Sunday, April 24, 2016

Farm update

Things are speeding right along!  The nicer weather has helped us catch up and get tons done in the field and our covered fields (aka Greenhouses!)

In the field we have planted: Peas, lettuces, kale, sweet onions, summer cabbages.

In the covered fields we have planted: Heirloom tomatoes, beets, turnips, radishes, salad mix & bok choy!

Ben has been busy plowing, the men have been weeding the garlic and strawberries and chores this week include laying down our organic straw on the strawberries.

We plan to be back at market on May 7th (Evergreen Brickworks Market) and May 12th (Dufferin Grove Market). Maybe May 5th for Dufferin - check our social media leading up to the date. 
A special early treat this year is overwintered KALE!  We didn't plan for this, didn't mulch it, the weather conditions turned out to be just right and our beloved Darkibor Green Curly Kale is growing back beautifully!! Look for it on May 7th at Brickworks and at Dufferin Grove too of course!
**Daribor Green Curly Kale coming soon!**

**Radishes and field Kale coming soon!**

Beets, Heirloom Tomatoes, Radish and salad mix growing in the covered field.

Bok Choy growing in our greenhouses (covered fields).

Ben and the guys planting our newest patch of kale this past week. 

Seedlings now for sale!

We've shipped out a nice selection of early seedlings to Evergreen's Brickworks Garden Market just off the Don Valley in Toronto.  Also The Big Carrot on the Danforth has some of our seedling treats too!

At Brickworks you'll find our:  Cabbage, Broccoli, Kohlrabi, Pak Choi, Cauliflower, Swiss Chard, TONS of beautiful Kales, Beets, Arugula etc!

At The Big Carrot you'll find our: Big Cilantro Pots, big Swiss Chard Pots and big Salad Mix pots!

**Coming soon (weekend before Victoria Day weekend in May) to both locations soon are our awesome HEIRLOOM TOMATOES!!

We grow all our seedlings from seed here on farm.  They are all certified organic and all the soils and fish ferts we use are approved for certified organic growing.  The profits of the sale of these seedlings enables us to help with our farm start up costs.  Nothing better than buying seedlings from the actual veggie farmers that grow your food!  

New this year:  #ShowWhatYouGrow on line by connecting with our social media! #SosnickiHarvest  @SosnickiOrganic on Instagram ;)

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Dealing with the crazy spring weather!

We know that April is a volatile weather month.  So unpredictable. Last week the family went to Easter breakfast wearing winter coats.  By the afternoon my 1 year old was outside going barefoot in the grass for the first time this season - sun was out and hot.  Now, exactly one week later there has been more freezing rain and snow covers the ground.  Temps hovering around -5 degrees C.  Oye.  But, we roll along here and just ignore it all!!
The cost of running the furnace is offset by the custom grow we do, so this is always a good feeling going to bed while the furnaces keep humming away. We use every square inch of greenhouse space to the max of either our own field crops or seedlings for buyers.
The heirloom tomatoes are awesome!  This example above will be hardened off and shortly planted directly into the soil in our 'covered fields' (aka greenhouse #1 and #2).  This allows us to offer the late June early July tomatoes we offer at market.
The kale, onions, cow pots with early greens (like chard, spinach etc), lettuces, early cabbages are all hanging out in the back part of the seedling greenhouse.  We don't heat this back half and this hardy spring stuff prefers the cooler temps.  IF it gets crazy cold, Ben will fire up a little propane space heater overnight to 'take the edge off'. These crops are for the field and will go under row covers and a whole table of seedlings are custom grow.
We still utilize 2 whole greenhouses as covered fields  and even with these cold night temps, the direct seeded stuff is holding it's own.  We will happily have a crazy awesome selection of salad greens, radish, beets, turnips and Asian greens by the end of April and first week in May this season! 
The above pic is Ben planting Bok Choy.  We took turns popping these little guys into the soil yesterday. It was snowing outside and it was so amazingly awesome to have my hands in the dirt planting something!  This rest of this house will be home to beets, turnips and a jungle of heirloom tomatoes.  The weeds are just beginning to show, so hoeing is a big job when we decide to cultivate the whole space.  Somehow, it all gets done! 
And recently Easter Sunday fell on my daugher's 3rd birthday!  She had a couple organic cheesecakes to enjoy at her great-grandma's house and more partying at home with more friends and relatives! We also had some mom and daughter time checking out the organic strawberry field.  I will be blogging a lot about this strawberry patch in the coming weeks. We spent A LOT of work on this crop.
And a nice family capture on a sunny day!  One of our buyers requested a family picture to use for window posters to advertise who the actual farmers are that grow the vegetables they sell. It's an honor to be involved.  It's more important than ever now to have a direct connection with your food, and knowing your farmer is the most direct of all, besides growing it yourself.  As I get bigger and bigger and ready to pop with baby no. 3, I find I am more passionate than ever about what we do and teaching all these little ones the benefits of farming this way.  And hoping to spark some inspiration inside them to want to continue this journey.  Stay tuned - it's going to be a crazy year at Sosnicki's!  

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Greenhouse Progress!

Now that it's March, we are high speed out in all houses! We were able to start two weeks early this year due to mild temperatures. As small growers we are able to afford firing early as we do custom grow which offsets the cost of running heat in the middle glass beast. Sadly, I had to streamline growing (because of our kidlets) so I was unable to do ALL the custom grow we usually do! To those farmers I couldn't accommodate this season - thanks for understanding! Kids grow fast, so my time with them is most important right now.
The kids are just starting to enjoy some time out in the greenhouses too! DIRT! The best toy!!
We are seeding down greenhouses #1 and #3 with early root and greens available at market by the end of APRIL! These houses will be brimming with green very soon! Stay tuned for awesome progress pics!
Our heirloom tomatoes have been transplanted and are growing away nicely. It is VERY dicey to play around with tomatoes this early. Due to cloudy/snowy days, cool temps even with furnaces at full bore, they can stress easy. Being very careful with water applications to avoid damp-off is crucial. Some days they just seem to look cold and sad. But, now the sun is out, they are rooting down, taking a hold and growing great!

Our onions, lettuce, kales, other greens, swiss chard, early herbs are germinating and growing away as we speak. The front half of greenhouse #2 is filling up super fast! Check out our Instagram, as I will post oodles of green progress pics! See everyone soon at market!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Fix it!

Ah, the perils of keeping old structures alive. These greenhouses of ours are certainly relics, but suit our needs just fine! We finally have a bit of time to really spend the time/money to fix them properly.  Feels great to vamp them up a bit! Decades ago,these houses were recycled from a site hours away and brought to this farm and set up by Bens dad to house seedling transplants. They are certainly standing the test of time.
Tin needs to be replaced, sidewalls, glass replaced etc etc etc. But once it's fixed, cleaned, fired up and the greens begin to grow - life is wonderful!

Our entire season begins with these gracious old houses, and we feel humbled to keep them going. No doubt we will add new greenhouses to the farm one day - but not to replace these guys! I intend on keeping these glass relics for a very long time!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Big, Exciting Changes on the Farm for 2016!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all!
We wish all our customers a happy, healthy new year a head filled with lots of organic food! 
We are growing another new crop for 2016....Baby No. 3!!!  Due right at the beginning of strawberry season too! Imagine that!  It's going to be a very happy and busy year at our farm!

And of course, we have decided to make some big changes to operations around here.  New infrastructure, new crops....YEP, why NOT go big when you are in the midst of raising babies?? Haha, that's how it goes! So, once again I will promise to blog, but only when I get a chance.  Best bet if you keep tabs on us: Instagram.  It's a very easy tool for me.  Snap a pic with my phone, add some info, post, done. Pictures worth a thousand words...
These crops I graded out/harvested TODAY and will be available TOMORROW at the Brickworks Farmers Market. All minus the tomatoes, I am hogging the last of the last to myself! We are finishing up at the markets however.  We have decided that we will be off until Spring 2016.  We have many things that need attending too on the farm ;) 

It's been very hard for me not being able to be complete hands on running operations here on the farm now that I am busy with the kidlets.  But the last couple of months Ben and I hammered out a radical plan and it's working!  So I am back in the fray next year more than ever - with kids in toe! So back to the kitchen I go as well, to create those value added goodies that everyone has been hounding me for!  Stay tuned.  I am VERY, VERY excited about next year.  I've been waiting a long time to kick er' into high gear.  (The fact I am doing it mid babies just completely figures! That's how it goes in my universe!) The reason for most changes is this years crop failures.  We have very little storage cabbage income and lost the mass majority of the cauliflower.  Now, this 'financial fear' did what it does best: created some serious moxy and motivated us to make some big changes.  Sometimes scary, but always necessary.  When the going gets tough, Jessie gets bitchy and kills it. Seriously, thats how it goes.
  First and foremost - we grow organic veggies.  That's what we do and what we will continue to do best. 2016 will see more varieties of the veggies you've come to love.  And new stuff entirely. And early.  And late season.  Our job at markets will be to create as much variety as possible while maintaining a premium product at a fair price.  We tend to skip fancy packaging and most labeling and let our veggies sell themselves.  We like the idea of premium produce in paper bags. We like the idea of our customers being able to choose what they would like and hopefully bring along their own bags to put in it!  We will continue to freak people out by having very early heirloom tomatoes and very late heirloom tomatoes! We'll fire up those greenhouse and max them out big time during 2016! 

As the lazy winter dayz in Jan and Feb pass you by, know that we are frantically ordering seeds, making plans and actually starting to seed! We will be back in full swing before you know it!  Bring on 2016!!!!  ~ Jessie, Ben, Sadie, Nate and 'Baby Strawberry'.