Red Clay Farm Chronicles

This is the first of what will be a series of weekly newsletters that will chronicle the story of Red Clay farm over the coming summer. Its our wish that the newsletters will deepen the connection with the farm and the food that we deliver to you. Its our mission to communicate a bit about the food production system of a small artisanal farm such as this.


 

After 2 months of work, the market garden is ready to begin production. The spring was a bit challenging, with a late freeze that froze many farmers out of certain crops. Red Clay is close the the water and we double covered everything during the cold, so all our squash and tomatoes were safe. Rain also has been challenging. We have had a series of 50 mm plus rain events that have kept the soil damp. Yet the gardens have been growing.

 

The head farmer this year is Seb Palmer.

 

Seb worked for a while at Halifax Seed and on a series of CSA farms and is one of the most knowledgeable organic farmers I know. Our market gardens use only organic methods. We don’t use chemicals. It makes the food production labour intensive, but with Seb’s experience, the quality of the produce will be amazing. Our goal is to try to deliver to you within 12 hours of picking as much as we can.

The first food box will have lots of salad ingredients. This is the usual thing for the first box and hopefully will satisfy your early season craving for fresh salad. All boxes will include:

Green onions

Kale

Salad mix and/or lettuce heads

Radishes

Plus a bit of fresh oregano and mint

In addition, boxes will also have some, if not all of the following:

Spinach

Arugula

Early season broccoli

Garlic scapes

Saute mix

Cilantro

Parrsboro delivery will be at the Ships Company Theatre on Monday at 6:00 PM. Halifax Delivery will be at 5548 Black St. (corner of Black Street and Northwood) at 6:00 PM. Pick-up will be in the back yard accessed from Northwood. If you are not a subscriber and want to order an individual box, please contact us (redclayforest@gmail.com). We also have a limited supply of farm fresh large brown eggs ($4/doz).

Between workshops and gardens, Red Clay has been busy this past month. On June 15th a “Tiny Building” workshop (with architect Corinna Mueller) was full and fun for everyone. One of the buildings that we started was a farm stand, still in the early stages of construction. Look for it when you pass Red Clay over the coming weeks.

 

CSA 17 / We made it / “La fin des haricots.”

Farmholders, (you can let go now)

SOCIALIABLE SUNDAY PICK UP

4pm – 8pm @ the Bus Stop Theatre
Deliveries on Monday Morning
AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE
Honey (6 sm 12 regular)
Blackberry freezer jam $ 6 / 5 dollars if you return your jar
Free Range Unwashed Eggs $ 4
Gingerbeer $ 5
WHOLE FREE RANGE CHICKENS $ 4 per pound (6-12 pound birds available)
Available Eatable Organic Produce:
APPLES
TOMATOES
CARROTS
CHARD
NEW ZEALAND SPINACH
TURNIP
KALE
BEETS
CABBAGE
 
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We did it !!!!!!!! Last box. 17 weeks, phew, who knew we’d make it this far….. I mean…. I had faith, but really, no idea the earth could provide some much.
This project started nine months ago, in the deep of February. An artist-in-residency lent me a book that taught farming and business strategies hand-in-hand. Now the farm has come to fruition.

Thank you for buying into the idea that we can sustain ourselves collectively. I hope this project has given you faith, it’s filled me right up to the tippy top. That said this is the end my friends. Last week, I learned the French idiom “the end of the beans” … all is lost … well, it’s not all lost… but it is done…. well done…. I hope you feel that way too:)
I’m of the mind that we should celebrate. Pick up will be hosted later in the day on Sunday and I’m bringing gingerbeer and mead to share. Please considered coming by with your loved ones and stay to chat and meet other CSA shareholders.
In the coming months, I will still have eggs, chickens (whole/frozen), Honey, gingerbeer, that i’d love to sell to you…. do not hesitate be in touch. In December I’ll be helping to put on a Pop-Up Shop for the holiday season….. you’re on the mailinglist, so you’ll hear more as the days get darker 😛
A final note. The world is changed, and changing. First time in my life i’ve ever thought i’d grow a watermelon. First time i’ve ever been bitten by a mosquito in October. I know you all know, but the world will be different in the coming years and I encourage you to continue to seek out ways that we can be a part of sustainable solutions.
Once I heard a kid recite (something like):
 we thank the farmer for our food
the flowers, stars, earth and moon
we remember those who survive on less
and are grateful that we are truly blessed.
Many blessings to you & yours in the coming months and New Year.
Your Friends,
 Farmer Clare & Red Clay Tom

CSA 16 / Second to none, honey homespun

FARMY,

Nocturne Weekend

EXTENDED SUNDAY PICK UP

noon – 7pm @ the Bus Stop Theatre
Deliveries on Sunday Morning to:
 
AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE
Honey (6 sm 12 regular)
Blackberry freezer jam $ 6 / 5 dollars if you return your jar
Free Range Unwashed Eggs $ 4
Gingerbeer $ 5
WHOLE FREE RANGE CHICKENS $ 4 per pound (6-12 pound birds available)
Available Eatable Organic Produce:
APPLES
TOMATOES
PICKLED BEANS
CARROTS
CHARD
NEW ZEALAND SPINACH
TURNIP
KALE
BEETS
CABBAGE
UPDATE
 
 
Way to go Bees! Sticky work extracting through a centrifuge it took many hours and days and still spinning. Terribly delicious…. Would you be dismayed if I told you this whole CSA/garden project was just food for the bees?
Inline image 1
Honey what can you do with Honey?…. Toast, Tea, and Turn it to mead 🙂 Our 2016 honey wine/champagne styles of mead is on the brew. Proud of these muscat grapes grown in the greenhouse, watered by the solar shower. pretty grape.

Next week, I proposing a little end of the project celebration….Anyone interested in hosting such celebration.
Also, wanted to Thank Krista & Casey for pick/ling of the last of the beans. So good, you’ll see.
Farmer / Soon to be looking for employment 😉

 

CSA 15 / give thanks before the storm (FRIDAY DROP)

THANKSGIVING WEEK FRIDAY PICK UP

4pm -7pm @ the Bus Stop Theatre
Deliveries on Saturday Morning to:

 

IF FRIDAY PICK UP OR DROP ON SATURDAY DOES NOT WORK FOR YOU LET ME KNOW AND WE WILL MAKE OTHER ARRANGEMENTS IF I DO NOT HEAR FROM YOU THEN YOUR FOOD WILL BE LEFT AT CEMPOAL.
 
AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE
Honey (6 sm 12 regular)
Blackberry freezer jam $ 6 / 5 dollars if you return your jar
Free Range Unwashed Eggs $ 4
Gingerbeer $ 5
WHOLE FREE RANGE CHICKENS $ 4 per pound (6-12 pound birds available for thanksgiving)
Available Eatable Organic Produce:
APPLES
TOMATOES
POTATOES
BEANS
CARROTS
LETTUCE
NEW ZEALAND SPINACH
TURNIP
KALE
BEETS
CABBAGE
UPDATE
 

Frost is a killer, we’ve been mostly lucky so far, though it’s creeping closer nightly.
Pickin’s getting slim, the zucchini plants are gone, though the beans are hanging in there, fewer beans, flowers melted off by the cold, last of their kind.

I stopped weeding a while ago, they say that weeds are good for the soil.
I hope that next year’s harvests are as bountiful a this year’s. Though I fear I’ve just fed the bugs as well as I’ve (hopefully) feed you and yours….
I did an inventory of the vegetables and storm;’ willing we’ll make it through to 17 full weeks.

 

CSA 14 / Blight and chilly nights

PICK UP SUNDAY AFTERNOON at The Bus Stop Theatre 4pm – 8pm 
 Delivery of unpicked upped produce to the following locations on Monday Morning
Kane & Robie
Cafe Cempoal
Windsor & Oxford
Duncan Street Coop
The Other Bean
.
AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE
Honey (6 sm 12 regular)
Blackberry freezer jam $ 6 / 5 dollars if you return your jar
Free Range Unwashed Eggs $ 4
Gingerbeer $ 5
Whole Frozen Free Range Chickens $ 4 per pound (6-12 pound birds available reserve yours for thanksgiving)
Available Eatable Organic Produce:
APPLES
TOMATOES
CARROTS
LETTUCE
NEW ZEALAND SPINACH
CHARDS
TURNIP
KALE
BEETS
RADISH
The sun is still bright but it swings lower overhead and lingers less.


The apples are the new boon, though I worry bout how an early frost could cutting this whole project short…. we’ll just have to wait and see and becoming weather network junkies again.
 Last weekend’s rains brought up the blight. This will likely be the last week that we have tomatoes, struck down in their prime. The once lush green foliage has browned, curled and melted away leaving green tomatoes floating in mid air. Feast or Famine, as they say.
Speaking of FEASTS, consider joining us at the farm for Thanksgiving weekend, this year we will be reviving our wood splitting and fire sculpture competitions, we’d love to have you. Send me an email, or click on the facebook event  if you are interested and want more info. Furthermore, “picks up & deliveries” next week will be on Thursday evening & Friday morning. This way everyone will have something from the farm to bring to their harvest celebration, including a chicken, let me know if that sounds like gravy to you and we can reserve you a bird that’s just the right size for your gathering.

CSA 13 / the circle of life is more like a straight line?

PICK UP SUNDAY AFTERNOON at The Bus Stop Theatre 4pm – 8pm 
  LET ME KNOW IF YOU CAN’T MAKE SUNDAY before 2pm on Sunday and I will bring your veggies to you or a mutually agreeable location.
AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE
WATERMELONS $5 dollars
TOMATOES   THE DEAL CONTINUES 10 pounds for $15
Honey (6 sm 12 regular)
Blackberry freezer jam $ 6 / 5 dollars if you return your jar
Free Range Unwashed Eggs $ 4
Mead2015 ( sparkling only ) $ 12
Gingerbeer $ 5
Whole Frozen & Fresh Ethical and Free Range Chickens $ 4 per pound
Floral Arrangements $5
Good to GO ORGANICS:
TOMATOES !!!!
HOT SWEET PEPPERS
CARROTS
LETTUCE
NEW ZEALAND SPINACH
CHARDS
TURNIP
KALE
BEETS
RADISH
BASIL
PARSLEY
14302765_10154686295472089_2120871283_n.jpg
It’s time for the meat kings, the breed of broiler chickens we’ve raised… to die, they’ve had a good life…. a simple life…. not all that long a life…. but they’ve pecked about, flapped their wings, cocked their heads, shaken a tail feather or two and gotten used to their bedtime song: “you’re next in line sleepy chicken”.
slaughter.png
Their appointment at the slaughter house is 8am Monday morning, halfways across the province. This means I will not be able to stay in town Sunday night and deliver to cafes or other locations on Monday morning, so be in touch if you are not able to make it to the BST on Sundays evening.
SO THIS WEEK ONLY let me know if you’d like a whole fresh chicken delivered to you this week on Wednesday, whatever is unclaimed by Tuesday will be frozen but remain available to you for purchase. These birds are smaller than the first batch roughly 7 pounds each dressed (which means without feathers or innards, before your imagination starts a grotesque fashion show), but they are every bit as tasty. If you are interested in reserving a bird for a future week, such as Thanksgiving you can also let me know how big a bird you’d be looking for and we’ll tag it for you now.
apple.png
That brings me to my weekly reflection; is life like a circle?… or is it more of a tangent? and is the answer a matter of perspective? One may say we are all connected, we are forever ebbing and flowing, we are born to diapers and return to diapers, we eat from the earth and then return to it….. Another might say, you are on your life’s path and it’s not good to double back, you plant the seed, you water the plant and you eat the fruit…. who saves their seeds? Who is not changed by each passing season …and though winter returns we continue to grow.
When I started this CSA project I thought: 9 months, start to finish. This week marks the beginning of the end; counting down the last 5 boxes. Now that the fall is here and the beds are being turned over for their winter crop rotation I wonder who’s interested in another whirl around the sun, no promises, just curious.
small-lady-clare

CSA 12 / Down by the Bay & Low Hanging Fruit

FARMHOLDERS
                     COME AROUND BACK
PICK UP SUNDAY AFTERNOON at (2268 MAITLAND) the
the BACK OF THE Bus Stop Theatre 4pm – 8pm 
  Delivery of unpicked upped produce to the following locations on Monday Morning
Kane & Robie
Cafe Cempoal
Windsor & Oxford
Duncan Street Coop
The Other Bean
OR   Join Us this EVENING AND SATURDAY for the CAN IT PARTY and get your veg straight from the garden that grew it.
AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE
WATERMELONS $5 dollars
TOMATOES !!!!!   🍅🍅🍅🍅  THE DEALS CONTINUE 10 pounds for 15 dollars  or 25 pounds for 30 dollars
Honey (6 sm 12 regular)
Blackberry freezer jam $ 6 / 5 dollars if you return your jar
Free Range Unwashed Eggs $ 4
Mead2015 ( sparkling only ) $ 12
Gingerbeer $ 5
Whole Frozen Ethical and Free Range Chickens $ 4 per pound
Floral Arrangements $5
UPDATE
watermelon.jpg

Down by the Bay…. Where the watermelons grow….. back to my home I dare not go…. for if I do the HRM official will say: ” I never saw a farmer blasting Sarah Harmer” …. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0fE4tm5VZk

unnamed-1
Sometimes when the fruit comes it comes too heavy, and it weighs down the whole plant.
This week we are picking those burdened branches, hoping to lighten the weight while we the rest ripens….
Do you ever feel you are getting picked on because you are easy to pick on?
unnamed-2.jpgI got in trouble last week for pulling up on the sidewalk…. it’s how I’d loaded the 25 boxes into the theatre… the cops caught me, they weren’t happy and confused as I explained that while yes 2203 Gottingen was my mailing address, but yes, I was indeed a farmer from rural nova scotia, and though I had just knocked the front facade of the theatre with the nose of my car I was also the property manager of the building, and despite not having properly stamped and signed registration papers also the owner of the vehicle with the now slightly scuffed bumper….

onions

 

/ …. 3 years ago my gardens were behind the Theatre, a greenhouse, and raised garden beds that I expanded by 10 feet a year, a pond, there was a fire pit (before they were banned) and art, places to sit, it was open to the public and a little urban oasis complete with koi fish, raspberries and mint. This is the third time this year I’ve been ordered by the city to clean this lot of dumped garbage and debris….. So that’s why pick-ups will be out back… this the photo the bylaw officer sent me, just in case you get lost or harassed by city officials on your way around back 😛
backlot What’s up ORGANICS:
TOMATOES !!
POTATOES
PEPPERS
CARROTS
ONIONS
PANSIES
LETTUCE
NEW ZEALAND SPINACH
CHARDS
TURNIP
BEETS
RADISH
BASIL

CSA 11 / SALSA

FARMHOLDERS
BACK to BASICS
PICK UP SUNDAY AFTERNOON at the Bus Stop Theatre 4pm – 8pm
  Delivery of unpicked up produce to the following locations on Monday Morning
Kane & Robie
Cafe Cempoal
Windsor & Oxford
Duncan Street Coop
The Other Bean
JARS JARS JARS JARS JARS JARS JARS JARS BRING ME YOUR JARS and join us for the CAN IT PARTY
AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE TOMATOES !!!!!🍅DEALS DEALS DEALS 2 dollars per pound OR 10 pounds for 15 dollars, 25 pounds for 30 dollars
Honey (6 sm 12 regular)
Blackberries $ 4 / pint
Blackberry freezer jam $ 6 / 5 dollars if you return your jar
Free Range Unwashed Eggs $ 4
Mead2015 $ 12
Gingerbeer $ 5
Whole Frozen Ethical and Free Range Chickens $ 4
Floral Arrangements $7
UPDATE
 
When god gives you lemons… you’re supposed to manifest sugar and make refreshing lemonade.

 

When the glorious ground gives you too many tomatoes, peppers (hot and sweet), onions and basil, it’s time to chop ………. and manifest corn-chips. ….. Hint: this weeks delivery will make you several pounds of salsa.
My weekly reflection is that I’ve been feeling I’m pretty bummed about being almost done… well 11/17. The golden epoch has passed, there is now more stuff maturing than budding, and faster than I wanted it to….. is this middle age?
The truth is that I’m up in the wee hours after picking chopping and canning an almost unfathomable amount of tomatoes…. Please help me, PLEASE PURCHASE TOMATOES… everyone talks about how hard it must be to grow food, the truth is that the hardest part is when the fruit comes in abundance and then you don’t know what to do with it all…. the irony of the harder you work the more you have the less it’s worth….

ALSO, It’s the Halifax Fringe Festival so take in a show with your veggie pick up and get out to see all the best.
What’s up ORGANICS:
TOMATOES !!
PEPPERS
CARROTS
GARLIC !!
PANSIES
CHARDS
TURNIP
BEETS
RADISH
BASIL

CSA 10 / I’ve always liked mason jars

VeggieEaters,
BRING BACK YOUR JARS / it’s canning time.
If you have your wooden box or plastic pail at home bring it your delivery location
BASICS
PICK UP SUNDAY AFTERNOON – MONDAY
An email will be sent to tell you when your goods have been delivered
(Delivery between 2-4pm on Sunday)
DELIVERY LOCATIONS:

Kane & Robie
Cafe Cempoal
Windsor & Oxford
Duncan Street Coop
The Other Bean
UPDATE
You may remember theInline image 1 story of the ducks or have heard that Frank quacked all the time? He was an unhappy duck, very unhappy. Well, long story short: We thought we’d kill Frank, but everyone that visited got really attached…… So now he lives at the petting zoo just down the way at the Dutchman’s cheese farm, You should go visit him there…. Frank gets a happy ending, go figure.
The thing is back, and it’s eating the chickens. Actually, it just eats the head, and then it isn’t able to get the body out the freaking tiny hole it slithered in through. Frank was something of a watchduck and without him to cry-wolf the chickens more vulnerable.
I was recently made aware that my emails to you may be taking up a fair bit of space because of pictures and their file size. I’ll attempt to reduce the file size and have also been posting the updates on the website as well so you can delete the emails and still check out the pictures there instead.
Been thinking about the wisdom of past generations, reading Helen and Scott Nearing. Thinking about how we pass wisdom down, and if a youtube video can suffice where a Grandma, Aunt or neighbour would have in been. Gonna have a canning party this month if you’re interested in coming to help put the summer in jars let me know. This song may inspire you too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nb-0ZCqga48