There are only three more weeks left of our summer/fall season including this week. If you would like to continue to get boxes this winter you will need to go to the Sign Up tab of our website and choose the options you want from there.
There is a change of pick up location for the Florenceville/Centreville area. We will be delivering salad bar items to the Centreville Community School on a weekly basis so the principal offered that the school could also host a pick up location for boxes.
We are not sure if we will be doing a Nackawic drop. We need at least 10 customers in order to do it or else need to charge a delivery fee. Pass the word around and let us know if you are interested in picking up in Nackawic.
Our Strawberry plants for next year are growing well. I was concerned that we planted them so late, but the mild fall has been great and the plants have sized up well. I can't quite decide whether to get rid of the weeds in the aisles or not. I can cultivate them out but then the soft soil will erode. If I leave them there they may grow again in the spring and need to be mowed down. The plastic is doing its job of keeping the weeds away from the plants so they are growing well regardless.
We had our organic inspection last week. Few people realize what we go through to be able to offer certified organic products. Not only is there substantial cost but we also have a lot of paperwork and an annual inspection to verify that we are using organic methods according to the Canadian organic standard.
For those of you who may not like to use spaghetti squash as "spaghetti" Kirsten has also cut it up into chunks and baked it with bacon as you can see here. For those who may not like the typical squash flavour, I think you will really like this. Actually many people would probably not know it was squash unless you told them.
Here it is on the plate.
If you are having difficulty eating all the Cauliflower, it can be boiled then gently mashed and served instead of rice or noodles. It is really good with a hamburger sauce over top.
Both broccoli and cauliflower can also be lightly steamed and frozen for quick and easy preparation later on.
We are certainly having a very beautiful fall so far. The early frost did not kill our tomatoes in the main greenhouse but it is getting cool enough that the tomatoes were not growing much any more so we have picked them all and are ripening them on bread trays in the germination room. This opens up the main greenhouse for us to seed salad mix for this winter. Every day of good growing weather now is worth about a week of growing in January so we are eager to get the winter greens in the ground.
Last week the greenhouse was full of tomato plants right up to the rafters. Now we have started seeding salad mix. The clear plastic on the ground will help hold heat even during the cold months of December, January, and February. We noticed a marked difference in trials last winter. Although it is harder to plant and seed into the plastic, the growth benefits should outweigh the extra time it takes.
We have gotten some extra help to get the sweet potato harvest in. It is looking good and we expect to have sweet potatoes right through the winter. We have 4 different kinds this year of which two are ones we have never grown before.
Pigs are growing quickly in their field and wooded pen. They have finished rooting up the remains of the sweet corn so we will be giving them a new pen shortly. We are amazed at how fast they have grown and how well they have done. We also have sold out of sausage twice now so are looking forward to having more sausage using Kirsten's special sausage recipes.
We have a lot of pumpkins for fall decoration. We will bring some on the bus for those of you who come to the bus weekly. We also have a lot at our roadside stand. You are sure to find a size and shape that fits your tastes.
I'm not sure if I've told you our strawberry story so pardon me if you have already heard it. When we bought the farm we did not intend to grow strawberries. Organic strawberries are very difficult to grow and we decided the entire farm would be organic. Later we decided to call it Strawberry Hill Farm because it is on Strawberry Hill road. Nice name and fitting to the history of the farm but this has caused us one problem. People cannot accept the fact that we would not grow strawberries with a name like this! As a result, we are in our third attempt to grow organic strawberries successfully. This spring we had some great tasting berries, but the yield was so low that our costs where not covered. We have completely changed our system and today a couple of veteran Strawberry growers stopped in to pick up something. They never grew organic strawberries but we still asked them to look at our plants to see what they thought. They were amazed how good the plants are looking at this time. Their comment was "maybe it is possible to grow organic strawberries after all!" We won't know for sure until we harvest next spring but this is probably the most encouraging piece of Strawberry news to date.
We have also had a few adventures with our livestock over the last week. It was time for the bull to go home to the neighbour but he did not want to go! He has rarely been confined or tied so he can be quite a handful when he has a mind of his own with all 2,000 pounds. After a broken rope one day and about an hour of pulling and coaxing the next we managed to get him into a trailer and back home. Sure was good to have him back home for the year.
The eggs from pasture raised hens are far superior to indoor hens but we have had a few problems with wild life this year. We have seen a hawk come and get a couple hens and then last night something else appears to have gotten through the electric net and gotten a couple more. We will be setting up a game camera so we can see who the night time culprit is. There are many benefits to farming in the country, but as with anything, there are the negatives too.
Mice have been sampling our winter crop of kohlrabi. As is typical with mice, they just eat a little bit from each one then move on. If they ate one completely it would not be so bad. We are trying to figure out how to keep the mice out without poisons. Maybe a hot pepper spray will deter them but we would have to make sure it is rinsed off before we send them in the boxes!
Here is a picture of Stephen picking the salad mix for this week. The cold weather makes it milder than it was in the late spring. It can be used as a salad or it can be used as a brazing mix. I think you will find it has enough flavour not to need salad dressing but if you find a little spicy, then ranch or french salad dressing can help to tame it down.
Our winter box sign ups are now ready from the Sign up tab of our website.
The frost hit early this year and killed our cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, squash vines, ground cherries, and other frost sensitive crops. Sadly even supposedly hardy crops like peas got hit by the freeze. We intended to send snap peas again but the frost damaged them to the point they are no longer yummy. I think the reason they succumed was because the temperature was warm then dropped very suddenly below freezing so the plants had not grown used to the cooler temps.
The good news is that although we won't have as many tomatoes and cukes as normal, our winter storage veggies are looking good and the sweet potato crop looks good too. The broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage looks like it made it through the cold well.
We also have some great looking fall salad mix coming along as well as fall spinach and radishes.