Beginning of full on harvest season

This past week was my 7th at Everdale, and now I’m back in Toronto for 2.5 weeks for my sister’s wedding. I have really mixed feelings about being ‘home’. On the one hand, I love my comfy condo and my time is certainly filled with activities and meeting up with friends., but on the other, I really miss being at Everdale…being up at the crack of dawn and working hard all day at so many different tasks. So far, this first week I’ll be away from the farm, I’ve completely missed the garlic harvest. By the time I get back, who knows how much bigger cow lamb will be or if he’ll remember me enough to come and butt me when I go to see him. And I’ll definitely miss the company of all the people at Everdale. This probably isn’t a surprise to anyone else, but I’m surprised by how much of an extrovert I’ve turned out to be ;P

I’ve also decided now to make this blog ‘public’. So for those of you who want to set up RSS feeds, or hate logging in, you won’t have any problems keeping up now! I’m counting on the massive volumes of data available on the internet to keep this blog known only to those I know.

So, this past week had a whole lot of harvesting. Lots of big crisp lettuce heads, mixed greens, spinach, chard (beautiful rainbow colours!), kale, radishes, green onions, herbs (coriander, basil, mint), kohlrabi and scapes. Since there’s so much harvest to be done, we start really early in the morning before the sun gets too fierce. Then all the harvest is brought into the Hub to be hydro-cooled and stored in the walk-in fridge in preparation for the CSA pickup on Thursday and the farmer’s markets on Saturday.

I got to go to my first farmer’s market on Saturday. Karen and I headed down to the Oakville market on Kerr St. It’s an organic farmer’s market and has a good mix of farms. There’s also a baker there who makes delicious herb and cheese breads. It was interesting to talk to the customers and learn about them. It was also a striking reminder of how separated the average consumer is from the realities of agriculture. We’ve been so spoiled by imported foods that we expect every kind of fruit and vegetable to be available year round so there’s no understanding of what’s actually in season at any given point in time. There were people looking for fruit who were disappointed that there weren’t fresh apples and peaches available. And the explanation that right now it’s mostly berries (strawberries, beginning of raspberries, etc.) and cherries that are in season in Ontario and fresh apples wouldn’t be available until the fall, was met with something akin to disbelief. Any apples or potatoes (not new potatoes, those are actually in season now) for sale right now are from last year’s harvest, kept in cold storage, or they’re imported from warmer climes. Personally, I’m happy to be eating mostly berries and cherries right now!

I probably won’t be posting any new updates until after I’ve gone back to Everdale in early August…though if I’m diligent with my reading, I may post a comment on whatever agricultural tidbits I glean from my readings. Perhaps there will be a comparison on the rate of knowledge transfer from book learning vs. hands on experience, though really, there’s not much comparison there!

This is the story of my journey into sustainable agriculture. From the streets of downtown Toronto, to the farm land of southern Ontario, I hope to discover the techniques and practices that work for me in both mind and heart.

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