Friday, July 30, 2010


We have the afternoon off after working from 6am-6pm on Wednesday and 6am-8pm yesterday! It is a smokey day, hot and hazy due to the forest fires up the valley. The quality of light is so special right now and I found myself in the garden this afternoon just wandering from flower to flower.

I am reminded by my two-year-old buddy, Quyen, to be in the wonder of the world. I must always remember.

Monday, July 19, 2010

This Little Piggy Went to Market and This Little Piggy Stayed at Home

Our lovely employers, Gabi and Katie, and their son, Quyen, went to the Trout Lake Farmer's Market in Vancouver this past weekend leaving Jay and I in charge of the farm and our new apprentice, Kevin. We've been having a blast and getting a lot done too. Always have to keep up productivity, even in this heat! (31 degrees Celsius as I write this.)

We're into a new cycle at the farm and it's a welcome change for Jay and I. On the weekends we get to try out our new-found irrigation skills and we get to re-learn everything as we teach Kevin about how things are done around here. Kevin is on vacation from studying Agricultural Science in Vienna, Austria. During the week we are keeping up on the weeding and a flurry of harvesting the day before and the morning of deliveries, Thursday and Friday. Sapo Bravo sells a lot of produce to boutique restaurants in Vancouver but is also well known at the Trout Lake Farmer's Market for our 50 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, basil and peaches. Yum!

Being in charge for half of the week is definitely bolstering our confidence and it's allowing us to see ourselves as sustainable farmers in the future. Every day we talk more and more about how we want to do things and what we would do the same or differently. We chat with the apprentices from the neighbouring farm, Stein Mountain Organics, gleaning from their added year(s) of experience and we ask Kevin lots of science-y questions. And of course, we talk about food constantly.

Becoming closer to the food we eat is imperative for mankind's survival. Whether you take the time to shop for local items, visit your neighbourhood's farmer's market or create a herb garden, plant a fruit tree, pull up that grass and plant broccoli! It's all a step in the direction that we should all be moving. So do it! Do whatever you can now and don't take for granted the privilege we have as North Americans to chose what we eat. Many people don't have that choice and it is because of them that we have to strive together for a more secure and sustainable food system worldwide and in our backyards.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Harvest and Heat

It's a cold, cloudy, rainy day and it happens to be our day off. I am trying to use the time to keep up some correspondence and just relax.

This past week of work has been long and involved. The temperature stayed in the 30s for most of the week and we had our first harvest for market. Thursday started at 6am and went to 8pm and was straight cherry-pickin'. I was fortunate to be on Quyen and lunch duty that day and I don't much mind hanging out with a two-year-old cutie and cooking curried chickpeas.

The long hot days are punctuated with dips in the spring-fed pond, just cool enough to revitalize the mind and body. It's the only thing that makes the heat bearable. Without it we would all wilt like neglected vegetables!

The Fraser Valley is hot and dry. Almost a desert, the arid landscape is red sandy mountains dotted with pines and covered with dry needles. It takes a lot of water to grow here. The farms are gravity fed by 3000m (I may have to fact check that) of PVC pipe from a mountain creek. We took a hike up there the other day, you can see some photos on my flickr at the side of the blog.

We spend all day turning on and off drip lines, cleaning filters and moving around sprinklers. More water means bigger vegetables but most plants have individual needs and it's not as straight-forward as turning it on forgetting about it.

Tomorrow morning we pull the rest of the garlic to start our week and before we know it, the sun will beating down on our backs again.