I was lucky to snag an interview with the elusive Josh Oulton this morning. Josh has not been around as much lately because he's been laid up with a serious infection in his knee. Today he was checking out something on Gerald's tractor when I caught up with him.
Josh has worked here since the farm's conception in 2004. He was born in St. John's Nfld but grew up in Nova Scotia.
I asked him what he does on the farm in his own words, and he said: "I am the coordinator of activities." Some of the things Josh really likes about farming are the seasons, planting crops and watching them grow, harvesting, seeing the farm's crops coming out of the fields in bins and going out and into storage, and the people he works with. Josh's favourite crop is Onions-- to grow and to eat. Why? "They're good."
Josh noted that he is excited most about the animal part of what's going on now at the farm-- He finds them entertaining and a great addition to the things that we do. It is exciting to see some of the plans and dreams coming to fruition now, like the GMO-free feed we are working on and the pastured pork. I asked if there was anything he didn't like, and he didn't even have to stop and think to reply: "Weeds. Who likes the weeds? If we could farm without weeds we'd have nothing to do. They are a nuisance."
Outside of farming, Josh plays hockey, skis, and enjoys spending time with his 3 kids and wife Patricia.
I also asked Josh for a health update, as that is the hot topic on the farm these days. He is feeling hopeful that he will be better soon. He can now bear weight on his leg and think clearly, and is starting to help a little bit whenever Trish asks-- He adds, "I kinda like it, I just show up at the farm and she tells me what needs to be done." A change for Josh from being the regular coordinator of activities.
On a final note, Josh supplied: "This year has been full of adversity and we are getting through it. It's been especially hard for me with the recent hospital stay and health issues, but also hurricanes and babies and marriages have played a part in making this a harder year than most. We will come through it!
It was only fitting that I snap a photo of Meagan driving by in the TapRoot Van (safely stopped, of course, out the office window!). Meagan does the majority of the CSA deliveries at the farm.
Meagan has worked at TapRoot Farms since May. She helps with making shares, cleaning and organizing the ever-impending mess in our warehouse, and of course delivers most of the shares, meets members, and chats with them about vegetables-- which she notes is her favourite part of the job! I asked Meagan what brought her to TapRoot and she said "I was a member for a year and when I first heard about the farm I wished I could work there. So, of course when I saw a job opening I went for it!"
Meagan loves to eat vegetables, as well as talk about them with members! Her favourites are Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, and Asparagus-- a green, healthy veggie for every season! She also enjoys camping and being in the outdoors, biking, fishing, and solitude. Meagan was born in Victoria, BC but has lived in Nova Scotia since she was 2-- Her father is in the military and was posted here after being on ships out west.
When I asked Meagan what some of the things she has liked seeing at the farm so far she replied, "I thought it was really cool to see how the shares are made-- it goes so fast, we make hundreds of boxes and it always seems to happen quickly." Meagan mentioned that she is still overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of fields we have at the farm: "I don't even think I have a handle on how many and where all of them are!" When asked what she doesn't like, she said: "I don't like having to throw out excess veggies, and when members don't pick up their boxes. It seems like such a waste."
Meagan is the reason your shares make it safely to you, most days of the week. Thanks for sharing more about yourself, Meagan!
This week you're receiving a whole chicken as well as one chicken leg quarter from our chickens here at TapRoot Farms. You'll also be receiving a ham or shoulder roast OR 1-2 packs of Pork Spare Ribs from our TapRoot pigs. And everyone's favorite, more sausages from Salmontail River Farm! This week your sausages are Honey Mustard English Style. Used with ground pork from our TapRoot pigs, Helen at Salmontail River Farm uses water, honey, wholegrain mustard, wheat rusk, and salt and pepper to create these delicious treats. Enjoy!
Our animals continue to enjoy being outside in this lovely summertime weather. It's such a nice season for them to get out and stretch their legs and wings, while scratching in the earth for grubs and tasty plants. Hard to beat outdoor, free range grazing spaces!
Best photo of the week: Teri taking a selfie with Pink Lady who was happily munching away on Teri and Jon's scrumptious salad greens. Pink Lady-approved!
This week in the veggie share we are sending along some fresh garlic, which you can use up within a few weeks, OR you can choose to cure it yourself at home. There is so much in the field that we worry about having enough space and resources to cure it all, so we thought in true CSA fashion this would be an opportunity for members to learn more about garlic and share some of the task of curing with the farm.
The garlic in your share this week has not been washed, which is an important step in terms of you having the option to cure it at home. Basically, all you need to do is tie and hang the heads in a dry, shady, well-ventilated area (OR, you can even lay them out one by one) The kitchen is not an ideal place, but a well-ventilated porch or garage or shady area outside will do (& bonus if you are trying to keep stray vampires out of your yard!).
After a month (up to two months if it is very humid), the roots of the garlic will be stiff and the stem and head completely dry, and the garlic can be moved to a garlic keeping crock (if you have one), or a cool, dry, dark place, for winter use. Depending on how well it is cured, the garlic can keep up to six months.
Make sure the heads are separated like in the photo to the right of the one below, to allow the most airflow possible.
Here's more info and a link with more detailed instructions and explanations, for those of you who are interested:
Curing is the process of letting your garlic dry down in preparation for long-term storage. Curing your garlic allows you to enjoy the flavor of your summer harvest well into winter… and one of my favorite things about garlic is that it still stays fresh long after it’s been plucked from the ground. No pickling, no canning. Just a simple head of garlic that looks and tastes the same as the day you pulled it.
Garlic that you want to eat right away can be used right away, straight from the garden.
Garlic that you want to cure should be moved to a dry, shady, airy place — this can be under a tree, on a covered porch, or in a well-ventilated garage. Lay the bulbs out one by one to provide good air circulation. Garlic is susceptible to sunburn (it can literally cook under the sun, which deteriorates the flavor), so you want to minimize the amount of direct sunlight it gets during the curing process.
No need to clean off all that dirt for now — you’ll tidy them up when you trim them. Don’t wash your garlic either… after all, the point is to dry them out!
The ideas have been rumbling around in our heads and we've finally made it to a plan.This coming week Amy, Patrick and Steve are planning to harvest the garlic and we've asked they leave some for us for a Garlic Harvest Weekend on Saturday and Sunday. Yahoo!
Garlic Harvest Farm Tour- Saturday
3 PM meet up with Patricia at 451 Canard Street. (Park in the farm yard, we will walk to the garlic and please try to be on-time.)
Bring a garden fork if you have one and a bag to take your garlic home in.
Cost: pay as you can, suggested $12 for tour and 1lb of garlic
(If you wish to harvest more garlic for your kitchens you are welcome to do so. We ask you pay $8 per lb)