Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Guest Post-Jo's Basket and Basil Bash!

The view from my front door!

The sign went up this week.  The one at the front of my house, on the edge of the residential property and the field.  It says http://www.maizex.com/products.html?product_id=137">"Maizex RR2 Impact".  That's a "Round Up Ready" industrial soybean product.  It's a commodity, not a food.  I might as well be living in the middle of an oil field or a copper mine.  Those are commodities too.

In the next field over, the "farmer" seems to be doing corn this year.  Not growing, but doing, as I don't think he has much to do with it at all once the seeds are in the ground.  So now I have a slightly different view than in years gone by: acres of industrial soybeans butting up against acres of industrial corn.

And on that note, I drove three kilometers due east to the Tree and Twig Heirloom Vegetable Farm for a change of scenery.  And to commune with a *real* farmer.  No quotation marks required.

I just got back from picking up this week's basket.  Colourful heirloom tomatos spilled out, along with yummy carrots, beets, chard and beans.  I set all the peppers aside for my sister (I'm allergic) but I marvelled at the colours.  I've got nothing against green, but all that genetically modified soybean next door that's been an unnatural shade of deep green throughout this summer's drought has got me craving colour.

This past weekend, my sister, Am, our friend Sarah and I went to the Basil Bash at the farm.  It was beyond delightful.  My friend from work, Terri, also showed up.  A couple more converts!  People KEEP asking me how they can get on this CSA bandwagon... I'm determined to get a Hamilton contingent going for the next growing season.  If indeed Linda is looking for more shareholders!  I think I should go into sales and marketing.  Although the product kind of sells itself.

The only disappointment of the bash was that the ducklings were not there (Maris had taken them home for the weekend) and Sarah was crushed.  I'd been raving about them for weeks (since they hatched) but we got to see the adult ducks and hang with the chickens and Joey the pig, which was lovely.  The garden tour kind of blew my mind.  One of the things that you frequently hear about CSAs and local farming is to "get to know your grower" and "see your food being grown".  I've gotten to know Linda, that much is true... but I don't think I'd seen the food being grown up until Sunday.  I'd sort of seen the patches in the distance, but getting to tour it was a marvel.  People in the crowd were asking about the soil quality, and Linda said it had taken her years to amend it to this point.  There was so much compost and hay, it looked like workable soil... not the clay I dealt with the year I tried a garden.  The same clay that my neighbour and I used to form pinch pots and kiln in the sun, giggling at just how horrible it was for gardening!

There was a burst of colour in the middle of it all -- candlelight peppers, and I actually sucked my breath in at the sight of it.  It looks like something someone would pay big bucks for as a centerpiece at an Oakville wedding.  HA!  Linda posted a picture of it a few blog posts back... it's even more vivid in real life.

The basil patch is enormous.  Dozens of varieties, and some local chefs (including Linda's daughter!) showed off some great basil recipes, including basil lemonade, basil butter, basil cupcakes and some painfully delicious bruschetta that I simply could not get enough of.  I'm a tomato junkie.

Okay, time to split up the basket and get my sister's half ready for her.  Speaking of which, she was so moved by the whole experience of trying Linda's wares, she's going to blog here from time to time too!  Stay tuned....

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