July 24, 2022
Why are there ants on our pepper plants??
They’re difficult to see from this photo, and a lot of the ants have since disappeared, but a week ago we noticed a ton of ants all over our pepper plants. At the same time the pepper plants were also being attacked by aphids. Curious as to why the ants were there too we researched it and the answer BLEW OUR MINDS!
Apparently the ants showing up shortly after the aphids was no coincidence. It turns out ants FARM aphids, much in the same way humans farm cattle. Here’s a article by McGill explaining how this works:
“Several species of ants have a special symbiotic relationship with aphids- they farm them! Aphids feed primarily on the sap from plants and secrete a liquid called honeydew. This secretion is very sugar-rich, and quite favoured by ants as a food source. As a result, a system has been hashed out by these insects wherein the ants herd the aphids around to the juiciest parts of plants, protect them from predators, and carry them into their nests at night and for winter.
In return they are allowed to ‘milk’ the aphids- stroking the aphids with their antennae, coaxing them to secrete their honeydew which is then lapped up by the ant. In every species of ants, workers will specialize in different roles such as nursing or foraging to fulfill the needs of the colony - in farming ants, some workers will specialize just in shepherding and caring for the aphids! There's even some evidence that ants build pastures of a sort, to keep their herded aphids in. When the colony departs one nest site to form another at a new location, they will carry an aphid egg with them, to establish a new herd and maintain their resources.
If you are wondering what all the fuss for honeydew is about, you should know that many areas of the world, most notably Germany’s Black Forest, actually tend bee colonies that collect and make honey from honeydew, resulting in a stronger tasting, darker product. Ants certainly are the world’s oldest, and smallest, farmers.”
“Ants certainly are the world’s oldest, and smallest, farmers.” Wow, what a mind bender. Mother Nature will never cease to amaze me!
Here’s a fun video explaining how ants farm:
We’ve been testing out these Vejibags this summer to see how effective they are. They’re made from undyed, unbleached, 100% organic french terry cotton, grown by the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative, and hand sewn by employee-owned Opportunity Threads, in Valdese, North Carolina.
We’ve kept greens in the fridge using a plastic bag and a Veji bag and the difference was significant. The Vegibags not only made the greens last longer, they were also significantly fresher and crisper. If you’ve been having troubles eating all of your greens before they go bad we’d high recommended switching to a Vejibag!
Bake-At-Home Strawberry Rhubarb Pie 🍓🍓🍓
In just minutes you can have a fresh from the oven, warm, homestyle Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. Simply pop it in the oven and let the smell of sweet strawberries and rhubarb get the whole family excited.
Once it's ready, pull it out of the oven. Cut a nice thick slice, add a big scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream and watch it slowly melt over the pie. The shortbread cookie pie crust is sweet, buttery and flakey. The filling is warm and sweet. The slightly acidic rhubarb combined with sweet floral strawberry chunks make for an unforgettable pairing. And the slightly crunchy crumble topping adds a wonderful contrast of textures that delights with every bite. This is a simple, yet elegant strawberry rhubarb pie that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home with minimal mess or clean up.
About Our Bake-At Home Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Crumble Topping
For this pie we started with a sweet and buttery shortbread cookie crust made with a mix of our freshly milled Soft White and Red Fife flour. The soft white adds a buttery flavour and texture while the Red Fife adds a nice nutty flavour. We then pulled rhubarb stalks from our garden and pick fresh strawberries from our strawberry patch and added only sugar to the filling. To finish it off we add a layer of crumble topping made with Soft White flour, butter, sugar and salt. This is a classic strawberry rhubarb pie that your family will be boasting about!
Details: Each pie is 9 inches can comes frozen
Description: Thai Basil has a sweet flavour with notes of anise and licorice. It's sturdier leaves make them ideal for cooking as they can stand higher temperatures. They can be eaten fresh as well.
It's flavor compliments Asian inspired dishes very well, such as pho, spring rolls and chicken fried rice.
Details: sold per bunch
FOOD FOR THOUGHT 🍎
The Power Of Community
With the news constantly bombarding us with doom and gloom I thought I’d share an inspiring story I came across about the power of community.
In the 80’s the small town of Sudbury Ontario was overtaken by Industry. A once peaceful and beautiful place was destroyed by a mining company looking to extract as much as it could from the land with no regard for the ecological or community repercussions. Apparently the open roasting bed in the center of town produced sulphur fumes so thick and acrid people could barely see, let alone breathe. Essentially, they got to pollute for free and footed the bill to the people and the planet. Sound familiar?
Left behind was an unsightly black and grey industrial waste land. Slag heaps made from waste material, such as rock and mud, left over from mining littered the landscape.
The community of Sudbury collectively decided one day that they didn’t want to live in this ugly place anymore. They felt they deserved better. And so they took action.
Over 40 years ago Sudbury began a community re-greening project. They began by simply planting trees. And within one generation they transformed their community from a desolate dead zone into a magnificent green forest. Since 1978, when the project began, over 80,000 hectares of land has been ecologically recovered and over 10 million trees were planted.
This goes to show that when communities come together with a shared vision, incredible results can be achieved. Right now we are facing problems so big they are global in size. But when you break it down, these global problems are really made up of millions of smaller community-based problems. These global issues can’t be solved all at once. They have to be solved one community at a time.
If we want to transform our planet for the better, all we need to do is transform our communities for the better. This will begin a domino effect which will inevitably solve these bigger global problems.
With that being said, we would like to propose a vison for the community. We envision a self-sustaining localized food system. A food system that stewards the land and the soil for future generations. A food system that requires zero inputs from other countries and from nonrenewable resources. A food system that can feed every community in the Kootenays. A food system that doesn’t allow people to go hungry. A food system that enriches the local economy and offers meaningful careers. And a food system that we can turn to when the Sysco trucks can’t deliver us food and the grocery store shelves go bare.
It will surely take a long time to accomplish this goal. Perhaps 40 years. But if one small community in Ontario can take back their land transform their community, so can we!