Friday, January 25, 2008


The farm is being overrun by dogs! Two days ago there were ten of them in our front yard, and Bailey was delighted. There are now six living on the farm(5 of them with our neighbours), and our friend Julie comes to walk her dogs as well as her friends' almost every day. It's a nice break from the sleepy winter to see ten dogs racing around in the front yard(well, actually a couple of them are quite old and mostly supervise.)

Yesterday we had a great lunch with Chris and Graziella, of the Rossmount Inn(our favourite restaurant). Some of our readers may have been there, and others may be aware that we grow veggies for their restaurant through out the year. So January is a good time to talk about the coming season, especially to see if there are any strange treats that they would like us to grow this year. More importantly, it gives us an excuse to have lunch at a Chef's house. It was delicious, and after lunch it was exciting to go through the seed catalogue with them, and fantasize about the growing season.

Our growing plans are coming together now, and perhaps when we're finished we'll give you a list of the most exciting things we're growing this year.(exciting for us, not necessarily for you). It's very cold outside, toasty inside, and my biggest worry is my dismal record against Mike in speed chess. Winter is lovely.


Friday, January 18, 2008

What do you eat in January?


What do you eat in January when you are trying to eat as locally as possible?


A wonderful many things of several different colours, tastes and textures!

After a bountiful season, we stored away about 250lbs of potatoes, 150lbs of onions, 50 lbs of squash(which didn't survive in our storage space) and 10lbs of sweet potatoes(a tester plot).

We canned green beans, corn,chili, and
loads of tomatoes.

Once we realized we could, we froze broccoli, green beans, blueberries(not from our fields), watermelons, pesto, soups and black currants(intended for jam).

And as a test we left our leeks out in the field to see how long they could last out there. Mike and I harvested them just the other day and made Leek and Potatoe soup, YUM!

Now I know you are all probably pretty excited by this marvelous amount of bounty in January but it's not over folks.

Not only do we have stored goodies, we also have fresh treats.

Yesterday Luke and I bundled up nice and warm to head out to our greenhouse to plant our first lettuce of the year(to be harvested in March) and harvest a multi-coloured bowl of salad. You might not think it possible to harvest lettuce in the dead of winter but let me allow you in on a little secret I've only just discovered after years of disliking lettuce salads...there are so many other things to put in a salad!!! We've been eating salads with greens called names like claytonia, mache, hon tsai tai, tat soi, arugula, and of course the well known kale and spinach. These are all really winter hardy greens, especially the mache and kale, the former of which will survive under a blanket of snow. They have been complemented, in our bowls, by other delicious eatings such as carrots, radishes and green onions.

Once you've set up a little cold frame you too could be the proud harvester of a plethora of lovely green, orange, red, black(winter radishes), and purple things. It doesn't take much more than a few pieces of wood and some old windows or plastic. Or if you are more into curves you could build a little hoop house. The possibilities are many. For those of you are not into the growing part, if you know a local grower in your area, ask them if they can do it! We love suggestions from our customers.

So other than eating, we have also been busy planning the year, deciding what seeds to buy, what projects we have for the year, and finishing up our meetings. The guys spent a snowy day splitting wood with our neighbour Kevin while I was researching the possibility of offering a share to low-income families with a gov't grant.

All in all, a pretty great start to the year. We are all very glad to have this time to rest, plan and re-energize for the coming season. We are going to need it!

Hope you are all well and finding lovely ways to keep warm,
Love Katherine

Friday, January 11, 2008

Mission Statement

Well gang, I(mike)have been back for about a week now and most of our time so far has been spent talking about the future of Bantry Bay Farm and looking at goals and aspirations for years to come. We spent some time before Christmas creating a mission statement for the farm and we are now setting goals to try and realize that mission statement to its fullest extent. Here is the finished product so let me know what you all think of it:

Mission Statement

1)Environmental Responsibility:
-To create a business that shifts our food system towards environmental sustainability

2)Healthy Relationships:
-To foster healthy relationships with our members, customers, and community

3)Quality Food
-To provide the healthiest, tastiest, and freshest food

-To create a place where workers feel fulfilled


At the beginning of last growing season we sat down and made a list consisting of all the major jobs on the farm. The idea is that the list would get divided up among the farmers and that each farmer would be 'in charge' of his or her particular job. Now being 'in charge' didn't mean you had to do it, it just meant you needed to make sure that all pertinent aspects of that job would get brought to the table and done.

Now, the dividing up of this list is actually quite a fun process. First we privately grade each task A, B or C. A rating of 'A' would mean it's something you really want to be in charge of, 'B' means that you don't particularly WANT that job, but you're certainly happy to take it, and a 'C' would mean you don't want it at all.

So of course the fun comes in discovering which things you received outright (eg. having an 'A' when the others put 'B's) and wrangling to get or not get the jobs where you tied with others(eg. all 3 people putting 'B's). Its like a Christmas where you know what all the presents are and which ones you want, just not which one's your going to get.

Anyways, I received such exciting gifts as Tool Care, Planting, Bed Preparation and Finances. I know you're all thinking, "how lucky can one guy get!" , but believe it or not, these are aspects of the farm which I am genuinely interested in being in charge of. We're quite lucky in that our interests are diverse enough that almost every task on our list gets a rating of 'A' by at least one person.

In fact, we had only two jobs on the list that received a grade of 'C' from all three people, Trellising and Watering. So if there are any potential farmers out there who are just super pumped about being in charge of those two tasks, I'm sure we can find a place for you at Bantry Bay Farm.


Friday, January 04, 2008

Happy New Year!

Hello Everyone!

It's been a long time(six months?!). Well, with a new year comes a renewed commitment to keeping the farm blog up to date, so allow me to summarize the last six months.

The summer was bountiful, and our trial CSA program went great. Most of our members seemed quite pleased with their bag of veggies every week, and it was very meaningful for us, knowing who was going to be eating the food we were harvesting. We were very thankful to have a community of people that were willing to commit to us for three months, especially knowing that we hadn't done this before.

To help us out on the farm last summer(help us read Harry Potter 7!), we had my brother and his wife, Ben and Sara, for almost two months! Needless to say the book was great, and Ben's narrating/voice acting was as wonderful as ever before.

In the fall, things slowed down a bit, but a few CSA members kept coming back every week for more veggies even after the program had ended. We had some visitors in the form of Sara's parents, Wally and Sue, who were having a cross North America vacation, and stopped at the farm for a couple of days. The most important events were the dinner Sue made for us(peanut sauce and tofu veggie wraps) and the chess matches between Mike and Wally, both avid chess fans. The first game was quite an upset(Mike victorious) and a rematch was necessary for Wally to set the record straight.

Other visits included Audrey and Paul, complete with old uncomfortable chairs for us to store, and later Naomi Allard, whom we hadn't seen in far too long.

Also, during the fall, Katherine was dog sitting for some friends of ours for two months, so we had the pleasure of getting to know Ginger. We look forward to seeing her on the farm next year when she comes to pick up her CSA bag.

Perhaps most important of all, we had the pleasure of welcoming a new Farmer to the world on Oct. 26. Lori and Tony had their second daughter, and she's just as unique and wonderful as the first! Her name is Sasha Renee Mais, and we can't wait for Sofie and her to take over the farm when we retire.

We tried to get all of our important work done, and managed to squeeze in a short but fun visit with Zach Lee(an old Vernon friend). On Nov. 19, Katherine and I set off to BC, to visit my family there. We arrived just in time to see Ben play the part of Fagan, in a stage production of "Oliver". He was fantastic and we were thoroughly entertained. Then we proceeded for the next few weeks to visit with family, get beaten by big padded swords my brothers had made, and we even got a chance to make it to Vancouver to quickly visit some old friends(and a new one in the form of Daniel Thomas Brunelle, Lane and Sofia's new son!). Mike joined us in BC in December and stayed there for Christmas, whereas Katherine and I made our way back to Toronto to have Christmas with her family and some of the Davar family. My second McCord Christmas was a delight(like the first), and I even got a birthday lunch complete with birthday presents! I also got to see my Auntie Terry, which was fun and timely, as she may have moved back to BC by the next time we're in Toronto.

And now we're home! whew! And it's good to be back! I've probably forgotten a few important things but perhaps they'll appear in later posts,(hopefully sooner than later). One of the things we wish to improve in this year is organization, and that includes scheduling a time for updating the blog! So for those of you who are reading this, you may be hearing from us more regularly....