United Way Day of Caring
On July 13th we were fortunate enough to have a terrific party of volunteers from BDO Canada LLP. Thanks to United Way for organizing this party.
They worked very, very hard, cutting down many of the dead beech trees, building a beautiful pumpkin enclosure, weeding and spreading compost.
Here we are at June 21st already, and in spite of the rain….
Yes, nevermind the rain, our staff — Tzomi and Katie — have been hard at work all Spring. They have been helping all the new gardeners getting started with their plots, and the Come Grow With Us gardeners. They have dug up the winter rye, and planted veggies and herbs for the market garden. They are already selling kale, herbs and beautiful bouquets.
They have also planned some really great events to get everyone up to the Farm, to learn about water conservation, about trees, to drink herb tea, and make art. This is fun for the whole family, and we hope that you will come soon, and bring friends. Bring a picnic and enjoy a bit of paradise.
Stay tuned in to this site to find information about Urban Farm Forest School in Spryfield. In the Fall we will welcome kids — pre-school and after-school — to a special nature lovers event, every week. Just kids in the woods, in the field, having fun at their own pace, in nature.
Plans for a Spryfield Heritage Centre
On May 27th the Urban Farm hosted a workshop with community stakeholders to begin plans for developing the new land that was donated to the community by Ralph Medjuck. The Spryfield Community Association was well represented, as was the Mainland South Heritage Society, and many people from the neighbourhood, and members of the Urban Farm. About twenty people particpated in a lively discussion and the outcome was a ‘shopping list’ of great ideas that will help lay the foundation for a concept for a facility for the community. Councillor Steve Adams said that his office would help with expertise needed on the first planning steps. Among the ideas put forward by the group was a facility that would include a public space, for performances and group activities, a café, a barn area, with the possibility of having animals in situ Spring, Summer and early Fall, a commercial kitchen, and most importantly, some space for exhibits of historical artifacts and documents. Here we are at the end of the meeting, looking forward to the next one.
The Urban Farm is expanding!
We are thrilled to announce that after many years of conversation with Ralph Medjuck and his colleagues, the Farm has received the deed for about two acres of land which lies adjacent to the Kidston Farm where we have all our gardens.
There’s lots to tell about the history of this piece of land, but for today we can talk about the future opportunity for the community of Spryfield. The Urban Farm is entrusted with developing this very generous gift for the benefit of the public and to do this we will join with partner organizations in order to bring to fruition some of our goals as a museum, as an organization that preserves heritage and culture, and that engages people of all ages in communal activities around growing and eating locally grown food.
Harvest Fair 17/09/16
This past weekend the Spryfield Urban Farm hosted it’s annual Harvest Fair – a fun-filled afternoon for local families to enjoy. All of the classic elements were in play.
Your first stop, the produce table, was packed with end of season veggies – pumpkins mingled with radiant squash, pints of tomatoes were framed by bundles of fresh kale and chard, zukes and cukes filled baskets and vases of sunflowers drew folks in. It all sold quickly, everyone lusting after a final taste of summer.
If you were too hungry to wait for dinner, then the baked goods tent was your next stop. It felt somewhat like a scene from Forrest Gump: zucchini pie, zucchini loaf, zucchini cake, zucchini quiche, zucchini pasta… Every dish delicious and made with fresh garden veggies + love.
When your plate was loaded high, the picnic tables called to you, or if no room there, a shady spot under a tree. As you sat to enjoy your meal, the Spryfield Community Band launched into another piece of impressive music. There’s nothing quite like hearing live music out of doors in the sun.
Only once did the band get drowned out by the beautiful old red tractor pulling a wagon full of laughing kids through the field. The tractor, taking passengers down and around the farm, fit right in with the few farm animals that dotted the landscape. A goat greeted people by the path, and happily lapped up water from a nearby bucket. On the other side of the field sat two lovely sheep, who were content lazing in the grass and accepting pats from kids and adults alike.
How could I forget, the biggest attraction of the Fair, with a lineup of 20 kids long all afternoon, the famous fishpond. I don’t think a single kid went home without a goodie bag from the pond! What a glorious day it was!
Harvesting Garlic 15/08/16
Two weeks ago today we began our garlic harvest! Thanks to the foresight of last years’ Garden Coordinator there were around 120 beautifully healthy bulbs to haul out of the soil. The first sign that garlic is ready to come out of the ground are the drying leaves. When the bottom three leaves are turning brown and the remaining leaves are still green it is time to harvest! Treat your garlic with the utmost care as the bulbs are very fragile and bruise easily if bumped around. If possible, manually pick all of your garlic to ensure little damage to the bulb.
Once we had all of our bulbs out of the ground, we peeled off 2-3 layers of skin from each bulb and washed the dirt out of the roots. We then clipped the roots off, and began the braiding process.
Essential to garlic’s long shelf life is the way in which the bulbs are stored. The more airy, dry, and dark – the better! Although you may be tempted to use your freshly pulled garlic right away, the bulbs need about two weeks untouched to cure. The shed at the farm is perfect for curing garlic. All the bulbs, in their tight braids, are hanging from the ceiling at this very moment, soon ready for purchase!
Saving seed is the last step in the process before whipping up a batch of delicious garlic bread. If you’re thinking about planting garlic for next year, choose some of your best looking bulbs and store them for a late fall planting. Each clove will sprout into a whole new bulb in the spring – it’s pure magic!
O.K… Time to get baking!
Willing Hands on a Hot Morning
We started off this week with the help of three volunteers from the pharmaceutical company Janssen, who came to us via our main sponsor, United Way. Craig and Brad spent the morning clearing around the red currant and black currant bushes. Making space around the bushes keeps them disease-free, and means more fruit next year. Mary-Jane worked very hard on weeding the herb and perennial bed. She was on hands and knees, pulling out the various little plants that want to share the space and the nutrients in the garden. We received a delivery of composted manure, so they helped carry that and dump it out of the bags ready to be used in the garden. They all worked so hard and were interested in what we do at the Farm. We are very grateful for their contribution, and hope they will come again soon.
NEXT FARM Meeting – everyone welcome.
7 pm, May 15th, at the Captain Wm Spry Centre