Archive for the ‘2012 CSA News’ Category

Basket #3 – July 17

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Hello All,

It’s that time of the week again—tomorrow we’ll begin harvesting for the third basket of the season.  We’ve been busy weeding our cabbage plants, seeking and destroying a massive infestation of cucumber beetles and trellising tomatoes this week. We’ve also begun another wave of planting (carrots, beets, lettuce, spinach, summer turnips…the list goes on). It may come as no surprise to hear that some of our crops succumbed to the searing heat and dry conditions of these past few weeks, despite faithful irrigation. This means that you’ll be seeing a bit more of some of our more reliable standby crops (such as lettuce and kale) as we wait for our second plantings of beans, peas and summer turnips to catch up. We’re excited to bring you some lovely heads of Napa cabbage this week and there is a good chance that you’ll receive a tender new zucchini or two as well. We’ve been scouring the tomato vines for “firsts” these past two weeks and will likely be sharing the bounty of our thirty or so varieties of heirloom fruits in a couple of weeks. We also spied some miniature fuzzy cukes beginning  to shape up.

This week’s basket:

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce


Garlic (fresh)

Napa cabbage



Asian Greens (a bit of a maybe since they are struggling with the heat)

Zucchini (just a taste this week but there are 300 plants so get ready for an onslaught)

Check below for serving ideas:

Napa Cabbage Salad (lovely, crunchy, exotic!)

Jelly Glazed Beets


Balsamic vinegar

Jam or jelly (plum, grape, apple…)

Salt and Pepper

Steam or boil beets until tender. Drain, leaving skins on. Toss with a couple of tablespoons of jelly or jam and add balsamic vinegar to taste! Thanks to Ruk, a visiting intern, who hatched this delicious treat up out of ingredients she found in the fridge!

Beet and Carrot Slaw

Little Sarah’s Borscht (Submitted by Anne Davies)

4 medium beets (shredded)                                       2 tbsp honey

4 cups broth                                                                       ¼ cup cider vinegar

½ cabbage (shredded)                                                   ½ cup tomato purée

Boil beets and broth together for about 20 minutes until beets are tender.  Add cabbage, honey and cider vinegar and simmer for another 10 minutes.  Add tomato purée and simmer for another 15 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Hearty Sausage and Kale Soup



I look forward to seeing you all again on Wednesday.


Basket #2 – July 10

Hello All,

Breaking news from the field: We’ve got beets! (For those of you who were with us last year, this will be significant).

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This week’s offering will include:

Sauté mix (beet greens, spinach and chard)
Arugula OR Easter Egg radishes
Beets (the tops are fantastic so add them to your sauté mix)
Baby carrots
2 fresh garlic bulbs
Young onions
Curly kale (the cooking or marinating kind)
Red Russian kale (for light sautés or raw in salad)
Dill or rosemary

Check below to see member Jen Bergevin’s weekly menu using this week’s basket for inspiration.

Just for the half-sharers who are getting their scapes this week: Garlic Scape


week-2-plus-garlic-scape-pesto/# . We’ve used it in this amazing bread: .

And this one is just for fun: Cinnamon Sugar Radish Chips!

Wellspring Garden CSA Week 2 Menu

Radish Hasbrowns with Eggs, Sausages (or Bacon [or toast to make it vegetarian]), Fruit and Yogurt

Garden Veggie Pizza With Kale Pesto and Brie

Spaghetti with braised kale

If you go with the Rosemary:

Pork Lion Roast with Garlic and Rosemary, Beet and Carrot Slaw, and Edamame and Arugula Dip with Baguette Toasts


Or if you want Dill instead:

Creamy Smoked Salmon Fettuccine


See you tomorrow!

Basket #1

Hello All,

The moment we’ve all been waiting for is finally here! This coming Wednesday, July 4, your first baskets of the season will be ready! Although this marks the beginning of the season for our CSA members, we here at Wellspring Gardens have been working behind the scenes for four months to prepare for this day. Beginning with the first seedlings planted in the greenhouse in March, through the garden prep and planting, to these past few weeks of weeding, mulching, staking and pruning, all available hands have been busy.

We have been greatly aided this year by the welcome addition of two farming interns, Amanda and Shaliz, who can consider themselves experts after these past two months of intensive gardening. Joe (the infrastructure guy) has been instrumental in getting and keeping all things technical and mechanical operating and our son Napoleon has jumped on board this year in a big way, running the tractors for bed prep, designing various improvements to our systems and lending a hand with the construction of our mobile chicken pens and the cabin renovations.

Some of you have already been out and gotten your hands dirty either weeding, planting, watering the greenhouses or helping with the intern cabin renovations. We really enjoy the fresh faces and new perspectives you bring and are always happy to have you join us in growing your food.

In order to balance the harvesting load between CSA and the bi-weekly Deep River Farmers’ Market, we will be dividing the half-shares so that our pick-up numbers are the same every week. This basically means 27 baskets for us to prepare each week (23 full shares and 4 half). I will send a separate email to the half-share members assigning them their pick-up schedules.

For those of you who are joining us for the first time this year, here is some useful information:

– Bring a medium-sized cooler or container for your veggies. Although we call it a “basket,” technically we only provide the contents.
– It’s a good idea to print out your weekly email with the list of veggies so you can be sure you don’t forget items (there will also be a list posted on the blackboard here).
– Items will be either bagged, bunched or packed in pints or quarts. Please empty the contents of the pints or quarts and leave the containers with us.
– Arrive between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on pick-up days, which will always be Wednesdays.
– If you can’t pick up or think you’ll be late, please email me and we’ll make alternate arrangements.
– If you plan to be away and are unable to pick up your basket, consider asking a friend to enjoy it or donating it to North Renfrew Family Services.
– Someone, either myself or one of our interns, will always be on hand to answer questions and help you.
– We do our best to predict what will be in your baskets when we send out our weekly emails. Sometimes harvest day produces a surprise and your veggie list may change slightly.
– As the season advances, so do the variety and quantity of veggies in your share.

The theme for this week’s basket is “greens.”

Basket #1

Lettuce mix
Chard/beet top medley
Kale or “kale lite” (Red Russian kale, which is very tender and shreds up easily into tender salad greens)
Garlic scapes
Easter Egg radishes

If you’re short on ideas for enjoying the bounty, I’ve included a few serving suggestions:

Raw Kale Salad (we love this one and often change it up by using other citrus, adding seeds, raisins or nuts…)

Garlic Scape Pesto
(uses arugula instead of basil)

Quick Radish Pickle with Garlic

Pizza with Kale, Roasted Garlic and Four Cheeses

Member Jen Bergevin shared her five-day menu with us, incorporating the contents of the basket:

Greens and Hollandaise Stack served with sliced tomatoes

Creamy Garlic Scape Dip followed by Spinach and Artichoke Bake

Kale and Bean Bruschetta served aside Crispy Fried Goat Cheese

Using the Leftovers from the bruschetta, Cannellini and Kale Soup

Finally ending the week with Chicken Florentine Pesto Pasta

Thanks Jen for the menu inspirations!

Spring 2012 Report Card

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No, we haven’t dropped off the map! Like many other farm blogs, this one tends to get a little light on content over the winter while the farm (and farmer) slips into winter hibernation. Let me assure you, we’ve been busy behind the scenes getting ready for the 2012 growing season…

Interns: Shaliz and Amanda joined us at the beginning of May and are already pros at a number of farming tasks that include caring for the chicks and laying hens, transplanting, bed prep, seeding, greenhouse maintenance, repotting, row cover and drip irrigation. It has been amazing to see what two extra pairs of hands can accomplish and it was never more apparent than this week as we prepared for our first ever Deep River Farmers’ Market! A long week of harvesting, sorting and heirloom labelling plants, and strategic planning was rewarded with a very successful market day. Hats off to the team, which also includes son Napoleon and husband Joe, both of whom provide infrastructure support, mechanical know-how (fixing things Sheila breaks) and extra hands in the garden when needed.


We’ve expanded the fields this year by a half-acre or so. One of the greatest impediments to clearing new areas for cultivation is the tree stumps left over. This year we struck a deal with our neighbour Steph who happily traded some back hoe time and expertise for some future tilling work. Barter is alive and well on Leader Road!

We’ve also converted an old square timber building into rustic, but cosy, intern accommodations for our new helping hands. The job entailed digging out an old plank floor and about 8 inches of dirt; redoing the chinking and mortaring; installing windows and doors; and prettying up the cinder block footing with some aged barn board we had kicking around. Hours donated by friends, family and CSA members all helped to get the job done.

The hillside cold cellar has been excavated and plans are in the works to get it built before the first CSA pick-up. The new facility will house our CSA baskets and market produce as well as our winter storage crops.

We added an old Farm All Super A tractor to our farm fleet this year. Much lighter and more agile than the White 1270 we use for the heavy work, it nimbly straddles the rows and speeds up bed prep by allowing us to scarify, cultivate and hill with its multiple attachments.

We are slowly working out way downfield with our operations, which means that the current irrigation system will have to carry water several hundred metres from the pond we currently use. We’ve solved this with a second pond and two more irrigation pumps (one donated by a CSA member) which will provide water closer to the new beds.

We kind of saw it coming, but it was still a shock to realize that we had no room for our tomatoes in the current greenhouse once we transplanted the cell-paks into 4-inch pots. Five hours and four pairs of hands later, we had a temporary greenhouse on the back of the garage, where over a thousand heirloom tomato plants now reside. This fall we will be putting up a permanent structure with the numerous patio doors and picture windows we’ve been collecting for the past few years. Measuring approximately 50′ x 8′, it should easily accommodate next year’s plants.

If we can get our hands on a 3-foot culvert, we would really like to add a community composter to our operations. Many of our CSA members are reluctant to compost in their back yards because of bears and other animal visitations. Soil fertility is always a major preoccupation on the farm and this would provide a wonderful source of enrichment.

A donated washing machine has been repurposed as a commercial-scale salad spinner, which speeds things up considerably on harvest days. Thanks to Rainbow Heritage Garden for the great idea!

Two-for-one is one of my favourite themes on the farm where resources, including human, are always stretched thin. We will require a number of chicken tractors to house our meat birds and laying hens when they return to pasture from their present status as free-range garden raiders! We were delighted to be able to resuse the steel roofing from an old collapsed wood shed that needed cleaning up and would otherwise have gone to the metal bin at the local dump.

Growing Forward

Every year we plant a few more trees, grape vines and field berries as part of our plan to expand into fruit shares. This year we’ve added more apple trees, a couple of cherry trees, two dozen haskaaps, 500 everbearing strawberries and some raspberries and rhubarb as well. Last years pears, plums, apples, grapes, haskaaps and Saskatoons are looking great 🙂

Expanded CSA

We’ve opened up 10 or so more spots in our CSA program this year. The five-year plan was to double our shares in our second year of operation, however with the unexpected and delightful addition of a local farmers’ market for our produce, we are keeping the membership on the conservative side until more acreage can be brought into production. We are delighted to welcome back most of last years’ members and look forward to a summer getting to know our newer members, many of whom have been on the waiting list since last summer!

Farmers’ Market

May 26 saw the launch of the Deep River Farmers’ Market. We have committed to attending for the full season, which ramps up the production scale considerably, but allows us to offer fresh local produce to a broader sector of the community.

The next couple of weeks will be a flurry of planting and transplanting as we empty the greenhouses and fill up all avaible spaces with a diverse selection of veggies.

Watch for upcoming posts in the Intern Impressions section of the blog.