Healthy Birds, Healthy Farm

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by Jay Reesor

One of the pleasures of being a farmer is having the opportunity to be in the outdoors….a lot. Especially this time of year when we are so busy planting and preparing for the season we are outside virtually the whole day.

While outside we have an opportunity to observe the wild life right here on the farm. Particularly interesting are all of the species of birds that we see including Cardinals, Blue Jays, Tree Swallows, Baltimore Orioles, Red Tailed Hawks, Turkey Vultures, Starlings, Mallard Ducks, Blue Herons, Gold Finches, Flickers, Mourning Doves, Crows, Canada Geese and more!

The bird that currently most interests me is the Barn Swallow (like the one in the photo above). Every year around the end of May they arrive on our farm from their wintering ground somewhere in the southern hemisphere. They soon re-occupy their old nests or they build new nests to raise their young. It is common to see them darting about hunting for flying insects. They are amazing flyers and it’s  so much fun to watch  them.

I like to see all of the birds thriving as it gives me the feeling that we are doing a good job of caring for the environment here on the farm. If the birds and other wild animals are thriving on the farm, we must be doing something right. If nothing else, observing them gives me a great deal of pleasure. Happy bird watching to all of you bird watchers out there!

Snacking Good Asparagus Quesadillas

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Try this  very easy and delicious quesadilla as a snack or appetizer.  If you like to eat savory food in the morning it’s a good healthy breakfast since it includes protein, vegetable and whole grains.

Ingredients
1/2 cup grated cheese
2 x 10” whole wheat tortillas
6-8 spears of asparagus
2 slices of ham

Wash asparagus.  Lay flat in a microwaveable dish, add a few tablespoons of water, cover, cook on high for 3 minutes.  Slice into 2” pieces after steaming to maintain nutrients.  Or lightly sauté raw asparagus in a tablespoon of oil until tender.  Slice into 2” pieces.

Sprinkle cheese on half of each tortilla.

Cut ham in strips and distribute on top of the cheese.  Lay tender-cooked asparagus on the ham.  Fold each tortilla in half and press closed.

Lay each half side by side in a heavy frying pan, such as a cast-iron pan.  Cook until lightly browned, turn, and cook until cheese is melted.  Cut into quarters and serve while warm.

Eat them plain to really taste the asparagus or serve with salsa.

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Will you be home-preserving tomatoes this year or will Thomas’ Utopia Brand be doing it for you?

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At Reesor Farm on the Ninth Line in Markham we’ve planted all of our tomatoes and we’re looking forward to picking them for you in August and September.

Have you thought about making your own preserved tomatoes by canning, freezing or drying them this year?
Home-preserved or purchased canned tomatoes are a great pantry staple and an easy way to make flavourful pasta sauces and soups all year-round.

At Reesor’s Market & Bakery in Stouffville we offer Thomas’ Utopia Brand Tomatoes grown in Essex County near Windsor, Ontario. Our selection of canned tomatoes from Thomas’ Utopia Brand includes:

  • Organic diced, no salt added 
  • Organic diced tomatoes 
  • Organic whole peeled tomatoes
  • Organic pasta sauce 
  • Organic tomato paste 

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The third generation of the Thomas family is now overseeing their cannery.

Want to learn more about Thomas’ Brand Utopia Tomatoes? Their website has a list of Frequently Asked Questions including:

Are Thomas’ Utopia Brand’s canned tomatoes packed in cans with enamel lining that contain Bisphenol-A?
None of our Thomas’ Utopia Brand tomato products use BPA in the manufacturing of the can lining.

Do Thomas’ Utopia Brand Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene?
All Thomas Utopia Brand tomato products contain the antioxidant lycopene.

Are Thomas Utopia Brand Tomatoes gluten free?
Thomas’ Utopia Brand canned tomatoes are gluten-free. Ingredients in our canned tomatoes include tomatoes, water and sometimes salt.

Learn more:   http://www.thomasutopiabrand.com/faq/

Reesor’s Farm Market is now open for the season

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The past few weeks we’ve been scrubbing, painting and moving shelving and check-out counters around at our farm market at 10825 Ninth Line, readying it for you for the summer.

Inside the market you’ll find a new cut flower stand, hanging baskets for the shade, lots of Ontario strawberries, rhubarb, greenhouse vegetables, and all your favourite baking.  Outside you’ll find our hanging baskets for the sun, vegetables and tomatoes to transplant into your garden, plus two benches to relax and enjoy some cookies after you shop.

We’re all looking forward to welcoming you back to shopping in the fresh air at the farm.

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Introducing Reesor’s Penne Alfredo

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Our cooks at Reesor’s have recently begun making Penne Alfredo in a creamy four cheese sauce.  You’ll find it in our frozen entree section.  (It’s also available with mushrooms.)  It’s delicious as is along with some vegetables or salad, but if you want to you can customize it at home and make it your own signature dish. Here’s what to do:

Bake the frozen Penne Alfredo for about  45 minutes according to the directions on the package. Meanwhile, clean and coarsely chop several handfuls of fresh spinach and steam it for 2 or 3 minutes.  If you have some ham (we used Country Ham from Reesor’s deli department) slice it into pieces similar in size to the pasta. Other variations could be broccoli, asparagus, peas, or bacon.  You choose your favourite combinations.

When the Penne Alfredo is partially baked remove it from the oven.  Put the partially baked Penne Alfredo into a mixing bowl.  Add the steamed spinach and the ham and mix together gently. Put it back into the foil baking dish or put it into your own casserole dish.  Put it back in the oven to complete its baking time.  Broil carefully for 1 or 2 minutes at the end to get it nicely browned.  You’ve just cooked dinner!

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When To Expect Local Goodness

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Ontario strawberries:  Available now

Ontario rhubarb: Available now

Ontario asparagus:  Available now

Reesor’s Farm strawberries:  About June 22

Reesor’s Farm pick your own strawberries:  About June 24

Reesor’s Farm sweet corn:  July 21

Stouffville Strawberry Festival June 27-29

This month Stouffville is celebrating 30 years of fun at its Main St. festival.  If you’ve never attended come join in–it’s great for all ages.

Are you a pie or jam maker? Maybe you can win the Strawberry Pie or Jam Contest.  More details are at: http://www.strawberryfestival.ca

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