Archive for the ‘News from the Farm’ Category

Happy New Year and warm winter blessings from the snow-covered farm.  It is sometimes hard to believe, looking out at the white fields, that they will soon be planted once again and booming with growth and vitality!

We are looking forward to the season ahead.  We are currently interviewing applicants for our apprenticeship program and making plans for the growing season.

Thank you to all those who participated in the Winter CSA program.  We hope that the vegetables inspired many  comforting wintry meals to keep everyone warm this winter.

Stay tuned for Summer CSA Membership information and registration which will come out shortly.  If you would like to be added to our contact list to make sure that you are notified when registration opens, please send us an email to fiddlefootfarm@gmail.com

People are always asking what we as farmers do over the winter.  Well, this winter, among other things, we had a baby!  Our son arrived just in time to celebrate Christmas with us and with family.  We are enjoying the early days and look forward to watching him grow and explore the world around him.

IMGP0869

Read Full Post »

For several years, we have been very fortunate to work with apprentices on our farm.  Through the C.R.A.F.T. (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) network, we collaborate with other farms that host apprentices to provide a rich learning experience for those interested in pursuing ecological agriculture as a possible career.  Each year, we get the opportunity to work with and watch apprentices experience the steep learning curve, joys and challenges of farming.  Every apprentice brings their own unique energy and perspective to the farm and offers us great learning opportunities.

The apprenticeship model, at least here in Ontario, has been a huge factor in the growth of sustainable, ecological, and organic agriculture, with many apprentices going on to start their own farm businesses and careers.

This year, we are excited to be working with Emily, Melanie and Michael.  Here is a reflection provided by Emily on her first seven weeks on the farm.  Thank you, Emily, for offering your thoughts and words…

IMG_8223

Upon my arrival at Fiddle Foot on May 15th Melanie was the first of the four (Amy and Graham and the other two interns, Mike and Melanie) that I met and right at the onset of our hellos our respective gazes drifted to one another’s necklaces—both of which are made of jade and which we have both worn for the majority of our respective past year. Mine is a koru, which represents a fiddlehead unfurling into its adulthood as a fern, so it was quite perfect that this is what our first conversation centred on. Not that we were deliberately seeking to continue with the fiddlehead theme, but later that evening Melanie led me and Sacha (Amy and Graham’s dog) down to the Boyne River, to collect some fiddleheads for dinner. All this to say that after some reflection, perhaps all these fiddlehead references were what first led me to believe that which I am now certain: Fiddle Foot Farm is a wonderful fit for me.

That first evening feels like months ago, but it was a mere seven weeks ago. My mind has absorbed so much, although the reality is also that there is likely a great deal that I’ve been taught that never had a chance to permeate into my memory as my mind is feeling super-saturated with new knowledge—which is a good thing, really! In seven weeks I have learned how to: milk the cows; drive a tractor; transplant copious amounts of seedlings; trellis tomatoes and peas; harvest green garlic, salad, kale, radishes and more; hand-weed and hoe; pickle garlic scapes; package CSA shares; and work at a farmers’ market. These are just a few examples. 

IMG_8039

So far it seems as though the biggest learning curve, apart from the general one of perpetually doing physical work, has been working with the animals. During the first two weeks I could hear and feel my heart palpitating when I had to step near the rooster (he sometimes attacks us, although really just Mike and I seem to be the targets) but now, at least with my makeshift shield (a plastic bin) in hand, I have very little qualms with my ability to approach the rooster. From the perspective of the CSA Member and Market-Goer the animals may not seem like a big part of the farm, but they in fact provide us with manure, lawn mowing of pastures, milk and eggs for home-consumption, and endless joys and challenges.  

Other challenges that persist seem to be efficiency with the time that we have as well as carefully listening to verbal directions throughout the day. Hopefully I will never again make the mistake of planting 2 rows of peppers, only to discover that we need 3 rows in the same space, and to yet further discover that the second planting was done too close and that a third attempt would be required. Oh and if you happen to come by the farm in the next couple of days you may notice a pond-like depression in one of the gardens… I need to revisit my digging-with-the-tractor skills.   

The challenges, however, really are not in the foreground of my experience at Fiddle Foot. In fact, somehow they end up feeling rather inconsequential amidst the ephemeral wonder of garlic scapes, the glowing (thanks to Melanie for using this description) nature of the rainbow chard, the tenderness of the calves’ affection, the goofiness of Floppy the pig, the allure of a bird nesting in a enormous thistle, the beauty of the fireflies along the periphery of the property, and the hearty laughing that occurs daily during the conversations had by the five of us on the farm.

I think we all feel fortunate to be part of the team that we’re a part of, and I’ve been learning so much from the four others that are on the farm this season. From Amy and Graham I’ve witnessed immense dedication and have learned heaps about what it takes to successfully pull off small-scale ecological farming: Amy selflessly providing us with a cheese and yogurt-making ‘workshop’, Graham puttering around in the fields or on the tractor until the sunshine descends behind the hills, and both of them portraying on a daily basis—perhaps unbeknownst to them—their passion for growing food.  From Mike 

IMG_8138I have learned about fishing, sustainable agriculture from the perspective of his program at Sir Sandford Fleming, punctuality (how do you always get to the house before us in the mornings!?), and the plot of and quotations from several semi-obscure TV shows and movies. From Melanie I have learned about holistic nutrition, yoga, cooking techniques, the meaning of a real-life doppelganger, and confidence around the cows and pigs.

The combination of the people, the animals and the land means that every day provides a new lesson, a new discovery and something new to laugh about.

Read Full Post »

Thank you to all those who have been ordering vegetables from us throughout the winter.  We were happy to be able to offer as much as we were able to without a root cellar.  But alas, the time has finally come when we must say that we have sold out of winter vegetables.

We are making plans to build a root cellar this year which would allow us to grow and store a greater supply of winter root crops, knowing that they will keep well into the early spring.  It is our hope to be able to offer a Winter CSA share next winter as well.

So, for now, we are perusing seed catalogues, planning and imagining the garden for the upcoming season.

Stay tuned, we will be posting CSA 2013 registration information very soon.  We are finalizing the on-line registration option, which will be on our CSA Page.  If you would like to be added to our contact list to make sure that you find out when it is time to sign up, please send us an email and let us know – fiddlefootfarm@gmail.com

Read Full Post »

We are happy with the way our vegetables have kept thus far and are also happy to be able to continue offering them to local restaurants and to anyone brave enough to make the trip down our road to the farm!

At this point, you are welcome to put together your own selection of vegetables for pick-up from the farm.  Here is a list of the vegetables that we have available at this time.  Place your order by sending us an email (fiddlefootfarm@gmail.com) or by phone at least two days before you would like to pick up.  Vegetables are available while quantities last, we will update this list to reflect what is available.

 

Item Price (5 – 25 lb)                      Price (30 lb +)              
VEGETABLES
     
Carrots – Orange $2.00  /lb $1.50 /lb
Baby Carrots – Orange $3.00 /lb $2.50 /lb
Garlic $8.00 /lb $7.00 /lb
Potatoes – Banana Fingerling $2.00 /lb $1.50 /lb
Potatoes – White $1.50 /lb $1.25 /lb
     
PREPARED & DECORATIVE GOODS
Pickled Garlic Scapes – mild and spicy (prepared in a certified kitchen) $12.00 per 1 L jar
Braided Garlic (13 heads per braid) $20.00 /braid
Caramelized Onions $5.00 / 250 mL jar
Fresh Farm Eggs $5.00 / dozen


Read Full Post »

We have had a great first full season here at Fiddle Foot Farm and are now enjoying the fall bounty of vegetables.  We still plan on offering a Winter CSA in future years, but this requires a large root cellar, which we were not able to construct this season. As a result, we will not be able to store vegetables into the winter months.

If you are feeling the natural urge at this time of year to stow away food for the fall and winter and your local Farmers’ Market has ended, you are in luck! Here at Fiddle Foot Farm, there are still plenty of delicious vegetables growing in our gardens. We just need to find a way of getting these vegetables to you!

Our Fall Harvest Baskets is a way to extend the market season both for you and for us.  Fall Harvest Baskets are different from our CSA program in that you can order just one if that is all that you need.  There is no commitment to pick up a basket each week.  Place an order for a basket for whenever you would like one.

WHAT? (Revised List – slightly different than the photo)

Regular – $40 Deluxe – $80
5 lb carrots 10 lb carrots
2 lb hakurei turnip 3 lb hakurei turnip
5 lb yellow onions 5 lb yellow onions
5 lb potatoes 10 lb potatoes
2 lb red onion 3 lb red onion
1 lb garlic 2 lb garlic
3 lb squash
2 lb parsnip

Regular Basket – $40

Deluxe Basket – $80

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHEN? Baskets will be available on Tuesdays and Saturdays starting Oct 27th until the supply runs out!  Orders must be placed at least two days before pick-up, but the sooner the better to give us a sense of demand.  We will send this email weekly as a reminder.

WHERE? Fall Harvest Baskets can be collected:

  1. In Orangeville on Saturday mornings (+ $5 delivery fee)
    • Between 9:30 – 11am in the STAPLES parking lot
  1. At Fiddle Foot Farm (directions on our website) on:
    •   Tuesday afternoons (3 – 7 pm, or by appointment)
    •   Saturdays (2 – 4pm, or by appointment)

Custom Orders: 

In addition to (or instead of) a Fall Harvest Basket, you can place an order for any individual items on the list below.  Please note, we are asking that orders be made in 5 lb. increments.

Vegetable Quantity – order in increments of: Price (for 5 lb) Storage Recommendations
Carrots 5 lb $10.00 0-2℃, 90-100% humidityIn a bag in the fridge if you don’t have a root cellar
Hakurei Turnip 5 lb $10.00
Potatoes 5 lb $7.50
Fingerling Potatoes 5 lb $10.00
Onions 5 lb $7.50 0-2℃, 65-75% humidityIn a paper bag or mesh bag in a cool basement or garage
Shallots 5 lb $10.00
Garlic 5 lb $35.00

TO PLACE AN ORDER

Simply send us an email, providing us with the following information (we suggest you cut and paste this list and fill it in):

1) Pick-up Date

2) Pick-up Location (On-Farm or Orangeville)

3) Size of Basket (Regular or Deluxe)

4) Number of Baskets

5) Custom Order (if you choose this option)

6) Payment Option (cash or cheque made out to Fiddle Foot Farm)

Should you have any questions or need for further clarification, please be in touch with us by email (fiddlefootfarm@gmail.com) or by phone (519-925-3225).  If you know anyone who might be interested in this opportunity, please let them know.

Thank you,

Amy & Graham

Read Full Post »

Garlic is one of our favourite crops, making the harvest an exciting time for us.  This year’s crop is the first garlic we have grown here at Fiddle Foot Farm and it is looking great!

Once we decide that the garlic is ready to be pulled, it is all hands on deck to gather bundles and hang them up in the upper barn to dry and cure.  The curing process takes three weeks and improves the storability of the garlic.  Only after it is cured, when we sort through it all, will we truly know how the year has been.  But, coming in from the field, we have a good feeling about most of this year’s crop.

We saved all of our own seed garlic (14 varieties) and planted it last fall.  The only additions in the seed stock were some special varieties (17 more varieties) we found at the Garlic Festival in Toronto last fall and decided to plant out to see how they did in our fields.   Most of the garlic we grew is a Music variety of Porcelain garlic which is very well suited to this region.  It divides into four large cloves making it very easy to work with in the kitchen.  The disadvantage to this characteristic is for us as seed savers – while you get large cloves to plant which produce vigorous plants, you can only save four seed cloves from each head as opposed to the Rocambole varieties which each have approximately 7-10 cloves per head.  For this reason, and because of our appreciation for diversity, we continue to plant many different varieties of garlic.

We will be selling our garlic at both the Creemore and Orangeville Farmer’s markets for the remainder of the season.  If you are a garlic lover and would be interested in placing an order for a specific variety, please let us know – fiddlefootfarm@gmail.com.  Our price for garlic by the pound is $8 – remember that it is worth paying more for garlic that has more flavour since you’ll need to use less!  Consider sharing locally and organically grown garlic with your friends and family.  We are happy to provide an alternative to buying dried out garlic from halfway around the world that you find in the grocery store.

Read Full Post »

Ready or not, things are growing!

We were already excited about the coming season, and then we had a week of weather in the twenties during which to start our first seedlings and finish constructing a small greenhouse attached to the house.  It’s definitely strange weather, but ideal for what we’ve been up to!

Here’s a peek into the greenhouse to see the earliest onion seedlings and into the garlic patch in the field where if you look carefully and you can see the first green shoots emerging.  We proclaim our love of garlic at many times of the season, and seeing green shoots rising in an otherwise dull brown landscape is one of those times!

Last Friday, Vandana Shiva was interviewed on CBC’s The Current as part of the Game Changers series.  I was lucky enough to meet Vandana Shiva while in India several years ago and I can attest that she is even more fiery in person!  She does a wonderful job of this interview, discussing seed sovereignty and food freedom. Worth a listen if you missed it – available on The Current website.

Thank you to everyone who has signed up early for CSA shares, something that really helps us get the season started with the purchase of seeds and equipment. There is still space available in the CSA.  If you are interested in becoming a member, visit our CSA Page for registration information and our FAQ about CSA page where hopefully you will find answers to some of your questions. We look forward to hearing from you!

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »