Sunday, August 28, 2011

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 are happy to report that Domingo is doing well and will recover completely! In the meantime we are training a transfer employee which is always fun this time of year. (note the sarcasm) We have been very, very busy indeed! 
Recipe time: Organic Penne Pasta with Black Cherry Heirlooms, Shiitakes and Parmigiano Reggiano
So simple and so delicious! I buy all types or organic pasta now. Some of my favourites are the wholegrain spelt varieties. I cook my pasta tender in Olive Oil and Sea Salt and drain.  I  chop Striped German and half Black Cherry Heirloom Tomatoes and toss with Sea Salt while the pasta is cooking.  (I find that just a bit of salt intensifies the tomato flavors). I fill up my great grandma's huge wooden cutting board with Shiitake Mushrooms, a bit of Sweet Onion and chop and then saute with some olive oil.  I drain my pasta, toss in the salted tomatoes with their juice, all the mushrooms and sweet onion. Season to taste (Basil is exceptional and should not be forgotten! And fresh ground pepper!) Last but not least once I've plated I add a generous amount of Parmigiano Reggiano shredded on top. The sweetness of the Heirloom Tomatoes is what stands out in this dish.  So simple and leftovers are to die for!  We've been known to enjoy for breakfast! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

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.  I've never cared for the cult 'peaches and cream' bicolour.  Our sweet corn is picked young and fresh, usually on the same day as market! Definitely not starchy.  Worms are free! As a refresher with farming organically, there is absolutely no chemical fertilizer applied to the land this corn was seeded on.  We practice a strict rotation to keep our land healthy, therefore the land our corn is grown on has not seen sweet corn in many years.  Instead a healthy dose of organic composted manure was applied last year to ensure rich growth. We do not use any type of 'pest management' (in english - spray, pesticides) with our corn.  The land is healthy, the corn is healthy, the insects and worms are there, but not devastating the crop.  I've got mothers and children actually looking for the worms in the corn at market!  I will also never forget what a Jamaican gentleman said to me at market:  "My mother told me not to trust most food unless the creatures of the earth have sampled it first!".  Works for me! ;) We also only have AUGUST CORN.  The way sweet corn always used to be!  Most conventional sweet corn farmers use chemically treated corn seed and can plant this treated seed in cold, wet soil without it rotting very early in the spring therefore resulting in early July corn.  We wait until the soil has naturally warmed up in the spring before we plant our untreated sweet corn seed resulting in August harvest each year. 
Don't you just love this pathway in the corn? I will spend a few evenings at dusk walking down this trail. I will freak myself out thinking about the movie 'Children of the Corn' no doubt, but I just love the way the corn rustles in the breeze in the cool evenings.  This path leads down to the creek where we've cleared a spot for camping. We've got about four plantings of sweet corn to last us well into September this year.  We'll have enough to cover all our Toronto markets and also to share with The Big Carrot and also with Plan B Organic Farms CSA box program. 
 Ok, time for the negative.  Genetically modified sweet corn is alive and well in Ontario now.  GMO's are not labeled in Ontario, therefore you will have no idea if you are buying a gmo sweet corn unless you can verify from the farmer's mouth.  All the information you need about GMO Sweet Corn and what to do is here: CBAN - Canadian Biotechnology Action Network
Also, just to completely confuse you:  please keep in mind that just because Sweet Corn is not a GM variety does not mean it has not been sprayed or grown on chemically treated land. Certified Organic is always your best bet.  In my strong opinion, cheap sweet corn should not exist.  So, come out to market to support and most importantly ENJOY our Certified Organic Sweet Corn!!!