Wow, fall already!?

Our field basil with "chilling Injury", which means its cold out!

Our field basil with "chilling Injury", which means its cold out!

It amazes every year, how quickly we rush to build things up and then how quickly we descend into fall and winter in our part of the world. As we crest the end of August, I feel a sense of accomplishment, looking at all the crops setting fruit and animals well-fed and growing steadily. Now I'm in the reflection phase of "oh wow, we aren't going to starve this winter!", not that we would in this day and age, but it still shocks me that despite all the rainy, flooded fields, and cool weather we've had this season, that crops and animals persevere to create abundance for winter stores. 

Some thoughts and highlights about the spring/summer as we head into a fall chapter:

The market in Perth has been more challenging this year with more vegetables and pork vendors attending. While we've had stellar support from our regular customers and meeting new allies in the local growing community, the unpredictability of sales has led me to reconsider my attendance next year. It's a lot of time and work and there are other marketing opportunities to explore!

Which brings me to highlight a couple wholesale relationships that have been consistent and most nourishing this season: Fieldhouse Bakery in Perth, has been purchasing kale from us for their salads. Andrew, Julianna, and their team make outstanding food and have been wonderful to work with. Please support them on your day out on the town! http://www.fieldhouseperth.com/

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Two Rivers Food Hub out of Smith Falls has been brilliant for purchasing small and larger quantities of our fresh produce, all season long. They've made it easy and convenient for us to list and sell our products throughout the Ottawa Valley. Check out their online shop for everything local food to eat 100% seasonally!  https://tworiversfoodhub.localfoodmarketplace.com/

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We've met some great new customers and friends through our chicken and pork sales. Thanks to everyone who purchased chicken- we're sold out for this year and have only reserves in the freezer for our Winter Protein CSA , so please consider registering now to get a variety of delicious meats and farm eggs Oct-March. We still have a few premium 25lbs bundles and a side of pork, waiting for your custom cutting instruction, available for the end of October. Inquire here for Wholesale Pork

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I've been heading up the vegetables this season and totally hit the July burn out hard! Oh, I just plan so much when really I can't do it all- the story for many of us! I like to think that we're just die-hard optimists. So I never got a greenhouse up for winter greens since I was so preoccupied with spring/summer market gardens and my part-time job with Mariclaro , that it became a project that fell by the wayside, as there were so few days in May and June where it was dry enough to work the soil! So the evolution of our Winter Vegetable CSA is a true reflection of working with what we've got: lots of storage vegetables and with any luck greens well into the fall/early winter, so long as the snow cover isn't too heavy. But as we experience year after year, nothing is predictable in farming! In response to this change in crop availability, I've reduce this seasons share price to $250 and look forward to supplying as wide a variety of storage veggies for you as I can muster. We won't know really what's in store until everything's out in a couple of months. For example, not a hot year but the sweet potato vines are still growing, will there be any tubers produced?? Also, there was MAJOR swede midge damage in my cabbage transplants, leading me to believe I might end up with 100+ deformed cabbage heads which won't size up or store over the winter. Sigh. Hopefully we can kraut em'! On the bright side, it's been a fantastic potato and carrot season, healthy kale and greens, reasonable parsnips and winter squash (unbelievably) too! While we may not have dehydrated tomatoes or fresh spinach in January, we will be eating very well this winter.

Thanks to the Start Up grant we received at the beginning of the season, we've been able to purchase some marketing and organizational resources (like this fancy website!), a used BCS rototiller for fieldwork, bulk animal feed by the tonne, lots of veg seeds to put in the ground for the season without having to borrow working capital to get going. That has been a huge help to making this first year with Highland Gem Farm less stressful. 

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Well, it's time for long-sleeves, apple crisps, and one last camping trip before we clean out the cellar and starting bringing in the bounty in from the fields. Please take the time to check your stocks and reflect on how you'd like to eat this winter- we do this all for you! 

Until next time,

Erin