After some very wet weather, it is wonderful to have some glorious fall days as we put the farm to bed for the winter. Compost was spread, layers of leaf mulch and hay are laid, and plants are wrapped with burlap to winter to help them winter.

I always find this time a year in the garden to be bittersweet I am full of immense gratitude for all of the farm’s produce however it is always hinged with a touch of sadness as we can we bid farewell for the season. Gratitude for all the bounty of the farm, gratitude for how delectable and tasty it was, gratitude to all the people who helped make this happen. As we are preparing for winter we put it out to the universe that mother nature will be kind to us next year and give us optimum growing conditions for tasty and bountiful season.

Food security is also something very important to the farm.  We have partnered with FarmFolk CityFolk, led by Chris Thoreau, and have been raising carrots for seeds.

Chris Thoreau of FarmFolk CityFolk

“Carrots are one of the more complex seed crops to produce. First, the crop is a biennial that requires two years to grow out and specific overwintering storage requirements. Secondly, domesticated carrot will readily cross with Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota var. carota), a progressively common weed in British Columbia. Complete isolation between the wild and domesticated varieties is necessary to produce true-to-type seed.” (http://www.bcseeds.org/carrot-seed-report-2014/) This is important for the farm to do because seeds that are developed locally, grow and thrive better locally. This year’s seed production on the farm was not as good as last years but there were many factors for that. To prevent cross-pollination, the carrots are grown in a separate sealed greenhouse. In a small-scale operation like us, it is very laborious to collect and save the seeds. First, the umbrels are collected left to dry.

Then we begin the process of separating seeds from umbrels. To speed this up we stomped on the umbrels. Then the seeds have to be cleaned and since we are not a mechanized farm, we do this by hand. The seeds also have a hairy covering, known as a beard. To remove this we rub the seeds and run them through a series of smaller and smaller screen until ultimately we get the desired result. Unfortunately because of the recent whether it was still much too much moisture in the seeds so we were not able to complete the processing, however it was certainly fun to stomp on the seeds, it good exercise, and also helps release pent up energy and stress. Those are my feet with chicken shoes you see in the picture, LOL. It was very fascinating to learn that these carrots where pollinated by flies. Chris explained that he had to learn how to breed to flies. He did so by using either raw fish or ground beef in a container with holes in the sides. This traps the flies, which are then released into the greenhouse. The raw fish or meat is then buried in the enclosure so the larvae/pupae deposited in the meat can hatch. Chris said that ideally they need about 2-3 flies per umbrel. What a wonderful food security project! Read more about this project here

Now that all the volunteer shifts in the garden have ended, it is time to take a moment and appreciate that despite a rather difficult summer growing season (we had a rather late start due to our undesirable spring weather) the farm’s produce was once again spectacular and delicious. There is nothing so wonderful as eating produce that is fresh off the farm, local, and organically grown. And if you were lucky enough to be a subscriber to our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) harvest baskets this year then you know what I mean. CSA is a prepaid subscription to a farm’s produce for the season and give shareholders a weekly supply of veggies. You know it is fresh and you get to meet the farm and people who grew your food! The prepaid CSA arrangements are a source of financial security for the Sharing Farm.

If you were not a subscriber, I encourage you to consider it for next year. Secure your next year’s harvest basket a glorious and scrumptious summer treat at this year’s prices by signing up now. Support the good work of the farm and receive the best produce in town…sign up here.

Or you can sponsor a family struggling with Food Security. It’s a gift of Food Dignity.

I would also like to take a moment and say thank you to the many volunteers that help make this farm a success, we could not do it without you. I would also like to thank the corporate sponsors for both the product and financial donations and for sending in their teams of much needed manpower. If you are not already a volunteer for the farm and think this might interest you come springtime, we will need you. It will be all hands on deck. If you think that that and you don’t want to forget, fill out our volunteer form online and we will be in touch with you when it is time to get into the field. Sign up here

If you would still like to help the farm’s mission but cannot commit to a CSA basket or by volunteering on the farm (come spring), consider making a donation, every bit counts. Donate here

Another fabulous way to see to be a part of the farm is to become a member, remember there is strength in numbers. Sign up here

I believe strongly in the farm’s mission of providing fresh, healthy, local produce to our less fortunate neighbours.

I am deeply concernd about the loss of farmland in Richmond and food Security. All the Sharing Farm’s farming practices are organic and sustainable, though not certified organic (due to expense and time of doing so) and that commitment makes me proud.

I love the diversity of the volunteers and the sense of community that the Sharing Farm cultivates among us. I love that there is never any pressure to do more than I am able or to commit more than I can. I have met some incredible people in the friends of the greenhouse program. I hope to come back again next season and continue to foster those relationships.

I hope that you will consider being part of the farm whether it is by ordering a CSA harvest basket, offering your hands and muscle for volunteer sweat equity, consider becoming a member, or making a donation. Personally, as a volunteer and someone who is connected to the mission of the farm I take pride in what the farm is able to accomplish.

 

The staff and plants are ready for hibernation! We’ll see you back again in 2018 – Thanks for a great year!

Good Night Farm…

 

 

This blog post was written by Tamar Cohen.

 

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