2017 was the year for a new flock of organic laying hens and we have a beautiful abundance of eggs.
We avoided purchasing poultry the previous year for so long because the weather was cold, but now the girls are all out there doing what hens are supposed to do. The birds are happily producing beautiful eggs that are available at the store. Come see for yourself! The chicks came from an organic farm and have been fed certified organic poultry feed from day one. We consider this important as it is among the first solid foods that our new babes consume and we continue to eat it for the rest of their lives. Besides our girls get to eat produce from the garden every day and live the good life.
We have been working for the anticipation of snow for the past month: cleaning up fields, cutting back crop, putting away irrigation lines, removing tomatoes from the greenhouse and replacing with winter greens, seeding trays of greens crop for growing in the Carousels. As well as in the greenhouse, putting the bees to bed, taking the surplus apples off the Pressing Matter to have them juiced into five litre containers for sale this winter and this week, putting in our first round of pruning in the pears. We are back in full force after a couple days off from the snow.
We are planning to do a small amount of grafting early in the New Year. We decided we really liked the Liberty Apple which is small and very tasty apple - great for putting into your pocket or into a child’s lunch box. Also, unbeatable for colour and flavour, as well as the Kerr crab-apple which we gave out as samples at Pressing Matter, where several people requested that we graft some transplants. This fall we have been eating a tasty heritage apple from the farm. It came with the farm and we have grown fond of it. Next year we will let you know how we made out.
Irrigation Water: Since this area is experiencing more development the farm is having problems with too much water running over the farm in the wintertime and an inadequate water supply in our irrigation pond in the dry weather. These are normal problems we have experienced in the past. We have a drip irrigation system covering most of the farm, which has served us well in the past, but in recent years, for much of the summer, we are short of irrigation water.
Well Water: Another developing problem is lower levels of water in our two wells which we use for drinking water and for washing our greens crops. It is gradually becoming more serious. As we are not on public water, we entirely depend on our current water supply. We are currently studying on-farm systems that we can use to be sure we have adequate potable water.
Group Tours and School Visits: We offer free group tours for friends of the farm as well as enjoyable and instructive tours for school children. Please contact the farm to make appropriate arrangements, or take advantage of the fact that our U-pick opens at noon on Fridays, so you can come along as a family after school that day. Older children coming with a school group or with their family may wish to take the time to sign up in the pickers’ book. They can be called in for piecework picking jobs as they occur. Children 15 years and younger will require written parental permission. If satisfactory for the student and the farmer, this could lead to summer employment. Please contact us for information - firstname.lastname@example.org
Staffing: We maintain a list of people who wish to work on the farm, either as volunteers or as a casual employee, picking produce by the pound; or doing farm chores. We are in the fall/winter season which is very different than summer. Learn about organic growing of crops and help us grow nutritious, fresh produce for people in the neighbourhood.
Congratulations to Ryan and Staff at Hilltop Bistro for winning Bronze at Gold Medal Plates in Victoria.
We were delighted that the farm was asked to grow vegetables for this event. We are happy that everything turned out so well. Book your reservation for dinner or Saturday brunch at Hilltop.
" We awarded the bronze medal to Chef Ryan Zuvich of Hilltop Bistro in Nanaimo. The ingredients for his dish were all harvested from farms close to his restaurant within the last week – except for his garnish of nasturtium leaves which were snipped from live flats at his station last night. His central protein was a delicious chicken balotine (“old school” was how he described it) of exceptionally tasty chicken filets marinated in red wine, rolled in peppery leek ash and mushroom powder and then wrapped tightly in chicken skin. The thick slice each judge received looked like a pretty mosaic, perched on top of a medley of vegetables – purple carrot, tropea onion and Peruvian potatoes – each of which had been separately roasted with chicken fat, thyme and garlic and (by some miracle) reached us piping hot. A fluid gel of marionberry and currant added tang to the dish while crushed hazelnuts provided crunch. Chef’s sauce was a sort of Bordelaise, fortified by some of his chosen wine, a robust, rather rugged 2015 blend of Foch and Cabernet from Beaufort Vineyard & Estate in Vancouver Island’s Comox Valley. I thought it was one of the best matches of the night." Quote from the Gold Medal Plates Culinary Report
Pollinator Plants: Pay special attention to pollinator plants in the late fall and early spring. That is when the pollinators seriously need your help. In the spring the bees are looking for protein to feed their young and cannot survive without it. Continue to plant pollinator friendly plants in your vegetable, herb and flower gardens. Please see the list of preferred flowers posted on our website. The flower patches should be large and bountiful otherwise they will not look at them. They are hungry bees and will only pay attention if you plant LOTS.
Recently we did a presentation for the Eaglecrest Garden Club in Qualicum Beach. We told them about Nanoose Edibles Farm and we talked about growing a sustainable garden that would see them through most of their food needs throughout the year. They have many of serious gardeners in that garden club – good discussion, lots of questions, and friendly folk. I found the evening thoroughly enjoyable. If you are interested in having us do repeat that presentation, please contact me on Email and we can set up a date.
Lorne and I are looking to turn the farm into a Farmer Co-operative, using all the talents of the members to grow the farm into a productive (and instructive) farm into the future. To that end we have prepared the attached document, Farm Skills Questionnaire, for distribution throughout the area and beyond. Click Here We are asking folk who may see farming in their future to fill it out and send it back to us. This is not a job offer. It is simply a tool to search out a group of people who may wish to farm on a full or part-time basis and whose skills and talents may come together to produce the perfect workforce to manage this farm or other farms, who find themselves in the same predicament. .
"Those who can’t find time for exercise will have to make time for illness." Edward Stanley
Gardening is about keeping us healthy in many ways. I call it Food Sustainability from Your Home Garden. Folks develop and plan to grow their own food on a year-round basis. Choosing what they wish to eat; what foods are most valuable; how to grow them; teaching the children; visiting other farms and gardens; attending your local Garden Clubs; growing pollinator plants for the bees and rejoicing in everything you do. Things to keep you healthy and happy.
We had to reschedule the date for the Sustainable Roundtable to talk about Fava Beans as it was a snowy day. We don't have another date set but we will let you know when we do.