Garlic Harvest

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 –  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.

Farmers’ Market Season Begins!

This Saturday (May 5th) is Opening Day at the Orangeville Farmers’ Market on Broadway.  We are excited to be back as vendors there after having been away for a season. If our harvest goes well tomorrow, we hope to bring fiddleheads to the market, appropriate as it is the farm’s namesake!
For those in the Creemore area, the Creemore Farmers’ Market will be starting in two weeks’ time on Saturday May 19th.  We would also love to see you there!
There are still some spaces available in the CSA for this season.  Information can be found on the CSA Page of our website.  CSA shares will be starting in the third week of June.
Other news from the farm:
Our apprentices, Rob, Sarah and Laina have all begun their seasons with us and have been an incredible help already!  Together, we have put up our seedling greenhouse which is now housing hundreds of young plants eager to find their way into the garden.
We have just begun transplanting the first plants out into the field along with some early seedings of greens, carrots, beets, peas, radishes and turnips.  The garlic and strawberries are no longer alone out there!
Hope to see you at the Market!

A Spring that feels like Summer

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!

CSA Registration is Open

We are happy to announce that we are now accepting CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share registration for the 2012 season.  For more information and to find the 2012 Registration Package, please see our CSA Page.

Prior to our move, as many of you know,  we provided CSA shares from 2008 – 2010 at Whole Village Farm (near Orangeville). Last season we took a year off from running the CSA in order to prepare for the 2012 season.  We are both very excited to be developing Fiddle Foot Farm over the coming years in order to continue providing our local communities with a diversity of healthy and sustainable food choices.  We are  looking forward to reconnecting with past CSA members and making new connections with those we have met since our move.

Looking out at the white landscape and falling snow, imagining CSA baskets filled with the colours and tastes of mid-summer…

What do Farmers do in the Winter?

The quiet of winter has, at last, settled over the farm.

Winter is the time of year when we take the chance to breathe in.  We read and research, we meet with other growers, we attend workshops and conferences, we plan for the upcoming season and reflect on the one that has passed.  We look back on pictures of the past season and marvel at the miraculous growth and bounty that the farm provides.  We cook and enjoy stored root vegetables and jars of preserved summer fare.  We watch and listen to birds at the feeder who remind us that, while the land may seem quiet and asleep at this time of year, it is still most alive!  There’s lots to do and even more to ponder…

We have landed

We are happy to have landed in the hills of the Boyne River Valley at Fiddle Foot Farm.  We started, when we arrived in June, by ploughing up a section of field for a vegetable garden, then made a home for two calves who arrived in early August.  We have made several trips back to Whole Village Farm (where we have been growing vegetables since 2008) to tend and harvest our garlic and onion crops which are now curing in the barn at Fiddle Foot Farm.  We are selling some produce this season at the Rosemont Farmers’ Market on Fridays 2-7pm (across from the Globe Restaurant).  It has been a summer of full days, but we are very excited getting to know this new property and seeing all of its potential.

“If agriculture is to remain productive, it must preserve the land, and the fertility and ecological health of the land; the land, that is, must be used well.  If the land is to be used well, the people who use it must know it well, must be highly motivated to use it well, must know how to use it well,must have the time to use it well, and must be able to afford to use it well.  Nothing that has happened in the agricultural revolution of the past fifty years has disproved or invalidated these requirements, though everything that has happened has ignored or defied them.” – Wendell Berry