Well Ladies and gents don't expect my farewell to be as heart warming or touching as G-units (a.k.a. Greta). The time has come to hang up our TapRoot hats. Actually I traded my TapRoot hat for a deer steak but we wont get into that. The season is over for G-unit and I as our rein of terror on TapRoot farms has come to an end. Today while bagging Arugula it felt like just yesterday we were baggin' pea-shoots.. "what?".. PEA SHOOTS!
I'm glad Trish and Josh gave me the opportunity to apprentice on their farm. I've learned lots. For one that I never want a farm anywhere the size of this one. WAY TOO BIG for my scale. I also was given the opportunity to experiment growing Oyster mushrooms which was rewarding and I look forward to practising what I have learned here in the future. You know what they say about a guy who grows mushrooms, he's a Fun guy.
I have to agree with G-unit in that the best part of the apprenticeship was the team here at TapRoot minus Jon of course, just kidding he's alright. Teri is awesome and has the organizational skills of a Mongolian Ninja while Justine works with the ferocity and speed of an arctic cheetah. Tim R gave me a warm place to sleep when the temperature dipped below 5 degrees centigrade and we engaged in some thought provoking conversation while harvesting beets. Tim C knows where them girls are at. Without Jem we'd have to wake up two hours earlier on Tuesday not to mention he's the nicest old man I've ever met. Louise will one day realize her true love and leave Gerald to marry me. Not much is known about Calvin as he is a quiet man who woke up at 3am probably because his mattress was so uncomfortable, I would know I slept on it. Falicia probably has to be the hardest of anyone to get along with (aside from Josh) at TapRoot but she knows her numbers I guess that's why they keep her around. I must say I am a little bit disappointed that Josh didn't follow through on the the morning hugs he promised. Even though I didn't receive morning hugs from Josh I think he's a decent bloke and he'll make a great organic farmer one day! Trish has raised some wonderful organic free-range/pastured children and I am ever grateful for her ability to get us inside the inner workings of Valley Mushrooms. In all seriousness though everyone at TapRoot is great and I had a wonderful time this season working on the farm. Thanks for letting me come on board.
Jack is a student at Acadia and has kept ducks since he was small. This year he brought in 100 Pekin day old ducklings from Quebec. Next year he plans to hatch his own for eggs, meat and hatch some ducklings for TapRoot too. They have been extensively free ranging, going just where they please in the pasture they shared with our sheep. They were finished slowly to 14 weeks rather than the commercial 7-8 weeks. We hope to give all our animals a fulfilled and natural life as possible as we believe that happy meat is good meat!
You can purchase Jack's ducks through the add-ons section of our website.
For organic week, Pete's Frootique in Halifax asked a representative from TapRoot Farms to come and discuss soil health and organic farming. Jon and I went, and had a great time presenting about this very interesting topic to a number of folks, meeting the produce guys and the produce manager Arthur (in photo), and seeing our produce on the shelves!
The best part of all was seeing our Organic Honeycrisps being made into a special display, and tagged with the brand spankin' new TapRoot apple stickers Josh had me rush order last week. They look great and taste even better! So neat to see the retail side of our hard work farming!
A couple of weeks ago, in response to this article, Sister Jovita from St. Mary's Basilica in Halifax was in touch with me about corn. Though we do have excess, we don't have the extra labour for harvesting or capacity to ship it anywhere, but I told her she was welcome to come out and harvest as much as she would like. Last Tuesday, she and a volunteer arrived, Josh took them to the field where the corn was ready, and they harvested a bunch for a corn boil at the drop in shelter. She sent along some photos, so here they are!
1) preparing the corn
2) the beauty
3) ready to be served
4) this is the name of the program at St. Mary's Basilica where the corn was served
5) for taking home
6) one of our guests enjoying it.
So great to see the harvest go to such great use! One of the other Valley sweet corn farmers was able to supply FeedNS, meaning most or all of the food banks in the province also got some corn sent their way. Read the article here. Way to go, Elmridge and Greg!
SUPPORT YOUR FUTURE FARMERS - DONATE TO ACORN's Grow A Farmer Program!
TapRoot Farms is participating in the pilot year of the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network's (ACORN) first-ever organic farmer training initiative: the Grow A Farmer Apprenticeship and Mentorship Program. This new 'farm-school'-the first of it's kind, Canada-wide!-offers curriculum guided, farm-based apprenticeships for aspiring organic farmers; farmer-to-farmer mentorship for newly established organic farmers; and an on-going series of events and training opportunities to gather new farmers and share information. As current funding for this pilot program will expire in December 2013, ACORN is encouraging donations to support the future of this important educational and community-building opportunity for Maritime-based farmers, including an upcoming fundraiser dinner on September 29th at the Wooden Monkey. For full details, please visit www.growafarmer.ca.
For some of you, look for donation jars at pick-up locations: Hawthorn, The Grainery, Edgewood/Oxford, TapRoot farm stand, Bloom, Emma's, Prospect Road Community Centre, and Fall River. If you'd like to contribute to this important cause, simply contact the ACORN office, toll-free at 1-866-322-2676 to process payment or issue a cheque. Every little bit counts!