Sunday, 16 October 2016

Week #42 - Food shortcuts to extend your harvest

The fields are cleared and the majority of the harvest is canned, preserved or drying. As the last few weeks of Harvest 2016 wind down, I'm all about shortcuts to make our harvest last. 

Today I made sofrito, a mixture that you can make up when your tomatoes, peppers and onions are fresh and bountiful and fresh as a base for many recipes all winter. 

Sofrito is most commonly used a base for Latin, Puerto Rican, or Italian cooking... but in my mind, there are so many recipes that you need chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic and peppers that it is so handy to have some of this ready to go. Freeze it in ice cube trays and then pop out into freezer bags so that you can grab a tablespoon at a time or freeze flat in freezer bags (I do 2 cups per bag) so that you can grab for recipes all winter long. 

Of course, if you are short on freezer space, I imagine you could can sofrito using a water bath similar to salsa or pasta sauce. 

I use these storage tips for all kinds of garden produce. After making a batch of pesto from my basil harvest, I pop it into ice cube trays to access easier a bit at a time. 

This year we have a large number of sweet red peppers that are ripening late in the season (thanks to the late frost). One of the ways I extend our harvest of peppers, is to roast them, skin them and throw them into the vitamix (blender) along with a healthy amount of garlic. This mixture gets spooned into (you guessed it) ice cube trays and is used for pasta sauce, red pepper dip, and throwing into chili, stews and various sauces. 

What are your tips and tricks for extending your harvest and dealing with an overabundance of any one veggie at this time of year? 

Monday, 10 October 2016

Week #41 - Giving thanks

So much to give thanks for this holiday weekend! After a very full week, the girls (Leanne, Taryn, Ariane & Grandma) took off for a girls weekend down to South Dakota, where Philip's sister and brother-in-law live.

We were able to give Ariane a full ranching experience... complete with driving cattle, grooming, trailering and riding horses, bottle feeding calves and various other silliness.

The males on the farm stayed home and worked hard pulling all the plants from the field and getting the barn ready for winter.... (involves a lot of shoveling...).

We came home to a beautiful turkey meal with all the fixings, completely grown here on the farm.

I give thanks for family, both near and far... for good food grown the way nature intended.... for laughter and hard work. My life is blessed to include all of these!

Spent a lot of time staring at the back of cattle,
driving them from one pasture to another....
Rode through beautiful fall forests

Did a lot of grooming... it's burr season! 

Played some serious card games! 

Shared some laughs and giggles...

Did I mention giggles...
and more giggles...

Waiting for us when we got home... 

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Week #40 - So long... Sunny September

As we bid September farewell, we must pause and thank mother nature for a beautiful month! Let's hope that October treats us equally well!

The things you find when clearing the field....
We didn't grow corn this year, so?

Dried oregano flowers... so pretty and fragrant! 
The week was spent catching birds (chickens and turkeys) and then trying to squeeze them into the freezers! A big thank you to all our customers who came out to pick up their chickens and turkeys today. It was such a beautiful day!

Oakley enjoyed herself immensely as she had lots of visitors! As a rescue horse she was very thin when she arrived at the farm. Only a month later and she is filled out nicely and seems to be enjoying her new friends!

Jet the cat and Oakley are great friends!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Week #39 - Preparation and puppies

While the long range weather forecast is suggesting that the coming winter will be brutally cold and snowy on the Prairies, the fall has thus far been relatively warm and many veggies are continuing to produce and ripen. In fact some veggies do better in the fall with the cool nights than in the hot summer weathers. 

It is always a bit of a guessing game on when the first frost will occur and how long you can leave things out in the field. We need enough time to do prep for next spring but don't want to pull plants until we absolutely have to! The other factor of course, is how much processing, drying, canning and prep for storage you can do at one time!

This time of year, the kitchen is always full with canning salsa, pasta sauce, pickling and dehydrating, making soups to freeze and pesto galore! This week after our usual weekly batch of salsa and pasta sauce, we made a load of kale chips, roasted red pepper sauce, a huge batch of pesto and some late pickles out of the abundance of cucumbers we have left.

This coming week doesn't look like it will come with frost and we are hoping to gather up all the herbs for drying, dig up those that are coming in the house for the winter and mulch those that will weather the cold season outside.

Our last batch of chickens and turkeys will go in on Monday night this week, so hope for a dry night with light winds to make catching 200 birds in an open pasture a little more comfortable.

Our regular followers will know that Ozzie, a blue heeler puppy came to the farm last week and it looks like he might be a permanent resident! At 9-10 weeks old he creates chaos most of the time but compensates with a cuteness factor that is off the charts! We are hopeful that he will earn his keep working on the farm helping move livestock and keeping predators away but for now he's simply entertaining.

Hope your upcoming week has some puppies cuddles in it..... after all every week should, don't you think! 

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Week #38 - Glimpses of the Farm

Today we welcomed approximately 120 visitors to the farm for Open Farm Day. A big thank you to all those that came out to learn what we do and why we do it. While it was a little wet for much of the day, the clouds eventually cleared and the sun shone. 

The event takes alot of work and planning so the whole family is involved. From selling veggies to parking cars to touring visitors around, everyone has a job. In between working the cash, our oldest son created this fantastic video so you too can catch some glimpses of the farm. 

Monday, 12 September 2016

FFF CSA - Week 12/12 - What's in the Box? - All good things must end... at least for the winter!

Alas we have come to the end of the summer... the end of our CSA share and its just about time to start putting the garden to bed for awhile. The season has been somewhat underwhelming with a number of veggies having a tough year. 

Our eggplants, broccoli and cauliflower, carrots and beets not to mention our kale - have all struggled or lacked vigor. The frequent and large rains were not conducive to high yields for those crops. Luckily when you diversify and have many different products you are seldom completely wiped out due to bad weather. Our baskets and bellies were never empty and nature's bounty was as always awe-inspiring.  

To our shareholders, thank you for sharing in our year, both when it was bountiful as well when things happened to be scarce! We love interacting with you each week both in person and online! We hope you will give us the opportunity to feed you again next year!  Just a reminder that we do have other products available throughout the rest of the year.... check back to our Products Available page on our website frequently for updated availability of meats, eggs and other goodies! 

So... What's in the Box this week?
  • Bag of mixed greens (lettuce, kale, swiss chard)
  • Zucchini  (fulls only)
  • Cucumbers
  • Potato
  • Pumpkins
  • Peppers (sweet and hot)
  • Squash - its a surprise! May include spaghetti squash, butternut, acorn and a few romanesca)
  • Kohlrabi (half shares only)
  • Ground cherries 
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Gourds (for your fall displays - not edible)
and a special farewell addition......
  • Green Veggie powder - dehydrated greens that you can slip into smoothie, soups, stews and sauces to amp up the nutrition! 

Romanesco squash
If you haven't been out to the farm, you are always most welcome! Why not pop by this Sunday between 11-5 on Open Farm Day!  More information can be found at 

Note: We do rinse the produce but it would be prudent to wash all vegetables when you get them home. Keeping the herbs (ends) in a cup of clean water will keep them fresh longer. (unless of course, you are drying them for storage later.)

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Sunday, 11 September 2016

Week #37 - Fresh starts, sad endings, and some new perspective

The first week of school... the last week of our CSA.... the first days of a new adventure. Now throw in a curveball and a tragic and sudden goodbye... week #37 has been full of the good, the bad and the ugly. 

Our kids all began school this week and Farmer Phil along with them (as he works at the highschool). The juggling of school, off farm work and farm work got a little bit crazier. 

Our oldest was pumped to be heading into his second year of University and a new line of study. So he (and all of us) didn't need the three broken bones in his foot the night before his first day. He is gaining fresh appreciation for why accessibility needs to be universal and woven into all building design. 

The first day of school for our two youngest kids (and Philip) was rocked by the tragic death of a long standing teacher on his way to school. While our children weren't taught by Mike Slobodian (Slobo as everyone called him), he was a much loved man who among other things took many highschool kids on annual canoe trips each year. Watching the school community come together to grieve, say goodbye and eventually to say goodbye has been sad yet rewarding. Rewarding to see how people reach out, help one another and look out for those that are struggling. The event certainly reminds you how quick lives can be altered and to remember to tell each other how much we mean to one another when we can. 

Ariane wasted no time taking Oakley for a test drive!
This weekend we welcomed Ariane into our home and hearts. She has come to stay with us for three months and we are so excited to get to know her and help her learn about our family, our community and our language. Once the three months have passed, our daughter will then go and stay with her for three months. Truly a life changing experience! 

We are looking ahead and preparing for our last CSA delivery as well as Open Farm Day next Sunday. We will once again be participating in this event this year. We, along with almost 50 other farms, will open our farms to visitors from across the Province for a day of learning and discovery. We will share our story and introduce visitors to everyone on the farm....both two legged and four! You can learn more about this event by visiting . We will be open from 11 am - 4 p.m. We will have a some veggies and some other treats for sale as well. Hope to see you there! 
Jet also came to stay on the farm this week! 

As we greet a new week tomorrow, please remember to be kind to each other and careful with our world. Show up, step up, speak up!