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Fall CSA – final week!

Our season is rapidly coming to an end.

This is the final week for our fall CSA program. By all accounts it has been a success. The weather co-operated and we have been able to keep the boxes full of delicious vegetables – and even pawpaws! Our members have appreciated the extra weeks of fresh produce.

After some light frosts throughout October, we finally had our first heavy freeze last week. While it finished off the remaining sunflowers, the salad greens & beets came through it undamaged. There will be plenty in the boxes this week.

Once we have picked our vegetables for CSA this week, whatever is left in the fields will be picked and sent off to the food bank.

We have covered one bed with hoops and row cover. Under it is a mix of salad greens for us to eat as long as the weather allows. The cover should extend the season for awhile – we’ll see how long.

One of the last major jobs on the farm in fall is also one of the most important – spreading manure & compost. The smaller pile is guinea pig manure – that’s right, guinea pig manure! We have neighbours who breed & show guinea pigs and bring us manure every week when they clean the cages. It adds up over the season and we have quite a big pile of beautiful manure mixed with wood shavings. The larger pile is 40 tons of mushroom compost that we had delivered the other day. We mix the 2 piles together and spread it over the farm. This, together with the cover crops that we grow, feeds the soil and all the living things in it. The result is healthy, vibrant soil that grows our beautiful, tasty and healthy vegetables.

What’s in the box?

Cabbage/Chinese cabbage, squash, garlic, beets, salad greens, green onions.

The final week of CSA includes some storage vegetables – cabbages, squash, garlic & beets and also some vegetables to eat fresh – salad greens (probably our salad mix and spinach or bok choy …) and green onions.


Around the farm this week …

Autumn mornings are beautiful on the farm – whether frost or fog or sunshine … and the colours …

Thank you for being a part of our 1st Fall CSA!

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Fall CSA – Week 4

Let me be honest and just say it outright.

We are lacking for ambition this time of year.

For sure we are still getting work done – but it takes us longer each day to decide which jobs to tackle and how much we need to accomplish.

There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, we are tired & weary from a long season – both physically tired and also mentally. And secondly, the schedule we followed all summer – the one that was basically the same all season long, the one we didn’t really have to think about because it was so similar week after week – is done. Seeding, planting, weeding, (almost all of the) harvesting, marketing & selling … is complete. Now we are into the clean up & put-the-farm-to-bed-for-the-winter time of year. Fortunately we have a list of fall chores that we can work from – crossing a few off the list each day gives us a feeling of accomplishment.

Today we planted garlic, the last crop to be planted this year. We put in 7 rows, each 250′ long. That’s approximately 4500-5000 cloves. Should be enough!

The other day I burned the brush pile.

We have also dug up the dahlias, cleaned in the barn and the workshop, painted the back barn door, cut down the plants in the water garden, winterized some of the equipment and put it away, emptied the outdoor water tank and removed the pump, filled the indoor water tank …

And the list is getting smaller – just like our ambition!

What’s in the box?

Chinese cabbage, fennel, radishes, salad greens, green onions, garlic, pawpaws.

Extras – squash

  • We did it! We finally got some nice Chinese cabbage – it has taken all season and more than a few tries but it sure is beautiful. Crisp, tender, and mild, Chinese (or napa) cabbage is delicious eaten fresh in a salad instead of lettuce. Or use the large leaves as wraps, make it into coleslaw, kimchi or stir-fry it. While the outer leaves are a lovely green colour, the inside is often creamy white. (If you want to save it for later, it will keep for a month or more wrapped in plastic in your fridge.)
  • This last harvest of fennel is also the nicest of the season. Enjoy it fresh in a salad or slaw or try the soup recipe below. A longtime customer from Georgetown market shared a tub of this soup with us along with the recipe. It is super delicious!
  • There are still a few pawpaws on the trees – so we decided to add them to the CSA share this week. Pawpaws are a “tropical fruit” native to North America, growing in the Carolinian forests in Kentucky, Ohio and north to Southern Ontario – around Lake Erie & in the Niagara peninsula. Once popular with indigenous people & early settlers they began to disappear as the woodlands were cleared for farming & development. Now they are considered to be somewhat rare. The taste – the taste is heavenly! Distinctly tropical like a banana/mango/pineapple with a soft, mushy, custard-like texture. I slice them in half & scoop out the delicious flesh with a spoon. (Each fruit has a lot of large, hard seeds to eat around.) Let it get very soft before you eat it. It may turn brown & bruised but that’s ok. That’s when it will have the sweetest flavour.
  • Radishes, salad greens, green onions & garlic complete the box this week – our 2nd last week of the season.

Tricia’s Fennel & Roasted Garlic Soup

2 fennel bulbs

5 redskin potatoes

½ large sweet onion

2 carrots diced

1 roasted red pepper

Saute vegetables in olive oil in a stock pot.

Then add 2 bulbs of roasted garlic.

Add water to cover and cook.

Add 4 cups vegetable stock and seasoning – nutmeg, celery salt, dill seed, cumin, allspice.

Use a potato masher to break it down.

When serving, top with this yogurt topping.

Combine plain yogurt, lots of finely chopped chives and fennel fronds, salt & pepper.


Around the farm this week …

The final beds of salad greens to be harvested this fall.
Sunflowers blooming too late for market, but the bees are still enjoying them – as are we!
Fall is a beautiful time of year!

Everybody was enjoying the sunshine & warm fall weather today!

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Fall CSA – Week 3

Our Georgetown Farmers’ Market ended this past Saturday.

And what an ending it was!

Rain, wind, cold, sun … we had it all.

But after a summer of almost perfect weather every Saturday we felt we shouldn’t complain – though of course we did anyway.

Despite the weather, sales were good and it ended up being a very successful day. Georgetown residents always support their market in a big way.

Thank you Georgetown for a great season!

What’s in the box?

Red cabbage, radishes, beets, pea shoots, salad greens, green onions, sweet pepper, garlic.

Extras – winter squash

  • Red cabbage is a favourite vegetable of mine – especially the way my mother prepared it. I have included a similar recipe below.
  • Radishes are usually considered a spring crop, but they thrive in the cooler weather of fall as well. Enjoy a bunch of “spring radishes” in your box this week.
  • Continuing with red vegetables, we are still harvesting beets.
  • Pea shoots are a delicious green that taste like … peas! Snip them off as needed and add them to your salads, sandwiches, wraps and even stir fries. If you cut them about half way down and keep them well watered, they will regrow and you can keep on harvesting them.
  • Salad greens, green onions, sweet peppers, and garlic complete the box.
  • Winter squash is available for those who want it.

Sauteed Red Cabbage

  • olive oil
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium head red cabbage – shredded
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • salt & pepper
  • Saute onions in olive oil over medium heat for several minutes.
  • Add cabbage and continue to saute for another 5 minutes.
  • Add vinegar, sugar, salt & pepper.
  • Lower heat and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Around the farm this week …

A colourful pick up for week 2 of our fall CSA, last week.
Our 2 rows of old blackberries have been removed & the roots pulled.
Here are the 2 new rows planted in 2021. Next year we will harvest our first crop.
Tomatoes – gone!
Plenty of beautiful greens growing for the last 3 weeks of fall CSA.

Fall colours in the gardens and around the farm.

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FALL CSA – Week 2

Week 1 of our new fall CSA was a big success. Since it was Thanksgiving weekend we filled the boxes with plenty of fresh, delicious vegetables – and even fresh sage for stuffing the turkey!

Week 2 includes several vegetables that have not been in the box this year. And there are still good things to come. Fingers crossed that we continue to have some nice weather so the vegetables keep growing!

Planted the last greens of the season today – a suitable Thanksgiving activity I think. We are thankful to be finished planting as we have been at it for 8 months. But we are especially thankful for an abundant harvest this year!

What’s in the box?

Carrots, Swiss chard, salad greens, green onions, sweet peppers, squash, garlic.

  • Anyone who has been a part of our CSA before knows that carrots are not often found in the box. They are just not our thing! Carrot seeds are slow to germinate and require several things that we are not able to provide in the field – consistent moisture & weed-free soil. But we can provide them in the greenhouse, so we started our carrots there and transplanted them into the field. This works much better – except that carrots don’t like to be transplanted. They grow well but turn out misshapen and wonky. So in your box this week are carrots – in all sorts of shapes & sizes. They taste great! But don’t frustrate yourself and try to peel them. It’s not worth the effort. And also not necessary. Simply wash them and enjoy – both the way they look and especially their taste!
  • Swiss chard is in the box this week, for the 1st time this year. Colourful, nutritious and delicious, chard can be used in many ways. Check for a good description of chard and 47 recipes that use it!
  • As usual the salad greens could be spinach, arugula, kale or bok choy. Most of the greens are doing well and thriving in these cooler temperatures. Add some green onions and a sweet pepper to your salad as well.
  • Winter squash & garlic complete the box. Both of these vegetables store well – keep them dry and at room temperature or slightly cooler.


Around the farm this week …

Most of the vegetables have been cleaned up and mowed down – like the pepper & eggplant patch.
The stakes & string have been removed from the tomatoes. This week we’ll pull the posts and mow down the plants.
We have begun cutting down the old blackberries and moving the wires to the new blackberry rows.

It’s pawpaw season! We have been taking them to market for the past 2 Saturdays. It’s a good crop and there are still plenty to ripen. Never heard of pawpaws? Read our blog post from several years ago for a good description & pictures.

Rosemary is growing, and getting even more adventurous. Today she ventured as far as the big greenhouse and beyond.


Fall CSA – Week 1

It’s all about the weather. Always. On the farm.

(And lately in the news too – big weather events have been making headlines.)

At the farmers’ market, we greet each other by asking about the weather. All summer the question was, “Did you get any rain this week?” Lately the question has changed to, “Any frost yet?”

Already 2 Saturdays ago there was frost for some farmers resulting in crop losses. Here in Niagara frost often holds off until early October and a hard freeze comes even later.

With our Fall CSA beginning this week and running until early November, we have been hoping for no early frosts and a month of pleasant weather. There are still a lot of vegetables growing in the field that we would like to harvest. We are counting on these vegetables to fill our CSA boxes!

But this morning we awoke to frost – a frost that was neither forecast nor expected. It was a fairly heavy frost, enough to do some damage. Fortunately most of our crops will recover – this time.

Welcome to our fall CSA.

It’s all about the weather.

Frost is both damaging and beautiful!

What’s in the box?

Cabbage, green beans, sweet peppers, fall radishes, salad greens, green onions, squash.

  • Our fall cabbages are still small – it was very dry when we planted them and they got off to a slow start. But they taste great! We have green cabbage this week with red yet to come.
  • The green bean plants were damaged by the frost, but we were able to pick off the beans. Same with the sweet peppers – we picked what we could and there should be enough for a few weeks.
  • Fall radishes, most salad greens & green onions were not hurt by this frost and are included in your share.
  • Winter squash completes the box this week.


Around the farm this week …

Autumn brings some amazing skies.

The last of the roses.