While I sit here and write this post, Kimmy is pulling the last of winter squash plants from the field now that we are all done harvesting. This week, we are excited to include spaghetti squash in the shares for everyone! This is our first year growing spaghetti squash and they have grown well and taste delicious. I will most definitely be growing more of them again next year. For ideas on how to prepare these unique squash, see the recipe section below.
This weekend, Rob, Kimmy, our boys, and I all attended an Ecological Farmer's of Ontario (EFAO) fundraiser and farm tour. It was an all day event where we toured four ecological farms (all on the same road) and learned more about their operations. I find these tours one of the best ways to learn more about farming and gain new ideas and make valuable connections.
The first farm, Blackshire Gardens, is a farm that grows shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, and dried beans for wholesale markets. Rob was interested to learn more techniques for successfully growing shiitakes. We also hope to expand our asparagus patch and were interested to see their 1 acre asparagus patch.
I have visited the second farm, Cedar Down Farm, previously but it is interesting to visit a farm at various times throughout the season to see how their work evolves. Cedar Down Farm has a large CSA program and I always glean some tidbit of information related to growing for CSA customers.
On the third farm, Crickhollow, we first ate a delicious potluck lunch. I will unabashedly say that ecological farms and gardeners have the best potluck dishes! We then toured this biodynamic farm and learned more about the philosophy of biodynamics, including the importance of a closed-loop farming system, where all inputs come from on the farm (for example, any manure amendments added to the garden beds come from the farm's animals).
We then took a wagon ride to the fourth farm, Green Being Farm. We haves visited Green Being Farm before and enjoy interacting with all their pasture raised animals. They also run a winter CSA, which is delivered to the same location as our Guelph pickup during the winter months.
After these informative tours we were able to meet (and take home) our new Kune Kune pigs, which were born at Green Being Farm! Kune Kune pigs are a small sized pig that are native to New Zealand. They are not a common breed in Canada, with only a handful of breeders raising them, so at this point we will be raising them as breeding stock. This means that we will breed them and sell the offspring in an effort to introduce these pigs to the Canadian market. Eventually, as this breed becomes more common, they will then be marketable as meat pigs. The three primary reasons these pigs are desirable are: 1) they can be raised on pasture alone (unlike other breeds which require significant feed inputs to grow to size; 2) they are small and easier to manage than larger breeds; and 3) they have a gentle and friendly disposition that makes then a great match for young families.
We have decided to name our two pigs Penelope (or Penny, for short) and Mortimer (or Mort, for short). They are still young but we should be able to start breeding early next summer.
Weekly Share Contents:
Spaghetti Squash is a great alternative to those who avoid gluten. But even if you don't, there are many great ways to use this versatile vegetable.
For some delicious spaghetti squash ideas, check this link out! http://www.skinnymom.com/9-healthy-and-hearty-spaghetti-squash-recipes/