Happy Spring!

It is almost hard to believe that spring is finally here. The mountains of snow are slowly starting to melt (yesterday I found a “to do list” from January in a snowbank: some of the items are still to be done…) and the first signs of life have appeared in the greenhouse. This weekend we’ll be planting up a storm with some volunteers from Queen’s University and by Monday our little greenhouse should be nearly full of seedy deliciousness. Heather and Irene were built a lot of new tables and we’re going to put them to good use! Only two months to go before we can start enjoying the leafy goodness we’re starting today.

In two short weeks we will be starting our tomatoes! And this is my main reason for shaking you out of winter and into spring: if you’re at all interested in ordering some tomatoes for summer canning (yes we always like to plan ahead here on the farm), then your should check out the CSA page for Toronto (http://www.fiddlehead-farm.ca/the-csa/) or Belleville (http://www.fiddlehead-farm.ca/csa-belleville/) and tell us what you would like. We are asking that all tomato orders be in by March 31st so that we can start them in the greenhouse in early April.

Happy Spring!
Steve and Heather.

April Showers

KaleSpring is finally starting to take shape here on the farm.  I am happy to see that the progress that we made in our first year has laid a good foundation for this year.  The greenhouse is full of seedlings ready to be planted and the fields are plowed from the fall.  The rains have so far kept us off of our fields but this doesn’t mean we’ve been sitting idly by waiting for nature to warm up and dry out.  No we’ve been busy getting everything else in ready to run condition for 2013.

Last weekend Heather and I attended the local Slow Food AGM and were quite excited to make new acquaintances and to have renewed old ones.  We were there to talk about our CSA and to learn about what Slow Food is doing locally here in the County.  Heather and I expect to join soon, just as soon as we can get around the filling out that membership thingy…If you have a Slow Food group in your area I would recommend getting in touch with them.  It is a great way to enjoy new and local foods while supporting the farmer and artisan producers in your area.

April Pictures 211Remember, if you are still interested in a CSA Summer Food Box from Fiddlehead Farm we are still accepting memberships.  Our membership drive has been going well, but we are still only half way to our goal for this year.  So please send those memberships that have been sitting on your shelf waiting to be posted to us in the mail or register online via our new Paypal option.  If you have friends who might be interested we greatly appreciate you spreading the word about our CSA.  The CSA program helps our farm get through this financially challenging period of spring inputs and as thanks we work all spring, summer, and fall to make sure you get the best produce we can provide.  Much thanks to all our members for their support and much thanks to future members for the incoming support.

April Pictures 199New broiler (meat) chickens arrived the day before the last ice storm hit us here in Prince Edward County.  Lucky for the birds our power kept going despite it being out for a day or more just West of us.  I’m still thanking my lucky stars for that one.  The 100 little birdies have been doing really well tucked in the greenhouse.  I built them a large chick coop under a few of our seedling tables.   The chicks have to be kept warm for their first four week until their adult feathers come in.  After that they move outdoors for more greens and ranging.  Their current coop offers lots of space to run around and we are able to capture the extra heat at night for the greenhouse when we’d be running heaters anyway.  Sometimes I feel clever…sometimes…

The birds will be available fresh on June 22nd for pick up.  The birds are by order only so please message me now with the number of birds and your preferred weight range.  Our birds generally weigh from 3.5-6 lbs and sell for $6.00/lb.  They are raised on all organic grains from Bernerland Farms in the Smiths Falls area and have access to a mix of pasture and garden greens.  The response to our birds was quite impressive last year and we look forward to continuing with the trend of happy taste buds.

April Pictures 247In an almost ironic sense we had our irrigation pond dug last week.  I say ironic because as I write the problem is too much water on the fields; not too little.  Dry days will come again and now we are ready for it!  Our pond is 100’x50’x7’ and will provide us with enough water to keep our veggies growing through almost any drought.  Our target depth was 7’ and wouldn’t you know it we hit bed rock at exactly 7’.  Add to this the fact that below our top soil the subsoil is all clay and we have one top notch irrigation pond.  My thanks go out to the Carrot Cache foundation of the Big Carrot in Toronto again for their help in making this a possibility.

April Pictures 246On top of all this repairs, maintenance, digging drainage ditches, and a good old dusting off of equipment is in full swing.  From here we are on a full run for May to get all of the new seeds and seedlings into the ground.  Exciting additions to this year’s garden will be garlic (coming up beautifully), sun chokes, strawberry seedlings (we’ll see how much they yield in year one), and our first asparagus seedlings are getting planted (expect three years to harvest).  Lots to look forward to for sure this spring.

Spring Details:

CSA delivers to Toronto to Bloor & Borden and John Street Farmers’ Markets on Wednesdays, Toronto Junction and and Withrow Park Markets on Saturdays, and to Belleville downtown on Saturdays and Wednesdays.

Saturday Farmers’ Markets start May 25th and Wednesday Markets start June 5th.  See you all soon!

April Pictures 245

Restorations, WWOOFers, and CSAs

One of the joys of moving into an old farm is the odd bits of equipment that have been left behind from ages past.  The effort of uncovering and evaluating the equipment can be a time consuming one.  If you can find some helpers the work goes so much more smoothly.

Luckily enough for Fiddlehead Farm we have some helpers staying with us.  Alex and Mathild have joined the Fiddlehead Farm team as our first WWOOFers.  WWOOFers are traveling volunteers who take advantage of world wide opportunities on organic farms to learn and experience local culture and farming.  They are staying with us for three weeks as part of their one year journey across Canada.  While here they chip in six hours of work a day and spend their free time exploring the County and surrounding areas.

The first major challenge we threw at them was cleaning out the garbage in our antique manure spreader and uncovering the old plow, spring tooth harrow, and discs that the previous owners of Fiddlehead Farm had left us.  By the end of the day we had moved all of the equipment but the discs.

With a lot of grease and a little oil the gears on the old spreader started to turn.  Throw in one new spring and voila we have a functional antique manure spreader.  It is ready and waiting for our Turkey Litter Compost to arrive this week (April 10th).  Having a functional spreader is a great weight off of my mind.  The pieces are in place.

Yesterday I took the harrow that Alex and Mathild had helped to uncover out to the field.  It wasn’t as good as a plow, but it helped turn over some of the plant cover while opening the soil up to breath out any of the extra wetness that may have rested in spots.  Tomorrow I’ll be out with the tiller to turn that plant matter in and make some bed for the peas that are ready and waiting to plant.

With just a little help projects are hopping off of the shelf and are getting done.  We are beginning to pick up speed as our garden is getting ready to spring into life.  There are green in the Greenhouse and there will soon be greens in the field.  The months of preparation have all been building to this: our first field planting of the year!

With all of this fun going on in the field it is easy to forget about marketing our CSA.  Memberships have been coming in the past few weeks and we now have a solid start to our first CSA year.  I thank everyone who has signed on and I look forward to providing you all with top notch tasty veggies this year.

We are still looking for more members and as our major garden expenses are just starting to land on our table every member is treasured all the more.  If you’ve been sitting on the signup form or have it waiting on the table to be mailed to us now is the time to send in your registrations.  Tasty food is being planted.  Reserve your share now 😉

Until next time…