We’re getting ready to get in the fields

by Jay Reesor

Ever wonder what is on a farmer’s to do list in mid-April? Just in case you’re interested, here is what is on our list for the next few weeks.

This was the winter of flat tires, so we called in the tire repair guys to fix two flats on two different tractors and replace our cultivator’s tires. Then we have to replace the points on some of the cultivator shanks as they are worn out.  Next we have to get the corn planter out and make sure everything is working well to get the seeds planted at just the right depth and properly firmed into the soil. Next priority is to make sure all the oil and filters are changed on the tractors and all of the equipment is greased and ready to go when we get a sunny, dry day.  As well, any day now we need to take the straw off the strawberries with a small tractor and rake and then walk the entire field to touch up any areas that the machine didn’t do well. Yep. It’s going to be a busy few weeks!

I wish each of our readers a wonderful spring season!

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Jay was serving up free coffee at Reesor’s Market & Bakery recent open house.

Thinking back 31 years

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by Jay Reesor

Wow! Another year almost finished and if you’re like me it’s hard to believe! This year marks the 31st Christmas of Reesor’s Farm Market. It’s easy for me to remember that anniversary because that’s the year our first daughter was born, and 31 years later I’m now a grandfather!

In those 31 years lots has changed here on the farm. I now have many more people to help harvest the corn and pick the strawberries and make sure all of the crops are tended well and sold at our market.  Back in the old days it was just me!  As well, we have more labour-saving equipment which is a real help to everyone here.

When I was a younger farmer we even had livestock here on the farm including pigs and chickens which made for lots more work!

But some things haven’t changed. We are still doing our best to care for the soil and grow healthy, nutritious crops.  We are still trying to be good neighbours to those near and far and still wanting to live simply so others can simply live.

Have a Merry Christmas and may 2017 be a wonderful year for you and yours.

In the photo above photo Jay is in a sweet corn field that was planted with oats last summer to protect and build the soil for next year . 

Pumpkins, sweet corn & plant breeding–a helpful mix

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by Jay Reesor

It’s the time of the year when we head to the field to cut pumpkins. No, we don’t go and make jack o’lanterns, but we do cut the pumpkins from the vines and put them in bins to bring to the market. And we do have some nice pumpkins in the field this year despite the dry, dry summer. All of the pumpkins are a little bit smaller than they would be if we’d had normal rainfall, but the quality is still very nice.

And speaking of quality: plant breeders have not only produced some much improved pumpkin varieties, but improved varieties of other crops as well. They’ve improved the sweetness and tenderness of our corn and the stem quality on the pumpkins and bred green beans to mature uniformly on the plant to facilitate harvest. All of this has been done with plant breeding and not genetic engineering.

Hey there high school and university students who love science. Looking for a calling? Consider plant genetics and plant breeding and make an important contribution to our community and the world’s food supply!

Back on the land

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by Jay Reesor

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. At least it is for farmers because it’s the beginning of a brand new season. Over the winter Grahame and I were  planning seed varieties, new crops to try, new equipment for those crops and now we finally get to put our plans into action! What’s terrific is that Mother Nature has also been cooperating with a generous amount of drying weather so that we can be on the land.

Here it is just May 6 and we have sweet corn and green beans planted and already out of the ground, as well as a good chunk of our new strawberry plants transplanted. So, it’s an exciting time of the year. (Look closely in the photo above and you can see the green bean plants staying warm under the corn-based, biodegradable plastic.)

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Thanks to our transplanting team, Grahame on the tractor, Peter, Doc and Lukki our 2017 strawberry crop is in the ground. Thinking about planting a garden this year? Just remember, the best food is the food you grow yourself. Plant on!

It’s quiet time on the farm

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by Jay Reesor

Mid-December is a very quiet a time around the farm compared to any other time of the year. Sure, there are some things to do in the farm workshop and a few details to take care of at my farm desk, but with the last jobs in the field complete, it’s time for a change of pace. I am looking forward to doing those jobs in the shop and thinking and preparing for next season.

It is remarkable though how quickly another farm season comes around because in about two and a half months it will be time to frost seed the wheat field with red clover seeds to follow the wheat crop. And every year many farmers tap their maple trees in February. But in the meantime I am looking forward to the Christmas season with my family and enjoying the slower pace that winter provides me as a farmer. Wishing everybody a wonderful holiday season!

Harvest thoughts

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by Jay Reesor

After our farm market opens for the season in June the summer seems to go by so quickly! It seems like we just got the planting done, but now it’s harvest time. Our high school and university students have gone back to school and now fall is here.  Even though summer is a lovely memory, fall brings us good things like fresh apples and pumpkin pies. Speaking of pumpkins, it looks like a good crop, especially of small and medium-sized pumpkins. Their size reflects the dry summer that we had.

We are still picking great sweet corn, tomatoes, green beans and sunflowers. So it is a busy season around here and it makes me grateful for the quality staff that we have, not just at the farm and farm market, but also at our kitchen and our town market. I hope that Fall 2015 is a wonderful time for you!

It was 30 years ago this summer…..

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by Jay Reesor

It was 30 years ago this summer that we first opened up Reesor Farm Market on the 9th Line. Although our current building is quite basic, our original market was just a farm wagon with a canvas roof.

Over the years the variety of produce, baking and foods that we offer has increased along with our customer base. As time passed and to make life better for everybody we built a little market building. Every few years we’ve added some new features and the farm market grew to include a bakery, coolers and more fresh and local food.

This week I was glad to welcome my parents (in the photo above) to opening day of our farm market season. Both my dad and my mom physically helped to build the market and have been a tremendous support to me in running the farm and the market. My wife Miriam also makes huge contributions as well. It has taken a lot of work over the years to build our business and she has always been supportive. I am hoping for a good season for all of us this year growing and making good food.

Back on the land

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by Jay Reesor

When spring comes, it can come in a hurry! A little over a month ago all of us were wondering if spring would ever arrive.   We had endured a long winter and the cold stayed right into April.

But a few weeks can change everything. We are currently planting everything from strawberries to sweet corn, green and yellow beans, beets, peas, soy beans, oats and clover. The peas and the corn are even up already!

Every spring-planting season has its challenges and right now we are trying to manage all of our planting to maintain moisture. It hasn’t rained significantly for weeks so we have to be careful that every seed we plant finds enough moisture to germinate.We will figure it out.

I hope that you have a chance to do some planting this spring too!

Ready, set, melt!

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by Jay Reesor

The sap is running, the snow is melting, and the farmers, including Grahame and I, are getting anxious to be out in the fields. It has felt like a long winter and since there have finally been at least a few mild days, many of us are thinking about spring and growing things!

Grahame and I are excited about using some new planting techniques this spring, planting more cover and green manure crops, and trying out a new pumpkin seed to give us a basketball sized pumpkin in early September.

The very first outdoor task for the year will be removing straw from the strawberry plants. Straw has been on the plants all winter long to protect them from those frigid January and February temperatures. Once that job is done, the growing season will begin! So, let’s hope for favourable weather in 2015.

Remember, the best food is the food that you grow yourself. Can you find an area to grow a small garden this year?