The mission of the Organic Farm is to provide leadership in the development of safe and sustainable farming by using best practices in land development, greenhouse and field production, food safety and innovative and creative approaches to growing short-season vegetables and herbs on the Avalon Peninsula.
The farm makes available organic produce to local families and limited commercial markets; provides employment, internships and mentoring; carries out research and demonstration activities; and provides consultation, education and site visits for farmers, environmental groups, chefs and cooking classes, government organizations, entrepreneurs and children and families.
WELCOME TO THE ORGANIC FARM: 2016 SEASON!
The Organic Farm is a demonstration farm certified organic by ECO-Cert Canada. The Garden Centre is open to the public during the season beginning on May 7th, 2016 on Saturdays between 11:00am and 5:00pm (and other times by appointment). We offer consultation on seed selection and organic soil building based on 30 years of growing organically in our short-season and unpredictable climate. To improve greenhouse production, the organic farm has introduced geothermal heating to three greenhouses. Other farmers frequently visit to learn more about the challenges of the geothermal systems. We also host tours for Chefs, community gardeners and others who want to taste and see the many vegetables, herbs and edible flowers that grace the vista of the farm. Visits during the week must be by appointment to ensure that someone is on the farm and available. One of our greatest pleasures during the season is hosting families and children for a walk-a-bout on the farm on Saturdays. As the season unfolds, there will be a display garden containing both traditional and unfamiliar vegetables. Every season is different. Look for updates on the Website and follow the growing season of the greenhouses on the Organic Farm Facebook page.
THE GARDEN CENTRE
The Garden Centre is the focus of activities this time of year. We are busy seeding and developing transplants for the farm as well as home gardeners. Order them soon; they will be seeded and cared for until they develop into viable transplants and kept at the farm until the weather cooperates for planting in your garden or greenhouse. We also provide planting instructions and consultation. The plants you buy from the Organic Farm are grown from untreated seeds, many of which are organic, selected for local conditions from more than six seed houses in Canada and the US. A large variety of seedlings which include edible flowers, herbs and vegetables, can be ordered using the form provided on our website. An even greater variety will be available at the Organic Farm Garden Centre. Please note that we only sell seedlings we use on the farm.
WHAT IS A CSA?
A CSA is a group buying arrangement where individual families pay a membership fee or a prescription fee at the beginning of the season and receive a bag or box of vegetables as when they are ready to harvest over the season.
The Organic Farm has offered such a membership, called Veggie Membership for over 30 years. There are now several CSA arrangements available through a number of local farms. Some may offer eggs or meat but most offer vegetables in season. In Newfoundland, CSA boxes/bags will have early veggies such as lettuce, chard, spinach, onions, peas and parsley in late June and July, followed by more and more variety in August and September, ending with the fall harvest in October or early November.
One of the challenges for people who are new to CSAs is that you get a vegetable you may not be familiar with or have not cooked before. It is not like planning your dinner menus and going to to the store to buy broccoli – it is a matter of developing a menu around what comes in your CSA box. It can be fun but sometimes there are surprises. For example, a few years ago, a family reported that they made a delicious salad, which they made from braising mix, which they thought was salad mix.
Here are a couple of great Websites developed for CSAs:
YEAR-A-ROUND SPROUTS AND MICRO-GREEN
Parents buy sprouts as nibbles, to put in school lunches, or to add to sandwiches and tacos. The most favourite is the zip lock bag of pea shoots which taste like fresh peas. Some people who are ill order weekly trays of sprouts. Restaurants use sprouts for garnish. Sprouts take 9-28 days to be ready. For more information or to order, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Please note: you can pick up at the farm on Saturdays between 11 and 5 and by special arrangements or direct purchase at Belbin’s and Food For Thought.