Key Dates for Ontario Produce

Depending on the weather, here are some seasonal produce start dates to keep in mind:

  • Asparagus: Now
  • Rhubarb:  Now
  • Strawberries:  About June 15
  • Pick Your Own Strawberries: About June 21
  • Peas: Pick Your Own & Ready-Picked About June 21
  • Green beans: Late June
  • Sweet Corn: About July 21
  • Pick Your Own Pumpkins: Early October

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.

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!

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!

Crunchy Cajun Corn Salad

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This zesty salad can be made with fresh or frozen sweet corn kernels. When you have some  leftover cooked corn on the cob just cut off the kernels and whip up a salad.  Since frozen corn is blanched (lightly cooked before freezing), you can use it right out of the freezer when making the salad.  Add the amount of Tabasco sauce or chill powder you prefer to get the right amount of heat.

Salad Ingredients
4 cups corn, freshly cooked or frozen (about 4 cobs)
1 large green or red pepper, or combination of both colours, chopped fine
6 green onions chopped
1/2 cup minced parsley
1 cup chopped tomatoes or cherry tomatoes

Mix all salad ingredients together in a serving bowl. Set aside.

Dressing
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp mayonnaise (Hellmann’s Light works well)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce, fresh minced chilis or chilli powder, to taste
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil, to taste

In a large bowl mix together all the dressing ingredients, except olive oil, until combined. Add olive oil in a slow stream, whisking until slightly thickened

Pour dressing over the other salad ingredients and toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight before serving.

6-8 servings.

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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!