Monday, May 26, 2014

Rain, glorious rain!

With seeding about 1/2 complete I was getting nervous about the lack of rain in our area. It was dry...very dry. While that made the seeding operations steam along, it did nothing for my anxiety over whether we would get to harvest anything that we were busy seeding. 

With organic farming, the weather and timing are absolutely critical. A good, quick germination immediately after a light tillage means that the crops will get ahead of any possible weed infestation. It is all about competition for resources at ground level. Seed the wheat too early or when it is too dry and it sits in the ground waiting while all around it existing weed sprouts happily push to the sky soaking up the snow's valuable moisture. At times, it is a very complicated process for me. I am glued to the computer monitor watching the latest radar tracking timing the seeding process as precisely as I can. 

This year has been especially crucial as there simply has been no moisture to contend with at all. Luckily, we had a fairly good snow pack and our clay loam soils have retained a lot of moisture. The seeds that were sown earlier are now starting to show themselves. First up is Buckwheat!

This Buckwheat was seeded about a week ago. It is only intended as a plow-down so it was sown earlier than Buckwheat normally would. Buckwheat is a short-season crop, maturing in as little as 90 days under ideal conditions. Normally, I would till the fields from time to time getting rid of the weeds until early June and then seed the Buckwheat that would then be harvested in October. 

Finally, the rain came today! After days of rain all around us I was ready for a psychiatrist. Overnight last night, we had some moisture. Off and on all day today we've had good periods of rain. This will go a long way towards germinating the wheat and flax that have also been seeded.

Nothing stresses me more than a drought...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How to Order and some Pork!

We are getting a lot of questions about how to order products so I thought I should post something formal. All of the products that we have for sale are listed on the Products and Pricing page. If it isn't listed there, we don't have it for sale.

To place an order for pickup at either the farm or Strathcona Farmers Market simply refer to the aforementioned page and then drop us an email with what you'd like to pick up. It will require up to 4 days to fill your order! Please don't order products with the intention of picking up the next day. That makes us feel bad that we are letting you down. We do not keep an inventory of milled flour. We mill fresh to order.

Pork...we now have a limited selection of pork for sale. Inspected. Organically grown/fed. We have chops, cutlets and ground pork for sale. Prices are in the mid to high teens per kg. so it's comparable to other similar pork products around.

One other thing...we are a small farm. We have modeled our farm on our ability to grow just enough grains of various species to mill in to flour for sale direct to consumers. This adds the most value to the grain farming side of things and enables us to at least try to be profitable. If you'd like to purchase grains for home milling, we will still have to charge the same price as we would achieve for our flour products. This is simply a function of supply/demand as we only grow what we anticipate needing for flour sales and future seed supply. We rarely have more than that. The only grains we have enough of to be able to offer for sale at reduced "grain pricing" are Rye and Park Wheat. We hope you understand.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tis' the season...Butter Tarts!

I am a huge Butter Tart fan! Butter Tarts have always been a family favorite and my Nana was awesome at making them every Christmas. Christmas for me would not be the same without those syrupy, sweet treats. As I got older, that became my present from her. For as long as she could bake I received a tin of butter tarts each year. That is a very fond memory for me.

I don't think that I have her recipe anywhere...I have flipped through the family's All-Star recipe book that my Mom put together for us. But, this recipe comes close and is really easy to prepare.

I used our Soft White Wheat for the pastry. It is still an Entire-Grain flour, but you wouldn't know it. The pastry is light, tender and flaky....but, it is SO flavourful; beyond anything available at any store.

So, here is the recipe for you that I use from food.com.

http://www.food.com/recipe/award-winning-butter-tarts-14756

For the pastry I don't use a recipe. Here is my description of what I do.

1) A certain amount of Soft White Wheat flour...perhaps 4-5 cups.
2) A pinch of salt
3) A certain amount of lard. I'd say around a cup
4) Ice cold water

I use our Kitchen Aid with the whisk beater. I add the salt to the flour and stir. Then I add the cold lard that I've cut into small pieces.
I start the mixer on medium and let it blend in the lard until it is starting to break down into smaller pieces. The ideal goal with be to have "pea" size pieces of lard in the flour
I then turn the mixer to low and slowly start adding the cold water. I add very little at a time and I let it mix well. Add enough water so that the mix finally comes together into a dough consistency. It will take awhile. Ball up the dough and keep in the fridge until you need it.