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Blessed Passover and Happy Easter to All!

It sure looked different this year thanks to the lockdown, but I hope you found creative ways to connect with others. Easter for me represents new life which makes it truly beautiful. Our family had lots of unorthodox Easter fun like making a paper mache octopus pinata (why not?!), but acting out our favourite Bible stories with our church family over zoom was the highlight for me! God has truly been my rock through these strange times. All the feelings like loneliness, sadness, gratitude, frustration, fear and joy crop up often unexpectedly, but I have my Rock, my centre to return to. If you are struggling in these times, please reach out- the person at the receiving end of your reaching will likely be just as grateful you did.

On the farm it has still been a family affair, with one of our migrant workers (and the most experienced one!) joining in the long list of tasks to do including daily seeding, planting/transplanting, weeding, harvesting (mostly spinach), washing, packing, preparing the land, and preparing the soil mix for seeding. And of course there is always fixing and maintaining the machines that help us get the work done.

This week I ordered chickens (both laying hens and broilers) which we are making chicken tractors for. Our plan is for them to live a happy life pasturing and eating organic feed and plant to be offering their eggs and meat to you starting in July (eggs) and August (meat). Stay tuned! I am so excited to have our own flocks here, and can’t wait for them to also start eating the bugs that want to feast on our veggies! Of course food safety is top of mind here and they will not be in with the crops of veggies directly. They will be busy fertilizing fallow land and cover crops for future production.

Another exciting bit of mail was strawberry plants. I ordered a whole 2,000 everbearing plants which came via courier all the way from Nova Scotia. Our more local suppliers were sold out this year. Now for the planting! We already re-used 366 pots we already had with hopes to be able to bring them in and out of the greenhouses with the changing weather, but the rest are going to have to go in the ground. Seriously, I hope you are around to help me eat them, as if I keep them well-fed, should be a good year for strawberries :).

Onto the winter shares: we are sold out again for this week and the rest of the spring season. To accommodate the extra spring share members we will be moving some of your deliveries to the Thursday (see email). It’s only possible to fit so many boxes in the vans and make so many stops in one day :). Thanks to all of you who shared with your friends about us and helped you friends enjoy a safe way to get healthy foods. We still have summer shares available and will be updating our website to make payment plans available by next week. This week we will be busy picking & preparing your veggies and fruits.

In your shares this week:

Veggies: 4lbs red potatoes (Canadian organic), 2lbs carrots (Ontario organic), 1.5lbs Jerusalem artichokes (Zephyr Organics), 1lbs tomatoes (QC Organic), 1 cucumber (Ontario organic), 1 bunch spinach (Zephyr Organics), 1 bunch green onions (Zephyr Organics), 1 pack romaine hearts (US organic)

Fruits: 2-3lbs Ambrosia apples (BC organic), 5 organic pears, 1lbs organic strawberries, 6 organic oranges, and 3+ organic avocados

A note on safety: All of the folks at the farm are feeling well and washing their hands frequently. The plastic veggie share bins are quarantined for 2 weeks and then bleached. The items not directly from our farm have been in our warehouse for a couple days before your delivery and not accessible to anyone but the person packing them. Covid-19 is not known to be transmitted through food but can last on porous surfaces up to 24 hours. So, to be on the safe side, you can quarantine your food for a couple days, remove leafy greens from their bags and place in a ziploc from home, and wash/scrub items with water and of course, wash your hands often with soap. Cooking also kills the bacteria. Here is some more info.

Recipes & Ideas

Instant Pot Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Want to feel like a chef with minimal effort? This lesser known tuber is actually from the sunflower family, and the edible part is the root. It is loaded with iron (almost half your daily value in 100g!), and also contains lots of other trace minerals like copper and potassium with a nice complement of fibre.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 9 Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed and halved
  • 1 large or 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 cups veggie, chicken or beef broth
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. parsley flakes
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Wash, peel and chop carrots, Jerusalem artichokes, potatoes, onions and garlic as directed above. Toss in instant pot. Add vegetable broth, apple cider vinegar, water, bay leaf, parsley flakes and salt & pepper.
  2. Put instant pot nozzle in “sealing” position. Pressure cook for 7 minutes. I did a combo of gradual release and manually released it the rest of the way. *always use instant pot directions and do not try to open a sealed instant pot!!
  3. Remove bay leaf and transfer to blender (or use immersion blender). My recipe just fit in my 9 cup blender. Be careful blending hot stuff. I make sure the lid is secure and I start by pulsing slowly to make sure the soup won’t splash out. When I felt like it was going ok, I switched to low and then medium power and pureed a couple minutes. I garnished with a sprinkle of parsley flakes and full fat coconut milk, but heavy cream would also be great, by letting drips fall down from my spoon (it started out accidental and then I thought I’d go with it 🙂

You can also peel and julienne the sun chokes to add to salads or slaws, or slice thinly and sautee in olive oil and garlic until tender crisp. Hope you enjoy!

Spinach Ideas:

In case you haven’t discovered, lasagna just ain’t lasagna without some spinach. You can start with this basic recipe and tweak it to your needs by using gluten free oven ready noodles or even pre-baked zucchini or eggplant noodles and it can be made dairy and egg free by using creamy goat cheese and goat cheese or vegan mozzarella in the filling. The kids gobble this, spinach and all!

Spinach is also amazing as a salad. I’m dreaming a dream of leftover turkey over a bed of fresh spinach with strawberries and a little goat cheese. Top with your favourite vinaigrette or lemon poppy seed dressing. Delish and meal-worthy!

Tip: I like to keep the spinach in the bunch to trim the stems/roots off with a large knife all together. Then I remove from the bunch and soak in water in the sink or a large bowl 2-3 times or until all the grit is removed (it will fall to the bottom of the sink or bowl). I gently shake the leaves out of the water and they are ready to eat or cook 🙂

Enjoy-and I hope you have time to create some wonderful dishes with your organic veggies and fruits at home 🙂

-Jenny from the farm