Monday, 3 September 2012

September Update

Wow - what a long time it's been since we updated our blog! For shame. Truth is, there hasn't been much time...too much to do in the gardens, farmyard & kitchen! But now we have lots to share...

CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) Program
We're currently in week 13 of 16 of our brand spankin' new CSA program...hard to believe! As we near the end of our first season delivering vegetables weekly to 33 different households, we're reflecting on how it's gone and looking towards next year. We've been overwhelmed with the support from our CSA members here in the rural communities of Cartwright, Mather, Clearwater, Crystal City and Pilot Mound; really thankful to everyone who jumped on board and are giving us great feedback! Though we acknowledge that there are many things we can improve about the system, and though Thursdays are a long, tiring day (getting up early to harvest, clean & process, package and then deliver for four hours), we love seeing and forming meaningful connections with the people that are eating our food. This means a lot to us and fits really well into our vision of how we'd like to see our farm business function and develop.

One of our Large-size CSA baskets!

The market gardens are still producing lots of food, despite the extremely dry weather we've been having here in Cartwright. It's a bit overwhelming trying to keep up with it, frankly. On top of maintaining and harvesting the vegetables, we are really striving to process and preserve as much of it as we can - some for ourselves (this is one of the main reasons we grow a garden, after all) and much of it is being sold as value-added products. This means lots of delicious pickled things, jams and jellies, and freezing. We have some really diabolical plans for some special products that should be ready in mid-September (whoa, that's soon!)

...which brings us to value-add. Here's a list of some of the things that we've been using garden/farm products (and adding value to) in the past while:
*note: we may not have all of these items currently in stock. Please ask if you are interested.
  • Pickles (Zesty Bread & Butter, Dills)
  • Dilled Beans - a combo of our green filet and yellow roma beans with dill, garlic, & other seasonings. A real popular summer treat!
  • Pickled Beets with Fennel - an anise-flavoured twist on a classic fave
  • Jardiniere Pickles - a tangy mix of cauliflower, onions, zucchini, carrots and bell peppers. Great with grilled meats and seafood, or on their own for a healthy snack...
  • Troy's 'Billion Dollar' Relish - no, it doesn't cost that much, but totally worth that much, on a delicious burger. Made with our own honey to sweeten.
  • Chokecherry Jelly - Troy harvested local wild chokecherries, and also made the jelly, sweetened with our honey. Sooo good.
  • Gingered Citrus-Rhubarb Jam - A fresh-tasting Vitamin-C-enriched party in your mouth.
  • Apple Jelly - made with locally picked crabapples
  • Cran-Apple Jelly
  • Apple Rosehip Syrup 
  • Pesto (classic basil; garlic scape & herb)
  • Kale Chips - these have become one of our most popular item, selling out quick at the Farmers Market! Kale leaves seasoned with a garlicky-cheesy mix, and dehydrated, they're addictive (but it's okay 'cause they're crazy good for you)
  • 'Sundried' Tomatoes - actually dehydrated (hence the quotations), these gourmet little beauties packed in extra-virgin olive oil taste amazing with pasta, vegetables, meats and breads...or just as a tasty snack on their own!
Coming soon:
  • Dried herbs - stock up for the winter with our very own Fresh Roots Farm-grown herbs, from culinary singles and mixes to teas!
  • Herbal-Infused Vinegars - to use in salad dressings, meat or vegetable marinade, pasta salads, pickles, etc.
  • Ketchup - This ain't the same ol' Heinz 57. Tangy, made with real tomatoes.
  • Hot Sauce - Made with our own tomatoes and hot peppers, we have a variety of spicy sauces comin' down the pipe, for those that like it hot...
  • Dips, Sauces, Marinades - ....wait for it...
Many of the items in the first list are available now - call or email us for more info! Our new value-added products should be ready for sale at the Harvest Moon Festival Farmer's Market in Clearwater on September 16th, and the Country Vendor Showcase in Pilot Mound. We're really looking forward to these events. And of course, local folks can always give us a call to order.

As I write this, the second batch of chickens are facing the impending trip down the road to 'meet their Maker' as of tomorrow morning. We couldn't be more excited. It's been a long four months (between both batches of 400 total birds) and we are quite ready to see them go...and come back in a more delicious form. We have had a lot of orders for chickens this year, but may still have some available - we will see once we get folks their orders in the coming weeks. If interested or you want more info, please call or email us ( See more on our 'Chickens' page

It has been a strange year for the bees (and beekeepers), with some wacky weather and timing has been a little off (flowering, harvesting, feeding, etc.) but we still ended up with a good amount of wonderful, sweet sweet honey. It's for sale now in 500g, 1, 3, 5 and 7 kg sizes. I'm hoping Troy will do up a honey update on here soon - it's his baby and he's got the real 'deets.

That's all for now - I'm currently working on getting a bunch of recipes that we have distributed to our CSA members onto the website (see 'Recipes' page)...we've had some technical difficulties in getting this to happen thus far!

Cheers - hope to update again soon before the Festival!