Life and thoughts from a small-scale organic farm . . . and its farmers

This is a blog that explores ideas around the growing of food and community at Glen Valley Organic Farm.

Monday, November 28, 2011

New: Goat Meat

We now have a limited supply of goat meat available for sale.

The animals were all raised on our farm from birth this past spring. Our goats receive a diet of hay, organic grain and foraging. The cuts are similar to what you would expect for lamb in terms of size. Goat meat is very lean and is exceptional in curries.

Cuts available:

Loin Chops
$17.50/lb Average 0.75-1.0 lbs
Leg Roast
$10.50/lb Average 1.2-1.5 lbs
Shoulder Roast
$9.75/lb Average 1.5-1.8 lbs
Stew Meat
$9.00/lb Average 0.5-0.9 lbs
$6.50/lb Average 1.0-1.4 lbs
Neck Slices           
$4.50/lb Average 0.3-0.4 lbs
$8.00/lb Average 1.3 lbs
Shoulder Steaks
$11.50/lb Average 1.4-1.6 lbs

To order goat meat for pick-up from the farm or at a farmers market, please e-mail glenvalleychris (at) gmail (dot) com or call 604-626-0067.

Please note: our goat herd is not part of our certified organic program; although we strictly follow organic standards for care, we cannot always source certified organic hay.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

2011 Variety Reviews: Part II

Aside from reviewing some of the new varieties we grew this year, I also put out a call to the organic community for variety reviews. The echos of silence were deafening . . . well, almost. Adam from Sundog Vegetables in Delta (who also worked for us last year) provided notes from his experience this year. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sourcing Great Seed

Sourcing great seed can make the difference between enjoying growing veggies and finding it to be a frustrating experience. As an organic farm, our certification process requires that we try to source seeds that are certified organic before considering conventional options. That can make our seed purchasing a bit tricky at time. Here are some of the sources we use on our farm.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

2011 Variety Reviews: Part I

In his book The Winter Harvest Handbook Eliot Coleman states that farmers have a responsibility to share their knowledge and experiments with each other to improve organic growing. In this spirit, I offer the following variety reviews from our trials this season. This is the first installment of reviews -- I have other varieties to note, plus reviews shared by other growers.

Friday, November 18, 2011

War, Agriculture and Remembrance

It has often occurred to me that November is an appropriate time for Remembrance Day. The days are generally bleak and the natural world is in a hasty decline as frost kills plants and trees shed their leaves. In short, the world around is a reminder of death.

This past week I have been thinking about the relationship between war and agriculture. More precisely, I've been considering the impact of war on agriculture.

The connection between war and agriculture is relatively new to me. My family has no history of veterans since most who were of service age during the world wars were farmers and thus exempt from military service. At the same time, I understand that war and political instability were motivating factors for some of my ancestors to leave their homes and travel to what they hoped would be a more stable future in Canada. War is at the root of many global migrations, particularly concerning rural peasants.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

From left to right: Barb, Nirmal, Kiran, Jeremy, Sheila, Paige (Roxie on shoulders, Julia in carrier), Uncle, Chris, Kate, Sean, Clara and Tricia.
One behalf of the entire Farm Team at Glen Valley Organic Farm, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to all of our friends, family, customers, suppliers and neighbours for your continued support. It makes our work very worthwhile to know that we share a common vision of sustainable, small-scale agricultural enterprises with a larger community.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Variety reviews wanted

I'm looking for feedback on varieties everyone grew this year for a blog post. Since we (farmers, gardeners, lovers of food) all trial new varieties every season, it would seem to make sense to share some of our experiences. Did the new carrot a catalogue promised would be a winner end up being a stinker? Did someone find the organic alternative to Big Beef? Are you sticking to tried and true varieties? If you're willing to share, I would love to pool together our experiences and share online. 

Interested? Write to me, making sure to include the variety name, whether the seed was organic or conventional, whether it was open pollinated or a hybrid, where you purchased the seed from, any observations from growing and the region where you farm. Also, indicate if you're growing commercially or for your own use (and anything else of note about your growing: field or coldframe, etc). What did you like about the variety (vigour, colour, flavour, yield, etc.) or what wasn't up to par? Did the variety mature in the number of days suggested by the catalogue?

You can send your reviews to me at glenvalleychris (at) gmail (dot) com. Everything will be posted here when I have finished compiling responses.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Salmon and Agriculture: Making the Link

These salmon and a carrot from our farm might have more in common than you would expect.
I'll admit that when I started farming, I didn't expect that it would lead me to involvement in a salmon conservation initiative.

At the same time, when I received a call asking our farm to participate in a salmon-related certification project last fall, something clicked.

The pitch went like this: The Pacific Salmon Foundation and the Fraser Basin Council were bringing an agricultural certification program to BC called Salmon-Safe. It already exists in Washington, Oregon and California. They need to see if the standards are applicable in a Canadian context. Would we agree to an inspection with the potential of being an early program participant?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Images of the season

This is a slideshow featuring images of the season, courtesy of Fire & Light Media Group. These images were taken on the farm last year. They show a lot of the produce we're harvesting at the moment this season.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


An early morning spider web, back-lit by the rising sun. Photo by Brian Harris
I'm tired. Everything feels like a grind. Small problems often appear greater than they need be. Everyone on the farm needs more sleep. We're all trying to make it through to a point in the season when things will slow down.

August tends to be like this on the farm. Regardless of how prepared we think we are, it always comes as a surprise.

Documentary: Home Grown Exhibition

Home Grown Exhibition - Brian Harris from Fire and Light Media Group on Vimeo.

I have been inspired by the work of photographer Brian Harris over the past few years. I have also been honored to be able to work with Brian as a subject of his work as well as a speaker at an event he organized through the Home Grown Exhibition at the Museum of Vancouver last year.

This documentary examines Brian's work and direction in designing the exhibit at the museum. For those who weren't able to attend, this provides an excellent tour of the exhibit, capturing both the curatorial insight as well as the overall spatial design. The video is an excellent archive of the overall exhibit.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Compost Bin Update

Many readers, I assume, are waiting for an update on the new compost bin I built earlier this season. I wrote about it here in May.

The bin is working well, composting the tremendous amount of plant matter we generate as we clean and grade produce each week. In fact, I'm turning the bins weekly at this point and getting some great compost in the process.

In the photo above, I have the front off of the first bin, which I had just finished turning into the second bin in the middle.

Two days later, the temperature in the centre bin was at 130F/54C. At this temperature thermophilic bacteria is breaking down the compost and creating a significant amount of heat. This is made possible by oxygen having been added to the compost during the turning process, resulting in what we call "hot" composting. 

During hot composting, the temperature reaches levels that kill pathogens. This is particularly important when composting manure. In the case of veggie materials, we don't need to achieve hight temperatures, but the composting process goes faster with the heat. In the winter, hot composting can also help keep bacteria working, despite the cooler temperatures (although in very cold regions, your compost will still freeze up).

After cleaning out the first bin, having turned the contents into the second bin, we're ready to add more plant material.

Meanwhile, the third bin is ready to be cleaned out. The compost can be used immediately, although the best results will be achieved from curing the compost in a dry area. Curing is a process where worms and insect digest coarse materials such as sawdust, straw and harder bits of plant material.

You will get the best results in your compost if you add dry, carbon-containing materials to your food waste. This includes, straw, sawdust or dried leaves. 

By adding carbon or brown layers, you are allowing the compost to hold more oxygen, but also providing proper ratios of carbon the the nitrogen-rich food materials that form the basis of your compost. This layering also helps dry out your compost, helping to avoid the dread pile of slime that often happens to home composters. Finally, this layer also helps reduce odour and flies on the pile.

Compost should form the basis of your growing process. Not only is it the ideal way to return food and plant waste to a useable form, but it is also the ideal source of fertility for any garden. I find composting to be a very satisfying process. To do it well, you need adequate materials -- a proper system of bins plus carbon/brown layering additions.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Good morning bees!

Shortly after the sun warmed the hives this morning, the bees began their day with a flurry of activity. There are four hives on our farm. Each hive contains about 20,000 bees!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Herbs & Your Health Classes

Herbs & Your Health is a 10 week course being offered this fall by Barb Hinde, CH, RNC of Glen Valley Herbs and Apothecary.

Barb is a chartered herbalist and a registered nutritional consultant who grows and works with certified organic herbs at Glen Valley Organic Farm.

The course runs 10 weeks, starting on September 21 and continuing until November 23. The classes are held on a Wednesday night at the Fort Langley Community Hall starting at 7 p.m. and finishing at approximately 8:30 p.m.

The course will touch on healthy lifestyle choices and using herbs to help treat specific conditions. The weeks will be divided into different areas of the body and the herbs that can be used in those areas will be discussed. Tincture, cream and salve making will be included in the classes.

The cost for the course is $250.

Please note that this is an information session only and is not meant to replace the advice of your health care practitioner. Always consult your practitioner before making any changes to your health regime.

Register before September 1st and save $50.00
Contact Barb Hinde at barbhinde (at) or 604-626-0681 to register.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Putting together a CSA box

Every week throughout the summer we assemble 89 boxes of produce as part of our Community Supported Agriculture program. Subscribers purchase a share of the harvest early in the season and enjoy the veggies we produce throughout the harvest. This post provides some insight into how the boxes are assembled.

Above is command central. Our high tech tracking system involves a clipboard and order sheet with our orders noted. On Sunday and Monday of each week, we assess what produce will be available and assemble a list of box contents and a harvest list.

Jeremy and I alternate responsibilities each week. One week one of us coordinates orders, washing and packing while the other oversees field work. The following week we switch. The photos below show what it's like form the barn point of view -- it obviously leaves out the harvesting.

The first round of harvesting takes place on Monday. Items such as carrots, beets and onions are harvested, washed and packed before being placed in the cooler. Here, Nirmal and Kiran wash carrots for the CSA.

The Tuesday harvest begins at 7:00 a.m. Nirmal and Kiran begin harvesting with the most fragile (i.e. heat sensitive) items. By 8:00 a.m. the first batch of lettuce has arrived for washing and packing.

We wash everything before packing. This helps to remove field heat from the produce, hydrates the greens and makes sure everything is clean.

A case of lettuce ready for the CSA. Everything is packed into boxes and bins and placed on pallets in the cooler. This makes it easier to add each item at a time to the CSA bins when we pack them at the end of the day.

In addition to worrying about the veggies, we also have to make sure we have our packaging ready. Here, Sheila and Kate prepare our CSA bins with labels that note whether the box contains a full share or half-share subscription.

These decals are new, so each week we have to prepare a few more boxes -- not every bin gets returned each week. We have four bins in circulation for each subscription. It's a big investment in packaging to make the CSA run smoothly.

Meanwhile, the harvest continues. Here, Nirmal unloads the cabbage for the boxes.

All of the CSA bins washed and stacked, ready for packing. But we still have some work to do before filling these.

Items like beans and potatoes are weighed out and bagged. This is a time-consuming task.

At around 5 p.m. we begin preparing to pack the boxes. The first set of boxes leave for delivery to Langley at 6 p.m.

Sheila and Kate roll the trolley along as they pack potatoes into the boxes. 

We try to place items in the same position in each box to make it easier to double-check that each box is filled properly. Despite this attention to detail, we make the odd mistake. One box was missing its lettuce two weeks ago.

Finally, the boxes are packed and placed on pallets in the cooler. The bins will be loaded onto our truck at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning along with our other deliveries and taken into Vancouver. That's right, amidst all of this, we're also packing other orders.

And so, here's what went into this set of boxes this week:

Each full share received:

  • 1 bunch Rainbow Chard
  • 1 Red Butter Lettuce
  • 1 bunch Rainbow Beets
  • 1 lb Yellow Beans
  • 1 large Green Cabbage
  • 2 lbs Rainbow Carrots
  • 1 Long English Cucumber
  • 1 bulb Fennel
  • 1 bunch Green Onions
  • 1 Sweet Onion
  • 2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 2 small or 1 large Zucchini
Each half-share received:
  • 1 bunch Rainbow Beets
  • 1/2 lb Green and Yellow Beans
  • 1 small Green Cabbage
  • 1 lb rainbow Carrots
  • 1 Long English Cucumber
  • 1 bulb Fennel
  • 1 bunch Green Onions
  • 1 Sweet Onion
  • 2 Patti-Pan Squash
After all of the boxes are packed, there's still an e-mail to go out to subscribers. And while delivery is taking place on Wednesday morning, harvesting continues for the Langley Farmers Market on Wednesday afternoon and the New Westminster Farmers Market on Thursday. Thursday and Friday are harvest days for the weekend markets: Lonsdale and White Rock. 

Amidst all of this, we continue planting, weeding, pruning and marketing plus other chores such as milking goats, feeding chickens, cleaning eggs and administrative tasks. The summers are busy, but it's an exciting time when there is so much amazing produce growing and we can put together great boxes for our subscribers.

Interested in subscribing next year? Let us know: glenvalleychris (at)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Project Corndog: An Extremely Local Dinner Theatre Event

Project Corndog:
An Extremely Local Dinner Theatre Event

in Aldergrove, BC

August 18, 19, 20 & 21

How close can you get to your food? Come and spend a summer evening on a local organic farm diving into a delicious piece of site sound and taste specific theatre. Follow puppets, musicians and circus acts through planted fields and fruit orchards, past streams and into a forest grove as Georgia, an organic farmer, and her scientist daughter Freidi struggle to save their family farm from an over the fence GMO attack and find love in unexpected places. The evening finishes with guests, farmers and actors sitting down to an open air organic meal grown on the very land they've just explored.

The dinner will be prepared by Seasonal 56, and served alongside wine pairings from Lotusland Vineyards.

Ensemble includes; Sandy Buck (Puppet Creator), Jan Derbyshire (Director), Chloe Doucet-Winkelman, Jeff Gladstone (Musical Director), Thomas Jones, Sarah May Redmond and Tallulah Winkelman (Playwright).

Tickets, $65, limited seating
Earlybird rate before August 2nd, $50

Monday, July 25, 2011

Late nights on the farm: Making Sauerkraut

Last week I posted some information on cooking with cabbage. The past two evenings I was at work making sauerkraut. We're getting close to cabbage inundation at the moment, so I decided that it's time to start getting some sauerkraut ready for the year ahead. It's an amazing source of vitamin C over the winter and a great addition to a variety of meals and dishes.

For the first time, I did both green and purple cabbage. I love the contrasting colours right after putting them into jars. I'm also going to try sauerkraut made from cabbage, carrots, onions and beets, plus an assortment of herbs for new flavours.

You can see the difference in colour after aging. The jar on the left was made last fall by our neighbours, John and Donna at the Glen Valley Artichoke Farm. On the right is my sauerkraut immediately after putting it in the jar (i.e. before fermentation).

Fermenting is an amazing way to preserve food for the year in a way that maintains nutrients. If you're interested in making sauerkraut, here's a recipe that provides you with the basics. If you want to learn more about fermentation, check out the Wild Fermentation website maintained by Sandor Ellix Katz. His book, Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods, is an amazing resource for getting into fermentation.

Tractor time on the farm

While we do much of our field work by hand, there is a major task for our tractors: preparing the beds. We have three tractors that do the heaviest work for us. This includes disking the fields in the spring, subsoiling (dragging two long claws through the beds to break deep into the soil), applying compost and then cultivating a shaping the beds.

Above, is a pile of 30 tons of compost ready for spreading on beds prior to planting.

We load the compost into our compost spreader. This is a long job because we have to go back and forth between the farmyard (where we store the compost) and our fields.

While spreading the compost there is a lot of time to watch the crops and contemplate the world. This is my self-portrait while on the tractor last week.

Finally, the compost is cultivated in and the beds are shaped. Our beds are approximately 500 feet long. ideally, we get the beds ready a number of days ahead of seeding or transplanting to allow the weeds to germinate. Then we can plant into a clean bed. That's the ideal -- it doesn't always work out that way.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A raspberry treat

Owly Images

Here's what Ethical Bean did for a special event in Vancouver this week. The raspberries (including the ingredients in the glaze) are from our farm. Quite a treat!

Recipe: The Yummy Kale Dish


2 tbs of cooking oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs dijon mustard
2 tsp. sugar
1 tbs. apple cider vinegar
1.5 cups of veggie/chicken broth
4 cups of stemmed & shredded kale
1/4 cup dried cranberries
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic. Cook and stir until onion softens and becomes translucent. Stir in mustard, sugar, vinegar and stock and bring to boil over high heat. Stir in kale, cover, and cook 5 minutes until wilted.

Stir in dried cranberries and continue boiling, uncovered, until liquid has reduced by half and the cranberries have softened, about 15 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with sliced almonds before serving.

Serves 4 people as a side dish. Enjoy.

Recipes: Cabbage, Peasant Food

Cabbage is now in full season, but it isn’t often recognized as a romantic vegetable. Rather, in many societies cabbage has long been a staple peasant food. This is still reflected in its price; cabbage is one of the best market bargains.

Cabbage actually comes from the same family as broccoli, cauliflower, turnip, kale, canola, brussels sprouts and arugula. These hearty greens are prized for their health benefits and cabbage is no exception, particularly when eaten raw or fermented. Cabbage is a nice green to work with because it has more texture and crunch than other greens and a stronger taste that compliments meats, particularly bacon, pancetta and anchovies.

If cabbage is a peasant food, this is testament to its versatility and hardiness. Different varieties were adapted for use in varying climates. We grow approximately five main season green cabbage varieties, two red varieties and three winter varieties. Cabbages can store for up to five months. The plant’s nutritional value provides a source of vitamin C in the form of sauerkraut through many harsh winters. It is the basic ingredient for coleslaw in summer and winter alike.

There are a number of recipes that feature cabbage that go beyond sauerkraut and coleslaw. Below are some favorites.

Preparing Cabbage
If you are a cabbage affectionado, there is no substitute for a good mandoline for slicing cabbage. Very thin cabbage slices make for the best texture in coleslaw, soups, stews and sauerkraut.

We purchased ours, pictured here, at the Home Hardware on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. It's Slovenian-made, but also pricey as far as kitchen tools go (and awkward to store). A sharp knife, of course, is a good substitute.

Cabbage Gratin


Butter and freshly grated Parmesan for the dish
1 1/2 lbs green cabbage, diced in 2-inch squares
1/3 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 eggs
3 tbsp chopped parsley or dill
Salt and white pepper

Preheat oven to 375F. Butter gratin dish and coat sides with cheese. Boil cabbage, uncovered, in salted water for 5 min. Drain, rinse, press out as much water as possible. Whisk remaining ingredients until smooth, add cabbage, pour into dish. Bake until firm and lightly browned, about 50 minutes. Serve with sour cream flavoured with mustard, curry sauce or creamy tomato sauce.

Braised Cabbage with Bacon and Thyme
From Jamie Oliver's Cook with Jamie

1 pint Chicken or Vegetable stock
6 slices Bacon
1/2 a handful of fresh thyme leaves (or 2 tbsp dried)
1 white/green cabbage, halved and very finely sliced
2 tbsp Butter
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place stock, bacon and thyme in a pan, bring to a boil and then sprinkle in the sliced cabbage. Mix, put lid on pot and boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook until the cabbage is a consistency you prefer. Top up with additional stock if you think it's reducing too much. Add the butter, some olive oil and season. Serve immediately.

Variation: We make a variation of this recipe, adding sliced carrots and onions.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our CSA boxes this week

In case you're wondering what goes into our Community Supported Agriculture boxes, here's the list for this week:

1 Fennel Bulb (Large in full shares, small in half shares)
1 Crown Broccoli (Full shares only)
1 bunch Dill
1 bunch Beets
1 large Cabbage
1 Long English Cucumber
1 bunch Green Onions
2 lbs Sieglinde Potatoes
1 bunch Spinach
1 bunch Kale
1 bunch Rainbow Chard
2 heads lettuce (1 red butter, 1 green butter)

Here are some notes about the box contents this week:

In case fennel is new to you, you can find some tips on cutting fennel bulbs on this blog post. What to do with Fennel? There are a couple of ideas at the end of the blog post, but I would also suggest chopping it and adding the chevrons to coleslaw (with the cabbage this week, for example). I like it roasted as well (with the potatoes, for example). There are other recipe ideas on here.

The Greens
In case you missed it, I added a blog post about cooking with greens on the blog last week. In addition to that post, I can offer a summer salad recipe for using a variety of veggies each week. The butter lettuces are great in sandwiches and in salads.

OK, this is a vegetable that brings out the Ukrainian roots in me. Not only does fresh cabbage make awesome coleslaw, it can be made into Sauerkraut for future use. In case you're interested in making Sauerkraut, here's a good recipe. I must point out that making fermented sauerkraut and then storing it in your fridge is the best way to eat it, providing an amazing flavour and a variety of health benefits (it's a great source of vitamin C, for example). Whatever you do, I recommend that you don't process the finished kraut (provided, of course, that you have sufficient fridge space to store the unprocessed product). Processing sauerkraut will destroy much of the nutrient value.

And for a few more ideas, check out these recipes from and these from Smitten Kitchen. And I haven't even touched on Borscht or Cabbage Rolls . . . there will be a cabbage post later this week -- keep your eyes on the blog.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Farm Fashion: Dressing for Mosquitos

Fashion isn't something we pay much attention to on the farm. I realize that I don't pay much attention to this until I go into the city. My dress code seems to have paused the moment I moved onto the farm. I don't fit in on the streets of Vancouver.

This is, for the most part, a good thing. We shop at thrift stores and can purchase an entire season's wardrobe for under $50. Moreover, once mosquito season arrives we have few qualms about dressing for the pests, not for style.

We don't use chemical mosquito sprays (not to mention sunscreen) on the farm. Imagine exposing yourself to the chemicals in these products every day. Plus, they help dirt stick to your skin and clog pores, making sweating difficult. Plus, they're expensive if you're reapplying them every couple of hours.

Jeremy, above, demonstrates sensible mosquito attire. Mosquitos are less attracted to light colours. Long sleeves and collared shirts help keep the mosquitos off our limbs and necks. And extra shirt around the head keeps the pests off our ears, heads and faces, depending on how they're wrapped.

Also of note, Jeremy's outfit is also great sun protection. Light, long-sleeve shirts are cool and keep skin covered. The head gear can be replaced by a hat when the bugs aren't as bad.

Barb, on the other hand, sports a sensible bug shirt. These are practical shirts made of netting that makes it difficult for mosquitos to bite. They can be awkward on the face when doing certain tasks, and they don't offer sun protection, but are useful overall. I use a similar shirt for milking and other farm tasks at various points during the day when the sun isn't shining.

New apprentices on the farm often learn about the mosquitos through trial and error. Kate and Sean, above, posed for this photo last week. They noted that the mosquitos weren't too bad. Sean's bandana functioned more for style than protection.

By later in the week, Sean had switched to a bug shirt. He also made a trip into town to purchase white t-shirts (previously, he only owned black).

I found Kate in the fields on Friday, harvesting salad in rain gear (notice that it's sunny out). The mosquitos were causing her grief. The long sleeves provided some protection from the blood-suckers. Today she also has a series of bandanas wrapped around her face.

Sheila makes use of a kerchief in the field along with light-coloured, long-sleeved, collared shirts.

Finally, keeping mosquitos off of children without the use of deet is a challenge. Paige managed to put together a set of t-shirt hoods for the children that keeps the bugs out of ears, hair and necks.

The mosquitos in the Fraser Valley are plentiful this year. With the high river levels, all of the ditches are backed up and the standing water across pastures and dugouts provided ideal habitat for mosquito larvae. It has been wet and the mosquitos have benefited tremendously.

If you have any tips on keeping the mosquitos at bay, we'd love to hear.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

First week of July on the farm

The sun and heat finally arrived this week and we have left June-uary behind. the fields are looking much better as green begins to take over the colour scheme. Here are some images of the farm from the past few days. Above, row cover over carrots and parsnips keeps the rust fly out. It also keeps heat and moisture in, helping to accelerate growth. The carrots and parsnips have been weeded this past week. Squash are on the left of the cover, onions on the right.

The shallots are looking very nice at the moment (although this bed is close to needing a weeding). Shallots and onions respond to the change in daylight hours after solstice and begin bulbing up.

There's something about the symmetry of some crops growing that looks stunning. Here's an arial shot of our Romaine and Red Oak Leaf lettuces hard at work.

The same can be said for the cabbage. We had our first cabbage harvest this past week. The variety above will be ready in a couple of week. We've tried to plant varieties that will come on consecutively through the season (rather than all at once). I'm still waiting for one of the farmers markets to hold a Cabbage Festival -- enough of the berry fetish! It's krauting time!

The salmonberries are just finishing up. Following them are the thimbleberries and, of course, the actual food crops we grow in our fields.

Above, thimbleberries. Below, flowering blackberries (a feast for the bees).

And the strawberries finally perked up. Nirmal shows off some of the beautiful (although small) harvest.

The redwing blackbirds nest on our farm, offering a great song and fantastic bug-control functions. I love the redwing blackbird, partly because it's one of the familiar birds from growing up on the prairies.

The raspberries have formed fruit and will be ready in a couple of weeks.

Here's an early planting of beans. I'll expect to be harvesting them by the end of the month.

The Fraser River has been very full for a long period this year. Above is a dyke on 88th, just of 264th in Langley (near our farm). Notice on the farm left that the field is flooded -- the dyke is over capacity and a lot of land on the area along the river here is flooded.

Our pasture areas are flooded and there are low areas of our vegetable fields we haven't been able to cultivate this season. This is the water level on my boots walking down to the fields through the pasture. All of the water means that it's a brutal year for mosquitos.