Tuesday, December 15, 2009

**HAPPY HOLIDAYS from Sosnicki Organics!!**

What a year! It went fast and I can honestly say I am not too sad to see it almost over! I have fingers crossed for a REAL summer 2010! (heat? Sun?!)
A goal of mine was to have heirloom tomatoes for Xmas and we did it!! Just a trial run, so full speed a head for next year!! All our Dufferin customers on Thursday can expect to enjoy some RIPE HEIRLOOMS! We will also have our VEGETARIAN CABBAGE ROLLS along with our perogies of course for quick holiday meals. Vegetables available from us for the Christmas markets will be Brussel Spouts (harvested this Tuesday morn.), Celery, Carrots, Celeriac, Potatoes, Onions, Beets & Cabbage. We've celebrated some milestones this year: the matriarch Sophie Sosnicki is officially a senior and we celebrated her 65th with a big pig roast on a beautiful evening in August. A bevy of friends, neighbours, relatives all joined together to eat and drink and have a blast together to celebrate with Sophie.....My stepdaughter turned 16 in November and I still cannot believe she grew up soooo fast! Despite the overall bad year (financially that is), Ben and I still smile when we look at each other whether it be from across the barn or across the field and we certainly laugh more than complain (well, Ben anyhow! lololol!). Respect between the two of us (including mom Sophie too) and the love for what we do on this farm will ensure the success of this business no matter what is thrown at us for years to come! We tackled an audit this year (no need to make ANY changes on our returns meaning I'm doing something right in the book keeping dept.), Health Canada here taking samples searching for e coli (non found and a nice clean barn to boot!), the death of our entire tomato crop to name just a few BIG negatives that will be remembered from 2009. BUT there is not time for whining,- full speed a head to 2010! May the New Year blow your bitchin' hair back, knock your socks off and bring you lots and lots of local organic produce!! ~Sincerely, Jessie Sosnicki & Ben too!!~

Friday, November 27, 2009

Facebook can be great for business!!

I am absolutely enjoying the use of Facebook! Not only for personal use to keep tabs on family and friends, but for our farm business by the creation of the public page: "SOSNICKI ORGANIC PRODUCE". I've been on facebook for years but just recently 'opened it up' by becoming visible for everyone to find me, view my friends etc. This lead to the quick creation of our farm fan page and what a riot! Within a few short weeks it is obvious of it's success and we've got dozens of familiar faces becoming 'fans' of our business! I've witnessed the media giving facebook a pounding on occasion by casting fear towards the use of it which I feel is very unnecessary. Unless you are creepy or conniving it is a great tool for your personal life AND your business! With so many privacy features you can manipulate it as you wish. A LOT of teens have family and parents as 'friends' but can totally hide anything they wish be it pictures or conversations. Now, I can completely understand why teens do this! lololol!! We personally don't bother with all that and leave our facebook account pretty much wide open with no worry about what anyone will see or read! I'm a woman of integrity with no worry how my online publishing's could ever haunt or hurt me down the road. I take great pride in 'googling' my own name and the name of our farm on occasion to hear what folks are saying about us and it is uplifting to say the least! It is very powerful to type your business name, hit enter and instead of your own ramblings about how incredible your business is - OTHERS are doing it for you!! People power. I love this blog and cherish every post and picture but sometimes it almost seems as if I'm writing to hear myself - until I'm met with a customer with compliments! But I need others to hear from others too! On a monthly basis a link to this blog is sent to the market manager to be sent out in the newsletter reaching 500+ people, but there is room to reach more faster and be able to interact! Facebook fan page is much more instant and interactive! With so many people now on board it's become an essential tool for us to connect with potential customers along with keeping existing customers up to date. And because I am a technology junkie my iPhone comes in handy to create quick posts with pictures and to keep things up to date! (An organic farmer with an iPhone? Damn right with no guilt! I quit smoking Nov. 2007 and you'd be surprised how much money you save and what you can afford when you quit that sick habit!!) Your business is more likely to gain customers if they can see and hear from other customers - via facebook aka 'fans'!!! And let me tell you, when you have your east end customers traveling all the way over to the west end to 'find you' during the winter months - you're doing something right! That is the power of our product, our awesome veg, but I'd still like to think that my work online has a bit to do with it too! ;)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Food Happenings around the farm....

Let's see, last week we rented the hall and our crew of 12 made quite a few organic perogies!! Cheddar and Yukon Gold potato filling along with Buttery Onion and Sauerkraut ones too! Everyone at market was happy to see them again! Our pigs went to the butcher yesterday, Ben, his mother and I went and assisted in cutting and wrapping today and Ben and I are enjoying our first taste of our own BBQ pork spareribs tonight! We will have packs of loin chops, ground pork and sausages available at market shortly. The meat is not certified organic YET. We are working on this for next year. The little pigs we bought this year were run of the mill from a local auction, not organic to begin with. We are seeking out organic piglets for next year, pasture raise them and have them certified! In the meantime understand that our uncertified pigs were raised on all our organic produce along with our neighbours organic peas, barley and oats too! Lean and lovely meat for sure! We are harvesting tomatoes from the greenhouse still! We are going to make it to Christmas with them I think, esp. with all this great weather!!!

Construction on the farm....

Finally after quite a few years looking at the ugly old remains of the old pig barn laying in our horses pasture, we have buried it! Thanks to my brother and his operating skills running a huge excavator! Ben ran a dump trailer to make it go smoothly and we even had help from our 83 year old neighbour Ed too with his tractor and loader! Looks a lot nicer out there now!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Prince Charles checking out our vegetables!!

Beautiful day at Evergreen's Brickworks this past Friday. The 'hush hush' event involved a handful of vendors from the Brickworks Farmers' Market (now officially over for the season) to join together to showcase our products for Prince Charles and other importants. Chef Jamie Kennedy catered the event along with greeting HRH and lead him around for the meet and greet. No one really had any idea what to expect. For all we knew he was just going to wave at all of us and take off. To our surprise he took the time to engage with almost all the vendors present. Ben and I were greeted with a firm handshake as he examined our produce shelf and asked us if we grew all of it! Proudly stating so, Ben then went on to tell him that we've been farming organically since 2001 and HRH was quick to see we were certified too! We spoke briefly about celeriac, then he asked us if we had any trouble with potato blight this year. I told him no and I remember my little moment with the Prince as he said in his rich British accent: "Well you have to just cut the tops right off" and I grinned and almost shouted "That exactly what we did!" and we laughed and he shook his head and said: "It's always something or other when growing". A very neat experience to say the least! The rest of the time we enjoyed mingling drinking wine and eating tasty treats compliments of Jamie Kennedy's crew and met and took pics with others like Jim Flaherty the Finance Minister of Canada! A huge thanks to my sister Jennie for taking all these pictures and capturing the moment for us!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fall Storage #4

Cutting Cabbage, Ben inspecting the last of the Spanish Onions & Lady Bug who was once covered in burrs is once again clean and happy!

Fall Storage #3

More fall storage...Potatoes, Celeriac, Cooking Onions

Fall Storage #2

More pics from the cooler....Carrots, Cabbage & bins of Celery!!

Fall Storage

There should never be any doubt where our stuff comes from this winter! No, not our 'neighbours', not our 'brother' or 'buddy down the road'. We worked very hard to provide more of our own for when the snow flies! This amount will not last that long. I'm thinking with carrots we will still be out by mid January if not sooner. Beets should last quite a while though! There are 5 bins of celery, all standing up with buckets of water inside for adequate moisture. We'll see how that works out! Enjoy the pics!

Friday, October 23, 2009

"When can we go back to Mexico?"

My guys are pretty homesick and ready to fly back to Mexico! Not yet guys, but soon! Harvest continues! We should be starting winter cabbage harvest by next week. Our potato crop is outstanding! We will have plenty of our own this winter for all markets and my perogies! We have lots to harvest yet..... In the pic our men are getting fresh celeriac ready for market by cutting the roots off and washing them. We will have a good supply of celeriac for winter markets. Our leeks pale in comparison to last years crop! We just planted them too late, so they are small. We should have lots to store as well, but very labour intense washing and messing around with the tiny things! Flavour is excellent, so well worth it! Gotta get my share of leek and potato soup! (esp. with some fresh baccon, as my pigs go to the butcher in a few weeks!) And Brussel Sprouts! YUM! These are soo fresh, tastey and good for you! We will have them available in a few weeks at all markets!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Seasonal Recipes........

Great fall harvest so far! We are busily working getting all potatoes in the barn (a little behind with this task), pulling up two patches of beets, twisting off tops and getting ready for storage...Here are some great recipes Ben and I are enjoying:
Celeriac & Apple Slaw:
1 bulb Sosnicki's CELERIAC
1/2 head Sosnicki's CABBAGE
3-4 Sosnicki's 'ugly but sweet' APPLES
Shred each vegetable and toss together. (I use a cheese grater for the apples and celeriac and then just thinly slice the half head of cabbage with a long knife). Toss with 1 tbs HONEY, 1 tbs OLIVE OIL, 1/2 tbs natural SEA SALT and atleast 1 tbs PEPPER. You can add a dollop or two of sour cream or mayo, but I like it without! Really yummy and great served with a pork dinner!
Fall Pork Soup:
2 lbs Pork Soup Bones; 1 medium Sosnicki's Cooking Onions; 1/2 bunch Sosnicki's Parsley. Cover your pork bones with water and add onions and parsley. Render down for a good hour. Remove bones, strain broth. (Once bones cool, make sure to pick the meat clean off the bones to add back into your soup with the veg!) In a big fry pan put 1 tbs organic butter and render down two Sosnicki's COOKING ONIONS. When soft Add 1/2 cup Sosnicki's CARROTS sliced; 1/2 cup Sosnicki's GREEN BEANS snapped in half; 1/2 cup Sosnicki's GREEN PEPPERS diced; 1/2 cup SHITTAKE MUSHROOMS chopped. 1/2 cup Sosnicki's RED POTATOES chopped. Cook until al dente. Pour all veg in with the pork broth and simmer for 5-10 minutes and add spices to your liking. I add chopped parsley, minced garlic, at least 1 tbs natural SEA SALT (it will be too bland without salt, ADD SALT! The butter does not contain enough!) and lots of pepper! I think it tastes even better the next day! Enjoy the fall season!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Our little piece of Earth....

My dad likes to fly. Two weeks ago he went up with a local pilot and took some area photos! I'm sharing two of our farm. If anyone ever doubts we produce our own stuff, here's proof of our 60 workable acres! The dark, vibrant green strips are our organic soybean patches! All vegetables are in fields 101 & 105 this year. (the top in pic 1 and to the left in pic 2.)You can also see the long strip of our strawberry patch in field 102. (bottom in pic 1, top right in pic 2)It makes me a bit sad, as I can see where the tomatoes used to be, and it's just strips of brown soil now. The grading barn and the greenhouses also really stand out in these photos! There is a lot of space in those 'covered field' greenhouses that we will be using to their full potential. Behind the barn is a large pasture area we are currently cleaning up for use for organic beef cattle and organic pigs coming in the near future!! In between the soybeans was our hay field. Ben has since plowed it under as it was old. You can totally see where Ben has dug the potatoes and all that we have left!! LOTS!! The potatoes are located in the top right of pic 1 and top left/center in pic 2. Cabbage is very obvious with it's blue/green colour! On either side of the strawberries was were our veggies were last year....Nice to have these pictures to share! Thanks dad!!

The Great Fall Harvest!

I picked all this produce today! (except for the onions that are all in the barn nicely curing) The great fall harvest is beginning! Currently at market we are selling fresh Green Beans, Swiss Chard, Beets with fresh tops, fresh dug Potatoes, 'Candy' & 'Superstar' Spanish & Redwing Onions, fresh cut Cabbages, greenhouse Heirloom Tomatoes, Golden Sugar Beets to name the majority! New this week is fresh pulled Carrots! Our sweet carrots are back with a vengeance! Fresh tops to boot, so you know they are field fresh for sure!! Also beginning at the end of this week will be our fall Broccoli harvest! Next week, we will have tons for all markets. This fall we will be offering Celery, Leeks, Celariac (root celery, very tasty!), Empire Apples, Red Delicious Apples (not an abundance and not pretty at all from our trees lining the farm driveway), Pie Pumpkins, Squash, Brussel Sprouts, Spinach, Arugula & Tatsoi. Going into storage with the leeks and celariac will be tons of cabbages, carrots, beets & onions.