Monday, March 23, 2015

GM apple approved in Canada

Update: GM apple approved in Canada over consumer and farmer objections

On Friday March 20, 2015, Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced approval of the genetically modified (GM) apple, trademarked “Arctic Apple”. The GM apple is now legal to sell in Canada and the US. The company says it will start selling GM “non-browning” varieties of Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apple varieties next year. But will any stores actually sell the GM apple?

The apple is genetically modified to not turn brown after being cut. Polls show that almost 70% of Canadians did not want this GM apple approved. Are you one of them? 

Take Action

Grocery chain stores are listening to customers. Please write your letter to the head office of your grocery store this week. Contacts are posted at or you can visit the company website to find a phone number. Your letter is very influential. Please send the responses you get to

Information and other actions, including a "No GM Apple” pledge form for your small independent store, are posted at

Today’s press release from CBAN is below. Please send this press release to your local paper. Send your own letter to the editor, to your local newspaper, if you have something to say about the GM apple.

P.S. You can follow us on twitter @biotechaction or on Facebook

Press Release

CBAN denounces federal decision to approve GM apple: GM apple approved over the objections of consumers and farmers

March 23, 2015. Ottawa. The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) today denounced the Canadian government’s decision to approve the first-ever genetically modified (GM) apple.

“Our government is not listening to Canadians,” said Lucy Sharratt of CBAN. “Fruit growers had asked the government not to approve this GM apple and polls show that a majority of consumers don’t want it on grocery store shelves.”

The GM apple is genetically engineered not to turn brown after being cut. If it gets onto the market, it would be only the second GM fruit sold anywhere in the world, after a Hawaiian-grown papaya, and it would be the first GM fruit to be grown in Canada.

“The GM apple will mislead consumers because it will look fresh even when its not,” said Teresa Lynne of the CBAN member group, Society for a GE Free BC, “The GM apple threatens the reputation of apples as fresh, wholesome food. We don’t need it.”

A 2012 survey commissioned by the BC Fruit Growers' Association and the Federation of Quebec Apple Growers showed that 69% of Canadians didn’t want it approved.[1] Growers are concerned that the GM apple will negatively affect the entire market for apples.

“Growers are right to worry that without clear labelling many consumers will buy fewer apples just to avoid this GM apple,” said Thibault Rehn of the Quebec Network Vigilance OGM, a CBAN member group. “We need our grocery stores to step in to protect the consumer interest and the apple industry by keeping their doors closed to this GM apple.”

The GM apple will not be labeled as genetically modified though the company says that fresh GM apples would be have a sticker bearing the company's trademark “Arctic Apple”. The company promises a similar logo on food products that have ingredients from the GM apple but it’s not clear how this would be implemented or enforced. Sliced GM apples used by the food service industry are unlikely to be labelled.

The US government has also decided to allow commercialization of the GM apple.


More information: Lucy Sharratt, CBAN, cell 613 809 1103; Teresa Lynne, Society for a GE Free BC, 604 475 4457; Thibault Rehn, Vigilance OGM, cell 514 582 1674.

[1] Poll available  at

CBAN is a campaign coalition of 17 organizations that researches, monitors and raises awareness about issues relating to genetic engineering in food and farming. CBAN members include farmer associations, environmental and social justice organizations, and regional coalitions of grassroots groups. CBAN is a project of Tides Canada Initiatives.

Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator 
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) 
Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
Suite 206, 180 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 1P5 
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext. 25
Fax: 613 241 2506

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Bi-colour Tomatoes 2015

        Are you looking forward to tomatoes in your garden this year? Me too! In our household, tomato  season has already started, and it's busy.  This year I've been wondering just how many tomatoes I have, so I've decided to make a list of each colour, starting today with the bicolour. These will all be available as plants for your garden at my sale on the Victoria Day weekend (May 16,17,18- 8-4pm each day)
Here we go:
1. Arkansas Marvel
2. Aviuri
3. Angora Potato Leaf
4. AAA Sweet Solano
5. Ananas Noire
6. Black Zebra
7. Big Zebra
8. Big Rainbow
9. Black Striped Cherry
10. Blush Tiger
11. Beauty Queen
12. Big White Pink Stripe
13. Big Orange Stripe
14. Blonde Boar
15. Black & Brown Boar
16. Canadian Sunset
17. Bicolor Cherry
18. Copia
19. Chocolate Stripes
20. Darby Striped Pink Yellow
21. Darby Striped Red Green
22. Darby Striped Yellow Green
23. Cassidy's Folly
24. Dad's Sunset
25. Elberta Peach
26. Early Yellow Stripe
27. Flame
28. Green Zebra
29. Green Tiger
30.Gajo de Melon
31. Georgia Streak
32. Green Zebra Cherry
33. Hillbilly
34. Hippie Zebra
35. Hazel Mae
36. Piedmont Pear
37. Pixie Striped
38. Pink Bumblebee
39. Purple Bumblebee
40. Plum Tigress
41. Joie de Vivre
42. Little lucky
43. Lange Æmer
44. Mr. Stripey
45. Mary Robinson
46. Polish Pastel
47. Marvel Striped Zapotec
48. Peppermint
49. Primary Colors
50. Marz Yellow Red Striped
51. Marvel Striped
52. Michael Pollon
53. Marizol Magic
54. Turkish Monastery
55. Nature's Riddle
56. Northern Lights
57. Orange Russian
58. Oaxacon Jewel
59. Old German
60. Red Furry Hog
61. Red Belly
62. Red Zebra
63. Striped Red Furry Hog
64. Tonnelet
65. Striped Roman Yellow
66. Serendipity Striped
67. Speckled Peach
68. Speckled Roman
69. Sweet Carneros Pink
70. Siberian Speckled
71. T2
72. T4
73. Tiger Paw
74. Tiger Tom
75. Tuxhorn
76. Velve Striée
77.Violet Jasper
78. Virginia Sweets
79. Wagon Wheel
80. White Zebra
81. William's Striped
82. Yellow Tiger Stripe

And that is it (for the bicolours at least)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Spring Seeding Workshops-March 22, 29th, 2015

This winter has been full of surprises.
Not necessarily the kind of surprises that make you go "wow" with a super excited exclamation mark for emphasis.
It has been the kind of winter many people my age have described as "how winter was when I was a kid."
It's true.
Lots of snow and cold, winter sports, if that's your thing as well as shovelling and cancellations.

I heat our house with wood, having a back up oil furnace, used only when I have no other choice. Even after ordering an extra cord this surprise here....I've run out. There is more on the way tomorrow, thanks to a nearby farmer who bring it down on a manure spreader and spits it out into my drive for stacking.

A surprise for me this winter was my cistern whose water froze into a nice big block of ice. In my 20 years living here, that's a second occurrence only.
Another surprise was my inability at certain times over this winter to get into my greenhouse where, lo and behold, my greens were still surviving and growing albeit very slowly.

Today is a different story though. It's hard to resist a sunny winter day, and after lunch I hit my hoophouses. I pulled back the ag fabric from my crops, and it's apparent to me that the mustards, arugula and other crops know that spring is coming. They have jumped now as the days grow longer and the sun shines a bit more frequently.
Also hard to resist was the temptation to lay down for a while on the ag fabric, my face to the sun, jacket stripped just to drink in a bit of faux summer. It feels so good.

It really does make me think spring and plans for spring.

Again this spring I am holding my spring planting workshops, "Sowing Seeds for 2015." If you are interested in growing your own from seed this year, these are a good chance to come, sow and learn.
There are two dates this year, Sundays March 22 and 29 from 2-4 pm. These dates both still have openings, but if the previous years are any indication, in the last few weeks, they fill up quick quickly.
For registration information, please check my website HERE
These workshops are very informal, fun and have always been attended by great people-like you!
We will sow seeds for tomatoes, eggplants and peppers, and there will be some other options for you too if these don't make you happy. You will also pick up an additional 10 vegetable seed packs for direct seeding in your garden. We'll talk about proper seeding techniques, how to grow on all your choices in your home garden and quite a bit more. As you may suspect, I will talk for the entire two hours, but I really hope people come armed with questions too.
We'll be working in one of my larger hoophouses on the greenhouse tables. If the sun shines, it will be warm, maybe even hot. If not, it may be chilly. Come dressed for any temperature eventuality and come prepared to get dirty.
All seeds, soil, containers and refreshments are provided by me.

Hope to see you here!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Sweet Peppers and Eggplants, 2015

All my sweet peppers and eggplants are seeded. Happy days Next I will get to work on flowers, but for now I'm feeling pretty good about it all.
If you head out to my sale on what I hope is a wonderful warm weekend in May(16th, 17th and 18th) you can expect to find a good selection of sweet peppers and eggplants. I hope you can find what you are looking for in my list.


Black Beauty
5 Finger White
Slim Jim
Ping Tung Long
Lucky Green
Rosa Bianca
Pandora Striped Rose
Cambodian Green Giant
Thai Green Pea
Lao Green Stripe
Lao Purple Stripe
Japanese White Egg
Bangladeshi Long

Sweet peppers---

King of the North
Jimmy Nardello
Pinot noir
Orange Bell
Tomato Shaped Pimento
Ashe County Pimento
Sweet pimento
Amish Pimento
Purple Beauty
Sweet banana
Sweet green
Jolene's Sweet italian
Marconi Red
Sweet Chocolate
Caprioglio Yellow
Paradiscum Alaku
Sarga Szentes
Feher Ozon Paprika
Tequila Sunrise
Quadrato D'Asti Giallo
Miniature Chocolate bell
Miniature Yellow bell
Miniature Red bell

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Hot Peppers 2015

What hot pepper plants can you expect to find at my "Tomato Days" sale, May 16,17 and 18th? Well---if all goes according to plan, this is my listing for 2015, with lots of heat and flavour!
HOT Peppers 2015 
Sola Arunachal
Corazon de Paloma
Joe’s Long Cayenne
Aleppo 37
Chile Caballo
Diente de Perro
Cari do Para
Petit Marseillais
Biquinho Jaune
Purple Jalapeno
Filus Blue
Hot Portugal
Bulgarian Carrot
Black Scorpion Tongue
Trinidad Perfume
Aji Limo
Cracked Jalapeno
Romanian Hot
Purple Serrano
Beaver Dam
Aji Amarillo
Bishop’s Hat
Monk’s Hat
Trinidad Scorpion
Bhut Jolokia
Hungarian Hot Wax
Wild Brazil
7 Pod Brain Strain Yellow

White Bhut Jolokia

Sunday, March 1, 2015

It's Time to Dismiss Winter...and Start Seeding.

It hasn't really been a "rah, rah, sis-boom-bah" kind of winter.
Please mom, can we walk!
As I look out my window today, March 1, I see snow coming down, drifts of snow and I can feel the cold right through the windows.
My heart goes out to the poor creatures who struggle to survive in this bitter cold. Percy, my big orange tabby stray has hunkered down in my garage for the winter, occasionally stepping out to harass the other not so fortunate strays whom I feed and try to take care of.
My chickens have two heat lamps in their home, and sadly I've lost Wendy, a barred rock this winter no doubt due to age, but without a doubt the cold didn't help.
Joey, my precious pot belly, fashioned a spectacular bed out of pillows and straw, and centred it under his heat lamp. I know he's worked hard to stay warm. Despite monstrous proportions of hot gruel, he has maintained his slender shape, his body burning calories to stay warm.
I've been making the rounds of "seedy" events in the area, slipping and sliding on our Ontario roads with my cases of seeds.
Yesterday was Hamilton Seedy Saturday, always a good one. I love seeing the young families coming in, enthusiastic and excited about the possibilities that may happen in their 2015 gardens.
I've also been to Brantford and Kitchener, but the highlight for me was my own little event in Wellandport. Honestly I have struggled for years, wondering if people would bother to come out to this little village in the middle of nowhere. But come out they did, on a bone-chilling snowy day. It was superb, and great to see neighbours, friends and gardening enthusiasts. It sure helped to chase away the winter blues that have plagued me this year.
Also helping in this effort is the fact that now it is time to start thinking about getting a few things seeded. I started doing a bit last week, but my efforts will ramp up this week.
I do have some of my very hot peppers seeded, but this week I will finish all the peppers. First in will be the rest of the hots, then all the sweets. I know when I have my sale in May that I always run low on sweet peppers, so this year, I promise, I will overdo it. It's time for the eggplants too and I have a huge variety of them this year as well. If you need eggplants, please let me be your girl.
I am a little late with onions and leeks, and the pressure is on. But not really. I don't find a huge difference between onions and leeks seeded in February and those seeded in March. I'll get mine in this week and feel really good about it.
Mid-March I begin seeding tomatoes, but only because I have so very many to do. I will seed them for weeks, day in and day out. If I was only planting a reasonable amount, I wouldn't think of doing it before April 1. There's no reason to. I find the tomatoes I seed March 15 and the ones I seed on April 1st all end up being the same size when I put them in the ground in late May anyways. So don't rush it. Relax. Seeding things extra early won't make the good weather come any sooner, even though it would be lovely if it worked like that.
And sorry for the lack of posts here. I'll be back very soon with the highlights from last years garden and my thoughts on great things to try in your garden this year!