Keep updated on all that is happening around Thiessen Farms!


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First Frost

Well that was unexpected!

I checked the forecast again before turning in last evening and was relieved that there was no danger of frost – not even close!

I woke up this morning … to frost! There was frost on the roof, frost on the ground, and frost on the plants!

White on the squash patch where the vines have been mowed down, the ground worked and a cover crop sown for the winter.
Lots of frost on the tomato plants. We’re working on removing bamboo posts & string that were supporting the plants all season. Next we’ll pull the steel posts and mow down the plants.
Eggplant & hot peppers looking a little frosty!

But the sun shone and burned off the frost in a hurry and there was very little damage. Only the bitter melons were finished off (but the plants were about done anyways), and the sweet peppers & eggplant are showing some frost damage. Everything else looks fine – and for this we are thankful! While our CSA is finished, we still have 4 more weeks of farmers markets, and we need some product to sell.

The final planting of greens went into the ground only last Friday, 5 days ago. Whether or not they grow & mature will depend on the temperatures and sunshine over the next few weeks. But they are off to a good start.

The 2nd last planting …
And the one we’re harvesting this weekincluding lettuces, salad mix and baby kale.

This week was the first since early June that we have not harvested and prepared for a CSA pick-up. The 18 weeks went by fast. Now we have a bit more time for other jobs on the farm (and perhaps we will start to slow down and work less hours), but we already miss seeing everyone. One of the best parts of a CSA program is meeting and getting to know the folks who we grow our vegetables for – the ones who eat our produce.

Thank you again to all who joined us this season!

These 2 friends are already slowing down, taking the time to enjoy each others company, and watching the chickens!


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CSA 2019 – Week 18 – final week

This is the last week of our CSA for 2019!

The 18 weeks have gone by quickly. It seems like we were just relishing the first salad greens of the season, eagerly anticipating that early zucchini and still salivating at the thought of a fresh tomato … or juicy blackberry. And now it’s over! Only 1 more box of produce – though it is all vegetables that will store well, and can be enjoyed and savored for an extended time.

What’s in the box?

Squash, sweet peppers, spinach, arugula, onions, garlic.

  • The squash is all harvested and in the barn now. While not all varieties did well, there is more than enough delicious & beautiful squash to satisfy our CSA members & farmers’ market customers. Check them out …
  • We continue to pick sweet peppers – coloured bells (red, yellow, orange & chocolate) and the very sweet shepherds. There will be several in the box again this week. Keep them in a plastic bag in the fridge and they last for weeks! Or cut them up & tuck them in the freezer. The shepherds are great roasted too!
  • Spinach & arugula are the greens for this week.
  • Onions & garlic finish off this last CSA box of the season.

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We have had another week of mostly wonderful fall weather. The leaves are turning colour now, and the autumn flowers are blooming. It’s certainly my favourite time of year!

Thank you to all for being part of our CSA this season.

We appreciate your support of our small family farm, the confidence you place in us to supply your fresh produce, and your commitment to coming out to the farm (or the market) each week to pick up your share.

We hope you enjoyed the taste, variety & surprise of a new box of fresh vegetables each week! 

See you next year! 


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CSA 2019 – Week 17

This is the 2nd last week of CSA!

We have 4 more Saturday farmers’ markets to attend and 6 more Thursday markets (not that we’re counting).

That will take us to the end of October – and the end of our season!

Until then we still have vegetables to seed & plant, weed & harvest. Here’s hoping for a lovely & mild fall so the crops can continue growing & thriving for another month!

Transplanted a few rows today – salad mixes & baby kale.
It’s mostly greens still growing in the fields now.

We have stopped picking blackberries – the quality of the few that remain on the canes is poor & not worth harvesting. We keep saying that the tomatoes are finished too, but the warm weather of the past week has spurred some new growth & ripening. But the big story is the eggplant! The plants, which have been failing for some time are perking up, sending out new blossoms and ripening more fruit – not a lot, but we’ll take it!

We are getting inquiries at market concerning pawpaws. Our little pawpaw patch is thriving (all 9 trees!) and some have a good crop. They appear to be several weeks away from harvest yet.

I was optimistic that this would be the year we got to harvest some nuts from our heartnut & walnut trees. But as usual the squirrels have helped themselves to the the crop, leaving us nothing! There are some hazelnuts though. If all goes well we may even have a few to sell at market later.

What’s in the box?

Squash, salad mix, bok choy, arugula, sweet peppers, onions & garlic.

The CSA box this week is quite similar to last week’s …

  • However, this week’s winter squash selections could be different than the squash you had last week. We continue to pick as we have time (it’s a big job) so there may be other varieties to choose from. Of the 28 kinds we grew, many are abundant but there are several varieties that seem to have just disappeared!
  • The other difference this week is the salad mix. Instead of the usual lettuce mix that we have offered for much of the season (we ran out of seed), we have a new blend that includes some other greens along with the various lettuces.
  • The warm weather of late has been a real bonus for the sweet peppers. There is an abundance of fruit remaining on the plants and it is ripening nicely!

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With the end of the season in sight, some of us on the farm are already in a resting mode …

… while other are focused on play …

… but the dedicated are still hard at work!


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CSA 2019 – Week 16

Would you believe this is our squash patch? Or is it just a weed field?

It was back in mid-June when we transplanted our squash plants here. I cultivated them several times until they started to runner and the tractor couldn’t get down the rows anymore without damaging the plants. Then we hoed & hand weeded them once. After that they were on their own! Squash is not a high value crop so we limit how much time & effort we put into it. All summer we drove past the field – every day – many times a day – and pretended not to see the weeds.

When we finally took a closer look, and ventured into the thicket the other day, we were pleasantly pleased to find a decent crop of squash – all sizes, colours & shapes. (We grew 28 varieties this season.)

We’ve started to pick and pile them to cure in the sun.

Much of the farm is looking empty & bare. We cleaned up a lot of beds today – picking the leftover vegetables and then mowing them down. It looks a lot better now!

The remaining crops are growing well.

And we continue to seed …

What’s in the box?

Squash, bok choy, lettuce, arugula, sweet peppers, onions, garlic.

Extras – hot peppers

  • The first of the winter squash appears in your box this week. (There will be more!) We’ve taste-tested them and they are great! Everyone has their own way of preparing squash but we prefer to bake them. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, place in a baking dish cut side down with a tiny bit of water, and bake at 350 until the squash is tender & soft. Then scoop out the flesh & enjoy! Add seasoning if desired. It’s a simple, easy preparation.
  • Bok choy is back! After taking a break during the heat & humidity of the summer, we have this delicious green again.
  • Other greens in the share this week include lettuce & arugula.
  • Sweet peppers, onions & garlic complete the box this week. We finally took the time to sort through our garlic and set aside the biggest & best for planting next month. The rest will be in the CSA share and we’ll sell at market. Because we started making garlic available earlier, when it was still fresh, we’re going to run out sooner than expected. So enjoy it while it lasts!
  • Hot peppers will be available for those who want a bit of extra heat in their diet!

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A bit more of the beauty of fall …

And the characters of fall!


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CSA 2019 – Week 15

Another Monday – another day of seeding, planting & harvesting (and a bit of weeding too). To be honest, we’re not so excited about it all anymore. It’s been a long season and we’re feeling tired!

But when we see how the recently planted crops – especially the greens – are responding to these cooler, fall temperatures and growing with vigor, we also respond with increased energy and push on …

What’s in the box?

Swiss chard, radishes, sweet peppers & mini sweet peppers, lettuce & arugula, blackberries, onions, and garlic.

  • Swiss chard will never be the most popular green – but it certainly is the brightest & prettiest!
  • Chard is a healthy green, that cooks & tastes similar to spinach in many ways. We usually plant a row, offering it in our CSA once or twice, and selling bunches at market. But it never sells very well (good thing the chickens like it!). This year we tried something different and sold baby chard – chard that is planted quite thickly and then harvested when only a few inches tall. At this size it is very tender and can be eaten raw in salads. But some of it got away on us and now we have some beautiful full size swiss chard. If you are not familiar with chard, here are 2 websites that offer good information & simple recipes.
  • https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/swiss_chard/
  • https://www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com/simple-sauteed-swiss-chard/
  • Fall radishes (or winter radishes) are different from spring radishes. They takes much longer to mature and the result is a very large, but milder, crispy radish. They are most delicious eaten raw but can also be stir-fried, or roasted. We planted lots, but then lost most of them due to poor germination when it was dry, and then to weeds. As a result this might be the only week they are in your box – so give them a try!
  • This is high season for our sweet peppers! We have shepherds (the long, red, very sweet ones), & bell peppers in several colours. The harvest is plentiful – so expect plenty in the box this week! In a plastic bag in the fridge, peppers keep well for several weeks. They freeze well too – simply cut them up, pop into freezer bags and throw them in the freezer. When winter comes, you’ll be glad to have them for your cooking!
  • We also have mini sweet bell peppers. These tiny peppers in yellow and red taste delicious and are great in lunches or as a snack. You could stuff them with cream cheese & herbs or try this recipe …
  • https://www.skinnytaste.com/mini-bell-pepper-loaded-turkey-nachos/
  • Lettuce mix, arugula, onions, garlic & blackberries complete your share this week. We’re still picking lots of blackberries, but the crop is coming to an abrupt end shortly! This may be the last week for blackberries!
  • There are no tomatoes in the box this week. The cooler days & much cooler nights have slowed the (already weary) plants down and we are picking very, very few. Tomato season is ending!

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We continue to draw energy from the beauty of the farm this time of year!


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CSA 2019 – Week 14

Do you have any bees on your farm?

That’s a question we get asked a lot at market. People are concerned about the bees! I assure them that on our farm there seems to be a lot of bees … and butterflies .. and all sorts of insects.

Right now the sunflowers are teeming with life! So many bees and other flying insects! When we finish picking a patch, I don’t mow it down immediately but leave what remains (misshapen blooms, crooked stems, uglies …) for the bees to work – and they love it!

There are bees in the wild areas too – in the weeds around our pond, along the railroad tracks …

… and in our gardens by the house.

Our water garden – where the water from washing our vegetables drains to – has had an abundance of monarch butterflies lately. They especially like the Joe Pye weed.

What’s in the box?

Lettuce mix, beets, zucchini, shishito peppers, sweet peppers, tomatoes, blackberries, onions, garlic.

  • Our lettuce mix is back in the box this week! The cooler temperatures of late (especially at night) have been good for lettuce, which prefers this over the heat & humidity. We continue to plant lettuce every week, so there should be lots coming.
  • Today I cleaned up several beet plantings where we had been picking earlier. The beets here, hidden under weeds, are not the prettiest – they are all different shapes & sizes. But we ate some for dinner tonight and they were tender & delicious! Enjoy some beets in your share this week.
  • The zucchini is also looking a bit strange now! The plants are struggling to survive (I’ll put them out of their misery after this week), but still producing fruit – albeit somewhat misshapen & oddly coloured fruit. So this is the last zucchini you’ll get in your box this season.
  • We can’t stop eating shishito peppers. I’m so glad we planted a lot of them! Hopefully you love them too. Most shishito recipes char or blister the peppers. That’s the way we eat them! But here’s a recipe that’s a little different – pickled shishitos. https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/braised-pork-with-ginger-pickled-shishito-peppers
  • Our sweet peppers are ripening faster now – the red shepherds and the coloured bells.
  • The cooler nights have slowed the tomatoes right down. We’re picking a lot less now than a few weeks ago. But there’s still plenty of green fruit remaining on the plants so we’re not done yet – which is good news for all of us tomato lovers!
  • Blackberries, onions & garlic complete the box this week.

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Here’s a recipe for a fresh & easy tomato salad that we eat all summer …

Fresh Tomato Salad

Combine
2 TB red wine vinegar
1.5 TB olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper 
1 clove garlic
Add …
2 cups chopped tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
2 cups chopped cucumbers
2 cups chopped sweet peppers
1/4 cup chopped (red) onion 
1 tin chick peas
Let sit for 2 hours.
Add …
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup feta  

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Our apologies if anyone was missing a few blackberries last week!!


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CSA 2019 – Week 13

It was a wonderful Monday morning with a bright sunrise, heavy dew, cool & fresh temperatures, and no humidity! Everything – even the weeds – looked beautiful in the early morning light.

And like every Monday, it was a full day – of picking, weeding, seeding and transplanting.

Today’s transplanting included arugula & bok choy. Tomorrow we’ll cover this bed with insect netting to keep the leaves from being chewed up.
Lettuce mix that should be ready to pick next week. Under the insect netting is salad mix & arugula for this week.
Spinach, beets, more lettuce … and cabbages & radicchio (here’s hoping for a long fall so these have time to mature) all transplanted about 10 days ago, and growing well.

It’s the end of August – and the farm reflects this. Overall it is looking tired! Many of the vegetable beds are wild & overgrown with weeds but there are still crops hidden there, like beets and onions … Others beds are looking better.

What’s in the box?

Dragon’s tongue beans, salad mix, shishito peppers, sweet peppers, red & yellow onions, carrots, cucumbers, garlic, tomatoes and blackberries.

  • Dragon’s tongue beans (also known as mother-in-laws tongue beans – but we won’t go there!!) are a flat, yellow bean with purple stripes. A beautiful bean, they taste better than any green bean in my opinion. The only downside of them is that the purple disappears when cooked. A very quick blanch sometimes will preserve the colour – if you don’t mind eating your beans a little on the crunchy side!
  • We have a new salad mix this week. It includes such things as mustard, tatsoi, bok choy, etc … These could make it a little spicy, but certainly tasty! Try it and let us know if it is something we should grow again.
  • Our shishito pepper plants are producing an abundance of fruit. That makes us happy as they are a favourite of ours. Check the newsletter from week 11 to review the details on how to prepare them.
  • We’re finally seeing some colour on our sweet peppers! This week’s selection will include green bells and a few red shepherds. Shepherds are long & tapered in shape and have an amazing sweet flavour.
  • Your box will include the usual Ailsa Craig onion, and a nice red onion too this week.
  • Enjoy carrots & cucumbers this week – maybe for the last time? We’re almost at the end of the carrot rows now. And the cucumber plants appear to be giving up!
  • The garlic is about cured now. Keep it dry & at room temperature (or slightly cooler) and the bulbs should last for several months. Another option is to freeze it. Separate & peel each clove and stuff them in a glass jar with a lid (to prevent the entire freezer & contents from smelling like garlic) and put in the freezer. Pull out a clove when you need it. Very easy and they will keep indefinitely.
  • The tomato patch is looking weary – but still producing a lot of delicious fruit! What’s your favourite way to eat tomatoes? One CSA member passed on a recipe for tomato pie. Thanks Amy! See recipe below.
  • Everyone is happy to see blackberries! “A little tart, a little sweet” is how we describe them at market. Enjoy blackberries in your share again this week!

Easy Tomato Pie Recipe

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup parmesan cheese 

6 large tomatoes thinly sliced

4 tbsp Helman’s Mayo

3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper

I placed the panko and parm in a 9” pie plate and pressed it so that it covered the bottom and sides of the plate. I did not bake the crust but rather began to layer thinly sliced tomatoes, dabs of mayo and salt and pepper into the plate. When the slices filled the plate completely I pressed the slices down firmly with my hands and topped the pie with grated cheddar.

Baked at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

Some additions to the pie could include fresh herbs between the layers, or cooked crumbled bacon. But it is pretty awesome as is. 

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Guess it’s not just the farm that’s tired this time of year. We’re all feeling weary this time of year – catching naps when we can, hitching rides on the carts so we don’t have to walk …