The Early Years
This week I wanted to share a little about what the first few years of farming are like.
Both Amara and Ripple Farm are in our second year of operation, and still have so much to learn. Arzeena’s pretty amazing, she’s studied agriculture to the masters level, and has grown veggies at Sharing Farm in Richmond. She’s even worked in agriculture abroad in Sri Lanka and Thailand. Her knowledge of soil science and biology is helpful to a lot of people! I’ve managed market gardens in Duncan and Victoria and apprenticed in Sooke before migrating to the Comox Valley. Despite all of our combined experience, farming is place-based, so starting up at a new location always brings new challenges and successes.
Some of the challenges of the first few years of farming include:
- pest issues: wireworms live in sod and remain in newly broken soil for the first few years, slugs are a huge nuisance and we also have flea beetles, cabbage worms and carrot rustfly to contend with in our area
- soil fertility problems: learning about what is lacking in the soil, and how to amend the soil for these deficiencies while still following organic regulations
- infrastructure building: creating irrigation systems, out buildings and tools
- lack of experience with the local climate, soil type and/or pests
- mysteries: why did those carrots not germinate… again?!?
- paying the bills: landowners still have to figure out ways to make up the difference, so winter jobs and even part time jobs during the growing season are often a necessity
Despite all of these challenges, people are still choosing farming as a lifelong career! It’s wonderful that people are, and we hope to see more new growers in the Comox Valley to feed the growing population of locavores.
Farming is a good life. Getting up in the morning to happy chickens, watching the veggies grow (even though sometimes they don’t grow as quickly or as big as we’d like them to!) and spending our work days with birds wheeling overhead make it all worthwhile.
And of course, a community of supportive CSA members makes this work even MORE worthwhile. Thanks for sticking with us through the challenges, for being such good sports and eating the lacey bok choi, and for sharing in the adventure.
What’s in the box this week?
- Salad mix or lettuce heads
- Summer squash!
- Garlic scape jam
- Kale or Chard
- Fresh garlic
- Peas, beans or broccoli
Garlic Scape Jam?
It’s sweet. It’s savoury. It’s garlicky. It’s garlic scape jam! We made it just for you.
What folks say they’re going to do with this delicious stuff:
- Julie is going to glaze albacore tuna steaks with it before grilling it up
- I (moss) am going to slather it over soft goat cheese and serve it as an appy with rice crackers
Vegans might want to marinade tofu kebabs with it and grill them on the BBQ. Or, you can just spread it on crackers or toasted french baguette slices.
Summer Squash’n Greens Frittata
Frittata is my favourite breakfast. Usually, I make it with potatoes. But it’s a treat with summer squash instead!
Ingredients (serves 2):
- Summer squash, sliced and laid flat on layer deep on a frying pan
- 4 eggs
- A dash of milk or water
- Finely chopped kale or chard
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Tbsp olive oil or butter
- Grated cheese of your choice (optional)
Gently fry the summer squash in oil or butter with 1 clove of minced garlic for about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, chopped greens, milk and optional cheese in a bowl and pour over the summer squash and garlic in the pan. At this point, you may wish to put additional grated cheese on the top of the frittata. Cook on medium low heat until the bottom is starting to solidify. Before it browns, move the pan into the oven and broil on low heat until the top cooks.
Happy eating and hoping you’re all enjoying the summer to the fullest,