

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp honey

2 ½ Tbsp sugar

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 inch knob ginger, peeled

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Throw everything but the cilantro in the blender and give a good blitz for 30 seconds or so. Add the cilantro and give it another pulse or two. Set aside.

Veg:

4 C napa cabbage (or savoy, or a mix of red and green)

1 C grated carrot

1 sweet pepper, thinly sliced

1 C edamame – optional – blanch them quickly from frozen and cool

2 med green onions or thinly sliced sweet onion

½ C chopped cilantro

1 C cucumber, seeds removed and thinly sliced

Toss the vegetables together, then add half the dressing and toss again.

Add more dressing to taste. Serve immediately.

 

Brinjal Pickle Relish 

This is what I’m doing with eggplant this year – putting it into jars to bring out in February and eat with cheese! Or rice. Or steamed veg.  I made one batch and now I’m itching to make another because it’s so delicious.

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 eggplant, ¼ inch cubes

3 hot banana peppers, seeded and finely chopped (or hotter peppers if you’re fiery)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

¾ C white or cider vinegar

1 Tbsp whole fenugreek

1 tsp ground coriander

½ tsp dry mustard

¼ tsp each turmeric and salt

½ C brown sugar

Heat oil over medium heat in large skillet. Add eggplant, sprinkle with a large pinch of salt and saute gently about 10 minutes. Don’t worry if the eggplant sucks up all the oil – it will release it again in a few minutes. Stir in the chile peppers and garlic, cook for 3 minutes more.

Stir in everything else except the brown sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and boil gently for about 10 minutes. Add sugar and cook for 2 minutes.

If you’re into canning, then go ahead and spoon the mixture into hot, sterilized jars and give it a water bath – 15 minutes for 1 cup (1/2 pints) and 20 minutes for 2 cup (pint) jars.

If you’re not into canning, then throw it into squeaky clean jar and put it in the fridge. It’ll keep for a couple of weeks and you’ll find yourself putting it in grilled cheese, on top your quinoa bowl and in burritos. Or with your eggs in the morning. It’s so good!

Take care and see you soon.