May 12, 2022
We’re are in full farming mode!
The busy season feels like it has officially begun. Everyday is full to the brim and we’ve been planting our fields like crazy. The Spring rush to get everything in the ground is probably one of the most difficult times of year.
Unfortunately, this cold weather we’ve been having has really slowed down the growth of most of our plants. It almost feels like they are at a stand still. Alas, this is farming. There’s not much you can control except your attitude. Despite the cold we are excepting an abundance of green very shortly!
On every small-scale farm, every year, at least a few crops don’t do well. Our first crop fail of the year has been our peas. Specifically the Cascadia variety. We gave them the same treatment as our other varieties of peas but for whatever reason, they decided not to come up. To top it off, they’re also being eaten by pea weevil 😥
Small-scale farming can get romanticized. The beautiful rural scenery and abundant gardens can seem so dreamy. However, most people don’t really hear or see the struggles that all farmers go through in a season.
Crop failures, pest infestations and unpredictable weather that damage your plants are all par for the course. It’s what makes farming such a high risk, low reward career. Vegetables are inexpensive to buy but they take an incredible amount of time and effort to grow. It only takes a few crop failures to go from a decent year to a bad year financially.
Send your cat into a state of pure ecstasy with fresh cat nip from our farm! Catnip produces oils that contain a chemical called nepetalactone. It only takes one or two sniffs of that magical oil before susceptible felines are licking, chewing, and rolling head-over-tail in kitty bliss.
Though intense, that euphoria is usually short-lived, lasting about 10 minutes for most cats. For some, Catnip translates into aggressive playfulness. At the same time, it makes others mellow and calm. But no matter what reaction your cat has, once the pleasure passes it'll be about two hours before your feline friend will respond to catnip again.
Apparently genetics determine whether or not your cat will respond to Catnip. Our cat Nomi was not interested in it, but our neighboring cat Rosie LOVED it.
Veggie fun fact: Oregano means Joy of The Mountain in Ancient Greek.
Oregano has a wonderful herby flavour and can be added to meats, marinades, sauces, stuffing and salads.
You're looking for a show-stopping side for a meal you worked hard to prepare. Something that's decadent and delicious that everyone will love. Why not try our Focaccia?
Simply pop our Rosemary Focaccia in the oven and in just 10 minutes you'll have a warm, golden-brown piece of heaven. Cut a nice big slice and take a bite. The crispy, oily edges add a slightly crunchy texture. The center is soft and warm with a tender crumb. It has a nice balance of sweet and savoury with a sprinkle of organic rosemary that adds an elegant herby flavour.
About our Focaccia
Our Focaccia is made with a mix of our freshly milled, organic Hard Red Spring whole wheat flour (sourced from Armstrong) and Anita's organic whole wheat flour (sourced from Chilliwack). Our freshly milled flour gives this Focaccia a ton of flavour. Anita's whole wheat flour is finer than ours, which produces an airier, lighter Focaccia. We've found that a combination of flavour and airiness makes for the ideal Focaccia.
Each Focaccia comes frozen.
Ingredients: Freshly milled Hard Red Spring whole wheat flour (grown by Fieldstone Organics, Armstrong, milled by Confluence Farms), organic stoneground whole wheat flour (Anita's Organic Mill, Chilliwack), organic sugar, pink Himalayan salt, yeast, olive oil, organic rosemary.
Our friend and fellow farmer Kate from Hoe Down CSA in Pass Creek had an abundance of beautiful Bok Choy. We bought what she had and it’s now available in our online farm store!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Does healthier soil translate to healthier food grown in that soil? 🤔
I think we all intuitively know that food grown in healthy soil produces more nutrient dense food. Astonishingly, very few scientific studies have actually been done to prove this theory. One of the farms that we model our farming practices after is called Singing Frog Farms in the Atascadero valley, California
They practice regenerative, no-till farming, just like us. This means that they do not till their soil with tractors or heavy machinery. The goal is to disturb the soil as little as possible with an intense focus on creating biodiversity and fertility within the soil.
Singing Frogs Farm recently participated in a study that wanted find out if their farming practices produce more nutrient dense food compared to similar farms that use tillage-based farming practices. Here is an article from their website that describes their results:
At Singing Frogs Farm, we strive to take care of our soil for a myriad of reasons: from building ecology, to water management, to carbon sequestration, to increased productivity, and because healthier, richer soil means healthier, more nutrient-dense crops.
This is intuitive, and the science is finally arriving to prove it.
In late 2018, we were approached by David Montgomery and Anne Bikle, a geologist and botanist team from the University of Washington. Individually and together, this couple have written “Dirt, The Erosion of Civilizations,” “The Hidden Half of Nature,” and “Growing a Revolution: Bringing our Soil Back to Health”, plus more. While their earlier books focused on how we humans have degraded our vital topsoil over the millennia, and especially this past century through mechanized plowing and tillage, their more recent book “Growing a Revolution” left them wondering about the next logical step in their quest for a… well… revolution in soil management:
They invited us to be a part of their research, along with the assistance of the pre-eminent soil biologist previously from the USDA, Ray Archuleta, and to be included in a future book. Their book “What your Food Ate” , and its research, will finally be released in June 2022 (but you can pre-order it).
Is Regenerative, No-Till Farming better that organic tillage-based farming?
In the summer of 2019, David, Anne, and Ray all visited Singing Frogs Farm during the peak of summer heat and dryness. While we were embarrassed at the condition of our soil and fields (as we are most peak dry seasons), the three of them were very excited. We performed a series of soil tests and sampling at our farm as well as at another organic tillage-based vegetable farm in Sonoma County as a control.
David and Anne’s research for their book sought pairs of farms, orchards and ranches across the U.S. For each pair, they wanted similar soil types and identical farm products, but different soil management techniques and different soil health profiles. We were paired up with a local organic farm that does the commonplace tillage practices and supplies our local Whole Foods (and other locations) with their vegetables.
We found the fields at the other farm well cared for but bare and dusty from tillage. They were incorporating cover crops and beneficial plantings and peppered Ray for advice. They are certainly organic but not regenerative. The soil tests showed their farm was in the median range for other typical organic, tillage-based vegetable farms on similar soil types.
By comparison, the soil at Singing Frogs Farm had over 400% more soil carbon, our water infiltration rate (to reduce erosion) was almost 7 times greater, our soil had almost 300% more soil biology, and our overall soil health score (taken from 30+ variables) was roughly 3 times greater.
Then we grew out the same crop…
We both grew cabbage from the identical seed, from the same seed package. Later that autumn, we fresh harvested some of these cabbages from our and the other farm. With cold packs inside a padded cooler mailer the cabbages were FedExed to the lab within an hour of harvest. While many scientists, and many of us, assume (with prejudice) that food grown in healthy soil will have greater nutrient density than food grown in poorer soils, the science to back up this assertion has been slow to materialize.
David and Anne succeeded in collecting soil samples and harvest samples from comparable pairs of farms across the U.S. They have samples from cabbage, peas, corn, soy and sorghum.
The results are astounding and have presented by David, Anne and Elizabeth at several conferences since August 2021 and now via journal article.
All of the regenerative farms in their study had more nutrient dense produce than their local, organic, non-regenerative counterparts, but the difference for us was exceptional:
Singing Frogs had the highest soil health scores, and highest nutrient density scores of all the farms. Compared with our local, organic counterpart, we had 46% more Vitamin K, 31% more Vitamin E, 31% more Vitamin B1, 60% more vitamin B3, 23% more vitamin B5, 41% more calcium, and third less of the sodium, but the biggest difference was in the 35% more Carotenoids, and more than 74% more phytosterols…. the building blocks of a healthy functioning immune system!
David and Anne also compared the nutrient density of our cabbage, as well as our carrots and spinach, with organic cabbage, and with conventional carrots and spinach from a USDA study a few years back.
The nutrient densities of our vegetables were between 100% and 400% greater than those of the conventional vegetables in the USDA study.
Montgomery DR, Biklé A, Archuleta R, Brown P, Jordan J. 2022. Soil health and nutrient density: preliminary comparison of regenerative and conventional farming. PeerJ 10:e12848 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.12848
There you have it! The first study proving that regenerative practices are not only better for the soil, they actually produce healthier food as well. So when you buy food from a regenerative farm you’re actually getting more for your dollar from a nutritional standpoint, than you would if you were to buy that same food from your grocery store.
We’re incredible excited to share this information with you and we hope that you share it with others. Our food system is broken in a myriad of ways, but we now have proof that these new regenerative practices are what we need to start transition to.