5 Things we’ve been thinking about on the farm lately:
1. We’re always trying to figure out how to increase the efficiency on our small farm. It’s just the 2 of us farmers, so we need to focus on working smarter, not harder. But we also prefer small-scale, DIY solutions.
An old friend, Michael Kilpatrick, started a farm consultation business called In the Field Consultants. A recent project he worked on was building a really effective, food-safe salad greens spinner. Once he got it right, he offered a course called Dry your Greens that we took and built the spinner using a brand new washing machine (much fancier than the second-hand one we bought to wash our clothing!).
While we were at it, we built a bubbler into a tank for washing produce. This uses a Jacuzzi pump to “bubble” the water which gently and effectively washes produce.
This makes washing produce much nicer and faster. Last week, our first using this system, had Bryan saying “it feels like I’m on vacation!”
2. Recipe of the Week: We just started harvesting radishes again – after a winter eating daikon –which are delicious but different.
For us, that means WE MUST eat radishes with butter.
This could simply mean whole radishes next to a butter dish. Dip the radish into the butter (we prefer it salted – and always organic OR if we can get it early before it sells out at market, the butter from Armadale) and pop into your mouth. Then savour.
But, you know what is crazy good too? Sliced baguette, toasted. Put a pat of butter on top. Then sliced radishes. Then a chunk of good cheese as the “top” of the sandwich.
And then steam up the radish tops (which are PERFECT at this time of year) and add some fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar. YUM!!!!
3. The black flies have started appearing and biting us. When something is particularly annoying, I like to try to find its redeeming qualities. This article does a good job of making me grateful we share our home with black flies.
“One good thing about black flies is that they’re indicators of clear water.”
4. Purchase we just made that we’re really happy with: Uniden submersible walkie talkies. In our 1st year starting Broadfork Farm, we bought some cheap walkie talkies that never seemed to stay charged at the same rate. We moved on to the hollering method. That method is frequently unsatisfying though so buying new walkie talkies has been on our to-do list for a while. We just got these ones and so far, so good.
5. Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada puts outs a monthly e-zine. I found lots of good gems in the May edition, though it always sucks when there’s a paper that looks really interesting and relevant to our farm but I’m unable to access the whole thing without paying. The Greenhorns blog recently posted a letter about this kind of thing, called The Open Source Ethos in Agroecology that I enjoyed reading this week.
“How is it possible—or even socially just—that so many of us can’t get access to scholarly research? Isn’t society propelled forward by access to the science, literature, and art of the world’s scholars? What if that research is publically funded? These are the primary concerns that drive the open access movement.”