Monthly Archives: July 2012

Just another Thursday on the Farm


Today was a typical, awesome, summertime day on the farm. A great part of farming and running your own market business is that you get to be your own boss. There is always more to do than we manage to get done, but we do have some flexibility when it comes to deciding what to do when. Every day I wake up and think to myself, ‘What fun things should I put on my to-do list today?’. For real. It’s pretty amazing.

Here’s a list of what Chris and I did today – just another Thursday on the farm:

– let out, fed, and watered the ducks, pigs, chickens, and rabbits;

– watered the garden beds and the seedlings in the greenhouse;

– painted a large piece of plywood with chalkboard paint for our farmers market booth;

– had breakfast;

– baked three loaves of vegan zucchini bread;

– harvested potatoes;

– shovelled mushroom manure and wheeled it to a new garden bed space;

– had lunch;

– rototilled the mushroom manure into the new bed space & installed hoop house frames (go Chris!);

– collected compost from local, organic grocer;

– visited and watered veggie plants at two other local properties we grow on;

– chatted with the 4H folks who come to feed and play with the pigs in the evenings;

– harvested onions;

– snacked on raspberries right off the canes;

– hung out with Chris, Julie and Kai in the garden;

– snacked on Julie’s freshly picked snap peas;

– wrote on chalkboard signs in preparation for Saturday’s market;

– locked the animals in for the night;

– stopped to smell the butterfly bush flowers;

– ate dinner;

– decided to write a blog post;

Not so bad, right? xo


Becoming a Flower Farmer


Okay, okay, so I’m hardly a flower farmer, BUT I have started a farming business and I am growing a few flowers amongst our vegetables, so I’m on my way. Right?

From 2006 to 2009, I lived in Ottawa and had a great job as a policy analyst for a non-partisan lobbyist group. I got an up-close-and-personal look at Canadian politics, worked alongside amazing people from the government and non-profit world, and truly had one of the most interesting and unique experiences of my life. A couple of years into that experience, however, I started craving a lifestyle like the one I have now and used to love daydreaming with some girlfriends about one day becoming a flower farmer. Imagining myself living in the middle of a sea of flowers and spending my days caring for them just seemed so idyllic. 

So here I am now, a few years later, spending my mornings watering our vegetable beds and celebrating the flowers that are finally emerging after their late plantings, water-logged conditions and battles with slugs. My daydreams are materializing!

Now, if I were a true flower farmer, I’m sure I’d know the scientific names and detailed information about all of the flowers in these photos. That’s not the case yet – but it will be! In the meantime, here are some of the BEAUTIFUL blossoms that are finally popping up all over the garden. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do. x

Poppies! I LOVE the gorgeous pink poppy I posted above with it’s delicate, tissue-paper petals. Below is another poppy almost ready to open. *Sigh* I seriously love poppies. 


Sweet peas! So pretty and so fragrant and seriously popping out all over the garden now. 


This is what happens when you leave a raddish in the ground. It produces these flowers as it’s going to seed. A very lovely transition period.


An onion flowering and going to seed… 


Tatsoi (an asian green) going to seed…


Phacelia – a great cover crop flower for vegetable gardens that bees love! So glad Chris M. made a point of planting so many of these around the garden beds.


Nasturtiums (red & orange below) are edible and attract the attention of aphids and other bugs we don’t want on our veggies.


Blue Borage – a fully edible flower (and greens!) that attracts bees and provides a higher level of healthy fatty acids than Evening Primrose.


Zucchini flowers: a precurser to the arrival of the veggie – always a good sign! Also edible, although I have yet to try them. Adding zucchini flower recipe research to my to-do list as I type…


And finally, perennial lillies. I’ve got a variety of colours planted. Hopefully they’ll keep coming back every year…


Kale: Our Farm Superfood


Photo: Red Russian Kale

All of us here on the farm LOVE kale. I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that we eat it every day while we have it growing in the garden. Last summer was the first time we really started paying attention to kale. We grew some and fell in love with it. It was the first time I’d ever eaten it raw in salads and once I started, I couldn’t stop. 

Kale is a superfood. It is incredibly nutritious. It is low in calories, has zero fat and is high in fibre. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef and more calcium than milk. It is high in vitamins K, A, and C, is great for cardiovascular health, has anti-inflammatory properties, and is a great detox food. It also tastes delicious. Like I said, a superfood.

For us west coasters, kale is also very easy to grow. If you haven’t tried growing any and you have some garden space, I recommend it. Plant some seeds now and you’ll have kale through the fall and winter (it gets sweeter after it’s hit by frost!).    

Because of our success with kale last summer, we made a point of planting A LOT of it this year. We are currently growing six different varieties and plan on adding a few other varieties for our winter crop. Starting this Saturday, after requests from market customers, we will be selling mixed bunches of kale in addition to single-variety bunches at our market booth. If you’re curious about trying and comparing different varieties, come by and grab one of our mixes!

If you haven’t eating much kale and aren’t sure what to do with it, here are some suggestions:

1) Eat it raw in salads: This is how we eat it the most. We throw it into every salad we make, including quinoa and other grain salads. My go-to blog for kale recipes is Faye blogs about raw, vegan eating and kale shows up a lot in her recipe reviews. Check out her Best Kale Salad Ever! review.

2) Make kale chips: Way healthier than potato chips and addictively delicious. Chris and I daydream about buying a high quality food dehydrator to make raw kale chips (we treat ourselves to packs of these from health food stores once in awhile – SO good!). In the meantime, all of us here at the farm bake kale chips in the oven. Watch Julie show you how to make DIY kale chips in this video we filmed last summer. Easy peasy!

3) Add it to your smoothies: I do this every morning. If you don’t love the flavor of kale, this is a great way to get all the benefits while toning down the taste by adding berries, bananas and whatever else you like in your smoothies. A great way to start the day.

4) Cook it: This is something I don’t have a lot of experience with since I almost always eat my kale raw. However, I have heard that it’s delicious steamed or lightly sautéed. My mom emailed me this morning to say that she tossed some of our kale in a veggie stew she made last night and that it was delicious. 

Tip: When picked young, kale leaves can be eaten as is. As they get older, they get tougher so you’ll want to massage the leaves before you throw them in a salad for easier digestion. All of the kale leaves we sell at the market are still young and tender, but a lot of what you see in the grocery store could probably use a massage. 30-60 seconds for each leaf should be enough. Also, most people prefer to slice out the stem that runs up the middle of the leaf. We eat them because we’ve become accustomed to their fibrous quality, but if you’re new to kale, you may want to try nibbling the stems in small batches before tossing them in a salad (I throw the stems in my smoothies for extra blended goodness).

Photos of our different farm varieties of kale posted below. I forgot to reset the white balance on my camera so these are all showing up a lot paler than they really are. Much more vibrant green in person! Swing by our Farm for Life booth between 9-2 on Saturday at the Haney Farmers Market if you want to try a freshly-harvested mix :)




Dwarf Blue Curly


Laurel’s Frilly


Rainbow Lacinato