Lately, we have been stepping out of our habit of hibernating from the rain. With this weather we've had plenty of opportunities to practice. So we have biked, sailed, attended sports events, walked, shopped, and of course marketed in the rain.
It can be a real challenge to gear up to get out for fresh produce and products in the rain, the heat or after a long day at work. BUT your habit of doing so pays off in so many ways; to your health, your family, the farmers' and producers. Thanks!
Feature Farm: Cedar Hedge Farm
1. Why did you chose to go into the farming business?
Simply put, I wanted to do something that had meaning to me. We all have our own path and beliefs. After 20-plus years of doing something to make a living, I felt it was time to do something I could be proud of and that makes a difference.
2. What are the three skills needed to be a farmer?
It seems like I'm learning a new skill every week. The biggest is patience –– not sure if it's a skill but it's really important. The next skill, as a farm that does not use chemicals, is bug identification: knowing the good from the bad, and what will eat what, is really critical. The third skill is time management: you're never going to get everything done so it's about choosing the jobs that will accomplish the most.
3. What is your favourite summer and fall crop?
That's a hard question. I like to try everything I grow. If I had to choose I would say Ground Cherries and Butternut Squash. We haven't had much luck with squash but we're still trying.
I have two mantras. As a hyper person I have to keep reminding myself "be the tortoise" (this is a marathon not a sprint). The other is "you get what you get so don't get upset." This applies to weather and yields and pretty well everything else. You do what you can, but things like the -30 winter or rain every Wednesday you simply can't control so there's no reason to get upset or complain...just work with it.
5. If you alone had the power to make changes in our food system, what would it be?
This is a loaded question. I have always looked at things as big picture as possible and think the best way to change things is from the bottom up. So I would like a better educated, more involved public, one that wants to know the difference between local and foreign, natural vs commercial –– most importantly one that knows the power of the Loonie in their pocket and is willing to make small sacrifices. In Canada we have never had and do not truly understand a food shortage. In Britain they do. I read a story awhile back about a move by British grocers to bring in foreign apples during the British apple season. The customers vocally asked where the British apples were, then a large enough group of them refused to buy the foreign apples no matter the price. In a very short period of time British apples were back in the stores. I'd like to see that happen here. Why are we buying US strawberries in June?
6. Why 'off the grid' and 'eco friendly'?
Off the grid is simple…when I bought the property it was, and basically still is, just a field. The cost to bring in hydro is huge and then if I were to hook up to the grid, with the first bill I would get to start paying hydro's debt recovery –– why? I'd rather set up solar and possibly wind and pay off my own debt. It really is about living more simply, un-connecting from technology and connecting with nature and each other.
Eco friendly is that connection with nature, understanding we are a small part of the bigger picture. A friend of mine's family owns Featherstone Winery in Niagara and they say "we are stewards of the land." I really like and really believe this. Yes, in our society we own the land, but let's face it, my little 10-acre plot will be there long after I'm gone. To me a farmer's job is to feed family and community and to ensure the land can continue to provide from year to year. To me this means the land and environment must be in balance: nutrients, microbial life, insects and birds/animals. If that means we lose a small percentage of our crop each year to create a healthy environment for the following year –– and in time hopefully for the following farmer as well –– then that's all I can ask for.
Vendors This Week
Preserving in the Park a Success!
Our Market Classroom will be offering up two more Preserving in the Park Classes with Christine Manning.
Hot Pickled Peppers September 10th
Apple Pie in a Jar October 8th
Upcoming Workshops (date TBD)
KambuCha and Fermented Sodas with Rebekka from the Alchemy Pickle Company
Wine and Cheese Pairing with Tawse Winery and Jeremy Lago from The Pantry
Ask a Farmer
Have a seat in the Fresh City Farm booth with Melissane, Farmer and Environmental Education and Urban Gardening expert to get some organic gardening tips. Perfect timing as our gardening are in peak production!
Melissane is a facilitator of the UFEED program at Fresh City Farms. Read more here http://ufeedprogram.wordpress.com
Taste Buddies Kids Cooking Station
Tatum from Beaches Bakeshop really stuck it out in the rain last week and so did the kids! All wanting to make those fruit skewers so badly, they didn't budge when it starting raining. Visit Tatum this week to see what delights she has in store for the kids.
Taste Buddies Kids Cooking Camp
Get your kids to the market for 4:30 for some serious market Bingo! Katie from Upper Beach Health and Wellness (who also does market nutritional tours) will be hosting a crazy game of fruit and veggies bingo.