Tag Archives: Organic

The Best Ingredients Make The Chowder.

Folks are passionate about their chowder and most will tell you they have the best chowder recipe. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. But you just know the best recipes begin with the best ingredients and farmersdotter has access to the best ingredients in the world. Beginning with shellfish from the Oyster Man. He is the authority on shellfish.

Unless you live on Oyster Man’s delivery route between Cortes Island and The Kootenays you are most likely unaware of him. We are fortunate to be able to buy these amazing fresh bivalves as he passes through the Similkameen Valley en route to Nelson .

Steaming Bowl of Lusty Goodness

Steaming Bowl of Lusty Goodness

Mussels, Clams, and Oysters, nurtured in the chilly waters off the coast of British Columbia. These guys are arguably the finest shellfish available anywhere.

We always buy enough seafood to have a feast the first night knowing the leftovers will become chowder. See our preparation for steamed mussels to get you started. This works well for clams or a combination.

Most every ingredient in farmersdotter chowder recipe is certified organic and sourced from our farming friends and neighbours of Cawston. Only the best.

After feasting on five pounds each mussel and clam and usually a couple dozen fresh shucked oysters, the leftovers are ample enough to yield a couple dozen bowls of chowder.

 

Heirloom Carrots from Honest Food Farm

Heirloom Carrots-Honest Food Farm

Begin by sauteing onions, shallots, and garlic in olive oil and butter on medium-low heat in a very large pot. Like a very large pot.

Throw in celery and carrots. Look at these amazing heirloom carrots we use from Honest Food Farm. If those colours don’t scream clean prostate nothing does. Continue to saute until vegetables are at least fully translucent if not slightly browned.

Next add the broth from the last night’s feast which consisted of sauteed onion and garlic in butter and olive oil with vermouth and white wine then topped with fresh lemon, parsley, shallot and plum tomato.

Now is when you can own this recipe and add any quality ingredient you want. Clean out the fridge. Add some nice heritage fingerling potatoes chopped into cubes for a great bite. To add more umami toss in mounds of sauteed mushroom and a dollop of tomato paste. Go bananas.

Continue to simmer then prior to service add cream. Yes, cream. Certified organic heavy cream. 36% with no fillers or stabilizers. Anything less is not cream, it is a stabilized carrageenan filled wanna be. Check for salt and pepper then serve with an astounding bread and you will have your very own, not to be duplicated best chowder ever.

So search out food producers in your neighbourhood. Get to know them and before you go grab a bottle of wine to share. Grab two. Your best recipes start here.

From the shameless promotion department, we recommend The Oyster Man’s tinned smoked oysters ordered online. They are fabulous. Worth every damn penny.

Om's Lusty Smoked Oysters

Om’s Lusty Smoked Oysters


Penticton Farmers’ Market Named Market of the Year

For Immediate Release Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Penticton Farmers’ Market Named Market of the Year

PENTICTON, B.C. – The Penticton Farmers’ Market is proud to announce it has been named “Market of the Year” by the British Columbia Association of Farmers’ Markets. The award, handed out March 5 at the BCAFM annual conference in Kelowna, recognized the PFM in the medium-sized market category.

 

PFM Award

“The Penticton Farmers’ Market Society is honoured to receive this award,” says market manager Erin Trainer. “Over the last 25 years, the society has worked hard to maintain a quality market that stays true to our values. All of our vendors make, bake or grow what they sell. The market has been able to provide a venue where small-scale farmers can sell directly to the public, creating a sustainable local economy and contributing to food security in the Okanagan.”

In addition, Trainer says the society is grateful for its customers’ support. She adds the market has become a destination that locals and tourists look forward to each Saturday.

New this year, the PFM is scheduled to open two weeks earlier on Saturday, April 23, and is currently working with the city to finalize road closure permits.

“Our vendors are eager to start in April and have produce ready to sell,” says Trainer. “Many farmers’ markets in BC operate year round, so this is an opportunity to find out if that’s something our customers are looking for as well.” Market goers can expect to find asparagus, kale, spinach, and salad greens; flowers; honey; eggs; baking; preserves and handmade crafts.

On Monday, March 7, a market delegation presented its concerns to Penticton city council about the revitalization of the 100 block of Main Street. The society’s past president, Moses Brown, told council the plans will narrow the street, restricting crowd movement; and will limit the number of vendor vehicles. Brown explained that farmers need their vehicles to store their produce and protect it from weather. Brown also expressed concerns that construction is set to begin in September, one of the market’s busiest months. The market may have to move during this time, although a location has not been chosen.

Finally, the PFM welcomes Justene Wright, owner of Food of the Sun, as its new president. She was elected at the society’s AGM earlier this month. Corey Brown, owner of Blackbird Organics, was re-elected as vice-president. The PFM is entering its 26th season and has approximately 45 members in its society, along with 30 casual vendors and 30 rotating liquor vendors. Typically the market hosts 60 – 80 vendors per week. It is open every Saturday until October 29 from 8:30am until 1pm in the 100 Block of Main St.


Keeping it Simple

On a recent comment to farmersdotter Facebook page someone wrote:

“Food prices have gone up everywhere” and suggested to “Buy whole foods and cook them yourself.” Finally noting “There are huge savings in avoiding junk food.”

Insightful comments that we take to heart.

When you consider the nutritional bang for your buck in a box of Froot-Loops we have never understood the argument that fresh food especially fresh organic food is too expensive. And consider too we have to import this junk. What kind of impact does that have?

So given the current price of fresh produce our fear is some folks will turn more towards processed food as a solution when now more then ever we simply need to buy local and buy what is in season.

Keep it simple

Do we really need to import from California or Florida and beyond in January? Do we really need to import at all? For a number of years now we have relied upon importing massive quantities of produce.

It wasn’t that long ago when importing on such a scale was impractical. Remember when tomatoes weren’t always perfect and oranges were a luxury most of the year? Most of the year you couldn’t find a pineapple to save your life and kiwi fruit was unheard of. Produce had a season much the same way as Japanese mandarins still do. But thanks to China, hybridizing, and genetic engineering mandarins and their derivatives with origin unknown are available year round.

Makes you wonder where all this demand is coming from. Are consumers really demanding of such a wealth of variety or is it by virtue of the wealth of variety that the demand is created. Either way it is massive and ultimately unsustainable.

We are quick to overlook the tremendous infrastructure required to support the variety and choice of the perfect symmetrical specimens we have come to expect. Must it be so? In light of the severe water shortage in the produce growing regions of the USA, especially in California this situation is not going to correct itself anytime soon. Even if it did, lets say California had all our water, should we expect we can continue to rely upon importing so much food? We don’t think so. Lets keep our water and use it wisely.

If the demand were to shift we think locally grown meat and veg supplemented with grown in BC product would be more than sufficient. The produce would not be perfect. Not always. You would have to accept the occasional knobbly carrot and imperfect apple that will and should brown when cut open.

Maybe there are people in areas of the world not as fortunate as us. They may not have the where-with-all to cut the import umbilical and subsist on their own. However, there are  people in many diverse areas who can and do. As harsh as it may sound we can not be overly concerned about those in far flung places. Not right now.

Right now we are concerned for our community. Doing what we can to ensure we and our family farms are sustainable going forward. It was the way it used to be and somehow our parents, grand-parents, and elders all made it through. We will too if we keep it simple.


Dig Deeper

I wonder if CBC made any profit off this recent story headlined:

Government Funds Video to Help Farmers Combat Anti-GMO Movement

Farmers near Spalding, Saskatchewan harvest their crop for 2015. (Bonnie Allen/CBC News)

Farmers near Spalding, Saskatchewan harvest their crop for 2015. (Bonnie Allen/CBC News)

What? Anti GMO is anti farmer. pfft. This is a headline crafted to mislead consumers into thinking the anti GMO movement is a militant sect worthy of eradicating in battle like indiscriminately ridding a crop pest with glyphosate. Screw collateral damage.

Bollocks. We are certified organic farmers. My neighbours are certified organic farmers and we are all anti GMO. Point a can of roundup at us and yes we will go all militia on your ass.

The point: The point people is who is SaskCanola and who funded them?

For crying out loud CBC dig deeper. Even if GMOs were proved safe. Safe for consumption and safe for the environment. Safe from wind and the forces of nature, who benefits from the sale of GMO and its spinoff industry? That alone could be the issue regardless of any environmental and health complications. For the sake of good journalism everywhere follow the bread trail to the end. Shame on CBC for reporting this not-so-cleverly disguised commercial for big ag.

Seriously. That is what it is. An advert.

And nothing against CBC’s esteemed science expert Dr. Joe, as he is affectionately known but his quote at the end of this article about what labelling should state is “some components are derived from genetically-modified plants, but there no is chemical difference.” Are you f*cking kidding me? Qualify a label statement? Thats not a label thats coercion. This from a scientist who has a concurrent career as a radio host, newspaper columnist and part time amateur magician. pfft.

Let me tell you. All farmers are very concerned about GMO. From those big guys in Saskatchewan who may be in too deep or are drinking too deep from big Ag’s Kool-Aid trough to those of us in the certified organic sector, we are all sick about it.

In part we at farmersdotter trust in the several independent Buy Local movements to further the case of food awareness. This whole issue would go away with greater awareness about food provenance. No one corporation can have a monopoly on food or water for that matter. Simply stated the ever expanding world does not need GMO to feed it. Then why is big Ag putting so much effort into its development? I can tell you it is not altruism.


Seed Selection 101

It is about this time of the year we prepare for next year’s harvest. We begin with selecting seed for planting next month from the racks of cured garlic harvested in July.

Plant next month you say?!

Hung Garlic

Harvested garlic curing on hanging racks

Yes, we plant garlic comparatively early. Growers in our region typically plant around the first freeze in mid October.

We did that once. Won’t do it again.

The first time we planted garlic was on one such mid October morning when the old bat assisting us, and I’m being kind there, mentioned that if you wait until after nine in the morning the sun will have risen enough above the hills to the east.

“Enough for what?” I asked.

As the mid-morning frost reluctantly steamed its’ way out of the frigid freshly-rotovated planting rows she poked her stubbly little wing into the soil and blankly remarked “enough to prevent frost bite.”

F*ck that we thought.

Then we remembered a story told to us from a friend who has a friend who has a client whose friend knows this garlic grower who lives up on Upper Bench Road not far from the Fairview Road right there by the Blind Creek Vineyard who plants garlic insanely early and their garlic is like some of the best garlic ever but nobody knows about it cause they only grow it for themselves and don’t share it except for that one time years back before salmon left the river they shared like a bulb or two with my friend’s friend’s client’s friend because he or she fixed the hydraulics on the garlic dudes old Massey although it could have been the Kubota but them things run like a deer so it must have been the Massey. Ya. The Massey.

Solid.

farmersdotter was inspired. She researched and armed herself with enough early garlic planting information to drive a spike through the old Chiropteran autumnal methodology and we’ve never looked back.

I digress.

So, selecting seed. We select premium specimens from the drying racks…

Premium Seed Garlic

Premium Seed Garlic with Healthy Round Basal Plate

then place them in totes …

Whole seed garlic stored in totes

Whole seed garlic stored in totes

where they wait to be processed by hand into individual seed or more commonly cloves.

Cracking garlic into seed began a couple of days ago. We will set the seed in the ground September 21. So all in all it takes a little over a month to process all the seed we will need. We see no harm nor degradation to seed that has been cracked and well stored for that amount of time prior to planting.

We select 4000 pounds of premium whole bulb garlic for our seed bank. Cracking each bulb by hand is labour intensive but it allows for a quick inspection of each clove for seed suitability.

Suitable Seed

Suitable Seed

Suitable seeds are large cloves with a good-sized basal plate (neural tube) that will generate a healthy volume of roots. They are firm and wrapped with a smooth healthy layer of paper. They should exhibit a desirable symmetry.

However, not all cloves in any one bulb may be suitable as seed. Some cloves are too small with an insignificant basal plate that will develop a week root system. Some will be ‘doubles’ with two or more cloves that can not be cleanly separated and if planted would run a high risk of producing an inferior bulb with two or more ‘scapes‘. Some cloves may simply appear unhealthy. These will usually have a mottled or wrinkled paper covering and an inferior basal plate.

Poor Quality Seed

Left-Too small. Middle-Inseparable double. Right-Wrinkled

Save these for the kitchen.

We separate garlic bulbs into seed by cracking. A method effective with well cured garlic. Simply tap the hard scape core down onto a hard surface. This force will crack or pop the root basal plate releasing each clove. Simply strip away excess paper and discard the hard scape core.

By the time the last bulb is cracked and we have accounted for the unsuitable seed we will have about 3400 pounds of select seed to plant into the warm soil of the equinox.

Cracked Garlic Seed

Cracked Garlic Seed


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