A week ago, we took a day trip to visit Charles and Jessy at Wysmykal Farm in Chapman’s Settlement, NS. We had planned to help them put on their greenhouse plastic, but it was a bit too windy. Instead, they gave us a very generous tour of their farm.
Despite no greenhouse plastic, the tomatoes are definitely not hurtin’. They were beautiful, healthy plants with small, green tomatoes already starting to grow on many of them.
We were very inspired by their newly-planted rows of table grapes. Our awesome friend Steph gifted us with a grape plant and we are hoping to grow some companions for it!
In addition to their veggies, Charles and Jessy grow hops which they sell to a local brewery. The hops are very impressive plants! They are grown on very high trellises using coir (coconut husk) twine. They are cut back during harvest and regrow each year. Which means trellising must be done each year.
A 5 minute drive took us out to their 2.5 acre vegetable-growing field, which they lease from their amazing neighbour Francis. And which has an amazing view of the ocean!
Their veggies looked so great and we had a good time squishing a few Colorado Potato Beetles (we don’t grow potatoes and so far, our eggplant has been free and clear). Charles and Jessy grow these veggies for their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Program with a pickup in Amherst as well as the Sackville Farmers’ Market.
For lunch, we went next door to Francis’ farm. Francis is a retired dairy farmer. But he is definitely not idle. He mills wood, manages his woodlots, creates beautiful coffee tables and benches, collects and sells antiques…..and builds things like this whole pig barbequer.
Francis and his wife Pauline host an Annual Tractor and Engine Show which sounds like it will be a lot of fun! They want to create a real community event and let anyone who creates anything themselves (crafters, artisans, farmers) set up a stand and sell their items and/or give a demonstration. There will be local musicians, food, woodlot tours, antique tool displays….It’s happening on Saturday, July 21st between 10 and 4. Here’s the address: P & F Verstraten Farms, 5736 Highway 366 (20 miles East of Amherst, 5 miles West of Northport). Francis and Pauline are really kind and energetic people. They are also wonderful supporters of young and new farmers!
In the afternoon, we drove a bit down the road to pick a flat of strawberries at the local no-spray strawberry u-pick: NicNat Strawberries. The folks there are super friendly, the strawberries are delicious and we were able to freeze 8 quarts worth for winter smoothies.
It was a really fun day for us, we love learning by seeing what other farmers are doing. And we scored some horseradish! Charles and Jessy had some planted and dug some up for us to plant at our farm. I’m not sure where we’re going to plant it yet, but I’m looking forward to making our own wasabi!