Sunday, June 29, 2008

Barn kittens anyone?


(This post is specifically for my stepdaughter today...)

We have a mother cat that is not friendly. She is elusive, I don't know where she came from. I've never pet her once. We even caught her once, took her to a neighbours farm that needed cats for his cow barn - she came back home. She has produced a lot of 'mousers' - infact way too many mousers for this farm!! The majority of all of them orange. Well, we all knew she had had another batch, but never could find them, until Thursday! I was grading beets, looked over in the corner of the barn by the big straw bails and saw little kittens playing in a basket! Ben and I caught them all by Saturday (4 in total) and brought them in the house to 'calm them down'. The last thing I want is more wild cats on the farm! Anyhow, last night they all got out of their cage, were howling all over the house and all day today I could not find them. Well, I kid you not, while I was doing my 3 previous blogs regarding 'crop progress' I heard a little sneeze. All 4 of them are 'crammed' inbetween my computer desk and the wall! What a sight! I was soo scared they got into the heating ducts! There is only ONE orange this time! The rest are beautiful greys! So more fun with little kittens once again! Any takers? Free to only the best of homes!

Broccoli & Sweet Onions...





By next week, we will be harvesting broccoli! It has enjoyed the moisture and the cooler days. Any time it was hot outside, the broccoli patch just looked 'sad'. It's leaves would just 'droop'. Broccoli is certainly a cooler weather crop! Great for early summer and fall! Beside this patch is our sweet white spanish onions. They are awesome! Ben's mother hoed these 5 times I think! They are clean and sizing wonderfully! I'll be creating my fun little 'pineapple' bunches within a couple weeks to have available at the markets! Boy, by the time I blog again it will be July already! I'm ready, -bring on the harvest!!!

Leeks, Summer Lettuce & Weedy Onions!




We are going to have pretty nice leeks for this fall I think! We have maintained the care, via hoeing compliments of Ben's mom and our new Mexican guys! These are planted just south of the tomatoes, carrots, beets, bean etc. Next to leeks are the summer salad, the lettuces we have just started harvesting now. We have 'abandoned' the old lettuce patch now. It has bolted nicely, so Ben will be chopping it down shortly. A chop suey of weeds and lettuce! The summer lettuce is nice. We have a really cool batavian variety, which is a cross between a leaf and a romaine. Very, very tastey! More boston (aka butterhead) type, both red and green as well as some triple red 'Fiere' that all love soo much! Just south of this is our main onion patch. We have our cooking onions, sweet spanish and reds planted here. If it would STOP raining so damn much, we'd actually be able to hoe this patch finally! Can't complain though, we are pretty caught up.....

Potatoes, Tomatoes today....






Almost July, so I'm going to put a few posts in today showing the progress of our crops at this date. Potatoes are awesome! We dug our first little batch for supper this afternoon! We won't be digging for market this week, but will for the next! The tomatoes are doing well also! I must say, the concentration of Colorado Potato Beetle is pretty, pretty bad. I'm worried, but Ben says we'll just ride it out, let nature runs it's course. I'm including pics of our potatoes and our first tomatoes (notice the beetles...) that should be ripe and ready to go by the end of July. We put most of our heirloom tomatoes spread far apart this year with various crops (carrots, beans, beets) planting inbetween. We are not 'staking' them, which is not very good, considering that this is so far a very wet year, and when the plant sits on the ground and cannot stay 'dry', that is when blight, disease often steps in! We are spacing them better than last year, so we'll hope for the best...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Strawberries, Garlic Scapes & Peas!




Going to cram a few blogs into one this morn. First is a warm 'welcome' to our new workers Domingo & Miguel, brothers from Mexico. This is their first time in Canada, and now begins the process of learning Spanish for us, English for them! It is strawberry season! They seems to be lacking flavour this year, I think from little sun and cooler temps. No, we do not have our own strawberries YET, instead the last two days we have been planting our own! I'm sharing a picture of Domingo and Miguel planting them out! It is a bit late in the year to be putting the plants in, but with all the moisture, they will establish themselves and be just fine. I've got my new strawberry patch placed in between some heirloom tomatoes and carrots, so if we have a dry summer, all will get a drink! So next year Sosnicki's will bring on their own berries finally!


We are selling Peas this coming week (anyone noticed the write up in the Toronto Star last week about Ben's peas?? Our market tables got swarmed with folks looking for the Peas! Sold out in a flash, lots coming!) also more Garlic Scapes that people love! (spring onions, lettuce, beets, swiss chard, kale, spinach too also available this coming week at market!) My stepdaughter and I were laughing after market yesterday, as soo many folks at market ask about the scapes: "What do I do with them? How do I cook them?" And after a while of constantly repeating the same answers, we felt like 'Bubba' from 'Forest Gump' and his 'shrimp'. Only we're saying: "Scape Soup, Sauteed Scapes, Boiled Scapes, Scapes salad...." LOLOLOLOL! Anyhow, I've shared a pic and a very simple recipe using both the garlic scapes and our fresh sugar snap peas!

Sauteed Scapes & Peas - use about 20 scapes and 1 quart of sugar snap peas (edible pod type - we grow all three kinds, flat snow type would work too) Use a heavy bottom fry pan, generous amount of olive oil and a dollop of butter. Nip the pod off each scape, leave long and curly! Simply sautee in the olive oil and butter until rendered down and soft - but not brown and mushy! Don't over do it! Simply add your peas and continue cooking until peas soften! Add some salt and pepper and enjoy! I'm sharing a picture, this is a perfect side for any meal OR toss with pasta!

Also, here is a quick pic of one of our new pigs! They are eatting well and enjoying life on our farm! We have one little elusive pig that can squeeze through the pen! It is soo funny, as when I come into the barn, he stops moving, looks at me then races to get back into the pen with the others! Hilarious!


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

PROGRESS REPORT..................






It's soo important this time of year to make sure I blog enough about how the crops are growing out there! For all you folks learning about organic agriculture, this is an exciting time and as the weeks pass- crops boom in the fields, along with the weeds! It's cooler now, so the lettuce is still holding it's own and not bolting. A few green leaf have, but nothing substantial. Still lots of lettuce harvest left. However the weed concentration is nasty in the lettuce patch, BUT that's ok, lettuce is sized, soon to be all harvested and then this patch will be 'chop suey' soon enough! I'm just concentrating on a few crops, no time for it all. Tomatoes are awesome. Sizing up nice, healthy and fully cultivated and weeded. Potatoes are also very good this year. Our first planting is earlier than last year and we are hoping to harvest new potatoes in two weeks time! Beets & Peas are heading to market tomorrow! Beets are tiny, and I am creating bunches of 8 to sell. The stems and tops are good too, and by harvesting some now, even though they are tiny is a great way to 'thin' the patch and give the others more room to grow! The broccoli and the spelt field....just a gorgeous picture (not to mention the broccoli is enjoying the cool weather and is also fully weeded!) I sat out on the quad just watching the spelt moving in the wind tonight. Just peaceful after a long day of harvest. We are also taking off baby chard and kale too for market. Not a lot, just a bit to add variety to our tables. Garlic scapes are also quite popular this time of year. A second planting of beets has germinated, carrots direct seeded in between the heirloom tomatoes this year, green beans in and popping out of the ground, young leeks and onions doing really well, esp. with the generous amount of rain we've had lately! Ok, enough for now, I still have to head out to the barn and bunch some 'red baron' onions! .....pigs have arrived, are doing amazing, eatting slop made from our old potatoes cooked with organic chicken feed of corn and oats along with lettuce/spinach scraps and old asparagus, along with a daily helping of our home grown hay, mostly alfalfa! Healthy, happy squealing pigs!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Our Heirloom Tomatoes and Perogies mentioned in Toronto Life Mag!!


On the way home from the Brickworks and Withrow Park farmer's markets today, Ben and I stopped at a 24 hour big chain grocery store. We like to see what they are selling, what it looks like and for how much. Let me just say I just shook my head yet again. We have a vast field of gorgeous certified organic lettuces now and this store is selling smaller, conventional heads imported from the good ol' USA for almost the same price as we sell at our farm markets. Wandering around I notice the magazine rack. On it I spy 'Toronto Life' and take a peak once I read the cover. I made this purchase. I remember my meeting with the writter Chris Nuttall-Smith this past March at a local event where I was selling my perogies. It was a wonderful article and just neat to read about all our fellow vendors/friends titled "Get Fresh'. Not to mention my favourite part: "Black Krim Tomatoes - Ben and Jessie Sosnicki, the husband and wife team behind Norfolk County's Sosnicki Organic Produce, plan to sell more that 80 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes this summer and fall, but few of them are quite as coveted as the Black Krim. The tomatoes have dark green mottled tops that give way to dark, almost purplish skin; inside they range from dusty pink to crimson and even black (almost nothing looks better sliced up on a plate). But their taste is their finest attribute by far; it's dense and intense, with a hint of smoke, a touch of natural saltiness and just enough acid - but not too much - to balance all that flavour out. $2-$3 a pound, August to first frost, Sosnicki Organics, Riverdale, Dufferin Grove, Sorauren Park." - Chris Nuttall-Smith. Plus the article includes a pullout - the 2008 guide to farmer's markets called "So Good It Must Be Local" with a neat picture of my perogies along with soo many other beautiful foods from vendors we know well from EATING all their good stuff! Times are a changin' and I can't even express how I felt to be back at market selling our lettuce today to all the familiar faces, our customers, the folks that truly care about who took the time to grow the food they eat! It's also writters like Chris that bring attention to what we do, so for that I am very thankful.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

It is SALAD TIME!




Ben and I are harvesting FRESH right now for each market: Green Leaf lettuce, 3 types of gorgeous Red Leaf Lettuce, Boston/Butterhead Lettuce, Romaine Lettuce, Baby Kale, Fresh Field Spinach & Radishes! I am sharing an awesome recipe! Strawberries will be a bit yet, BUT man, keep this recipe in mind!

Grape Spinach Greens Salad

For each person you are serving, per plate: arrange 1/2 cup of Spinach leaves & 1/2 cup of Dark Red Leaf Lettuce. Top with (as many as you desire for each) strawberries halved, green grapes halved, red grapes halved, & toasted sunflower seeds. Dressing: Mix together 2 tbs peanut or olive oil, 2 tbs balasmic vinegar, 1 tbs maple syrup (get yours from FORBES WILD FOODS! My buddy Seth from Dufferin!) , 1 tbs Poppy Seeds and a pinch of salt. Drizzle over each serving. Oh yes! ~Enjoy!

PIGS ARE A COMIN"!!!!



Yes, I am very excited! Finally some new and different animals around here! I've been wanting to raise pigs for quite some time now. Given that we grow such a diverse cropping, we have soo much awesome 'slop' for piggies! From melons to sweet corn, these are going to be well fed pigs! We are probably getting about 6 or so. Neighbours are already putting their orders in for 'fall pork' ! Yes, we are going to eat them, BUT I think one or perhaps two may end up becoming 'life long' friends on the Sosnicki Farm!! My dad, Ted, is one in a million. For nothing but the price of some lag bolts, the guy used bull pen gates and steel from around here and constructed the new 'pig pen'. They are housing with our horse, and my stepdaughter will notice how 'small' her tack area has become! Man, I love my dad. Within a day and a half, he had everything welded and bolted into place. Since he farms too, and with the 'wet weather', it was the perfect time to get the men working on an 'animal project' for me! LOLOLOL! So I've shared a picture of my dad and Ben. Notice how hard Ben is working. LOLOLOLOL! Also Here is a recipe to inspire my new 'venture', not to mention we are now harvesting the fresh Spinach available at all Farmer's Markets NOW!


SPINACH BACON SALAD


Make croutons: Market bread is good for this! Use one inch bread cubes, about 2 cups, 1 tsp Garlic salt and 2 tbs olive oil. Toss together and bake in a single layer at 375 for about 15 mins turning until golden and crisp. Now, in a large bowl use about 1 lb of fresh spinach leaves, 3 hard boiled eggs chopped, 1/2 cup of Angelo's 'hard cheese' shaved, AND atleast 6 bacon slices, cooked crisp and crumbled! Now make your dressing! Get out your food processor! Put in 1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves, 2 slices crisp bacon, 1/3 cup Buttermilk (no stepdaughter, it does NOT taste like butter! A family joke!! LOLOLOL!), 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tbs white wine vinegar, 2 tbs chopped parsley, 1 tbs Dijon mustard, as much crushed garlic as you want, 2 tsp granulated organic sugar, fresh ground pepper, about a tsp. or so! Process! Pour over salad, add croutons, mix and mow! ~enjoy!