Just the very beginning…

Ok, some announcements. First of all, meet future farm kid Ruben Maslow!

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He’s the main reason I wasn’t farming this year, though with the extreme heat and smoke I was often glad for this to be my year “off”.  I actually really enjoyed being a customer at the farmer’s market and accepting garden extras from my friends for a change (but to be honest, I ate a lot less vegetables than I’m used to!). Baby Roo and I spent way more time at the beaches and parks around Nelson than I ever have before, and though I long for the rural farming life again, this was just what I needed this summer.

 
And next, meet the future location of Hoe Down CSA!

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After a year of semi-serious farm hunting, my little gang of friends and chosen Kootenay family found our spot. Of course this happened all at once and super fast –  Arlo off treeplanting, Ruben brand new in the world, the rest of us navigating the totally unfamiliar world of getting a mortgage and buying a property.  It was a bit surreal, but now here we are! This place is far from operational (or even liveable!), but we are looking forward to restoring this old Doukhobor homestead back into production and beauty.  And I’m looking forward to a lifetime of silliness and treasure hunting with this bunch!

 

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So far we’ve mostly been focused on cleaning up the years of junk accumulated on this place (and let’s be honest, I did a lot more walking around with a baby than actually helping this summer), but I did take the first important steps to getting back in the garden.  A neighbour came and tilled about 1/2 an acre in our beautiful flat field, and I seeded a winter cover crop to start building some fertility and hopefully make things a bit easier in the spring. This is my first time starting a garden from scratch, and it’s pretty exciting and a little daunting.  Here’s to a winter of dreaming and scheming!

 

 

 

 

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A New Year!

Here is a much overdue update on the upcoming season. It’s hard to even compare this year with last, as at this time last year I was busy seeding in the greenhouse and already planning the CSA crops. The farm is still so deep in snow that the sight of bare soil seems a long long way off!

There’s something about a working farm covered in snow that is really different to me than other snowy landscapes – like I can feel that the land is actually resting. I’ve been resting too. This winter has been filled with reading, crafting, organizing, dreaming, skiing, and of course lots of cooking and eating. The greenhouse has been mostly frozen solid, but the new root cellar has been providing!

I’ve been working lots off the farm too and making the gradual transition to living in town. This was my last season at Tulaberry, and in 2017 I’m taking a year off from farming. I’m going to focus on growing my own little family (surprise! for many of you ), and hopefully finding the right place to settle in and start a new farming endeavor in the future.

I promise I’ll be back to growing veggies (and hopefully more!) in the Nelson area soon. In the meantime, a great new farmer and family is moving in to the little house at the farm. So the gardens will continue, and you will still find Tulaberry produce at the Baker Street market in Nelson and at the Kootenay Coop. The new farmers aren’t planning on running a CSA program this year, but if you are looking for a similar box program I can recommend some other farmers around here who are.

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I sure will miss living and growing in this sweet little place!

Saturday morning weed-a-thon work party! 

All this rain has been just great for the plants – the vegetables and the WEEDS! With the garden exploding and the farmers’ markets starting and life being life we were starting to feel a little bit swamped, or at least that we might be in just a few days if we didn’t do something about it asap!

We are so so so grateful for the many helping hands today. Big ones and little ones and rain suits and party dresses too. Feeling so fortunate to have such a community around us!

success and failure and anticipation

 

 

I really love selling our produce at Kootenay Coop.  Every time I make a delivery I can’t help but think back to the first time that moving to this area really crossed my mind. I was living at OUR EcoVillage, and we hosted a GMO symposium with Jon Steinman as the keynote speaker. He talked about Nelson and the local food movement and this great local grocery store with all the passion I now realize comes pretty standard around here. This place sounded quaint and exceptional, and looking back I think that’s when the first little seed was planted. Five years later, I’m living in the Slocan Valley, running my own farm business, and the Kootenay Coop is buying my vegetables!

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Have you ever lived and farmed with one of your very best friends? It’s the best! This is what we look like all the time around here! (almost true)

It’s pretty easy to celebrate our successes and post really beautiful and romantic pictures of farm life (especially when we’ve got a photography pro hanging around capturing all the right moments). But sometimes we are failing.  There are vegetable-scale disasters on a daily basis.  The shelling peas are struggling very hard against weavils, and I really don’t know what else I can do to help them. It might be a pealess winter around here. And this is what the carrots looked like earlier this week:

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On a bigger farm beds like that might just be a total right off! But we only have about 1/2 an acre here, so we really can’t afford to just give up on a crop and reseed it somewhere else. Luckily, a couple hours of contemplative hand weeding isn’t the worst thing for me.  But still, I think it might be time I invested in a flame weeder…

In other exciting news around the farm, the strawberries and raspberries are looking pretty super loaded…

and I’d say the garden is looking pretty full of potential abundance too!

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-Kate

We had our first market of the year last weekend! We rounded up a beautiful mix of over wintered goodies from the root cellar and super early fresh greens out of the hoophouse. It was a good warm up run for us as we are gearing up for a big market season ahead! We’ll be busy on the farm getting everything planted in the gardens and we’ll be ready for you at at the Cottonwood market in June (and then at Baker Street on Wednesday when that starts up). Until then we may have a few small harvests here and there and some spring produce for sale, so stay tuned!

 

SPRING!

Wow, things are just great. Spring is springing, the seedlings are growing, the green house is almost fully planted and we are STOKED. Saturdays have been become an un-official farm day around these parts. Today marks the longest work day of the season so far. It was glorious. We checked a nice amount off the list today. Check out some of our adventures from the past few weeks.

Potting up tomatoes

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Green house happenings

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Needy seedlings and the kitchen table/farm office 😉

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Seeding spinach and tying raspberry canes

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Sweeping the garden and pounding poles for the pea trellis

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Seed refill and a big ole bucket of over winter parsnips – fresh from the garden TODAY!

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Introducing the 2016 season…and Erica Breau!

The seeds are arriving in the mail, the greenhouse is starting to come alive, and we’re drawing up crop plans and seeding schedules. It’s just barely February, but around here the growing season starts long before the snow is gone.
 

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Things are changing just a little this year, and I thought you might want to stay in the loop. First of all, my room-mate and longtime pal and garden helper extraordinaire Erica will be jumping a bit more on board. Actually, a whole lot more on board! This means things will probably be getting a little tidier, more organized, more productive, and a lot sillier around here.

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Secondly, we will be back in regular attendance at the Wednesday market in Nelson. We will be selling a variety of vegetables, strawberries and raspberries, as well as Judi’s famous raspberry juice.  This change in focus means I will be scaling back the CSA for this year. A limited number of weekly produce boxes will still be available over a shorter season. Read more about that here.

Hoe Down without the CSA?? Somehow the term CSA has become synonymous with a weekly box program, but the meaning of this model is much broader than that. Even if we are planning most of our sales through the market at this point, I still like to consider us a form of Community Supported Agriculture;  we are totally relying on our local community (you!) to directly support us, regardless of our distribution method. We sell a small amount to the Kootenay Co-op, and even that feels like pretty direct community support. None of our produce is being shipped out of this region to customers we could never know (and who could never know us!).

So we are still Hoe Down CSA, and you can show your support for us, and all the other local farmers, by shopping at the markets in Nelson!

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beets are deadly serious

On the deepest winter day, I am appreciating the abundance of garden produce that still surrounds us – in the freezer, the pantry, the greenhouse, and of course the root cellar!  These pictures were taken by the wonderful Eva Verbeeck in the summer, but they are a beautiful tribute to the sweet, messy, and oh so hardy beet that we are especially enjoying right now.

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“The beet is the most intense of vegetables.  The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity.  Beets are deadly serious. ”
– Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume


Happy Solstice!