In the early part of 2014 we ordered seeds, started plants and reconnected with all of you about the upcoming growing season. Last winter due to the everlasting cold we were unable to use our new greenhouse to its full potential. We did finally get into it late march and were very pleased to have the extra space and warm growing conditions.
In February we volunteered for CSA Manitoba at the Localvore cookoff. We had a lot of fun watching young, aspiring, chefs creating great food. We also met and reconnected with some fantastic people! Later, we attended the Growing Local Conference and the Manitoba Direct Farm Marketing Conference. These were both great learning opportunities for us as well as a chance to connect with others who are interested in local food. At “Growing Local” we connected with new friends from Island Lake, Manitoba and made plans for the summer months to have two summer students joins us for a tour and some hands on learning on the farm. Throughout the growing season we stayed connected and were able to learn about the efforts and challenges being made to grow local food in Northern Manitoba.
We were also nominated for the Manitoba Outstanding Young Farmer Award. This nomination process was challenging and stretched us in ways we hadn’t imagined. At the end of the day it reinforced our commitment to sustainable family farms and local , organic food.
We acquired a few new tools for planting seeds and Eric is always making modifications to our garden tractor or building something to improve efficiency or create a better growing environment for the plants. We were able to grow enough potatoes this year to have organic seed for next year, which we are really pleased about. We have a new seeder for direct seeding which is a major time saver and improves seed placement once all the glitches are worked out.
We also purchased a vegetable washer and a cherry pitter. Last winter was the first time we were successful at keeping rabbits away from the fruit trees and we are expecting our cherries to produce a good amount of fruit in 2015.
We were excited about our new website and to put up signage at our farm so visitors can find us easily. We were also very pleased with the video of our farm which can be found on the About Us page of our website.
We had our first over night guests in the “orchard house” which is the grain bin we converted into a rustic little cottage. It has a bed, a table, two chairs, as well as, a picnic table and fire pit outside and a short walk to our outdoor composting toilet. It provides a relaxing get away for those interested in experiencing a simple life. Eric and I were the main occupants this past summer.
We were blessed as always with family and friends that were out to work with us all summer long, but particularly in the heat and mosquitos on July Long weekend. We broke a record for help with approximately 17 people pulling weeds to make sure we were in good standing for our organic inspection.
We volunteered at the Forks Farmers Market in July. It was a great chance for us to learn about being market vendors and we had a lot of fun!
We were quite pleased with our growing season considering we had a late start and some heavy rain. We did lose the entire spinach garden but we were able to get in a late crop of lettuces near the end of the season. We ended up delivering vegetables for 16 weeks plus a pumpkin delivery. We really loved your tweets about the great food you were making throughout the growing season. We also had a lot of fun tweeting from the farm to keep you updated – it has been a logical tool for us to use during such a busy time.
In fall we were nominated for the Golden Carrot Award in the rural community category. We were pleased that Kalynn Spain, received the award in this category. She created the Small Farms Manitoba Directory and has connected farmers and eaters throughout the entire province of Manitoba.
After all the growing and eating we wrapped up the 2014 growing season. We packed up the pumpkins, covered the strawberries and transplanted raspberries. In the New Year we’ll get back to preparations for the upcoming growing season and we look forward to connecting with all of you again. We appreciate all of your support and encouragement and we’re glad to be connected with you through local, organic food and all the goodness that comes from knowing you. Thank you!
We wish you all the best and have a safe and happy holiday season!
Eric & Jodi