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.
I sure will miss living and growing in this sweet little place!
Looks like we really fell off the wagon with the blog posting this summer…oops!
Here’s a few photos of late Summer and Autumn in the garden and at the market, just to round out the season. It seems so long ago already!
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!
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!
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:
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!
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!
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
Green house happenings
Needy seedlings and the kitchen table/farm office 😉
Seeding spinach and tying raspberry canes
Sweeping the garden and pounding poles for the pea trellis
Seed refill and a big ole bucket of over winter parsnips – fresh from the garden TODAY!
The farm is still in full winter mode… but the greenhouse is ALIVE, the seeds have arrived and there are sprouts in the seed room. Hope you’re all well and warm and excited for SPRING!
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.
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.
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!
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.
“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
Sometimes I think I sound like a one woman show, but let me assure you I am not! First of all, the owners of Tulaberry, Alex and Judi, help me enormously with advice, equipment, muscles, and just the opportunity to live and farm here. And then, a super huge THANK YOU is due to all the friends and family who stopped by to help out at some point this season (well, maybe they stopped by for other reasons, but they definitely ended up helping). An hour of weeding, an afternoon digging potatoes, a whole week of odd jobs – every little bit is so appreciated. It’s so great to have friends with different skills and interests who are willing to lend a hand and keep things interesting around here.
We didn’t catch everyone in action, but here’s a few.
Anastasia, you can come back anytime!
Although it maybe looks like Arlo just sits around in glorious sunlight, I actually owe him extra big thanks for all the hours he spent on my website and flyers before the growing season even started.
Megan generally just shows up for the glory moments
Sean was debatably more valuable as an entertainer than a farm hand….
Katie was not only my biggest helper, but also the best recruiter of helping hands during the summer!
bonus point for pre-trained farm workers
this may be 2014, but Sarah Miles definitely did more than her share this year too
my dad might be a workaholic
my mom is the happiest helper by far
mainly by circumstance of hanging around the most, these 4 were definitely my best helpers this year
Extra special thanks to my apprentice Katie, who stuck around for four months, worked super hard, filled our house with laughter and great tunes, and really helped me keep my sanity.
and last, but definitely not least (I think I could even say MOST), I wouldn’t have been able to pull this off without this girl. Thanks for keeping the flowers alive, making the endless compost hauling bearable, and teaching me how to take breaks.
and now it’s time to put down the hoe, pick up the frisbee, and head to Mexicoooooo!