Our first international shipment of fibre flax seed arrived from the Netherlands a couple weeks ago and our second annual flax seeding is now completed! It was a late and wet start to spring but things have swung the other way over the last month. This week's much needed rain has resulted in a sheen of green little flaxlings covering the field planted a few weeks ago.
We have sown an acre of flax using a combination of Melina, the seed from the Netherlands (label to the left) and seed we saved from last year's harvest. Saving and using our own seed is one of the pieces in the bigger picture of creating a local textile. The seeds we save, over time, will favor characteristics that make it suitable for growing in the Maritimes. In addition, localizing the flax/linen supply chain builds on the capacity of this region.
On the processing front, we've hired Mike, the engineer. He is busy designing and will be building the equipment that will mechanize the processing line that separates the flax plant fibres. We've identified this as a critical next step in order to efficiently produce small scale, quality, linen fibre. As the growing season progresses we'll continue to keep you updated on the development of this year's crop and the realization of the TapRoot Fibre Lab.
Over the next few weeks the flax will shoot up and start to produce those characteristic small blue flowers. We'll be using a variety of techniques for weed control and assessing our efforts at sowing the seeds close but not too close.
Stay tuned for July's update and more pictures as the crop progresses!
This week you'll find a mixed bunch of herbs that have been wild crafted and grown on the farm. Mint, lemon balm and red clover are some of the plants you'll find in your share, and there's enough in each bundle to make 2 nice pots of tea.
To prepare the tea, cut and keep the clover heads while the water boils on the stove. Once boiled, combine the lemon balm, mint and red clover heads in the teapot and pour water over top. Let the tea infuse for a good 5 minutes before pouring. Store the bundle upright in a mason jar with a little water or in a ziplock in the fridge and it should last a week. TRIM the ends of the bouquets in order to get them to uptake water.
Lemon balm and mint are said to be digestives -- calming to the stomach -- and clover is a liver tonic, reducing the 'heat' generated by the stresses of modern life.
Lately I've been reading about Japanese tea culture – there is an art to cultivating a moment to sit down and savour a blend of plants and their distinct aromas. In these buzzy times moments of relaxation are of great value to mind and body.
Welcome to the sixth week of the 2014-2015 TapRoot meat share!
This week your share contains:
1 Chicken Leg Quarter from TapRoot Farms.
1 lb Ground Beef from Longspell Point Farms.
1lb No-Nitrate Bacon from TapRoot Farms.
1 Pork Steak from TapRoot Farms. 1lb Sweet Chilli Sausages made with TapRoot pork by Helen at Salmontail River Farm.
Cost breakdown of your share:
1 chicken leg quarter @ $4.90/lb, average weight1 lb $4.90
1 lb ground beef @ $6.25/lb $6.25
1lb no-nitrate bacon @ $7.50/lb $7.50
1 pork steak @ $5.00/lb, average weight 2.15lbs$10.75
1lb sweet chilli sausage @ $8.50/lb$8.50
We hope you enjoy the variety of meat and local farms reflected in this week’s meat share. The Sweet chilli sauce in the sausages is made by Salmontail River Farm, so it has no preservatives or as Helen says, no other junk in it. It just has chillies, sugar, garlic and vinegar. There is also salt, pepper and low gluten rusk in the sausages.
We’ve all been looking forward to the arrival of new piglets for over a month now and we still don’t have any exciting news to share. We’ll be sure to let you know when they finally arrive.
In the meantime, we thought you might enjoy a video of the ducklings that Salmontail River Farm brought to us recently. The video shows the ducklings running around in their new pen in excitement. VERY cute! Check it out here on Salmontail River Farm’s facebook page. We've also included a photo of them below.
A photo of some of the team and I (second to left) bagging nettles on my very first day at TapRoot.
Hello TapRoot blog readers!
As this week marks one month of being an employee at TapRoot Farms, I thought I'd check in and share my first impressions of the farm, as well as a little bit more about myself.
As some of you know, I joined the TapRoot team in May to shadow Justine and learn the ropes of the wholesale and meat CSA side of the TapRoot business, so that when she has her baby in July, I can seamlessly take over her role. Working at TapRoot is the first time I've worked on a large, working farm, so what an awesome whirlwind of new learning experiences this first month has been! I couldn't be happier about spending my days on the farm, learning the ins and outs of wholesale management and the CSA process.
Before coming to TapRoot, I managed a small farm project in southwest B.C. with my partner Chris. That project was my first hands-on experience with farming and for the most part, everything I learned and did was self-taught. When our lease on the B.C. land was up, Chris and I decided to head east and explore the maritime provinces. We'd never spent any time out here, but we were curious about Nova Scotia, it's community of support for local food initiatives, and the potential for more affordable land. So, six months ago, we packed up our car, along with our two cats and two rabbits, and drove across the country to land in Kentville. One of my first goals upon arrival was to find work for local farmers whose philosophies aligned with my own, so that I could learn from others who had more farming experience than I had myself. TapRoot was the first farm I connected with and I'm thrilled that a position opened up for me!
Stepping into the TapRoot world has been rewarding already. Working for a large farm and seeing how everything comes together every day to get things planted, cared for, harvested, packaged up, and shipped out is pretty darn impressive. Working alongside Justine is fantastic. She's impressively cool, calm and collected when it comes to juggling her workload. Hopefully I can embody that same calmness when she's away on maternity leave!
My favourite things about being at TapRoot so far: building relationships with the rest of the team, seeing the gorgeousness of east coast spring unfold on the farm, and feeling a sense of accomplishment when CSA shares and wholesale orders come together successfully every week. Oh, and of course seeing new produce ready for harvest! Just wait until you get your bok choy in your share this week... amazing!
All in all, a GREAT first month on the farm. I look forward to sharing more with you in the future and hopefully meeting many of you at upcoming CSA member events.
Last night Nathan and I were both were home later than usual, then we still had to do the chicken and sheep chores (we have 300 free range chickens and 40 sheep, including lambs). After, we both didn't feel like making supper, or we didn't have the inspiration. I had brought home my share and so we had asparagus and beet greens and decided to make the quickest of meals, a veggie stir fry with noodles.
Super quick stir fry with noodles:
I started with garlic and an onion, chopped them both up and added them to a pan with some olive oil. When those were sautéed, I added a bunch of sliced mushrooms, the beet parts of the beet greens, a whole leek sliced thin and a sliced carrot. You could pretty much put anything in here that needs a few minutes to cook. After those were almost cooked through, I added the asparagus (cut into inch long pieces), and after a few more minutes added the greens part of the beet greens, as well as some left over chopped Asian greens. I added Tamari and a little hot sauce. While this was going on I had made some wild rice noodles (I would have made rice, if I didn't have noodles).
To make it extra delicious I put the noodles in the bowls and added butter and grated cheddar before the cooked veggies. Cheese seems like kind of a strange addition, but it's really good, trust me.
We had enough for lunches the next day and went to bed with some fresh veggies in our bellies.