Blogs

May 23, 2022

This weekend we have been very happy to finally have our backup power operational.  After initial estimates of a few hours to restore power, over a day after the storm we are still not back to full power.  

Besides the storm the week was already so busy that it is hard to remember what even happened.  On Tuesday we had 7 lambs born, and then another six from Thursday through Sunday bringing our weekly total to 13 lambs.  It has us scrambling for enough gates to make pens for all the new families to get aquatinted before turning out in the big group.  

We were excited to join the first Dufferin Grove Market back in the park last week Thursday, and Saturday was our last week doing the indoor spot at Kitchener Market.  Next week we will try an outdoor spot to see how that goes through the end of June, and reassess if it is a worthwhile location to keep open. 

On Monday we got chickens processed, so we were then able to get the next group out to pasture, the brooder cleaned and reset for chicks again today.  And the cycle repeats.

This week is the first week of our summer CSA season.  Welcome to our new members, and welcome back to our returning members.  If you intended to sign up, but forgot, you are still welcome to order a Farmer’s Choice Box this week and email us about getting you on the regular subscription for the following week. CSA this week we have Salad Turnips, Rhubarb, Asparagus, Lettuce Mix, Carrots, and Mint.

We continue planting in the field.  We are well underway on the second planting of cabbage and almost done what we are going to do for onions this year.  We got the ground ready for tomato planting, so maybe if the weather cooperates later in the week we can plant some tomatoes.  

Well, there was lots more happening this week, but that’s what I can think of, and there is lots of work to get back to.  Hopefully we have hydro soon.

Until next time,
Happy Ordering!

https://www.localline.ca/nith-valley-organics

Nathan, Aleta & David Klassen
info@nithvalleyorganics.ca
https://nithvalleyorganics.ca 

Weekly Update May 16, 2022

Spring arrived in a rush this week.  After last weekend’s frost, the asparagus surprised us by bouncing back quickly, and we were harvesting by Wednesday night.  Rhubarb is also nearly ready and the spring turnips in the greenhouse.  In the field our early seeded greens are up and growing, but still tiny.  We are mostly through planting onions, and getting ready for the second planting of cabbage to go out.  And it’s been dry, so we are already busy keeping everything watered.  Friday night was so warm that we didn’t have to close the greenhouses overnight.  Summer nights are coming!

This week we will have fresh chicken!

This week the Duffern Grove market is back outside and we will be there for the first time!  

It will be another busy week of planting.  Onions will hopefully get finished and then cabbage, and with the long weekend approaching, we should get ready for tomato planting.  After the cooler temperatures forecast for Tuesday night we’ll look at the forecast again and see how soon we can find time for planting.  

In CSA this week we have Asparagus, Lettuce, Hakari Turnips, Carrots, Beets, and Garlic Chives.

Also worth noting, this is the last week of the Winter / Spring CSA season, with the summer season starting next week.  So if you’ve signed up for a Summer box, it starts next week!

Now is also the time to get your spring seedlings.  Quantities are a little lower this year than in the past to avoid having leftovers at the end of the season, so shop early for best selection!  

Lambing hasn’t gotten too busy yet, but we have one lamb who needed extra help living in the kitchen, so she is keeping us busy.  We’ve also been working around the new lambs while trying to clean out the barn from the winter’s accumulation of manure and straw.  More sheep over the winter means a thicker bedding pack, and Nathan has started hitting his head on lightbulbs, so it is past time to get it cleaned out.  All that manure will eventually become fertility for future crops once it has time to break down in the soil.  So far we have one third of the barn cleaned out, so we’ll have to shuffle pens around sometime this week and go at it again.  It’s too much shovelling for one day anyway, even with the tractor’s help.

Well that’s the news for this week.  Chicken processing days are always busy, so we’d best get back at it.

Happy Ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen

https://www.localline.ca/nith-valley-organics

info@nithvalleyorganics.ca

Weekly Update May 9, 2022

Planting season is underway and it is starting to feel more and more like spring is here to stay.  But as seems to be the case the last few years, just when the asparagus is starting to come up, and is looking promising to be ready within the week, we get frost again and it is set back another two weeks.  Again this week we can say, hopefully in two weeks it will be ready.

 We got the rest of the early cabbage planted at the beginning of the week, and by Friday we had over half of the onions out as well.  We keep turning over greenhouse space, and soon we’ll have a few new products to share with you as well.  Some of the first field seeded greens aren’t looking the best because of the strange weather we’ve had so there is likely to be a bit of a gap in salad production when the greenhouse is done but we’ll do our best to get back on track as soon as possible.

Spring time is also time for cleanup around the farm.  This year we’re finally cleaning up some dead trees that have been dropping branches on the fields lately.  On Monday we had a nice bonfire to clean up the branches from the one tree, and then on Saturday Nathan cut down an even bigger dead tree that he still has to clean up.  It’s all part of farming.  If you have trees, you will always have wood to clean up.  Hopefully this year the guy who bales our hay will have less wood to complain about mixed with the hay.

This week in CSA we have: Carrots, Parsnip, Lettuce, Bok choi, Green Garlic, and Lovage.

Next week we will have fresh chicken.

The tomato plants in the greenhouse are growing nicely, and we just planted the first greenhouse cucumbers this week.  

The planned portion of our lambing season just kicked off on Sunday morning with beautiful twin lambs.  We expect more in the coming week, and over the next several weeks to come.  Who knows, there may even be more waiting for us now when we make it to the barn.

Well we’ve got a busy week ahead, so that’s all for now.

Until next time,
Happy Ordering!

https://www.localline.ca/nith-valley-organics

Nathan, Aleta & David Klassen

info@nithvalleyorganics

Weekly Update May 2, 2022

As seems to be the weather lately, we have a really nice warm spell and then another cold snap.  A week ago we were sharing about having planted out our first cabbages, but in the week between it has been more of the cold side of that swing holding us off from doing as much in the field.  More prep work of course, getting a few patches plowed where there was sod that needed to be turned under, and more places disced to work the surface layer before planting.  It feels like we are always saying it is go time, but then the weather says not quite.  The rhubarb and asparagus also thought that last warm spell was good enough to start growing – rhubarb really starting to leaf out, and asparagus showing just enough short tips for us to have a bit with Monday supper before everything froze.  We mulched the rhubarb with straw, and so far it looks like it made it through this time.  We are forecasting two weeks until the Asparagus is ready.  We’ll see how close we are.

This week in CSA we have Bok Choi, Green Garlic, Carrots, Onions, Parsley, and Parsnips.

As we’ve often done this spring, we thought the sub optimal planting conditions provided a good opportunity to put in a few more fence posts.  We got one in, but then the tractor decided that we were done when the PTO clutch stopped working and put a stop to our fun.  Oh well, it keeps us humble.  With or without new fences, it is almost time for the sheep to go out on pasture.  The grass is starting to grow, and they are chewing through hay faster than we’d like, so they can go harvest it for themselves for the summer.  Hopefully our supply looks better next year with the new planting of hay, which is so far looking good.

For a couple weeks now many of the sheep have started looking close to lambing, and experience says that about two weeks after they look like that, there starts being lambs.  By the calendar, from when the ram went in, we start lambing this Friday.  But sheep aren’t super reliable about due dates, so really any day now.  At least this time they are planned, so we have some idea when they should be expected.

This week we plan to forage ahead with planting in the faith that spring is truly coming.  Onions are the biggest item on the agenda.  We prefer to get them planted by the end of April, but baring that, when the weather is less cooperative, the first week of May is fine.   

The chickens on pasture are doing well.  Granted, with a little extra effort of heat lamps and straw bedding around the edges of the pen, but well all the same.  The little ones in the brooder are off to a slightly better start temperature wise than the first ones, but it’s still been a challenge keeping everything at the temperatures it should be. 

For those of you planning your gardens, we are slowly adding plants to our online store as they are ready.  There will be more coming, but it’s still too early to be planting tomatoes outside anyway, so be patient!  

That’s all for this week.

Until next time,
Happy Ordering!

https://www.localline.ca/nith-valley-organics

Nathan, Aleta & David Klassen
info@nithvalleyorganics.ca
https://nithvalleyorganics.ca 

 

Weekly Update April 25, 2022

It is really amazing sometimes how overnight you can go from waiting for field conditions to be ready, to hopelessly behind on work.  The seesawing temperatures this spring haven’t made that any better for sure, delaying us planting out our cabbage a couple weeks from when they were ready, but there is always a certain amount of this that happens every spring.  Suddenly everything needs to be done at once.  Well on Friday we managed to get the cabbage planted, and the chickens moved to pasture.  This Wednesday is looking colder than we would like, but we are already staring down the back stretch of April and we can’t put off transplanting forever.  This week we have to cover those cabbage, and hopefully get the beds ready for planting onions.  And more seeding in the field, and transplanting into the greenhouse.  And because we wouldn’t want to run out of things to do, today we are getting our second batch of chicks.

This week in CSA we have Lettuce, Kalepini, Daikon Radish, Carrots, Onions, and Winter Sweet Squash.  

There are some things we have managed on time this year.  The hay we planted a couple weeks ago is starting to come up, so we are excited to have more supply next winter.  We just ran out of what we made last year, and although the grass has greened up enough for our neighbour across the road to mow his once already, I’d prefer to see just a bit more growth on ours before putting the sheep out on pasture.

The greenhouses are still busy with lettuce, and increasing number of our summer tomatoes, with lots of seedlings waiting to go in the field.  Our biggest planting push is still ahead of us, but whatever we can get done now will help a lot in the coming weeks.

Most weeks for a while now we have managed to get a few fence posts in per week, but our fun may soon be done for a while because we can’t let the post hole auger tie up a tractor forever.  At least now the irrigation hydrants have marker posts next to them.  This should have been done years ago, but it’s progress none the less.  Maybe just a few more this week.  We’ll see

Until next time,
Happy Ordering!

https://www.localline.ca/nith-valley-organics

Nathan, Aleta & David Klassen
info@nithvalleyorganics.ca
https://nithvalleyorganics.ca 

Weekly Update April 18, 2022

April 18,

This week has flown by with such a hive of activity at the farm.  The variable weather has kept us from the main planting rush, but there are so many preparations.  Equipment to get onsite and ready, greenhouse work to have seedlings ready and hardening off for planting this week.  And we planted the first seeds in the field on Thursday.  There is still plenty of prep to do, but one week closer.  In the greenhouse we continue harvesting lots of lettuce, and planting our summer tomatoes as space opens up.

In between all the field and greenhouse work, we’ve been spending some time in the office updating some of our web stuff.  We started rebuilding our website last summer, but got stalled moving the site over to the new platform because of difficulties reaching our previous designer.  Well this week we are finally live on the new platform and trying to iron out a variety of continuing issues.  At least now it comes up correctly from Google, so slowly we are winning.  We also need a bit of content updates, but at least we are past the hardest step and editing is easier now.  

This week in CSA we have Bok Choi, Lettuce, Beets, Onions, Carrots and Turnips.

The first half of the week is still looking on the cool side, but hopefully if we play our cards right, we can set ourselves up to start transplanting in the field at the end of the week.  And if things go really well between now and then we maybe we can get a few fence posts in while the weather is still sub par for transplanting.   Or maybe we’ll spend the time cleaning out a sheep pen.  I don’t think we’ll run out of things to do either way!

We are also excited to announce that when Duffern Grove Farmers’ market reopens this May, after two years online for the pandemic, we will be part of the vendor lineup.  We have enjoyed our time over the past months as part of their online market, but it will be nice to meet some of our customers in person for a change.  This is also a bit of a nostalgic joy for us.  Eleven years ago when Nathan started farming here, Dufferin was the first market where he enquired about vending.  Some dreams just need a few extra years to reach.

We continue thinking about our poultry biosecurity as the spring migration continues.  At some point last week I realized I can either stress and hate the birds, or enjoy them.  Either way we have the same amount of wild birds, only a different amount of joy. So I watched a Blue Heron winging over the creek, listened to the Pileated Woodpecker in a distant tree, and enjoyed the countless robins among the many others.  I might not be thrilled about the pairs of ducks that visit our pond, but since they are here, we might as well try our best to enjoy them.

Well that’s about all the news for this week.

Happy ordering.

https://www.localline.ca/nith-valley-organics

Nathan, Aleta & David Klassen
info@nithvalleyorganics.ca
https://nithvalleyorganics.ca 

Weekly update July 26, 2021

Garlic harvest has begun!  On Friday we pulled just over a bed of Garlic and got it all tied and hung to cure for storage.  The crop looks about as good as we were hoping it would, which is fantastic, but it should make it interesting figuring out where to hang the rest of it.  Oh well.  There are worse problems to have, and we worked hard to create this one.

The hay we cut last week Saturday wasn’t dry on Tuesday like we had hoped, and there was rain on Tuesday night, like we hoped there wouldn’t be.  It was only about three mm, but it is still frustrating watching rain falling on nearly dry hay.  But on Wednesday we got it fluffed up and spread around again and Thursday night got it baled.  It still looks fairly good quality in spite of having been rinsed.

Our big walk in freezer project is nearing completion and not a bit too soon!  At this point theoretically everything should work.  The door needs its closure catch completed, but other than that it is just turning it on.  And spending the next week fixing whatever isn’t working right while it gets down to temperature.  Apparently it takes a bit of time to freeze the concrete pad inside it.  While we are excited to be this close, we still need this next step to go well.  Last Tuesday we picked up our previous batch of frozen chicken pieces from the butcher and it took some serious creativity to fit them all into our current freezers.  And our next batch of chickens goes in a week from today.

We made it through another year’s chicken audit so we can continue another year.  Not that it was really a concern.  We know we do a good job looking after the birds and our paperwork is in order, but it still feels good to have someone tell us so.

This weeks CSA box is hopefully going to contain Cilantro, Sungold Cherry Tomatoes, Curly Kale, Rainbow carrots, Mini Romaine head lettuce, Fresh Garlic, English Cucumbers, and Beef steak tomatoes.  

Other than that the normal cycle of harvest and planting continues.  Asparagus is done for the season and mulched with compost and wood chips, only the remaining inventory from last week’s harvest in the cooler for sale.  The first planting of cabbage is done, tilled in, and replanted.  We’re just starting to plant for fall crops now so we have carrots and beets through the cold months.  The next arugula is also planted and should be ready in four weeks.  It was nice to get a good rain again over the weekend after getting things seeded, but we still don’t have the wheat harvested so you can’t them all.

Thats all for this week

Happy Ordering

Nathan & Aleta Klassen

Weekly update July 19th, 2021

Farming is always a gamble, but right now that is more front of mind than some days.  We’ve had weeks of good rain, and while it has been a challenge for managing weeds, the crop growth has on balance been worth it.  But it hasn’t left a lot of good windows for making hay.  So on Saturday, after rain all morning, when dry hay felt like the farthest thing from possible, we cut hay.  Hopefully the rain holds off long enough tomorrow for us to get the crop in.  Perhaps we can even harvest the wheat while we are at it too.  Here’s hoping.

New this week, the first of the season Sweet Corn is ready from Aleta’s brother Gordon.  We also finally have enough Heirloom Tomatoes to offer some for orders as well as more cherry and slicing tomatoes.  We also have a red mini romaine for some colour variation in your salad.  

This week in the CSA boxes we have: Sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, red romaine, garlic scapes, small savoy cabbage, asparagus, and mint.

Last week we finally got the steaks in for our field tomatoes.  They still need to be tied up, but its progress.

We are looking forward to the second last step on the freezer hopefully getting completed.  We are expecting our Geo Thermal contractor to hook the freezer into the existing ground loop.  If this step goes according to plan, hopefully next week the refrigeration guys can come back and get it running early next week.  And if there are no problems with that, then a week later we should be able to use it.  But that’s a lot of ifs.  We’re hoping in three weeks it is ready.

Somewhere between all this, and chasing down the last paperwork we need from our organic inspection last week, we have to pick up another batch of chicks, get our last batch of frozen chicken back from the butcher, and get ready for our annual chicken audit on Thursday.  The paperwork isn’t our favourite part of farming, but it somehow has to get done.  And the last few weeks there has been a lot of it.

Well that’s about it for this week.  Lots to do yet today.

Happy ordering!

Nathan & Aleta Klassen

Weekly update July 12th, 2021

It’s been another rainy week with the forecast looking like not much change on the horizon.  There have been sunny breaks to get outside work done, but it has also shifted our focus inside more than it might be on a drier week.  There was plenty that needed to be done between the greenhouses, cleaning up the packing house, and getting some of our records from the last year in order for our Organic certification annual inspection today.  The rain has helped everything grow – the vegetables, the hay fields, the weeds – and saved us a ton of time irrigating, but at some point it would be nice to have about 4 sunny days in a row.  The hay is about ready for second cut, just a few flowers on the alfalfa indicating it is about at peak quality, but without time to dry that isn’t much good.  The winter wheat is also ready to harvest any day now if it would only dry down.  Regardless, the rain is on balance helping, so we are trying to practice thankfulness.

This week there are more tomatoes ripening.  Now there are full-size tomatoes and even large heirloom tomatoes.  Arugula is also back this week.  We aren’t planting it as regularly as we once did, so it will be more in the occasional treat category rather than a regular staple item, so enjoy it while it lasts!  We’ve had a great run on Asparagus this year, but the end is in sight on that season.  We are thinking that either this week or next will be the last, so grab it while you can!  We already stopped picking one of our two patches and got compost and chips spread to manage the weeds for the summer and feed next year’s crop.

This week in the CSA boxes we expect to have Heirloom tomatoes, Arugula, Mini Romaine, Carrots, Beets, Cilantro, and English Cucumber.

This week, other than our certification inspection, we hope to continue fighting the good fight against weeds, and with luck get the steaks in for the field tomatoes.  It should have been done a while ago, but sometimes this is just how it goes.  Then if we get a dry day we can start tying them up.  At least the ones in the greenhouse look great.

Well we have a busy morning so we had better get back at it.  

Until next week.  Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen

Weekly update July 5, 2021

This week we have been blessed with good rains and moderate temperatures.  The weeds are loving the conditions, but fortunately with the end of strawberry season, we will hopefully have more time to get them under control.  We also finally got most of the squash planted, which, while late, is no worse than last year so we are still optimistic for getting a good crop.  Carrots are ready, as well as the first cherry tomatoes from the greenhouse so it is starting to look a lot more like summer.

This week in the CSA boxes we expect to have Cherry tomatoes, Zucchini from Little Fields Farm, Butterhead Lettuce, Garlic Scapes, Curly Kale, and Parsley.

The crop of beets is looking fantastic right now, really showing the difference of both building up the soil, and having better seeding equipment.  The cabbages are also amazing, far exceeding our expectations even a few weeks ago.  Even the red cabbages, which we often struggle with, are well on the good side of doing ok.  The field tomatoes continue to grow, and are getting well past due for staking.  Hopefully this week we can make some progress on that.

Once again this week, we have Fresh Chicken available.  Once again, they tend large, but we should hopefully have some between 4 and 5 lbs available from this batch.  Let us know if you want one (or seven…) and we’ll let you know what sizes are available once we get them back.  Anything that doesn’t have to go in our freezer is appreciated as it is still looking a little tight.  We are looking forward to the completion of our freezer with great anticipation, but it is looking like it might be August before we can start moving in.  At least there is progress.

Nathan & Aleta Klassen