Thursday, April 5, 2012

Turning over a new leaf this spring!

Well its that time of year when I start to make my appearances at the Belleville Farmers Market more often from now on. With this early and dry spring, I have been able to get out side and really get a head start on things. I have repaired the cold frames, pruned the apple trees, brush cut the tree lines, and actually have ALL garden equipment tuned up and running!

I am growing much of the same items as last year, you know , asparagus, garlic, a few greens , beef, chickens and eggs. I am adding lot more of sweet potatoes though. With each new spring, i am always trying out new things. i see a need at the Belleville Farmers market for more selection of organic veggies. I can’t possibly grow more myself, so I have formed alliances with other organic growers in the Quinte Area. Some of these growers you might find at my stall bringing in their goodies and even helping me. Lorraine and Lori from Thyme Again Gardens will be bringing in heritage tomatoes, lettuces, salad mixes, beans, peas, and I don’t know what else! Sometimes they will even handle the stall on days that I am not there. You will find my stall under the Railway Creek signage and in the same location as last year. What is exciting about making new alliances, is how we can network together to bring good food for you, fresh, organic and local!

The other change you will find this year with the new spring is that Railway Creek Farms will no longer be ‘certified’ organic after 10 years of flawlessly holding that status. I have made this decision without too much pain. It’s just too expensive to be ‘certified’ . I feel that since organic has gone ‘mainstream’ , the fees are reflecting the needs of the larger industry and not the small family farm that is supplying locally. Small family farms have more ties to social, environmental and economic sustainability than importing organic foods from huge farms else where in world. I relate my form of farm business with those small farms from around the world who are re-establishing family run farms to sustain them with food and income. These growers also can’t afford to be certified under the current methods and are going more with peer review inspection or participatory certification,where farmers inspect farmers and making more use of information exchange. But we don’t have that kind of program here in Canada. Here we pay someone to inspect us once a year with very little support when problems arise. Not to mention that we have never had field testing to prove that we are not using prohibited substances, inspectors rely on paper work too much! So I will continue with organically growing my stuff using all the same methods as years past and I will continue following the Canadian Organic Standards as before, i just wont have the certificate to ’prove’ it.

Elly This Saturday, April 7th, Railway Creek Farms will be at Belleville Farmers market with garlic and garlic powder, fresh dug parsnips and maybe eggs. Also at the stand i will have beef and pork along with Fresh spinach, welsh onions, sun dried tomatoes, jams and frozen pesto and other items from Thyme Again Gardens. come on out!