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Winter Shares Begin!

What a wonderful couple weeks this has been! I’ve slowed my pace a little, cleaned my house a lot, caught up on some paperwork and had some fun with my kids 🙂 A little time away (or at home in my case), truly does refresh the soul! Now I’m back on the farm and ready to serve you up local organic produce all winter long. The hens have been relocated to their new home at a friend’s barn. Between himself and his bird-loving girls, the hens are loving life and laying well. While the hens lay very consistent, large sized brown eggs, every so often you get an odd one (pictured below). Here you can see an egg that did not form and one so large that it had 2 eggs and looks like it belongs to a duck! It’s fun to observe the surprises along the way! You might get the odd “double yolker” in your eggs, that is, if I can fit it in the carton.

I am back to doing some more creative cooking and it feels good! This Stuffed Acorn Squash with Sausage, Spinach and Feta recipe totally had my girl declaring me the “best mommy ever” and rediscovering a love of squash. Mr. Eng and my eldest ate it up happily, but my youngest fell asleep before dinner and was unable to cast his vote (sometimes the day is just too exciting for a 3 year old).

Next up we tried an Autumn Harvest Bowl with Sweet Potato, Apples & Quinoa over a bed of spinach. I think the kids weren’t quite sure what to think- this is a little out of our ordinary lineup, but all left the table satisfied with a nutrient dense meal. I think next time I will try a different dressing than the tahini maple one (I enjoyed it but tahini can be a little bitter if you are not used to it), and customize each kid’s salad a little to their preferences. For now I just wanted them to try it! And try they did. We ask our kids to try everything, and this has helped them develop a wider palate.

Thirdly, I’d better throw in a recipe for the celery root! This funny looking root vegetable has celery’s great refreshing taste with a texture that really goes well with soups & stews. I even peel and dice it and add to my taco meat mix. It’s also tasty and crisp served raw in salads. So why eat the stuff? Aside from it being locally available throughout the fall and winter, it’s a great source of fibre, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and minerals while being low-carb. Want to try a very easy recipe? Simply peel off those gangly roots till you have a solid ball, dice, boil and mash to make Mashed Celery Root, just like you would with potatoes. I’d love to know what you think!

I’m also dying to try this Savoy Cabbage Casserole with my Savoy Cabbage.

Enough with the recipes, I know you want to know what to expect in your deliveries this week (or you would be happily ignoring your emails and staying off the blog!).

Regular Sized Organic Winter Vegetable Shares

  • 1 savoy cabbage (Zephyr Organics)
  • 1 pepper/acorn squash (Zephyr Organics)
  • 1 bunch carrots (Zephyr Organics)
  • 2lbs celery root (Zephyr Organics/Pfennings Organics- Ontario)
  • 3lbs Ontario sweet potatoes (Norfolk Organics)
  • 2lbs Ontario red onions
  • .4lb Ontario garlic
  • 1 bunch spinach (Zephyr Organics)
  • 1lb baby bokchoy (Zephyr Organics)

Family Sized Organic Winter Vegetable Shares

  • 1 savoy cabbage (Zephyr Organics)
  • 1 pepper/acorn squash (Zephyr Organics)
  • 1 bunch carrots (Zephyr Organics)
  • 2lbs celery root (Zephyr Organics/Pfennings Organics- Ontario)
  • 5lbs Ontario sweet potatoes (Norfolk Organics)
  • 2lbs Ontario red onions
  • .4lb Ontario garlic
  • 1 bunch spinach (Zephyr Organics)
  • 1lb baby bokchoy (Zephyr Organics)
  • 1 bunch golden beets
  • 1 bunch leeks
  • 1 savoy cabbage (Zephyr Organics)
  • 1 pepper/acorn squash (Zephyr Organics)
  • 1 bunch carrots (Zephyr Organics)
  • 2lbs celery root (Zephyr Organics/Pfennings Organics- Ontario)
  • 3lbs Ontario sweet potatoes (Norfolk Organics)
  • 2lbs Ontario red onions
  • .4lb Ontario garlic
  • 1 bunch spinach (Zephyr Organics)
  • 1lb baby bokchoy (Zephyr Organics)

Organic Fruit Shares

  • 1 organic watermelon
  • 2-3 large organic red grapefruits
  • 2lbs Canadian organic honeycrisp apples
  • 1lb organic strawberries
  • 4 organic avocadoes

Hope you enjoy!

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Final Week of Summer Farm Share 2020

The frame is almost complete (on the left).

We made it! A whole season of fresh from the farm, organic vegetables. From the crazy late frost to the the summer heat and drought, to the rainy and mild fall, it’s been a ride! Who could forget the staff shortages, endless disinfecting, and hunkering down to work brought on by the pandemic. But here we are- healthy, strong, (tired), but thankful for your support. That’s one thing I will fondly recall from this year. People really supported us and other local businesses. They really cared on a whole new level. Let’s hope that the lessons of the importance of family, savouring the simple things, and embracing local goods and services are not lost on us, even as one day, the pandemic is in the rearview mirror. We hope you enjoyed your local food adventure.

Now we at the farm are clearing out the fields of remaining produce, catching up on all the paperwork and household duties pushed aside from an unrelentingly busy year, and planning for the year ahead. We are also gearing up for winter shares. This year we added a family sized box to keep larger families satisfied with more organic produce all winter and spring long! Also on my to do list is getting our website re-made and making it much more user friendly for you all. In the mean time, you can check out our farm share offerings for winter and if you have any trouble, feel free to email me and we will register you manually.

The pictures at the top are of the new greenhouse we are building. It’s purpose is to provide an insulated growing space for vegetable seedlings and low-light crops like radish and baby bokchoy in the winter. I have hopes that we can carve out a little space for some winter farm share goodies too! But first things first- the building of it is quite the process.

A lot of people have been asking about eggs for winter. Thanks to a kind friend, the hens will have a great new sheltered home for winter and we will have eggs for sale. Instead of having egg shares, eggs will be an “extra” you can add on to your winter shares as I don’t know yet how the girls will lay in winter. I will email you the monday before your delivery, and you can message me if you would like eggs for that delivery. Don’t forget we will have raw honey, organic maple syrup, organic dry beans and organic ethical coffee to supply you with all winter long.

Now for the shares! New this week we have red cabbage. I have been waiting on this crop like forever! I’m so happy they finally formed heads before the ground starts to freeze. Have you tried German style red cabbage? You should. So good! It’s also gorgeous is salads, like this Ginger-Cashew Chicken Salad.

New to Brussels sprouts? The tastiest way is definitely to roast them. We left them on the stalk to show you how they grow! First, remove the sprouts from the stalks. Remove any yellow or holey leaves, and wash thoroughly. Then follow the directions in the link above. While you’re roasting things, why not roast your radishes too? It gives them a much milder flavour. You can also add other veggies with them for roasting like carrots, squash, potatoes, rutabaga and beets.

This is also the last weekend for our farm store! Great deals on jack-o-lanterns, squashes, carrots, leafy greens, beets, rutabaga, potatoes, onions and more at the farm store. Stock up for the weeks ahead!

Whole Shares: radish, carrots, brussels sprouts or broccoli, yellow onions, beets, potatoes, red cabbage, parsley, green leaf lettuce, black kale, rainbow swiss chard, rutabaga, baby bokchoy, pie pumkpin, pepper squash

We sure hope you enjoy your last baskets of the season. Many, many thanks!

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Summer 2020 Farm Share is coming to an end!

How can this be?! It seemed like just yesterday I was out there harvesting asparagus on the daily to make sure each person received some to enjoy, or gazing out at fields of newly planted seedlings, dreaming about crops to come. It’s been a year of strange weather, and ups and downs, but overall, I’m totally calling this a good year! This year a lot more folks started looking locally for their foods and other needs. Did any of your purchasing habits change over these last months? Many of us realized that ferrying our kids everywhere and keeping our schedules full to the brim wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be- that being home with family was all that really mattered. Some of us struggled financially, struggled with losses and loneliness, worried over charts and numbers yet felt more thankful than ever for our good health. Here, we are, still in the midst of the pandemic, but still moving along- still caring for the kids and parents and neighbours, still trying to make the best of this ever-changing life. We hope taking part in Farm Share helped keep you healthy and grounded, and added a little adventure to your days at home (or on the go). This is week 21 or 22 of the summer season (the last week for those of you with a biweekly share that get a delivery this week). We hope you enjoy it, and are able to make it last a little. Pretty soon we’ll be into winter shares (starting Nov 18/19), where we keep you stocked with local, hearty and always organic veggies and fruits.

A new item this week is celery root, or celeriac. I will honestly say it is probably the ugliest veggie out there- a cluster of white roots all knotted together. It looks a lot like celery in the fields, but a darker green, and all the action is at the root. Celery root has a mild celery taste that is awesome roasted, in soups, or even mashed with or without potatoes. It’s full of fibre, potassium, magnesium, and even Vitamin K and you can eat it raw of cooked. Try this Underground Vegetable Salad which also features rutabaga and carrots. Feel free to use your lettuce instead of endive (it’s less bitter anyways). Speaking of which, this will likely be the last week for lettuce. It has actually been pretty awesome to have lettuce this close to the end of the season, as lettuce can only tolerate a bit of frost. Lettuce is still my go to when I am too tired to do serious cooking, but I need my veg! Whole shares also get cucumbers, which are a special treat as well in October. Try Celeriac and Garlic Mashed Potatoes if your typical mashed potatoes need an upgrade.

Another item we haven’t had in a while is chinese cabbage a.k.a. napa cabbage. I have already shared that chinese cabbage makes an amazing Asian-inspired salad raw with a peanut dressing and a fantastic stir fry with bacon and chow mein moodles, but it is truly awesome in soup as well! Try this Napa Cabbage and Bean Soup suitable for vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters alike, or simply chop it up and add it to your basic noodle or wonton soup for some added interest and health benefits.

We did something fun in the fruit shares this week- persimmons. Honestly, I have never tried them, so we’ll do this adventure together. You can make this Autumn Salad with Persimmons or simply slice them and sprinkle with a little cinnamon and enjoy as is. We are enjoying Hachiya Persimmons (originated in Japan) which are best when soft, like an over-ripe tomato. They happen to be a little on the exotic side and have the price to match, so we just get to try 2 each. Hope you enjoy this little adventure with me!

Whole Shares

  • 1lb russet potatoes
  • 1 bunch carrots
  • 1lb celery root
  • 1 head red or green leaf lettuce
  • bunch red beets
  • chinese cabbage
  • 1lb rutabaga
  • bunch green kale
  • butternut squash
  • yellow onions
  • cilantro
  • extra squash
  • bok choy
  • cucumbers
  • red and green leaf lettuce

Half Shares

  • 1lb russet potatoes
  • 1 bunch carrots
  • 1lb celery root
  • 1 head red or green leaf lettuce
  • bunch red beets
  • chinese cabbage
  • 1lb rutabaga
  • bunch green kale
  • butternut squash
  • yellow onions

Simply 6 Shares

  • 1lb russet potatoes
  • 1 bunch carrots
  • 1lb celery root
  • 1 head red or green leaf lettuce
  • bunch red beets
  • chinese cabbage

Fruit Shares

  • 1/2 pint blueberries
  • 2 hachiya persimmons
  • 5 BC sunrise apples
  • 3lbs bananas
  • 4-5 avocadoes
Doug fixing our roof at home

I just had to write a little something about the man you see above. While running the farm, driving tractors and trucks, managing and selling, he spends his weekends fixing out roof (with me too). He truly is fearless and gives 100 percent for our family. He probably would not be too impressed with me putting this up here, but too bad! Sometimes a girl just has to admire the fearless farmer in her life 🙂

We hope this last week (or second last week) has you filling you fridges and bellies with good things, and making lots of great moments along the way. Ciao for now!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you were able to stop and say thanks today. Thanks for the simple blessings of food and shelter, thanks for the people that make life sweet, and simply, thanks for life itself. Today was a late and busy day, so I’m keeping it simple on the blog today 🙂

Half Shares

  • savoy cabbage (makes awesome cabbage rolls because you don’t have to pre-cook the soft leaves)
  • red beets
  • rutabaga (try making these delish oven fries)
  • green onions
  • butternut squash
  • russet potatoes
  • sweet chili peppers
  • spinach
  • baby bokchoy
  • romaine lettuce

Whole Shares

  • savoy cabbage
  • red beets
  • rutabaga
  • green onions
  • butternut squash
  • russet potatoes
  • sweet chili peppers
  • spinach
  • baby bokchoy
  • romaine lettuce
  • pumpkin
  • cilantro
  • red leaf lettuce
  • red kale
  • celery

Simply 6

  • red beets
  • rutabaga
  • green onions
  • butternut squash
  • spinach
  • romaine lettuce

Fruit Shares

  • 6 honeycrisp apples
  • 6 bartlett pears
  • 4 oranges
  • cranberries or blueberries
  • ground cherries or lemons

Have a wonderful week!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

The fall colours are out in full force! Every trip down the road is a chance to take in the ever-changing views. This year’s Thanksgiving celebrations will surely look different without the larger gatherings of family and friends many of us anticipate. In the spirit of the holiday, let’s focus on what we do have to be thankful for. Even the struggles you are going through are probably connected to a blessing! My husband and I have been working on our roof every weekend for long tiring days, and it’s not my favourite job by any means. But we are blessed in that we have a home to repair, and we have also been working really well as a team. I hope you also can see blessings amid your struggles. A fun idea I want to try this year is writing our blessings on a large pumpkin each day to keep us in the thankful spirit. Of course, if you want to make Thanksgiving feel like a celebration, great food always has a way! Now for your Thanksgiving Farm Share baskets:

Whole shares : carrots, russet potatoes, leeks, pepper squash, pie pumpkin, spinach, romaine or red leaf lettuce, sweet potato, celery, eggplant, butternut squash, green or red cabbage, sweet peppers, radish, green kale, parsley, thyme, rutabaga

Recipe Ideas:

Each item was chosen with your thanksgiving celebrations in mind! From the pie pumpkins (are you into traditional pie or pumpkin cheesecake?), to the pepper squash (just cut in half, scoop out the seeds and bake face up with a little butter), to the sweet potatoes (we love sweet potato casserole), to good ‘ol potatoes and carrots. The celery, parsley and thyme were selected with your traditional stuffing in mind. Wild rice stuffing is a great, native-Canadian inspired and gluten-free alternative. Your leeks would be great to lend onion flavour to both recipes. Your cranberries can be used in either the stuffing or cranberry sauce.

Fruit shares: organic pineapple, 6 organic Ontario honeycrisp apples, 6 BC organic bartlett pears, 4 organic oranges, organic cranberries

Guess What? We have…coffee! I am proud to offer Elpida coffee because it’s roasted right in Keswick, by a devoted couple who roasts organic coffee beans that are ethically sourced and putting more money in the pockets of the hard-working women harvesting the beans. Did I mention it’s delicious?! Check it out on our website.

celery field and moody skies
Got crafty with the kids! Hope you can find the time to slow down and be thankful.
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It’s Squash & Pumpkin Season!

From pie pumpkins to pepper squash, to butternut, to spaghetti squash, and delicatta and jack-o-lanterns too, it’s time to enjoy the nutrition and great taste of squash! This week we will be enjoying spaghetti squash. Rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and calcium, spaghetti squash is named for the noodle-like strands it has when cooked. You can use it in place of noodles with tomato pasta sauce, make a simple lemon butter & garlic sauce like I did or even make these Lemon Basil Fritters.

Lemon Garlic Butter Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 2 cups water (for cooking)
  • 2 tbsp. butter of choice (we used vegan becel to keep it dairy free)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice or to taste
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cut squash lengthwise with a large knife. It may help to remove stem first. Scoop out seeds and roast or discard. Bake face down in the oven in a glass dish with an inch of water in the bottom (about 50 mins at 400 degrees), or cut into a few chunks and cook in instant pot on pressure cook for 15-20mins. Safely remove from oven or pressure release if using instant pot. Using kitchen gloves, scoop out flesh with a pasta scoop and place in a colander. Let drain for a few minutes.
  2. Place in a mixing bowl along with butter, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Serve as a side with meat of choice (we had pork chops) and mixed veggies (we had carrots, green beans and sweet pepper, added to be steamed in that order).

Butternut Squash Soup

Still have that butternut squash from last week? Apparently this recipe has made its mark on my family because my 7 year old stopped me and told me ever-so seriously that we had not had butternut squash soup all year! What a travesty! I explained that it is now squash season, so it’s time to enjoy it now. I don’t have the scientific training to back this, but I believe eating with the seasons provides us with what our bodies need at the time. In the spring, the energy from all the green plants helps us lighten our menus and our bodies, and in fall, the hearty roots and squashes nourish and warm us from the inside out. This recipe for butternut squash soup is super easy, adaptable, and crave-worthy. This can be done on the stovetop or by roasting, but I find it simpler to do this in my instant pot.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-large butternut squash
  • 1 carton chicken or vegetable broth (or part water, part broth works too!)
  • 3 small potatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • handful of celery ends and leaves
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme (place in whole sprig)
  • optional:1 sauteed onion
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. yellow curry powder
  • can full fat coconut milk

Directions:

  1. Cut butternut squash lengthwise and and scoop out seeds. Cut into large chunks to fit in instant pot. Peel potatoes, and peel and crush garlic cloves and add to instant pot. Add all other ingredients and set instant pot to pressure cook 20 mins in the sealed position. Do a natural pressure release unless you are pressed for time. Remove thyme stems.
  2. Carefully add soup to a large blender in 2 batches and very carefully puree. Add coconut milk as needed for desired thickness.
  3. Mix together and garnish with coconut milk and celery leaves. Serve with naan or toast.

Farm Shares This Week:

Sorry, no pretty pictures this week- I was home working on my roof.

Half Share

  • carrots
  • spaghetti squash
  • savoy cabbage
  • red bell or sweet chili/banana peppers
  • bunch spinach
  • russet potatoes
  • red beets (recipe idea: grate beets and cook with rice to make pretty pink rice)
  • black kale
  • romaine
  • radish

Whole

  • carrots
  • spaghetti squash
  • savoy cabbage
  • red bell peppers
  • bunch spinach
  • russet potatoes
  • red beets (recipe idea: grate beets and cook with rice to make pretty pink rice)
  • black kale
  • romaine
  • radish
  • cilantro
  • banana or sweet chili peppers
  • strawberries, cucumber or broccoli
  • celery
  • ground cherries
  • fennel
  • pie pumpkin

Simply 6

  • carrots
  • spaghetti squash
  • savoy cabbage
  • russet potatoes
  • cucumbers
  • black kale

Fruit Shares

  • 2.5lbs Ontario organic honeycrisp apples
  • 4 BC organic nectarines
  • organic green grapes
  • 2.5lbs organic bananas
  • 3 organic avocadoes

Have a Whole-Some Week!

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First Frost

Those chilly nights you have been feeling outside resulted in a few nights of frost here. Frost can happen any temperature 2 degrees and below when you have clear skies. We normally have a frost in September, but this week we had 3 frosts in a row, which is quite unusual. We went out and covered the eggplant and peppers which certainly helped, but you can see how the plants have been affected. I had hoped for peas this week but they were heavily damaged by the frost. Fingers crossed that the plants (which look healthy), may grow some more peas.

Frost is a strange thing- on the one hand it’s sad to see many plants die, but also it can come as a bit of relief. Just a few less items to be worrying about. The days are getting shorter, which means a forced shorter work day in the field. It’s all part of the change of seasons and the cycle of things. It’s hard to imagine living anywhere without the 4 seasons.

It’s funny how all of the sudden I am craving (and cooking) comfort food and having the sudden urge to bake, despite not really having the time. Speaking of thyme, we added a bunch to our whole shares this week. I added mine to homemade chicken noodle soup, and it made us an awesome Sunday dinner with the addition of homemade tea biscuits.

Recipes

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 full instant pot of bone broth (I used the bones leftover from a roast chicken along with a few chicken leg bones, added a head of garlic, 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar & 1 tsp. salt.)
  • 1 tbsp. vegan butter
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped, greens included
  • 4 medium sized carrots
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3/4lb baby bokchoy
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free rotini or noodle of choice

Directions:

In large stock pot of instant pot, saute onion in butter until translucent. Add chopped celery and carrots until lightly softened. Fill pot with bone broth and bring to a boil. Cook for 8 minutes or until carrots are mostly softened on medium-high heat or on the sautee function in the instant pot.

Remove cooked chicken from chicken bones, or if there is none, cook a cup of chicken and add chicken to the soup. Add fresh thyme (whole sprigs). Add pasta and cook until al dente (7 mins or so). Add chopped bok choy in the last 4minutes of cooking. Soup is ready when the pasta is cooked. If using gluten free pasta especially, remove from heat and even cook down with a few ice cubes to prevent overcooking. Remove thyme stems and serve, garnishing with more thyme as desired.

Serve with tea biscuits if desired. Since I have misplaced my Grandma’s recipe, I went to Pinterest and found this recipe with ample instructions from Sugar Spun Run. I doubled the recipe to freeze some and ended up with about 16 biscuits.

Sausage and Pepper Penne

Here’s a simple and hearty dinner idea that makes for some fabulous leftovers. My eldest would 100 percent prefer hot lunches like this pasta in his thermos over a sandwich for school. The peppers really make the recipe for me! Get the recipe here. Honestly, this is a dish you can totally pull off without the recipe once you have tried it once or twice because it is so very simple.

Fennel Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 bulb fennel
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp apple juice
  • pinch sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • your choice of greens
  • snap peas, cherry tomatoes, choice of nuts

Directions

Slice fennel in 1/2 and then julienne into thin strips like an onion. Let soak for an hour. Remove fennel from brine and toss with other ingredients. Add salad dressing of choice.

Italian Stuffed Peppers

Are you getting an accumulation of bell peppers from your farm shares? Here’s another simple and delicious idea.

Finally, wondering what to do with that fennel bulb? Try this simple salad, recommended by a chef friend of one of my staff.

Crispy Apple & Kohlrabi Salad

Kohlrabi is another newbie this week. Just peel it and enjoy it raw in this salad. The taste is reminiscent of broccoli and the texture is nice and crisp.

And here are you farm shares for the week:

Whole Shares: butternut squash, carrots, red bell peppers, red beets, yukon & red potatoes, celery, bok choy, eggplant, fennel, red leaf lettuce, cabbage, kohlrabi or broccoli, white & red onions, sweet chili/banana peppers, cucumbers, thyme, ground cherries
Fruit Shares: BC nectarines, BC bartlett pears, avocadoes, lemons, and bananas

Have a wonderful week full of hearty, organic and delicious foods!

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It’s Sunflower Week!

They are everywhere on the farm! If you take a drive by, you will see a whole row right by the road. Feel free to stop for a selfie. You wouldn’t be the first, but maybe don’t tell every single person on your friends list 😉 so we don’t block the roads where farmers on tractors are hard at work and families are bustling to and from school and work. My big 2 went back to school again this week and I had a little shadow for much of the day. He was so into it! Harvesting cabbages in the tall weeds (his job was to carry them to the baskets) or helping mommy collect all the onions, not to mention helping me out collecting eggs and chasing runaway chickens, this little boy was a great helper today, and I relished the time with him (even if it meant being climbed on whilst trying to harvest things ;). Back to those sunflowers, i am attempting to send you all one with your farm shares. I am definitely not a florist, so trying to figure out how to get these to you looking as nice as they do in the field will be a challenge. I hope the sunflowers make you smile and remind you of the goodness in little things.

With the sudden nip in the air and the risk of frost, we covered the peppers and eggplants, which are still doing fantastic out there but have very little tolerance for frost. The first frost almost always comes this month, but this one seems to have snuck up on us since we have had a pretty balmy September so far. This week we are enjoying sweet banana and sweet chili peppers. They may look like hot peppers, but they are mild and sweet with not even a hint of spice for what I can tell. With their smaller size, they make a perfect snack, or would be great to stuff with cream cheese and wrap in bacon like a jalapeno popper but without the spicy. I like this super simple recipe.

I don’t know about you, but I have been hankering for comfort foods again. Chili con carne made it back on my menu this week with the addition of the sweet chili peppers. My kids to be honest are not the biggest pepper eaters (pains me because these are one of my favourite vegetables), but in chili they never mind them at all and are getting loaded up on vitamin C. Did you know sweet peppers are a better source of vitamin C than oranges, pound for pound? Hope you enjoy them both for their taste and benefits. As for the chili, I make it with about 3/4 cup each navy beans and red kidney beans from fresh acres (available in our online store) or the mixed beans and cook them from raw right in my instant pot. It only takes 35 mins cook time (leave about 15 minutes for it to pressurize). I had the ground beef pre-cooked, added about 4 cups of pureed fresh tomatoes (just threw them in the blender), added 4-5 sweet chili peppers, chopped, 1 small white onion, chopped, 1.5 cups total of fresh acres dry beans, added chili powder, coriander, salt and paprika and some extra water for the beans to absorb (about 1.5-2 cups) and put it on the chili cycle on my instant pot. I left this all prepped in the fridge so my hubby (not the family cook!) could literally just put the instant pot together and turn it on while I finished up my work and I came home to dinner! We love to serve chili with shredded cheddar cheese (or daiya/goat cheese shreds for my son), plain yogurt and tortilla chips. The yogurt or sour cream cools down the chili for little eaters and makes it more appealing all in one!.

Celery is back again this week and was totally the inspiration for me making Chicken Pot Pie. I decided to go all out and do a full gluten free vegan crust, top and bottom, with a pound of chicken, 5 celery stalks, 4 carrots, 7 small potatoes, and one medium zucchini and butter and chicken broth thickened with gluten free flour as my filling. The ingredients are pre-cooked so your oven time is just about cooking the crust and melding all the flavours together. Note: watch out for the gluten in chicken broth if you are highly gluten sensitive. It often contains barley malt extract when purchased in the carton. I used this recipe as a very loose guideline, added WAY more veggies, and used this recipe for the gluten free and vegan crust . I’ve used it before and while I won’t tell you it’s exactly like the real McCoy, us gluten-eaters enjoyed it too. The only thing I will remember for next time is don’t be afraid to let the filling be a little more moist and “soupy” as the crust/cooking process does thicken it up some more.

Another item we haven’t seen in a while is onions, and what good timing, with the recalls of US onions. This is the benefit of buying local, friends. Knowing where your food comes from! We are Canada Gap certified, which means we follow a pretty exhaustive list of food safety protocols to prevent any contamination that could make you sick. When you know where your food comes from, you don’t need to worry about these massive food recalls because your food can be traced directly back to our farm. No wondering where the heck it came from! Hope you enjoy the savoury flavour enhancing onions do in almost any dish!

One more thing- winter shares are now ready for purchase! If you like the idea of keeping going with this local food journey, and also love the idea of staying cozy at home while your produce is delivered directly to your door, we have winter shares to offer you! They are mostly local, always organic and now we are offering 2 different sizes to meet the needs of larger families as well. Add a fruit share and fresh, organic produce with be coming your way through the fall, winter and spring months. Deliveries run biweekly or monthly. We explain your options here: You can order right on the website.

Well, that’s all for now folks. Hope you have a lovely week full of sunshine and cozy moments…and always, good food!

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A Wilderness Getaway to Close the Summer

Hello, friends. I am freshly back from a little long weekend camping trip with my family. You may wonder, do farmers take vacations? Well, the answer is normally not very often or very long, but just like you, we’d like to have our kids look back and remember we did things other than work in the summer, here and there ;). We headed up to Samuel de Champlain National Park, because, let’s be honest, it was the closest one that wasn’t booked for every weekend (all the way in North Bay area!) and wow, was it lovely! The weather definitely did some cooling down and we had one solid day of rain, but we managed to get in some great hikes and beach time before packing up to resume another busy week on the farm.

The blog is here just to let you know all the great items in your shares this week, and to remind you that summer is fleeting, so please do soak up the sun and have a little fun. And probably eat a watermelon while having fun in the sun…because they are a perfect pairing. This should be our last week of watermelon, at least for everyone, to savour it!

No pretty box photos because this slacka was on the road home from her trip 🙂

Half Shares:

  • spinach
  • green onions
  • red peppers
  • grape tomatoes
  • zucchini
  • chinese cabbage
  • red or green leaf lettuce
  • watermelon
  • carrots
  • red beets

Whole Shares: same as above with added:

  • russet potatoes
  • field tomatoes (near end of season)
  • banana peppers (not spicy)
  • ground cherries (sweet little tropical tasting fruit with adorable little wrappers)
  • mint
  • green beans

Simply 6 Shares

  • strawberries or ground cherries
  • carrots
  • spinach
  • red pepper
  • grape tomatoes
  • zucchini

Fruit Shares

  • 6 organic Sunrise Apples (BC)
  • 1 Zephyr Organics Watermelon
  • 4-5 organic peaches (BC)
  • 3 organic mangoes
  • 3 organic avocadoes

More Canadian fruit options are coming in from British Columbia this month and next. A lot of our organic fruits come from the Okanogan Valley in BC because the high elevation means less pest pressure from insects and yields a higher quality fruit. The abrupt temperature changes from fall to winter and winter to summer (did we even have spring this year?) means our own fruit trees did not yield barely anything at all. This after so many hours pruning them, painting them with dormant oil and even scratching my cornea trying to help the apples thrive. There is always next year! BC plums are on their way next week and taste scrum-diddily-uptious! Hope you enjoy the fruits of a good Canadian summer :).

Crispy Baked Zucchini Fries

Are you looking for a new way to enjoy zucchini? Fries always seem to be a sure bet…and parmesan is one flavour we can’t seem to get enough of! Try the recipe here. Vegans and folks looking to cut back on dairy? Did you know you could make your own Parmesan cheese? Only 4 ingredients too. I think I should be able to figure this recipe out.

Enjoy, friends!

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The Joy of Helping Hands!

Hello friends of the farm! This week I am feeling super grateful for a few reasons, and many of those reasons are the beautiful gift of some helping hands. This weekend I was determined to get all the ripe watermelon in the cooler (we had been harvesting them each day, but wow, there were a lot of watermelon out there!). It just so happened, the time I finally could carve out for it happened to be Friday evening, near the end of our Friday farm store day, and I had a vehicle and the good trailer, so I was going to do it, darn it! No matter that everyone has Friday afternoon/evenings off and I was flying solo. I got out there, stubborn thing that I am and started picking…and picking…and picking….making pile upon pile of watermelons, until before I knew it, I was thoroughly in over my head. Then in came Angel- I mean Angela of FN Happy Farms, a fellow local farmer lady extraordinaire, coming to the store for a few red peppers for her delicious gazpacho (see recipe below) for the Uxbridge market.

She sees me knee deep in a substancial amount of work and, bless her heart- volunteers to help me haul all 400 or so watermelons from the fields to the cooler. No small feat when each of these melons can weigh between 3 and 18 pounds! She stuck it through with me until the job was done, and provided me with the best company all the while- a fellow farmer who gets the joys and challenges of farming, and an all-around super awesome boss lady! She spoke of the incredible blessing a volunteer can be, and was eager to pay it forward (and joyfully), even if it meant spending her Friday night hauling melons with me. Thanks Angela! If you are in the Uxbridge area on a Sunday come see her at the Uxbridge Farmer’s market for a healthy and original lunch made with truly local ingredients.

My next batch of volunteers may not be able to haul many melons, but their sunny personalities and curiosity put the fun in farming. Don’t worry, we were stopped when this photo was taken! I’m not taking any chances with these cutie pies. They are just too precious. We even spotted a nest of baby birds in the tomatoes that we have been checking up on since they hatched. Here they are pictured at about 4 days old.

My biggest kid got to try his hand at driving the new lawn tractor this week, and to say he is enthusiastic about this opportunity is an understatement. Not sure if it is the “farming genes” or the way that he is so concise and careful, but this boy is handling it like a pro already, and not chewing up mommy’s chicken-watering hoses. Kudos!

Whole Shares offer: Red watermelon, grape tomatoes, green beans, carrots, golden beets, romaine lettuce, field tomatoes, bok choy, red and green peppers, and green onions, spaghetti squash, new russet potatoes, chinese cabbage, garlic chives, cucumbers, strawberries or ground cherries. I tried to put 17 items in this week but they just wouldn’t fit with all those big items (watermelon, spaghetti squash and chinese cabbage)

Simply 6 Shares: Red watermelon, grape tomatoes, green beans, carrots, golden beets, romaine lettuce

Fruit Shares: 1 yellow doll watermelon (Zephyr), 5 BC peaches, 6 bartlett pears, 6 nadorcotts, 1/2 pint blueberries

Recipes

Watermelon Fresca (drink)

Now for your veggie boxes and recipes! I am sure you can guess by my mammoth watermelon harvesting that we would be enjoying watermelon this week. Are you getting tired of just eating watermelon? Try this watermelon fresca recipe, inspired by Angela’s market offerings.

Are the tomatoes, peppers and last week’s cucumbers accumulating? Try a refreshing gazpacho, a soup served cold that will hydrate you and fill you with vitamins.

Gazpacho, as shared by Angela of FN Happy Farms

Ingredients

  • 3 cups ripe heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 cup cucumber
  • 1 small green pepper, red pepper
  • 1 small jalapeno
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 10 basil leaves (anyone still have their basil plant from June?)
  • 1/2 tsp good quality salt

Directions

Add all ingredients to blender and add your choice of 1 tbsp citrus juice and 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Strain or leave chunky. Add ice cubes to chill, water or extra tomato juice. Add extra salt and pepper to taste.

Grilled Beef & Bok Choy Salad

A fellow farm share couple shared how bok choy is something they get excited about now, with this awesome recipe. The recipe calls for baby bok choy, but the white bokchoy in your shares would also be great, but might need a couple extra minutes to soften.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup each vegetable oil, rice vinegar & soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp Ontario honey
  • 3 cloves Ontario garlic, minced
  • 1- 1 1/2 tsp Asian chili sauce (7mL)
  • 2 Ontario beef striploin steaks
  • 4 Ontario baby bok choy (or your 1lb + bokchoy in your shares)
  • 2 cups Ontario snow peas, trimmed
  • 4 Ontario radishes, halved and thinly sliced
  • 6 cups Ontario mixed greens
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

Directions

In measuring, combine vegetable oil, vinegar, soy sauce, seame oil, honey, garlic and chili sauce. Pour 1/4 cup over steaks, turning to coat. Cover and set aside in refridgerator to marinate.

Meanwhile, trim ended from bok choy, cut in half lengthwise. In large bowl, toss bok choy with 1/4 cup dressing to coat. Grill over medium heat, turning once, for about 8 minutes. Return to bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand until tender-crisp, about 10 minutes.

Grill steaks over medium-high for 3 to 4 minutes per side or medium rare, or to desired doneness. Let stand covered 5 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile in a large pot of boiling salted water, black snow peas for 1 to 2 minutes or until tender-crisp. Drain and plunge into bowl of ice water. Drain and dry.

Drain any liquid from bok choy. Cut each in half again lengthwise and return to bowl. Add snow peas and radishes, drizzling a little of remaining dressing to coat. Place greens on a large platter. Top with bok choy mixture and sliced beef Sprinkle with seame seeds. Serve with remaining dressing.

Grill time: 15 mins. Prep Time: 25 mins. Cooking time: 10 mins. Serves 4.

Fridge Cleaner Stir Fry Veggies

Does your fridge end up with bits and pieces of pushed-aside veggies by the end of the week? Why not bring them together for a colourful side dish that comes together quickly and wins you some fridge space back :)!

Ingredients: these are flexible- always start with root or harder veggies first, and soften a little before adding the softer veggies. In this one I started with sliced kolhrabi and zucchini, then after a couple minutes added red and green peppers, snow peas, and finally some frozen corn (fresh of course is wonderful too!). I added baby bok choy and cooked just until wilted, and “dressed” the stir fry in a mix of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, a little vegan butter, a couple tbsp honey, salt and pepper. Really tasty!

When in doubt- chop up your veggies and stir fry them!
Betcha didn’t know….chickens adore watermelons! They are helping me not waste the ones that accidentally split. They don’t mind one bit!