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Organic conversations

Find us at the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market every Saturday from 9-12 at the Headquarters Fair Grounds. This week, we had delicious greens from Amara Farm┬áincluding gorgeous bok choi, spinach leaves the size of your face, mizuna & komatsuna (mild mustard greens), kale, cilantro and radishes.

We’re gearing up at the farms for a great summer of overflowing CSA bins and happy eaters! At Amara Farm, greens are growing wildly in the mild greenhouse climates. Arzeena has been working hard to keep planting new crops, and we are excited to say our June crops are looking good so far!

It’s been a dry spring, but we are getting our irrigation systems set up early and enjoying farming in tank tops in April.

Both Amara and Ripple Farm are raising many new layer hen chicks so we can offer eggs later this summer. We will be letting you know when we have eggs available.

Conversations about organics

This week at the Farmers’ Market, I had some interesting conversations with customers about organic farming practices, and genetically modified foods. I really appreciate customer questions about whether our practices involve genetically-modified seed and inputs. As transitional to certified organic farms, we can assure you that we do not use GMO seeds, inputs, or feed for our animals at Amara or Ripple Farm.

As we gear up for our organic inspections this week, we’re feeling great about being a part of this growing community of farmers who are committed to practicing small-scale, ecologically-conscious agriculture. We are excited to be a part of a growing movement of farmers who want to maintain seeds as a public resource, and healthful food production in our communities. We are happy to talk to you any time about your questions about our growing practices, and what organic really means!

 

 

 

Spring at the farms!

Spring is rolling in and we are busy at our farms planting, preparing, cleaning up and getting ready for a fantastic CSA season! Don’t forget, you are welcome to come out and visit the farms, get your hands dirty and join in the fun. Please drop us a line at mervilleorganics@gmail.com if you’d like to come for a visit!

Shares still available? Yes indeed!

We still have shares available for 2013 and we need your help! You can help contribute to the success of our season by forwarding this newsletter to friends and family who may be interested in participating in our CSA box program.

If you would like us to make a presentation to your community group about our program, we would love to come and present a 15 minute slideshow about supporting local farmers and our CSA program. Contact us at mervilleorganics@gmail.com if you would like to book a presentation!

Amara Farm

A site that makes Arzeena's heart flutter! New land in production for 2013.
A site that makes Arzeena’s heart flutter! New land in production for 2013.

Amara Farm just hosted the second Vancouver Island Young Agrarians potluck. Young Agrarians’ mission is to connect young farmers and grow more sustainable / ecological food growers across Canada. Check them out at www.youngagrarians.org

Lots of people turned up to learn extending the growing season using low tunnel hoop houses – both Amara and Ripple Farm are using this low-tech solution to see if we can get earlier and better quality crops at the beginning of the CSA season.

The farmers at Amara are working hard tilling up soil, getting the greenhouses planted, raising new laying hens and seeding lots of crops. Arzeena has been at the market for the past few weeks, so drop by and visit her to get a sneak preview on some of the goodies you’ll see in your CSA boxes this summer!

 

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Ripple Farm

Ripple also hosted a Young Agrarians potluck in March. Both Arzeena and I are very invested in helping to create opportunties for new and aspiring farmers to learn practical skills. At the Ripple Farm potluck, participants had a chance to learn about soil blocking and potting mixes at Ripple Farm in March (photos below.)

Being a farmer is kind of like being a scientist in a very muddy laboratory. Spring is a time for fresh ideas and wacky experiments. Laughter and tears are bound to happen along the way. Small-scale farmers often have to innovate to create their own equipment from scratch.

One of my favourite tools is the dibbler (photo below). I learned about this tool when I worked for a garlic farmer in Saanich one autumn. It is a simple device: plywood with cut up broom handles drilled onto the bottom at 6″ spacing. The dowels poke holes into the soil where you can drop in garlic cloves, larger seeds, or even transplants, like leeks and onions!

The other exciting spring event for both farms is the raising of chicks for our laying flocks. We hope to have more fresh, certified organic eggs to offer CSA members and at the farmers’ market in the late summer. Stay tuned!

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