Changing seasons and looking back

by Jay Reesor

As is our tradition in the fall, our farm market closes the first Saturday after Hallowe’en.  I am really glad that we have chosen that date to close because this year, November’s weather was, well, less than ideal! The combination of  some very cold,  sometimes snowy, sometimes wet and almost always grey weather has made it difficult to get fall work done.  Everything from getting the straw on the strawberries to getting everything stowed away for the winter was challenging.

And for my neighbours, who have crops still in the field waiting to be harvested, this fall’s weather has being very frustrating.  I’m hoping that the brunt of winter can hold off until at least Christmas.

Looking back, it was a great farming season with excellent crops of strawberries, sweet corn, pumpkins and squash. Sure, a couple of our minor crops were a little disappointing, but there’s always next year.  We’re always thankful for our wonderful customers stopping by regularly to support us.

At this point, southern Ontario is fortunate to have fairly steady and consistent weather patterns, favourable to growing good crops. I am very grateful for good soil and reasonable weather to grow our crops. I’m also grateful for amazing people with whom to work helping us to grow good food. Not everyone in our world has this privilege!

A fresh start

by Jay Reesor

It’s a new season! A new season filled with its own unique weather issues and questions.  Will it be too hot and make it a difficult strawberry season?  Will it be too dry? Making it a challenge for our sweet corn crops.  Will it be too cold and not let the pumpkins mature and making them stay green until late into the season?  Will it be too wet and not let us get our field work done on time? It will probably be a little bit of all of these challenges, but every year that I have been farming we’ve always had some kind of a crop.  I’m grateful for that!

And with the new season comes a new group of young adults to work along with us in the farm market and in the fields. Getting to know our new young staff and reconnecting with returning staff is one of the pleasures of a new season. I’m hoping we all have a safe and productive season working together.

I hope this new spring season is a good one for each of our readers. Thank you for your patronage to our farm and store through the years. And if you are a gardener, remember, the best food is the food you grow yourself. So, get growing!

Inspecting the spring strawberry fields became more fun recently with my grand-daughter at my side and my visiting Alberta cousin Art Reesor, on the right.

Celebrating a good crop year

It has been a good year here on the farm. All of our  main crops did really well including the strawberries,  sweet corn and pumpkins, despite some very wet weather in the spring and very dry weather in the summer.  Our early green bean crop, however,  was totally rained out in the spring and was almost a total failure.


Usually seen on a tractor in the summer, Jay spends some time helping out at our town market in the winter. 

I am grateful for our successes and for all of the people who helped with our crops including my farmer nephew Grahame, and neighbours Jacob Reesor and Peter Reesor. These guys all worked really hard in the strawberry, sweet corn and pumpkin fields to contribute to a successful cropping year.

What do we do with our failures?  Our green bean crop was so bad most of it was not worth harvesting.  We can quit and feel sorry for ourselves or we can learn from our failures, make improvements and move on. That’s what we’re doing with the green beans and I have found that’s the best recipe for success with personal failures as well.

I hope all of our readers have a wonderful Christmas season and a peaceful and rewarding new year.

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!

jay-serving-coffee

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

Thinking back 31 years

reesors-jay-01

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

20161001_100137-copy

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

reesors-jay-may-2016

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.)

reesors-tractor

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

jay-reesor-and-tractor

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

reesors-jay

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!