Fall update

The fall work is starting to come to an end so I can finally find the time to do a blog post.

A lot has happened since the last post, The biggest change on the farm this fall was the wedding of Johnny Burns to Rowan Sanford Beck on Oct 16th. We had a small celebration with friends and family on the farm, the weather was beautiful so we were able to have the ceremony outside.

In the last post, we were pretty pessimistic about the garden but we ended up having a late fall and getting a good enough garden harvest in. The upside of a poor year is harvest was fast and we have the gardens in probably the best shape for next spring we have ever managed. We were not so lucky with the field crops this year so we will be downsizing our chicken flock over the winter. The hay crop was down but we got all we needed for the winter and some extra so if the pasture is late this spring our cows will have food. We are planning on fencing some more of our land for pasture in the spring in case it’s dry next year too, It’s always best to be ready for anything on the farm.

One of the big projects this year is we are moving in an old granary, half for a hall and half for lumber storage with a sleeping loft above, or that is what my plan is at the moment we will see how it ends up when I have the building here and start working on it.

We have also been working on the recipe page on the website and will be adding more recipes in the coming months. check them out and let us know what are your favorites!.

As I’m finishing this up we have just had our first snow of the winter. In reflection, it was a year of ups and downs but in the end, we have a cellar full of food, a new couple on the farm, and the fields are under a blanket of snow resting till spring, As for us, we have butchering, getting firewood, milling lumber and all the little repairs to keep us busy till springtime.

A vary difficult year (garden update)

My mother always said, “If you can’t say somthing good, don’t say anything at all.” I’ve refrained from doing a garden updates. With the drought, it was hard to feel cheerful about our garden. I did feel optomistic about the Americans; the potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cukes, melons, and squash. After Thursdays’s hail, I do not feel optomistic about any of the garden. Time will tell. This is normal for us. I’ll share some of my garden journal.

1995 – Worst garden. No rain until July 15. First delivery July.

1996 – Wonderfull garden!

1997 – No comment.

1998 – First pick-up June 11 – lettuce, spinach, herbs, radishes.

1999 – Best garden ever! Luxurious.

2000 – Very, very dry. Hot, windy, no rain. Good rain July 1. Hail Aug 6.

2001 – Poor garden. Cutworms destroyed 2/3’s for the lettucs, onions, spinach. Maggots destroyed cabbage family, Crows eating corn.

2002 – Worst garden ever. Cutworms and drought. Very cold spring.

2003 – Bad garden.

2004 – Wonderful lush garden but cold and late.

2005 – Good garden. Cool, late, and damp fall , so difficult harvest.

2006 – Great garden. Wet fall, so miserable root harvest.

2007 – No commets.

2008 – Wonderfull garden! Lots of fun!

2009 – Cold dry spring. Slow but late fall thus wonderfull Garden!

2010 – 2019 – Good gardens.

2020 – Best spring and summer garden ever! A total pleasure.

2021 – Too soon to say. So far, a difficult year.

Judy Ternier

Chicks

A lot is happing on the farm this spring, we had a incubator for the first time this year and had 25 chicks hatch (photo above). I learned a lot and hope to hatch out a lot more next year.

My mom (Judy) has been busy in the garden. We still haven’t had any rain so we are working on doing some irrigation for the spring seeding (I will post some photos of the garden in my next post).

I have updated the bean page on the website and we are taking pre-orders for the fall beans, so check it out if you are interested in Dried Beans.

Johnny

An update on what’s new on Largo Farm.

It’s been a while since I did a post and I said I would try and do them more often so here it goes.

We have some very exciting new projects on the farm this spring.

I have been thinking of getting a sawmill for a while but with the price of lumber doubling this year I thought it was time and ordered a Woodland Mills HM 126 (shown in photo).

It came in mid-March and has been a lot of fun to figure out and has opened up a lot of new opportunities on the farm.

In March we got two roosters and an incubator and will try hatching our own chicks on the farm now that we have a big solar system in my shop. I will do a post about it when they hatch.

My other project is working on a new website for Largo Farm.

I want something that I have more control over than a wordpress site so I’m learning to code one from scratch. It’s a big job but I hope to make a site that better expresses who we are at Largo Farm.

And with all these new things there is still all the spring work to keep us busy.

The gardening season is almost upon us, all the snow is gone and we will start planting soon.

We look forward to continuing to produce the best food Saskatchewan can offer to all of you!

Johnny.

P.S we are also still looking for new members for the coming season. we also have beef and eggs for sale. if your intresed let me know Contact Us.

Looking back at the 2020 year

The 2019-2020 CSA year has been one of many changes for us.
Covid-19 challenged many of our ways of hospitality.
We could no longer invite you to share a meal, a potluck, or larger gatherings.
We miss that, but the smaller fall-pickup/work bees worked well.
We got a lot of work done and I actually got to visit with more of you.
When life returns to “normal” we hope to incorporate what we’ve learned from this lock-down.

Covid-19 also terminated tom and my retirement travels.
All the energy for dancing went into the garden.
I love field scale gardening.

The second big change was that Janice and Shawn decided to return to saskatoon after seven years on the farm.
I enjoyed gardening with Janice (we had complementary styles of working) and was sad to lose her as a garden partner.
However like with Covid-19 there is a positive side.
johnny has taken over the administration (I think he is having fun.) Tom is happy to be my new “garden partner” (he is pushing me to take stock of seeds, something I always procrastinate about).
I am enjoying a closeness with my family which compensates for the loss.

The third change is the end of my ten years of seed growing for Prairie Garden seeds.
This frees us more space, time, energy, and creativity for our CSA.
Johnny did a cabbage family cage prototype last summer.
Maybe we can grow enough cauliflower, cabbage, and brocoll to share with you!?

WE look forward to the 2021 garden season.
Tom did lots of manuring of the gardens last fall (with a new-to-us horse drawn manure spreader).
Johnny and tom worked all the garderns (after the garden harvest and clean up that most of you helped with. Thank-you for your help and good company.)
Thus we are ready to garden when the spring comes.

Judy Ternier

A New Season

It’s been quite the year, lots of change in the world and on the farm. As you may know, the Sanford Beck family is moving off the farm for other opportunities. It’s a big change for the farm and so it will take a while to see what it means for the work and life here. I’m taking over the blog from Janice and am hoping to start adding content on a regular basis again. ~Johnny Burns

Largo Farm Fall 2020.
photo credit Sacha Roy

Natural Hazards

storm

Well, it has happened again. Almost one year to the day after last year’s devastating hail, even larger stones came pelting down upon our gardens yesterday evening. We saw the clouds rushing in from the west, felt the winds whipping across our faces, headed for shelter, and then, just as we sat down to eat, heard the hailstones descend.

hail

Some of the effects will not materialize for some time. Last year, we found that the onions began to regrow after the hail and therefore did not cure properly. Our tomato yield was drastically reduced and many of the squash were pock-marked. That said, having lived through this experience last year, I am feeling less devastated now than I did then. I know that the garden grows on, and that our plants were particularly strong and healthy going into this assault.

Still, I am eminently grateful that the storm came after we had harvested this week’s wedding flowers. It was our first wedding, and the blooms were glorious (in spite of having been rained on then too). Fortunately, the plants should have plenty of time to recover before the next wedding (and even before the next market, where the bouquets have begun to sell).

wedding flowers

Taller plants have been particularly hard hit by the storm. The sweet pea blossoms and sunflower stems strewn across the garden soil are plain to see. But overall, it will take some time to determine the true impact of the storm. At the moment, some plants look virtually unscathed, while others are severely battered. We have had to postpone today’s pick-up (more because of the mud and wind than the hail), and when you do get your vegetables this week, they will not be as beautiful as they have been, nor will they keep as well due to the bruising caused by hail impact.

Still, your bags will be bursting with the flavours of the season. We have one final week of shelling peas, along with the first abundant harvests of green, wax, and purple beans. We still have broad beans, and the zucchini are hitting their stride. Salad and cooking greens are a little tattered, but still present, as are a wide array of herbs (parsley, basil, dill, cilantro, summer savory, mint, and the tail end of the arugula and cress). The cucumbers have begun to produce — slicers for the orders and pickling cukes available for ordering. The beets will likely be sent leafless (though some leaves in the centres of the rows may be intact enough to be worth sending), and carrots and potatoes will continue through the rest of the season provided it is dry enough to dig them. Even with last night’s unwelcome icy visitors, the vegetable bags will be an array almost as colourful as the flowers above.

Endings and New Beginnings

sweet peas

It seems like the summer has only just begun, but already several vegetables have passed out of season. It began with the asparagus, followed by the orach, sorrel, and spinach. Now the edible pod peas are taking their exit. The Chinese Giant have finished already, and this will probably be the last week for Cascadia. The plants are still producing, but the peas are getting to be so speckled we figure it is best to move on.

But they have certainly not left a vacuum. With each passing week, several new vegetables are coming into production. We started with some carrots last week, and have added potatoes, zucchini, and broad beans today. Next week will be green beans and possibly summer turnips, and the cucumbers and cherry tomatoes are not far behind. Such bounty!

There are also some new beginnings of another nature taking place in our community. Judy and Tom’s newest grandchild, Catherine, entered the world last week. Many congratulations to Josephine, Brody, and big sister Maria.

And we have two weddings coming up in our Saskatoon member circle, the first of which will take place next weekend. This is not only a new beginning in the happy couples’ lives, but also for our farm, as they have asked us to grow flowers for the weddings. With some trepidation, we have been enjoying the beauty of the blossoms as we prepare for the big day (the day when we cut and ship the flowers, of course!). I have been experimenting with cutting and arranging the flowers, and never would have guessed how much I would enjoy having a home filled with bouquets. We hope the wedding guests get as much pleasure out of them as we have, and invite anyone else interested in brightening their home with flowers to let us know.

bouquet

This week’s vegetable orders include new potatoes, carrots, beets, zucchini, and onion thinnings at the bottom of your bags, along with shelling peas and broad beans. For those unfamiliar with the latter, they need to be shelled and then boiled or steamed. Some people then peel each individual bean, though this is too much work for my liking! Broad beans are often used in Middle Eastern cooking and go well with lemon juice, parsley, garlic and onion. I will include a favourite recipe from Middle Eastern Cooking on a Saskatchewan Homestead below.

In a separate bag are your bulky greens – Swiss chard, kale, and lettuce. We are back to small lettuce heads, as the first two seedings are now finished and the third and fourth are ready for thinning. The kale you have received so far is also thinnings; soon we will be on to larger leaves. Unfortunately, our perpetual spinach did not come up this year, but we will start sending some extra chard soon to compensate.

Finally, you have a bag with edible pod peas (a mixture of Oregon Giant and Cascadia sugar snap) and a growing collection of herbs: arugula, cress, dill, parsley (flat leaved and curly), basil, purple basil, mint, and summer savory. Bon appetit!

Broad Bean Salad (Salatat Fool)

1 lb. Shelled broad beans, cooked

1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

4 Tbsp chopped green onions

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 cup olive oil

2 Tbsp lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients well, then place on a platter and serve.

 

Peas, peas, and more peas

edible pod peas

Peas are the name of the game this week; we picked five different varieties for today’s order! Here’s how to keep them straight: the shelling peas (Knight) are in the bottom of your main cloth vegetable bag. The sugar snaps (a combination of Cascadia and Sugar Ann — shown above to the right) are mixed with the Oregon Giants (shown above to the left) at the bottom of your herb bag. These all taste great either raw or lightly cooked. Finally, the Chinese Giants are tucked in with your lettuce. These look similar to the Oregon Giants, but are less palatable raw. They are best stir-fried or added to soup just before serving. We hope you enjoy both the variety and the abundance!

The other new items this week are a tease of Swiss chard and baby kale (included in your herb bags, alongside the above-mentioned peas, arugula, cress, dill, parsley, mint, and basil) and the first of the season’s beets. Rounding out the orders are rhubarb, multiplier onions, and a generous portion of our Prizehead lettuce. Bon appetit!