Monday, March 31, 2008

What's On the Menu?

I'm often asked, "What do you grow?"

Unlike the commodity market producers who can answer, "Potatoes" or "Wheat" or "Corn", our answer takes a bit longer. We have been working since 2000 to create a diverse "market basket" of selections that include hand raised vegetables, fruits and flowers, all of which are MCOG certified organic. We sell from our farm gate in Murray Harbour North, PEI and we distribute produce to several locations including Nabuurs Garden Center in nearby Montague and periodically in Murray River.

We rely a great deal on Vesey's Seeds in York, PEI. I really appreciate their support of local organics and the fact that they run their own extensive trial gardens in the same climate and soil conditions where we work. The trial gardens are open to the public and are a wonderful local resource.

Here are a couple of Highlights:

We'll have our first full season of Jersey Giant Asparagus starting this spring! A welcome early spring vegetable, we anticipate being able to extend the harvest this year so that more of our friends will have a chance to enjoy the delicate taste of really fresh asparagus!

Our popular California Mesclun Salad greens will be back again. This mix was selected by Margaret Prouse to be featured in the PEI Linking Land and Sea demonstrations last summer at the Provincial Plowing Match in Dundas.

One of the ingredients in our mesclun salad mix, the edible nasturtium blossoms, add a splash of color and a lightly spicy flavor to the greens. They also add taste of history. The seeds we use on PEI to grow our old fashioned trailing nasturtiums were originally wild harvested in Santa Barbara, California, where nasturtiums are hardy and perennial. This particular plant was an escapee from somewhere along the wet-weather creek in the foothills behind our home. It's not unusual to find these heirlooms growing wild in the canyons near places where homesteaders once farmed or ranched. They were often planted as a salad cress or green and may have been brought here by Spanish Colonists. Historically they were also a popular feature in traditional English culinary gardens.

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We've done a lot of experimenting in the past couple of years to find the best varieties of island favorites and last year we had a booming good season for yellow beans. Thanks to Vesey's, I think we've found the perfect variety to keep islanders happy during "bean season" this summer!

Last year we introduced Lemon Cucumbers at Dundas. This heirloom from Australia looks like a lemon and has a nice light flavor that makes it a great slicer for fresh eating! We expect to have 5 varieties of cucumber this summer so be ready to crunch, slice and pickle to your heart's content.

That's all for now...

We'll have time to enjoy a bit more hot stove farming before the snow melts and it's time to work the soil again. Meantime, I'll put another stick in the fire if you'll put the kettle on!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Summer 2007