Monday, September 30, 2013

Farm Talk: The Joy of Farming

FARM UPDATE My love for farming grew immeasurably this season. My approach to the season? Plant less land; in the best location on the farm; and don't depend solely on veg sales for my income. I took a small chunk of the barn garden (where all crops turn to gold) and grew some of my favourites: Peas, Kale, Chard, Onions, Tomatoes, Salad Mix, Peppers, Cukes, Eggplant, etc. No staff, nor interns. No CSAs, no distribution vans, and significantly less financial pressures connected to the farm. Just me, an amazing support team (Farmers Paul, Louise and Hans, and dedicated volunteers), and the plants. It turns out this was an excellent plan. The crops rocked --- nearly every one of them. I fed my family handsomely, donated loads of veg, sent some to the farmers market weekly as part of the Elmgrove Organic Collective, and preserved tons for winter. As part of the preserving process, I made and froze baby food for Ayla for the first time, including pureed zukes, pumpkin, and applesauce. Indeed, the 2013 season will stand out for me as one in which my love for farming grew to new heights. When I started farming in 2000, a friend and I cultivated 1 acre together. By the end of the 2012 season, I had graduated to 10+ acres! However, that scale didn't suit me, and scaling back to less land this year has made the workload more manageable, and the joy from the process has skyrocketed. The lesson? Manageable workload + great soil + supplementary off-farm income = VERY HAPPY FARMER! The line between "down-time" and farming is blurring. And, I still have my favourite part of the farming season --- THE GARLIC PLANTING! --- to look forward to. JOIN US FOR THE 9TH ANNUAL GARLIC PLANTING It's time for The Cutting Veg 9th Annual Garlic Planting! Starting with 100 bulbs in 2005, we have grown our crop into the tens of thousands, with the goal of planting 30,000 cloves this fall! Please join us on the farm on Sunday, October 13th, and/or Monday October 14th, between 7:30am & 4pm to help us with this process. Please rsvp to, and mention what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift. Looking forward to planting garlic with you! ORGANIC GARLIC AVAILABLE FOR PLANTING & EATING We still have lots of local, organic garlic available for eaters and growers. Many varieties to choose from, including Persian, Russian, Korean, Former Yugoslavia, Sicilian, Salt Spring Island, Chinese, and Ukrainian. If you would like to place an order, you can do so right now by clicking here. THE BACKYARD FARM & MARKET HARVEST FESTIVAL Join us on Saturday, October 5th, at 1pm for a three course outdoor meal at The Backyard Farm & Market at Erin Mills. In addition to feasting on local, seasonal cuisine, enjoy our kids activities, garlic planting, labyrinth walks, and more. To support the development of The Backyard and have an amazing day, click here for more info and tickets. GROW YOUR OWN GARLIC! Garlic is my favourite crop to grow as it's super easy, and super rewarding. In Southern Ontario, we plant it in mid-October, and harvest the following summer. To learn more about how to grow your own garlic crop, click here. That's all the news from the farm for now. Until next time, Keep Livin' on the Veg!