Musings about our farm, organic farming, regional foods and markets.

Plus, what's in the news about foods, systems and regulations around the world.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Isn't It Ironic?

                       Our small certified organic farm                                     GM soybean harvest
On May 24, millions of activists from around the world will once again March Against Monsanto, calling for the permanent boycott of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and other harmful agro-chemicals. Currently, marches will occur on six continents, in 52 countries, with events scheduled in over 400 cities.

May 24 this year also happens to be my 58th birthday. I will be at Evergreen Brick Works farmers market in Toronto, selling Rolling Hills Organics pre-washed salad greens (arugula, mixed greens, spicy greens, baby beet greens, baby lettuce mix, baby spinach, baby kale, baby chard), herbs and spices, and grass-fed, grass-finished beef. It is important to me to be there every week in person, to offer customers a one-on-one alternative to the chemicalized and genetically-modified offerings of the industrial food system.

Paraphrasing something that I read somewhere on the wonderful world wide web,

It is an irony that we, as a small farm, are mandated to pay annually to be verified (certified) as organic, whilst large industrial-scale farms are paid (subsidized) by our governments to grow pesticide-laden ‘commodity’ crops which are, for the most part, genetically modified and which have untested and potentially unforeseen dangerous consequences for our health and that of the biota that share the land with us.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Gundi's birthday

Today is Gundi’s birthday. This afternoon we went for a walk in Warkworth along Mill Creek, seeing the river bubbling and meandering along, a hawk swoop to pick out a fish lunch, and greenery unfurling everywhere.

This Spring, after the longest winter we can remember, we have been pleased to see Nature re-assert her authority with the re-appearance of a number of our treasured creatures – bumblebees, wild bees, green frogs, purple- and gold-finches, hummingbirds, rose breasted grosbeaks, Baltimore orioles, and today, bluebirds. OK, we have to put up with groggy blackflies beginning to bite, chipmunks and squirrels filling their cheeks with sunflower seeds, and raccoons and skunks sneaking out from the undergrowth. Today we stopped the car to help a very snappy snapping turtle across the road. It is just giddying to see Spring progressing at full tilt.

As we both enjoy Spring birthdays, we get to celebrate by eating outside al fresco.  Tonight’s birthday dinner was served as the thunder was rolling overhead, and just ahead of a welcome rain. Shrimp and scallops seared in ginger, garlic and olive oil, with rice, tomato salad, super-fresh and tender asparagus picked at a neighbour’s patch and gifted us. Con Freixenet negro bubbly y vino tinto chileno (carmenère), of course. Salud!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Outdoor Market Season is here

It being the beginning of May, the outdoor farmers market season starts for us at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto’s Don Valley this Saturday, May 3. This means an early start with the alarm clock going off at 4.30am (much earlier for some farmers who travel from farther afield).  The outdoor market runs as in previous years, from 8am to 1pm.

It has been a long winter for everyone, of course, with more than our normal share of cold, snow, and especially ice. We stayed home this winter with wood-fires blazing, eyeing with envy the cheerful reports from friends in hot climes. Spring has been tortuously slow and steady, like a dripping tap. However, we now find ourselves just a little behind in our seasonal rhythm of digging the beds and planting in the greenhouses. Outside, the landscape is regaining some colour and contrast as the grasses green, the garlics poke their heads up, and the dandelions and weeds follow. Heavy rains the last few days have left the brown earth furrows in the plowed fields temporarily waterlogged.

The beds in the greenhouses are now fully planted and beginning to fill in nicely with early spring greens. At market this week, we will have bags of pre-washed arugula, baby spinach, mixed greens, spicy greens, and baby kale – all certified organic and freshly-picked on Friday, of course. Next week, there will be more of these, plus baby lettuce mix and maybe baby beet greens.

And so another growing season is underway. The joy and wonder in seeing these tiny seeds turn into succulent, nutritious food never wanes. This year, we are focusing marketing efforts on Saturday Brick Works and Tuesday afternoon (this year 2 to 7pm) Riverdale Park farmers markets.  I look forward to market season and interacting with our lovely, loyal customers once more.

See you at market!