Is it Spring yet?
Asparagus and rhubarb will be available by the second week of May
As I set up to write a spring post for the website, I can’t help but ask myself, is it spring yet? Last year this time, we were about 3 weeks ahead of where we are now. We had started working the soil, had finished planting our strawberries and asparagus and had even started harvesting asparagus and rhubarb. This year, we have barely been able to get into the fields and there isn’t a single asparagus spear to be found!
In the past we have lamented about mild winters and how they have allowed pests to overwinter and become a real problem. While we always wish for a long cold winter, to kill pests and replenish ground water, we are happy for it to be over. We are hoping the weather turns soon, as we have strawberry crowns to get in the ground, field work to do and weeds to take care of (they don’t seem to mind the cold as much…).
We are excited for our asparagus this spring. With last year’s planting, we are up to a little under an acre of production, enough for us for the foreseeable future. Though still young, our crowns should produce a lot more this year, allowing us to offer 3 weeks of sales and hopefully enjoy some more ourselves… mmm… We expect to have asparagus by the second week of May.
Our rhubarb will also be available by the second week of May. Like asparagus, rhubarb is an early season perennial and we always find it to be a treat. Nicole makes great drinks with rhubarb, from iced tea, juice and cordial, to some truly wonderful cocktails! I love to use it in baking, oatmeal and brewing beer, I make a refreshing rhubarb saison. One thing we would like to try this year is roasting it. We had it at a restaurant last season and it was special. Interest in rhubarb has grown in recent years, enough so that we are thinking of doing a large second planting for next spring. Let us know if you need more rhubarb in your life.
Our strawberry patch is looking good this year. One variety didn’t do as well, however, we have more than doubled the size of our patch, so we should have enough sweet berries to meet demand this year. We also have a little farm celebrity here at Fair Fields. Our youngest, Fiona, is being featured, along with the strawberries, in the June edition of Chirp, an educational magazine geared at 3–6 year-olds. We hope the fame doesn’t get to her as she is not yet in Kindergarden!
We have two wonderful staff members joining us again this year. Daniel Parrish and my uncle Jim Penney are both back for the season. Daniel worked part time with us last season and has stepped up to the full-time full season position. He has an incredible attitude, positive, keen and eager, and is a real pleasure to have around. Jim brings his many years of agricultural experience as well as his knowledge of this land and our operation. We are lucky to have a great team again for 2022!
Last year we successfully completed our organic certification process. We are now certified organic with Ecocert Canada. All of our crops, asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries, sweet corn, pumpkins and hay are all now certified and will be moving ahead. We see certification as a minimum standard, one which leaves plenty of room to go further, and we will continue to do just that, as we try to make our operation and the food we grow more and more sustainable.
Hope to see you in the patch,