What’s Happening on the Farm – late September


photo by Jill Renton

The harvests have been busy.

We had a cold, late spring so many of our summer (frost-sensitive) crops were planted late into the ground. Because of this, they hit their peak of abundance later than usual. For example, our melons are perfect right now. And the tomatoes!

This tomato is from seeds I brought back from Italy, when I went a few years ago as a Canadian Slow Food delegate.

I stayed with the most lovely host who took me out to fresh markets around town (in Torino). She asked if we grew tomatoes. I said we do, we grow over 50 varieties, however we didn’t grow any like the most commonly found type in these markets (which was this one).

At the end of my stay, my host gifted me with a packet of seeds of this variety and we’ve been treasuring them (and saving seed of them) since. The name on the package is Red Pear, though the most common type called Red Pear in North America is a cherry sized tomato.

Frost

We’ve been racing against the frost, harvesting as much as we can, as well as spending lots of time covering the crops we can with protective row cover (which protects them somewhat but its not fail safe when the temps really drop).

At this point, we’ve had multiple nights that went below 0C, but only just. We were able to use frost irrigation those nights, as well as row cover to prevent much damage. (If you’re curious what we mean by frost irrigation, check out the blog post we wrote about it this time last season).

But last week we had an extended period of frost – pretty much the whole night from 11:30 pm onwards. The temperature went down to -3.3C at our farm. With such a long time frame below 0, we didn’t want to use frost irrigation, so we just covered up what we could with row cover and hoped for the best.

The conditions were perfect that night for frost (at our place, we know other farmers who had a nice patch of fog roll through that night to help them out). Perfectly clear skies and not a whisper of wind.

We lost many of our frost-sensitive flowers.

And we felt a bit of relief that the bean plants were killed, we were tired of harvesting beans.

photo by Jill Renton

The other thing about harvests at this time of year, is that the cool-loving crops (like greens, radishes, etc.) are much happier with the cool nights and less-intense sunlight.

Honey

The honey from the hives at our farm has been harvested by their natural beekeeping caretaker Bobby. This means we once again have raw honey from our farm at our Marché de Dieppe Market stand!

After we’re finished harvesting broccolini, we leave it to start flowering and the bees take their turn harvesting it.

I love that we first get a yield for humans and then the harvest moves on for non-humans.

I’ve also felt really blessed to have a source of honey I trust. And that comes from nectar from so many different plants, not just one type.

As I read Modified by Caitlin Shetterly earlier this summer, this quote stood out to me:

“Ignacio told me that this gadget he was making was inspired by a need of beekeepers and honey importers for an inexpensive and effective way to test honey for GMO pollen or crop residues before their honey went to market. The Germans were becoming particularly sensitive about GMOs – they did not want GMO pollen in their honey, and if they had to have it, they wanted it labeled.

This was – call me stupid – a revelatory thought. I had never considered the pollen in my honey (to put a finer point on it, I had no idea there was pollen in my honey). Or that I could reject one kind of pollen over another. Or where the bees that made my honey had been foraging.”

Modified by Caitlin Shetterly

I love knowing that the diversity at the farm helps create a truly unique and special honey.

Climate Resilience

Back in the spring, a fellow farmer and local foods coordinator came by for a farm tour and chat. She was particularly interested in how we’re trying to become more resilient in a changing climate.

Here’s a link to the (generously kind!) article she wrote.

Click this photo to get to the article!

End of Season Approaching

We’ll be at the Dieppe Market until the end of October and potentially a few weeks into November.

There’s a lot of crops we’re excited to be harvesting this fall, like winter radishes (purple daikon, watermelon radish, black Spanish, green meat…), winter squash (Delicata, Red Kuri….), Radicchio (we’re trialing a bunch of kinds this year!).

photo by Jill Renton

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.