Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Spring Field Crops.....ASPARAGUS!!

Quick the pics: Ben adding some more onions to our rows, baby bok choy growing and our GARLIC PATCH doing wonderful! These pics taken today, one hour ago!
Spring planting is in full swing! Most of our lettuce, asian greens and onions are in the ground. We are being careful regarding beets, carrots, peas and spinach as we have learned first hand that if we get carried away the weeds will carry us away!! Ben is adimate we don't jump the gun with some direct seeding, as after this nice rain shower we had, tiny weeds are emerging, SOO he will probably cultivate again to kill them off, THEN direct seed out more crops, weather will be warmer a bit later and crops will grow faster and keep ahead of the weeds a tad. Regardless, I have convinced him to plant early potatoes! We sprouted some early ones in the barn and if we plant shortly by the time they emerge the fear of frost will have passed by (I hate saying that out loud - you never know and coming from a farm family I hear the elders talk about 'remember the killing frost in 1960'S? Wasnt' it June 1st?) Our garlic patch is awesome! We picked some nice fertile groud and it shows! I already know we didn't plant enough to share and sell as I want to build up this crop so a large percentage will be saved for seed.

The news this week for Dufferin: Got a call this morning from a local organic farmer friend who we buy 2 crops from to share, and 1 is now available - ASPARAGUS is here! As soon as I got off the phone with him I started thinking about recipes. Man, I love raw asparagus, but if you steam some gently, DO NOT MAKE MUSH, add them to THIS:

Poached Eggs on Aspargus & Toast with homemade Hollandaise:

Make toast first, two slices on each plate for hungy folks. Use Rye or another crispy 'hard' toast, as soggy crappy 'white' bread will ruin everything. I LOVE using the market's ROSEMARY bread for this! Any good grainery, hearty bread will be perfect, toasted tough as you need to 'absorb' flavours and sop up the sauce later on! Don't butter it, the Hollandaise has all the artery clogging goodness you need for one breakfast/lunch, trust me!!! Now add some gently steamed asparagus on top of your toast. As many spears as desired. (If you don't know how to 'steam' please 'google'. Not enough time for everything here.) Poach your eggs and add one to each toast and asparagus. (*To poach, slip your eggs into gently simmering water and cook for about 5 minutes or so, you just have to practice as it's easy to overcook and they do tend to break if you cook with more rapid water.) Now I am a master at breakfast and lots of meals in general, no lie, so I multitask constantly, so my hollandaise would be done by now. Yes, I'll brag. I farm, I can multitask like a son of a bitch! ANYHOW: Hollandaise is easy. Just take care, wisk like hell, and do not OVERHEAT it or it will separate!! Gently heat 1/2 cups of butter on stove top (I have no microwave, and stove top is best to 'work' with your food, so none of my recipes will include shortcuts with a microwave.) In a small bowl wisk 3 egg yolks with 1 tbs. of lemon juice, a pinch of salt and cayenne pepper and a dash of dry mustard. Slowly add the butter. I mean slow, while constantly wisking. Pour sauce back into stovetop butter pot and heat through but LOW HEAT to thicken while constantly wisking. Did I mention to constantly wisk? Wrist hurt? Sucky ass. Don't worry, the meal will taste soo good I am sure your wrist will assist to rasie your fork to your mouth. If you get it too hot or boiling it will separate and be a mess. It goes a nice thick yellow and is ready to go! Pour generously ontop your eggs, toast and aparagus! YUM! Spring crops are HERE!!!! An abundance of Spring Asparagus is around the corner!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"Earth Day Farmer's Market" & the day after.......

Yesterday proved to be very beneficial. It 'woke me up' again, as hibernation is over and I have to re-train my body to fall asleep 9pm or before each Friday night and be up, truck loaded, animals fed and ready to head to market each Saturday by 5am. The first 'Earth Day Farmer's Market' was held just off Younge & Eglington and we had a great time! We don't really have alot to sell this time of year, but 'The Star' said it perfect by advertising "Ben Sosnicki's perogies" and once again we fed folks some old fashioned goodness!! I also took the time to create a project to share with everyone. If folks want to buy from farmers at farmer's markets they need to understand and learn about what is 'in season'. To help aid this quest, I created some unique planters using Ben's parents old wooden tomato trays. I took a sample of all our crops in the greenhouses and showed their progress up to this point in time and told folks when these crops would be available during the spring/summer. This opened eyes. To see 'baby' celery and leeks that we have to take care of and nurture that will not be available until fall, to the onions and lettuce seedlings that are going to be planted this week, we answered alot of questions and got alot of folks excited for the various farmer's markets happening around the GTA beginning soon! I had two sisters that buy from us at the Brickworks appear! They have such friendly faces and they referred to the Earth Day market as a 'reunion', as everyone is back in the city again! I felt the same way, plus meeting all the new faces! Ben was in another world. The weather was too nice for him to be in the city. He was desperate to get home to PLOW! He's ready to hit the QE and fly home, when all of a sudden my sister and her boyfriend Reid appear at the market! My sis told me they were celebrating this weekend, as Reid defended his thesis during the past week!! CONGRATS REID!! It was nice that they took the time to find us in T.O. and joined us later for a BBQ on farm. Ben was up early this morning and is done plowing and is now cultivating. We are planting tomorrow! I just went for a walk barefooted in the newly cultivated soil. Beautiful feeling. Enjoy the pics from today with Ben turning over the dirt!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Organic Compost for sale!

For the first and perhaps last time, we are offering some amazing compost for sale at our markets this spring! Because we practice a good rotation with our land, we do not need to ammend our soil this year, so we can share some. We may be spreading all of it next year, so get some while we can offer it! We grow all our own organic hay and oats which our horse eats, along with our carrots, cabbage and other veggy scraps during the year! It is 2+ years old, nicely rendered down into some black gold! We are mixing it with our neighbours organic cow manure (also 2+ years composted) which we get in return for letting them use our straw for bedding! An excellent trade! We run it through a shredder and it is drying up nicely for bagging. We simply reuse our soil bags and are charging $5 each. Each bag should cover 12 sq feet 2" thick and is suitable for vegetable and/or perennial/flowerbeds. Visit us at our spring markets to pick up a bag or order some by emailing jb.sosnickiorganics@sympatico.ca

Going for a walk.....

It sure has been great weather lately. The land is still wet, no plowing yet. Crops will be a bit late this year, by atleast a week. Ben and I ate supper and decided to go for a walk instead of heading back into the greenhouses yesterday. It was to check the garlic, but we ended up almost circling the entire farm. The sound of the frogs at the creek were pretty amazing and most of our flat lands are flooded. The dirt smells great. I feel energized. Had to share these spring pictures. Our garlic & Kaiseryn; the spelt field; the creek.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Warm Spring Days.....

Very busy weekend. Chickens love this weather as much as we do, so they are laying lots now. We cleaned the old silver barn, the chicken coop, chicken pen and filled the 'duck swimming pool'. Happy birds let me tell you! Set potatoes to sprout, maintained seedlings in the greenhouses, shut down the furnaces and opened windows. Ahhhh, feels wonderful! Fields are drying a bit. Hard to say when Ben will plow. He's got the itch, so shortly, all depending on the 'rain' situation. That will enable some early spring field crops for market (such a spinach, radish, lettuce etc) we hope to cover to protect from frost. One of the big jobs around here come spring is grooming our horse. Holy Horse Hair!!! It's nice to have a windy day, use a good brush and go mad! She's itchy too, so she stands there falling asleep while you brush! My stepdaugher got her cranked this weekend. You get out the whip, crack it to get her attention and get her running. You basically 'chase her away' by cracking the whip. A nice workout for horse and rider beforehand! When Bug has had enough, my stepdaughter will drop the whip and ask Lady Bug to come to her. Bug will come. It's called 'joining up' and Bug will follow her everywhere without a lead line. Most horses, ESPECIALLY ours does not like to be pushed away! She wants to please, so when she is allowed to come close to you again after the exercise, she's a bit more obedient. She was ridden this weekend for the first time since fall. She did not want to take the bit. Just 'testing' to see what she can get away with. This turned out to be a total 'horse post', as she was just a dolly this weekend, so we took way too many pictures!! All these pics are from the past two days!! She's still a bit muddy, but is now a healthy weight (got a tad obese from too much pasture grass) and is just as friendly as she is beautiful. Man, we love this horse. We are looking into mixing our organic horse manure with our neighbours organic cow manure to create a really nice soil ammendment for your city gardens and flower beds! All our piles are 2+ years old, nicely composted and ready to go! Anyone from Dufferin market can contact me at jb.sosnickiorganics@sympatico.ca to put in an order. Ben can pick up your containers (like garbage pails) to custom fill!! We have plently and Lady Bug would be happy to oblige! Enjoy Spring 2008!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Nice morning in April.......

Ben and I grabbed some hot coffee and took a walk out past the horse pasture this morning. Now that the snow has melted, it was time to check out our garlic patch! It's up and doing well. Perhaps a bit late this year, but no worries. A few years ago during my birthday on March 10th we visited my folks and my dad was proudly displaying his rows of 'green garlic' already showing nicely! Every year is different. We hope to build up a steady crop of the garlic within the next few years. It will sell fast, PLUS I will be keeping some back for seed. Greenhouses are 'popping'. It's still cold, but with the sun she rises to up over 90 degrees in there no prob. Things are happy. Ben watered his asian greens and onions today. Our field lettuce seedlings and broccoli look great, so I had to share a picture. Leeks, celery are all up now too. All our field tomatoes are transplanted and thriving. Peppers are coming along, basil is also up and enjoying the heat. Ben will head to Dufferin tomorrow with spuds, BUT keep in mind that he will not be there April 10th, but will be back April 17th. He will be doing 'every other' week markets, as we are getting busy and don't have much to sell right now! Hope to see the Dufferin Crowd soon!