Final Farmers Market

garlic basket polka dot hen produce
A true sign of fall: cured, cleaned garlic ready for use and storage.

 

So the market garden season is wrapping up. It is hard to believe on a warm, sunny day like today that there is one final market left. It feels much more like late August than October. Especially in the hoop house.

But here we are on the eve of another Thanksgiving. The days are shorter and the nights are cooler. The trees are turning. Chores and veggie tending have slowed enough to allow for time to review the last few months.

What a summer. Heat. Drought. Well running dry. Flea beetle plagues. And now hordes of slugs. Quite the year to start a market garden. But every year has it’s challenges. Next year we will be stretched in new directions. They tell me, that’s what farming is all about. Better learn to be flexible.

But we made it through, thanks to some timely help from friends and family. And also thanks to our customers. Lovely people who understood the difficultly of growing vegetables without rain. And didn’t get mad when the kale and lettuce we had on our table since early June suddenly were no longer available in August.

We did have some successes though, despite all the curve balls the weather threw our way. Continue reading “Final Farmers Market”

Soil & Sustainability

farmer-sitting-six-mule-team
Old Order Mennonite discing a field

By Peter

I was recently asked to speak at a nearby First Nation’s Reserve about Sustainability. “It’s ironic,” I said, “that someone who’s lived in the area less than 20 years is talking about sustainability to people who have lived in the area for 1000’s! However,” I continued, “some of my distant kin—Old Order Mennonites—have lived on the land for almost 500 years.”

I’m not sure how much Wes Jackson would be impressed with my ancestors’ history on the land. Jackson is the visionary force behind the Land Institute, a Kansas collaboration making slow, significant progress towards breeding a miracle. Their holy grail: perennial wheat—a timeless, food crop that would need no soil-disturbing plow and no genetic modification.

Wes Jackson Land Institute perennial wheat
Jackson compares perennial wheat grass roots to annual wheat roots

Jackson feels that any green-leaning farmer grasping at sustainability is vulnerable to the next owner who’s greed or ignorance prioritizes greenbacks over the needs of the soil. The best way to conceptualize conventional agriculture, Jackson has stated, “is that it is a mistake.” Continue reading “Soil & Sustainability”

To Market

Erin Gundy selling tomato plants at the Wiarton Farmers Market May 20 2016
First day for Polka Dot Hen Produce at the Wiarton Farmers Market. We sold tomato seedlings, herb divisions and herb bundles. Glad I had my helper/photographer along!

 

Our First Market Day

The weather was perfect.

The customers were engaged.

The other vendors were welcoming.

What a nice start to our season.

Spring was definitely in the air, so many folks at the Wiarton Farmers Market were ready to talk gardening. It was really fun to geek out on the heirloom tomatoes. Customers were interested, or at least very kind, and let me prattle on about the wonders of Saint Pierre, Cherokee Purple and Matt’s Wild Cherry. I also learned some great new tips for using catnip and lemon balm. I could have easily spent all my earnings with the other vendors at the market. Vending next to the chocolatier…deadly. And so good. I will have to pace myself.

However, there was quite the wind-up before this long-anticipated day. So many things to learn, so many things to consider. Where to start? Continue reading “To Market”