Wednesday, January 30, 2013

USC- a Great Addition to Niagara Seedy Saturday!

We're coming to Niagara FallsPop us into your calendar! 

Niagara Falls Seedy Saturday
Saturday, February 9, 10:00 am-3:00 pm
Glengate Alliance Church
6009 Valley Way

Come celebrate local food, farming, and gardening at the Seedy Saturday in Niagara Falls on February 9th. The event runs from 10 am until 3 pm at Glengate Alliance Church (6009 Valley Way).Admission is by donation. It's a great spot to find heritage, open-pollinated, and unusual seeds as you prepare your plans for this season's garden.

We'll be there! Our own Kate Green - who manages our Nepal program and campaigns in Canada and internationally on food sovereignty - will be at the USC Canada display. She's eager to answer your questions about seeds, biodiversity, and food sovereignty, but make sure you also catch her workshop: She'll be offering a one-hour session on the basics of seed saving, early in the afternoon.

So come out and save (and get!) some seeds! Contact Linda Crago by phone (905-386-7388) or email ( ) for more information.

We hope to see you there!

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Niagara Seedy Saturday 2013 Update

Seedy Saturdays (and Sundays) are springing up everywhere!

Wonder where they all are? Check the Seeds of Diversity website HERE to find out about an event in your area.

In Niagara, Seedy Saturday is Feb 9th at Glengate Alliance Church in Niagara Falls, from 10-3. The church is located at 6009 Valleyway, and looks like a former high school-because that's what it is!

You will enter in the front doors of the church, and the event is located in the cafeteria with a separate room for the speakers. Signs will direct you in.

Admission to the event is a suggested donation of $2.00. This fee will help me pay for the facility and hopefully do something nice for my esteemed SPEAKERS who are donating their time. I'm packing up small packets of seeds to give out at the door and I hope the seeds are enjoyed by all you winter weary green thumbs.

Parking for the event will be on the front lawn of the church, but this will be weather dependant. If we get a thaw, or too much snow, make your way around to the back of the church where there is lots of parking. I'll also have signs directing you in from the back entrance as well.

The following businesses and individuals are participating in this year's event. There are some familiar faces and some new guests as well. I'm thrilled to welcome everyone!

Your Private Gardener-(Bulbs, corms and tubers)
Urban Harvest Garden Alternatives (seeds and organic amendments)
Hawthorne Farm (seeds)
Tree and Twig (seeds and books)
Minor Brothers Wainfleet (garden tools, amendments, books)
Brenda's Blooms and Beyond (garden and yard services, wood scrolling)
Garden Making magazine (back issue sales and subscriptions)
Rhizome Farm
Seeds of Diversity Canada
Master Gardeners Niagara
USC Canada
Garden of Eating Niagara
Niagara Vegfest
Start Me Up Niagara
Climate Action Niagara
Project Share
Holly Brown (Pollinators)
Rise Above

A light vegan lunch, coffee and (non-alcoholic) drinks will be available for purchase. Although I had previously indicated Balzacs would be attending with their fabulous coffee, this is now not the case because of a conflict in their schedule. We'll still have fabulous coffee one way or another, and a very small seating area for you to enjoy it at.

This year there is no reason to make sure you are the first in the door at Seedy Saturday. The seed exchange table and garden giveaway tables will be stocked throughout the day, not just at the beginning. So if you arrive a bit later, there will still be a fabulous selection of seed that your friends and neighbours have grown.

But of course you won't want to miss any of the speakers. So check the schedule, bring your seed and come on out.

Seedy Saturday rocks!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fall/Winter CSA Week 15 and 2013 CSA Stuff!

Today was the final delivery of my 2012 CSA adventure. And I guess it should be, considering the year itself finished up two weeks ago. 3 complete seasons, 45 weeks in total. Pretty cool.

Amazing to think that on the weekend we were pulling the nice sweet little beets that were in the baskets...a veritable heat wave upon us!

That sure changed today, and the cold of the wash water was tough to take. But I do feel we all lucked out a bit. I was very worried that my delivery days would be affected by snowstorms, or that extreme cold would freeze the veggies as they waited for shareholder pickups. None of that at all, thank goodness.

Now it's time to consider the CSA for 2013.
First off I am going to take a little bit of time to catch up on some of the things I am so very far behind on, so I won't do any deliveries for several weeks until my seeds are cleaned, packed and ready for seed sales and Seedy Saturday season.
If folks are interested in coming to pick a basket up over this time, that is no problem at all. I have lots and lots of lovely greens-mustards of all varieties, arugulas, chards, kales and collards. Just give a call and I'll get it ready!
I'll begin deliveries again in can sign up for individual weeks as I post them here, on my website and on Facebook, without any week to week commitment.
The formal summer CSA will begin again at the end of May/beginning of June after the craziness of plant sales is behind me. I'll again deliver into Fonthill and St Catharines for 15 weeks, then there will be a summer/fall CSA session immediately following for another 15 weeks.

I am offering only a limited number of shares this year, wanting to downsize things just a little bit. I'm contacting all my 2012 shareholders to find out who is returning, but in the meantime, please send me an email if you are interested. I'll do my best to accommodate you.

Thanks to everyone who was a part of my 2012 CSA('s). I hope you've enjoyed the food, I've been honoured to work for you!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Week 14 Fall/Winter CSA and Mustard Green Soup

It's been a pleasant few days picking greens for today's baskets.
Not exactly balmy, but that little bit of sun that came along makes a huge difference to the temperature in my hoophouses.

Last night and again tonight I haven't bothered to cover up the greens inside the hoophouses because of the nice little January thaw we are having.

I love it. I do.

With a nice little bit of arthritis settling into my hard working hands, the increased temperatures mean a bit of pain relief. I don't say this to complain at all, but I can see I am developing my mom's knobby hands.  That's okay.  Sometimes it even makes me smile, as I can picture her hands doing something. Like knitting, washing dishes and gardening. Just like me.

It was tough getting a snap of my baskets before I made the trek into town today. Chicken pressure.
I popped a basket down, raised my camera and the chickens came running, trying to pull the greens out of it as fast as they could.

I had to set it up on a table to get an okay shot.

This time of year I am happy for weeds and the chickens are too. During the good weather they would spurn the weeds they now gobble up without a thought. Fittingly there is chickweed and grass in my hoophouses, and they get the not quite fit to eat mustard chard and kale leaves with holes and yellow edges.

I know they appreciate it and they are thanking me with eggs. I eat their eggs with gratitude, but they are the only eggs I'll eat.  Most chickens lives are not quite so pleasant and it is a cruel industry I don't support.

Greens, greens and a bit of purple. Garlic too. I think there are 8 different type of greens in the baskets today.

Next week will be the last week of this round of my CSA. I'll post the new 2013 CSA info on my website by next Tuesday Feb 15. There are still lots of greens too, and I'll talk about how they'll be distributed. My most sincere thanks to everyone for eating from my gardens and greenhouses this past year.

And just when you thought you'd seen it all, how about Mustard Green Soup? I make tons of soup this time of year and I like to use what's on hand. What's on hand now, of course, is mustard greens!

Mustard Green and Potato Soup ( from Bon Apetit)

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 cups (or more) water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch mustard greens (about 12 ounces), stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 10-ounce package fresh spinach, stems trimmed


Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add potatoes; sauté 3 minutes. Add 8 cups water and crushed red pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in another heavy large pot over medium heat. Add garlic; sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add mustard greens and all but 1 cup spinach leaves; sauté until wilted, about 3 minutes.
Add sautéed greens to potato mixture. Working in batches, purée soup in blender until smooth. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool. Cover and refrigerate.) Return soup to pot. Bring to simmer, thinning with more water, if desired. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.
Cut remaining 1 cup spinach leaves into 1/3-inch-wide slices. Ladle soup into bowls. Add dollop of sour cream to each bowl. Garnish soup with sliced spinach leaves and serve.

Monday, January 7, 2013

January Pictures On My Farm

Lots of greens in the hoophouses..

Variegated collards

Lazy office staff

Dust bathing chickens

Cool foot prints

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Niagara Seedy Saturday 2013

This time of year seems really busy.
Most people figure that because I'm a grower I take it a bit easier in the winter.  The gardens aren't full of veggies, that much is true. 
But there are seeds to organize, clean, pack and label for my seed sales, my very large heirloom tomato seedling listing to pull together, my CSA plans to sort out, get all this info on my website and last but far from least, Niagara Seedy Saturday to organize.

First things first. What people really want to know about is Niagara Seedy Saturday, so I will sketch out here what I have planned for 2013.

I must add a huge thank you to PenFinancial Credit Union for their financial support with this years event. And to Jean too, who made this possible!


WHEN: FEB 9, 2013, 10-3 PM






1PM KAREN BERTELSEN, BLOGGER(AND MORE) "FRONT YARD VEGGIE GARDEN, 3 MUST GROW CROPS" (this is my title, she will have a better one!)


WHY (and what)
Seedy Saturday is a sharing of open pollinated seed! Bring seed to exchange, pick up seed that is donated, buy seed from heirloom seed vendors. Learn from our speakers and enjoy!

ADMISSION is by donation to help me cover my costs. A buck or two is greatly appreciated.

The church is located in the old St Mike's/Lord Elgin High School.
Signs will direct you in..we will be in the cafeteria, and also have additional separate space for our speakers.
We are not the only activity in the church that day. 
Parking is available behind the school, and minimally out front.

You will have the opportunity to purchase a light vegan lunch and coffee, drinks. 


This should be a great event, the last one I will organize before hopefully turning it over to others. I hope you will come out!