Showing posts from 2011

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from the farm!!!

It's that time of the year again and we almost can't believe another year has come and gone! We also can't believe it's been almost 2 years since we've seen SMASHY!!We miss you girlie!!!!
It's been quite a ride, lots of challenges, lots of work, but a ton of laughs along the way too. The crops did surprisingly well despite the drought this year and late head start. One of our Mexican guys suffered a medical emergency and was hospitalized but thank goodness is now A-ok!! Panzer the pup grew into a beautiful big boy and is no longer ripping the heads off of chickens!!! We had the second annual Evergreen bus tour down to the farm, had a great meal and help getting some work done! Our sweet corn was awesome, tomatoes were so-so, cabbage crop was awesome too! We dropped one market this year and we've missed it and the income it provided, so we'll try and pick it up again for next year!  It's pretty tough trying to do it all, but we always seem to manage…

What are you eating during the holidays?

We had a busy day on Saturday selling to our Brickwork customers who were happily stocking up for the holiday season.  A buzz of recipe ideas were shared around our tables full of Brussel Sprouts, Leeks, Celeriac, Potatoes, Garlic and Cabbages.  As I fulfilled Cabbage Roll orders and sold Perogies like a mad hatter, the big talk was how popular root celery has become.  I've been spreading the word about celeriac mashed potatoes  and it has become quite popular!  You simply buy one of our knarly looking roots, peel it good, chop it along with your potatoes, boil & mash for a great celery tasting mashed spud dish!  Perfect along side turkey or chicken for your holiday meal.  Roasting fingerlings is a great thing to do this time of year!  I like to roast redgolds, russian bluesand the buttery fingerlings together with garlic cloves,olive oil and sea salt.  Smash on plate and smother with gravy and what a satisfying side indeed! Boil your Brussel's in some chicken stock, toss…

The start of ultimate Comfort Food!!

We make the best of every single season around here.  So when there is not much 'fresh' left in the fields and we are stocked to the rafters with storage vegetables, the slow cooker comes out!  There is something soo comforting about coming in from the barn all wet, tired & dirty from sorting storage crops to the warmth of the home and the smell of the slow cooker!!!  A few weeks ago our organic dairy neighbor came by and asked us if we wanted a young bull they had to send to the butcher.  Oh yes, a freezer full of good organic beef for the winter!!  So off Ben and I went to our local butcher over a week later to cut and wrap.  The rules have changed at our butchers, so we now have to 'dress like a butcher' in their white coats, hair nets and Ben had to wear a net on his beard!!  HAHAHA!  We thought we were safe from running into anyone we knew, but no, a friend of ours, Pete, got to see us in our amateur butcher get-ups!  Anyhow, down to the business of beef.  I …

Still harvesting Brussel Sprouts!

So it's now a couple days away from December and our 'sprouts are still in the ground!  This picture was taken last Friday and these freshly picked sprouts were sold at the Brickwork's Saturday morning market.  There will be another abundance this week as well!  At any given market I seem to be answering the same questions about Brussels.  Usually a home gardener has tried to grow them with no luck and ask me 'why' their sprouts didn't size up on the stock.  During the growing season it is essential to 'pinch' the top out of the brussel sprouts, allowing more energy to the actual sprouts that start out as little nodes along the stock.  The top you pinch out is like a big brussel 'flower'.  Just head down your row of sprouts and 'twist' them off.  Leave the leaves alone.  They don't bother anything and as you can see in the pic, they wilt and die off as the season progresses.  Folks also want ideas on how to prepare.  This simplest i…

Screw Chip Dip - Roasted Beet Hummus is here!

I've eaten enough beets lately I swear I'm on a natural beet high!  I love beets, and this recipe is to die for! So Ben and I cruised down to Kensington Market last week to deliver some produce to a great guy named'Pot's.  He has this groovy little store called"For Life Natural Foods".We like to buy some organic kefir and other groceries there and Pots gave us a 'beet hummus' to try out.  I grimaced at it but the expression on Pots face about how good it actually was made me curious.  I could not stop eating it!  I altered the recipe a bit adding more garlic and some avocado.  My vegan friend Kera loves it, so I won't be altering the recipe any time soon!  It's been a pleasure to spread the word at market, so for those who asked, here's the recipe:
ROASTED BEET HUMMUS 1 quart Sosnicki's Red Kestrel Organic Beets 4 cloves Sosnicki's Organic Garlic, Minced. 1 Ripe, Creamy Avocado 4 Heaping Tablespoons Tahini 1 small Lemon and lots of …


On Tuesday, November 8th our daughter 'Smashy' turns 18 years old!!!!The farm is in celebration mode! HAPPY, HAPPY EIGHTEENTH BIRTHDAY SMASHY!  Yep, and we actually got Panzer to 'settle down' on top the straw bail too! AND freakishly he's looking at YOU!!The farm is exactly the same and not much has changed since last year.  You are definitely not missing out on anything around here - just lots of work!We've recycled your birthday sign from last year. We use this board around the farm on racks and see it often and think of you ;) Babca is doing great and she wishes you a big "Happy Birthday with much, much love xoxo Love Babca" "Happy Birthday Austin...Love you Flowers...You have to meet Panzer-Pants who we call Mr. Pants and Ka-Punzer  Love Dad xoxo." So this morning to get ready for the 'photo shoot' Panzer is missing (down hunting at the creek with Rex) we can't find him ....Then we hear him barking his fool head off at Lady …

The Leek Harvest

Well, we worked very hard this year growing our leek patch!  This will give us another crop to head into winter with along side the bulk cabbage.  We'll have enough obviously for all markets and even some to share wholesale with select retailers and food box shares.
Ben and the lifter. We've used the 'lifter' to uproot the leeks to make for easy pick up. Our carrots were a crop failure this year and usually we use the lifter this time of year on the storage carrot crop.  Works like a charm.
Our men sorting, knocking excess soil from roots and piling for pick up.  The leeks will be stored in large bins in our cold storage area in the barn.
Benny and quality control! They are gorgeous and most are a large size!  He hilled them with the potato hill'r only once this year.  You end up with a longer white, edible part that way.
Ben spends a lot of time instructing our young Shepherd, Panzer. One of the smartest pups we've ever had! He absolutely LOVES the fresh soil …

Putting it all away

The weather has been pretty nice this fall allowing us to be able to attend to the important task of storing our vegetables for winter!  We've worked hard all season growing this cabbage from seed then planting, weeding, cultivating, hand weeding and now harvesting.  Bugs were definitely there, but we did not let them devastate the crop.  The heads are beautiful and plentiful! We've grown a lot more red cabbages this year and about the same amount of green as past years. You can count on this farm for local, certified organic cabbages until well into next year!  This is definitely a crop that does not have to be imported!
We've also grown Savoy Cabbagesthis year and Brussel Spouts and Celeriac (aka Root Celery).  These crops will all tolerate frost. I find the Brussel's get sweeter after a good frost! The celeriac will have to all be topped and binned for the winter.  We leave the roots nice and dirty and cut and clean as needed per the winter months for market sales.  …

September's Peppers

Ben and I look forward to peppers each year.  It's a long process.  Seeding most peppers begins in February or early March.  A lot of time and care goes into producing these gems.  Now that Organic Meadow is creating some excellent quality cream cheese, 'Jalapeno Poppers' around here are notorious!  So simple: Cut the top out of the jalapenos,  remove seeds and insides while leaving the stem creating a 'boat'.  Fill with cream cheese and either broil or bake at a high temp for the most succulent non deep fried 'poppers' around!  Very addictive!  Our jalapenos throw excellent heat, but all vary in hotness.  One popper will make you tear, while the others only cause a mild shrug.  We grew the usual hot banana's but new this year are chili's, cayenne and habaneros.  Holy hot habaneros!!  Orange fire crackers for sure!  Come visit any market until fall frost to enjoy the hot peppers in plentiful amounts!
Another favourite thing to do with seasonal pepper…

Viva Italia Romas for sauce are in season!

It is now the season to do your freezing, canning, saucing of tomatoes!  We'll be bringing cases of our 'Viva Italia' Roma variety to all markets!  If you need more than a couple cases I suggest you order by email  These Viva's have thick walls and excellent flavour. I am going to roast and can a lot of tomatoes this season, but these stand alone in my sauce category.  There is nothing like the smell of this sauce in your home during cold winter days!  We do not have a 'perfect' tomato crop, as there is some blight out there and a lot of cracks and splitting due to weather stress , but it is certainly not a bust like the last few years.  I am hoping we will have enough for everyone. To our early bird customers that ordered weeks ago - Thank You for being patient!  We've had a very stressful time as our main Mexican worker suffered a medical emergency and is currently still hospitalized, so we are struggling to get back on track.  We …

Celebrating our Organic Sweet Corn!

It's that time of the year again!  Our sweet corn is available at markets for all to enjoy this week! At market, you will see my smiling face along with Benny's with a big sign stating: "Cert. Organic Sweet Corn, obviously NO GMO!!" I'll quickly discuss gmo at the end of this blog - I want to stay positive and happy for the duration! :) Cooking corn in it's husk after it's been soaked is my favourite way to eat my summer corn!  Try this method on your BBQ at home! Make sure to remove the dried silk and excess husk or it tends to catch fire. When nicely charred on both sides, serve.  Peel back the husk using as your holder as you baste it in good organic butter!  I will be totally honest in saying that our first variety is not as sweet as the variety coming in two weeks time. So if you want to freeze some corn this year, wait until our sweeter variety is ready. I will let everyone know and am spreading the word at market! Our corn is an all yellow variety.…

Heirloom Tomatoes 2011!!

So last Saturday at Evergreen's Brickworks I had 4 cases of my Heirlooms!  It was great to see my regular customers come early and get some!  I love seeing the excitement of the first heritage tomatoes at market. Makes all my hard work totally worthwhile knowing how much they are appreciated.
We've been selling heirloom tomatoes in Toronto for years now and I've scaled back the actual amount of varieties.  I used to mess around with over 100 varieties!  I've got about 60 now of the tried and true, best of the best for intriguing looks and taste!  I am happy to report that I did a large field planting along with the 'covered field' planting of about 900 plants. Here's a brush up on what our 'covered field' heirloom tomatoes are all about:
This is one 'covered field'.  They are our old cold farm glass greenhouses.  We have amended the soil with our kick ass field soil and our compost.  The soil is top notch for growing the best tasting tomatoes!…

The Garlic Harvest!

We bought some beautiful certified organic Garlic Seed  from a great guy up north. We planted it October 2010 and are fairly pleased with the results.
It was looking so beautiful early on, but a few weeks ago we noticed nematode damage on a few bulbs.  I've since learned this is a wide spread issue this year and I fear these extreme weather conditions have a lot to do with it.  We yanked 'er out, and have lost some of the crop, but all in all it'll be just fine.  I've learned that the microscopic nematodes live in the root hairs of the garlic and when we 'irrigated' we spread them around.  Then onion maggots move in and chew away.  We'll remove the infected bulbs and not let them mingle with the good stock.  Infected cloves will not be replanted in the new patch.
  Here's the guys sorting through and hampering the garlic crop.  Despite the nematode issues we still have a plentiful amount for our customers and for seed saving!

Strawberries for 2012....

We really missed not having our own strawberries at market this past June!  We are making sure that doesn't happen next year! Folks really missed our organic berries!  This is the process so that we have them for June 2012:
These is a bundle of root stock we got in from Nova Scotia this year.  Gorgeous plants, top quality.  Two new varieties this year.  Winter hardy, sweet and plentiful.  We shall see!  Our land makes all the difference I'm certain!
Ben pulling the clip planter.  Because of the quality of the Strawberry plants we planted 3 times as much as we had before!
Domingo and Manuel using the clip planter to plant the Strawberry plants.  I didn't think it would work, but was surprised to see the success.  This due to excellent plant quality. How many times can I stress the quality of these plants! Just beautiful.  G.W. Allen Nursery in Nova Scotia if you're wondering ;)
Planted Strawberries on July 13th, 2011.  For harvest June 2012. This is just the beginning.  Sin…

Beets, Kale & Tomatoes...

We are growing 3 types of beets this year.  We'll always have the big standard Kestrel Red's, but pictured here are our special ones: Golden and Chioggia. We did golds last year to rave reviews.  They are nice and sweet and look and taste spectacular when roasted. The Chioggia (a.k.a Candy Cane or Bullseye) are new for us this year. A keeper for sure.  They are early, have lighter neat tops similar to the golds, cook a bit faster, are more mild compared to the big reds. Thinly sliced in a salad is a beautiful way to show off these great beets! They are actually an Italian Heirloom I have learned, and are named after a coastal town in Italy. Starting next week they will be in abundance at the Farmer's Markets at our stall.  I have also made another recent discovery: BEET CHIPS!
First, you have to chop the beets very thinly.  I used my big red beets for this.  I think they throw the best flavour.  (Chioggia and Golden seem to brown a bit too much when crisp) Use a mandolin to…

Dry July....

Yeah, so now it's dry. (Check out the dust trail behind Ben and he races around checking pipes.)  I mean really, really dry.  Last week, the 6th of July we irrigated half the farm.  Today the pipes were taken apart, moved to the other side to hit the potatoes, tomatoes etc.  So we've weeded and watered the broccoli, kale, beautiful onion patch, one sweet corn patch, carrots, beets, peas, garlic, cucumbers and beans.  First line we ran to cover the broccoli and onions....beets, carrots & newly planted sweet potatoes at the back. To the left is our 'chop suey' first lettuce patch nicely disked up! Our first patch of many of the sweetest Sweet Corn!  Can't wait!  Beginning of August we will have corn galore!  I love this picture!  Our broccoligoing 'AHHHH' after a nice long drink of water! I am not complaining about the lack of rain for now. Truth be told, and I'm scared to say this out loud, but it feels like 2007 all over again.  I may have the nicest t…