Friday, June 24, 2011

farm update - june 24

Finally got around to getting some farmyard work done yesterday. I made a few dump runs with all of the construction garbage that we've had stored in mini-bulk totes since last fall. Dad brought the 766 home yesterday so I was able to put the loader on and use it to load the totes of garbage, move some boulders around and haul some dirt out to our 'island' on the turnaround driveway. There is still loads of work to do as far as landscaping goes, but I got started...and that is good. 

Crops are finally sprouted and slowly growing. Many weeds in the fields though because the weather was so incredibly dry at seeding. Now with all this rain the seeds are sprouting and having to compete with taller grasses and alfalfa weeds. The crops are so late though...really hoping for a late fall. An early killing frost in early September will heavily damage our crops I am afraid. 

I found some time to write this post as the mill is milling some buckwheat. We enjoyed Buckwheat Pancakes this morning...excellent taste! I am almost ready for market tomorrow at Old Strathcona Farmers Market. I just need to mill and mix some pancake mix and finish up the Buckwheat Flour this afternoon and I'm golden. 

Sure hope to see more customers at market tomorrow. It is supposed to be a little miserable outside so it is the perfect day to spend inside this bright and cheery indoor market. I simply love the atmosphere at Old Strathcona...see you there!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

a nice email

I just got this wonderful email from Ruth. I can't tell you how much I love getting messages like this! It really makes me want to work harder around the farm to make sure we are able to continue doing what we do. Thank you for your kind words and taking the time to let us know Ruth!

"Hello John & Cindy,Just had a meal of your pancakes and so enjoyed.I've tried to put a message on your blog but can't figure out how to do that so will just tell you why this is special and maybe you can put it on.     For a long time it has been difficult for me to swallow pancakes and believe me I've tried many different brands.They seem to stick and go down very slowly,sometimes with discomfort.But!!Big BUT!!your mix goes down smooth as honey.I can't eat the whole batch so the remaining pancakes are bagged then used as the bread for a sandwich.Also must add that the wheat berries are excellent in place of rice in stir fries and such or just as a side dish.Your grains have added a whole new twist to my healthy cooking. Many thanks from a senior who really tries to eat right and eat local."      Ruth

Thursday, June 16, 2011

busy busy

Gosh...been so busy lately trying to get caught up financially. I have found work again off-farm with a friend's company in Edmonton. I've been working there long hours for the past couple weeks and by the time I get home and get some farm work done, I am too bushed to write on the blog. 

Working again and making sure that I have a steady income is good for sure, but a large part of me wishes that the farm would hurry up and accomplish the same thing. I would much rather be working for myself given the choice. It is a catch-22 too...the more I work off-farm, the less I can get done around here and the less income the farm produces. We have made the decision, for the time-being, to reduce our work load with the farmers markets to just one market. Of course we chose Old Strathcona Farmers Market. It is Edmonton's best market and runs year round. It is a difficult market to get in to and we are very fortunate to be there. I want to grow the flour business, but everyone has to take into account that I also need to finish our house, get the landscaping done, work on farm equipment and build some out-buildings this summer. No easy feat even if I didn't have farmers markets and an off-farm job! 

I am contemplating the St. Albert Farmers Market right now though. It is our home town market so to speak and would be much handier for the family to help out with as opposed to the downtown market. I think we will be attending that market within the next week or two. If I am prepping for one market, it is only a little more work to prep for two. We'll see.

If it appears that I am all over the map it is probably true, but there are a lot of external pressures to deal with along with the all important issue of growing the business. I am assuming that next summer will be a steady focus on the big three farmers markets in the area and we'll go hard to make hay while the sun shines. 

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

market update June 11

I have a little 'man'power shortage this weekend as Brittany will be recovering from a stint in the dentist's chair. So, I will not be at City Market on 104th this coming Saturday. I will however, be at Old Strathcona Farmers Market! Yaaay! I really miss being at this market so this is my chance. Hopefully though, Brittany will be back the next Saturday and I can return downtown.

Seeding is complete by the way. I finished seeding my barley last night. Spring work its time to focus on the house and yard completion and fall equipment repairs and maintenance.

a guest post! Maria Rainier

A Look at the Global Organic Market

In recent years, the global organic market has been booming thanks to more and more considered citizens wanting to lead healthier lives and putting more thought and consideration into the environment.

But due to the economic crash of 2008, statistics have shown that the global organic market, specifically in relation to organic food and beverages, has slightly declined due to the fact that the current state of the economy has put a damper in people’s wallets.

Between 2000 and 2009, global revenue in the global organic market increased dramatically from 18 billion to 54.9 billion USD. But between 2008 and 2009, statistics proved that organic sales grew a mere 5% due to a reduction in investments as well as “consumer spending power.” But in the past year or so it seems as though the economy has been recovering, (although at a snail’s-like pace), and now experts are predicting that more and more people will start spending money on the global organic market thus the numbers are expected to rise once again.

A growth in organic produce
Despite the fact that the global organic market has not been growing as fast as it has been in previous years, many regions in the U.S. as well as other countries are still experiencing organic produce supply shortages. This is because more and more citizens are turning to local farmers to purchase duty-free organic food and produce, and they’re also hoping to grow their own fruits and vegetables in their yards as well to avoid expensive food prices altogether.

The future of the global organic market
Experts are predicting that there will be a growing demand for global organic produce in emerging economies as well as a rise in private organic labels as well. This could be due to the fact that although the growth in the global organic market has actually slowed down, there has been a rise in the variety of different organic products on the market, which now range from organic clothing, make-up, furniture, vehicles and much more. 
Furthermore, more and more companies are now tapping into the “green” market by including many eco-friendly practices in how they grow and produce their products, as well as the various services that they offer as well.

Even though growth statistics have been looking grim over the past few years, the continuing global organic growth is living proof that not only can it survive an economic recession, it may even become the norm in consumer spending as well.


Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she’s written on farm management careers along with a piece on business administration degree programs. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, playing piano, and working with origami.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Buckwheat Flour

Is tomorrow the first time in Edmonton's history that locally produced Buckwheat Flour will be offered for sale? Was it offered decades ago in a time when it would have been common? We've grown buckwheat for a few years now and this is the first time we've milled it into flour...tomorrow it will be for sale at our booths at Old Strathcona Farmers Market and City Market on 104th. 

It mills wonderfully but we do have to sift it to remove the hulls. This adds a fair amount more work to the process, but it's worth it. What an intense flavour! We made a Rhubarb Pie with Buckwheat crust and it was awesome. 

The two G's in a field of Buckwheat
There have been a few people asking for Buckwheat Flour at the Old Strathcona Farmers Market lately so now they can go home with a bag of their own. It is, of course, organic. 

Buckwheat was once very popular in North America and has been grown since colonial days. It was a valued cash crop for early new world farmers because it was the only flour that could be seeded and harvested within the 90 limit of most notes of the time. You could borrow the money for seed and pay it back with the harvest...the only crop capable of that kind of quick performance. 

Additionally, Buckwheat was a household item used in all kinds of baking projects. Buckwheat is ground as a flour and used for noodles, pancakes and breads. It should be noted that Buckwheat is a seed or nut as opposed to a contains no gluten.

Hopefully we will see you tomorrow at market. Brittany will be at Old Strathcona and I will be at City! Should be a great day. 

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

flax quenelles recipe!

This is a nice email I received from a customer of ours that I met at market last weekend...Sorry Angel, but I don't know much about egg substitutions...perhaps somebody out there has a suggestion?

Thanks for the recipe Angel!

Hi John & Cindy, makers of amazing grains!!!!
I was just at the market telling John about an amazing recipe I recently discovered.
This recipe was found at a Vipassana meditation retreat, of all places.
The recipe was called Flax Seed Balls, but being a foodie, I prefer to make quenelles!
The measurements are for raisins, Gold Forest Grains Organic Golden Flax seeds and sunflower seeds, measured at a ratio of 1-2-3 respectively.
(I ended up with about 6 cups, which made a HUGE lot of 'em!)
Put these in a bowl with just enough water to cover. Cover bowl and leave on the counter overnight.
The next day you can add cinnamon, vanilla, carob, etc. and then blend until smooth. )I used an immersion blender, worked great.)
Some folks might like to add some maple syrup or other sweetener, as they are mildly sweet.
Roll into balls or make quenelles, roll in flaked  coconut. EAT! (You probably already know this, but, organic flaked coconut is insanely inexpensive at Earth's General Store!)
You can also freeze them, which is what I did, I eat them semi-frozen. SO delicious AND healthy!
Unfrozen they are very soft which may not be a desirable texture to some.
I am going to experiment more with the recipe, I think there are endless possiblilities,  these would make an elegant dessert if they were plated with some berry coulis, whipped cream and a smash of shaved chocolate!
While I have your attention; I went to your blog, but didn't know how to comment there, not too computer savvy moi!
It looks very interesting, will visit more often and check out fellow foodie Kevin Kossowan, as reccomended by John.
FINALLY!- As I mentioned today, I am currently lacto vegetarian, and wonder if you can reccomend a way to make your wonderful pancake mix sans eggs? Do you think I could use coconut or almond milk?
Grazie mille!!