Monthly Archives: January 2012

Where Have all the Vegans Gone?

Where the hell are all the vegan pensioners? There are very few retirement age vegans. That is my observation. While there are several examples of young virile vegans there are very few specimens of mandatory retirement aged vegans. They’re like hipsters in that regards. Is there a relationship between vegans and hipsters? I think so. Vegan hipsterism. It should be noted that there are no hipster vegans. It doesn’t spread that way. Rest assured any self proclaimed hipster vegan was vegan first. Yup, vegan hipsters. Perhaps the most endangered pensioner of all. While I can’t prove this I am certain there are proportionally more pensioners who smoke than those who practice veganism.

Where have all the vegans gone? Long time passing. Where have all the vegans gone? Long time ago. Where have all the vegans gone? Hypocobalaminemia have picked them every one. When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?

On the up side old vegetarians seem stable.  While vegetarianism is on the decline it is generally agreed upon that vegetarian numbers will remain stable and somewhat healthy. Unlike old hippies. Old hippies will thankfully die off and with them all old hippy vegetarians.


Nip it in the Bud – Vote with your wallet

I have said it time and time again. Vote with your wallet. Be it Boycott, embargo or whatever, it works.  Money talks. We eat and drink to stay alive therefore we should eat and drink good things. Chlorpropham, or ‘Bud Nip’ is a bad thing and it should be avoided. We definitely should not be eating it and it definitely should be on your personal boycott list.

Bud Nip is virtually in all conventionally grown potatoes. It is also sprayed on kale, peaches, celery, broccoli, peppers, cucumbers, apples and God knows what else. Bud Nip is almost exclusively manufactured in mainland China so an effective personal boycott means selecting certified organic produce in place of produce sprayed with Bud Nip. Unfortunately this may have an adverse effect on conventional growers but eventually growers will adapt to market demands and products like Bud Nip will wane. This is a good thing.

I have witnessed potato crops being sprayed with Bud Nip. Believe me you do not want to be downwind. I have seen potato crops sprayed with defoliants and desiccants. Defoliants like ‘Reglone’ and ‘Redi-Pik’ are designed so a conventional grower can harvest a little earlier and not have to deal with foliage during harvest thus getting the product to market as quick as possible with little regard for quality. Purely profit driven. We are eating this stuff. Not good. Not good at all and it needs to stop. Vote with your wallet.

This brilliant young lady is a splendid example of what I mean:


Garlic Primer

Broadly speaking garlic, Allium Sativum has two sub species: Sativum or more commonly Softneck Garlic and Ophioscorodon or more commonly Hardneck Garlic.

Softneck Garlic is perhaps best known because most commercially available garlic is of the softneck variety. Softneck garlic is easier to grow on a large scale and generally stores well. Softnecks also produce an abundance of cloves and a flexible stalk that can be formed into garlic braids. The two main types of softneck garlic are silverskin and artichoke.

Hardneck Garlic produces fewer yet larger cloves then the softnecks and are a little more sensitive resulting in a marginally shorter shelf life. Hardneck garlic also produces a scape, or stalk, which in turn produces a flower or bubil. This scape is removed from the plant early in the growing season to allow more energy to be transferred to the bulb thus resulting in a more robust and vigorous garlic. Hardneck garlic arguable produces a superior culinary product than a softneck variey. The three main types of hardneck garlic are rocambole, porcelain and purple stripe.

Further research will reveal a bewildering list of varieties. some, like elephant garlic, is not really garlic at all but a type of leek. This is where I get all frustrated and confused. Suffice it to say that all garlic are Alliaceae or members of the onion family defined by their bulbous nature like onions, leeks, and shallots.

Until I invest more time and energy into garlic classifications lets just say at farmersdotter we grow two varieties of garlic. One is an early softneck variety known to us as Kowloon.  This should prove to be the first garlic available in the season giving us a jump start on positive cash flow. Thats a good thing. Very good. We hope to get Kowloon to market by late June. Our second variety is a hardneck commonly known as Russian Red. After softnecks, most consumers in our area are most familiar with Russian Red.

I won’t bore you here with specifics because I’ll post a harvest reconciliation each fall but if everything goes according to plan, on a 1 to 5 seed/bulb ratio we hope to harvest 18,000 lbs of hardneck and 2,000 lbs of softneck garlic.


So Looking Forward to Harvest

The past couple of years of living in limbo def: the uncomfortable state 40-50 somethings find themselves when they become empty-nesters, is finally coming to an end. Its time to settle on a path for our next chapter. Yve and I just made the commitment to purchase an organic garlic farm in Cawston, BC. There. Done and done. For better or worse. In sickness and health.

After leaving the harsh climate of Northeastern BC and in Yve’s case a good career with great job satisfaction, we settled in with family in Keremeos, BC to assist with Parsons Farm Market, a family operated orchard and fruit stand. We soon discovered that farming life isn’t all that bad. Hard work yes but really quite satisfying. But we also learned you can not roommate like a 20 something in university. Been there, done that.

So onward and upward. Our new farm, officially; farmersdotter organics, is PACS certified and in great condition. Our new neighbours say the property has some of the best ground crop soil in the area. We had our collective eye on this property since early last summer and in anticipation of purchasing it we prearranged with the seller to plant the garlic crop for this summer. We are really looking forward to experimenting with other ground crops but for now we can not wait until the harvest. The cleaning, grading, and getting our very own product to market for the first time will be really exciting.

Personally, I am looking forward to establishing a culinary and perennial herb garden. Ever since managing Raven Hill Herb Farm in Saanich during the 90’s I have longed for my own herb garden. And now, well now I get to do just that.

We are fortunate too in that there is a bakery on the property so now Yve can ply her trade in earnest. The bakery is a straw bale constructed building with a beautiful wood fired oven that can bake upwards on 100 loafs of bread a time. The previous owner sold bread at the Penticton Farmers Market and Yve hopes to carry on that tradition plus offer up whatever pastry strikes her fancy. I know she has a passion for good bagels.


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