Blogs

July 4, 2022

In the greenhouse the tomatoes are starting, and in the field the asparagus is just done.  Overall not bad having those seasons overlap, if only for a few days.  But after nearly two months of multiple times daily harvest, it feels very strange walking past all those tall asparagus spears and not picking them. Soon they will be in their summer glory of tall ferns and it won’t seem as strange, and already other crops are filling our time for harvesting.  We’ll miss the asparagus, but also we won’t.  And it needs time to store up energy for next season.

With tomatoes and cucumbers picking up steam in the greenhouse, and lettuce in abundance from the field, it’s looking like summer salad season.  In a few more weeks tomatoes will be in nearly full force, but for now the heirloom and cherry varieties were planted first so that’s most of what we have.

CSA this week Garlic scapes, Heirloom Tomatoes, Mini lettuce, English Cucumbers, Kale, Mini Cabbage, Garlic Chives,

Fresh Chicken this week and we have some listed online as well (we hope we are good at guessing sizes), but as usual we can still take email orders if that works better for you.

Garlic and onions are coming along nicely, and carrots should hopefully size up once we get some water on them, but it’s been a busy week, and our main person who had been looking after irrigation so far this year moved on to pursue other interests so we’ve been a little behind on that this past week.

This coming week we are busy with first chicken processing today (somehow eats the entire day) and then tomorrow we have our annual organic inspection to renew our Organic Certification for another year.  There has already been lots of work behind the scenes to make it look like we are the organized type of people with our filling up to date, but it is still minimum a half day for four people on the day of the inspection so it will be an interesting start to the week.  Somehow market and orders will get packed, but we’re not really sure how we are going to fit everything into the next few days.  Who needs sleep, right?

Well we’d better get at it.  If you see any rain clouds tell them we’ve been looking for them.

Until next week,

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen

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

info@nithvalleyorganics

June 27, 2022

It’s been a dry few weeks, so the rain last night was a blessing.  Only a quarter inch, so not much compared to the inch weekly needed for most vegetable crops, but we’ll take what we can get.  And since we already had some sprinklers running, we didn’t let a little rain dampen our enthusiasm for getting the potatoes watered.  

In the field, beets are ready, and the first planting of mini romaine and multi leaf lettuces looks beautiful.  Cucumbers are coming on strong in the greenhouse, and we are seeing the first cherry tomatoes as well.  Asparagus is still holding on for one more week, and it looks like the strawberries made a bit of a comeback after being baked and dried in the heat at the end of last week.  Garlic scapes are now in full swing, and we have a few green onions available as well.  In a few weeks the carrots should be ready, so we’re looking forward to those as well.

This week in CSA we have Mini Romaine, Garlic Scapes, Green Onions, Arugula, Beets, Asparagus, a few Cherry Tomatoes, and Oregano.

We haven’t really had rain since we cut hay just over two weeks ago, so the pastures haven’t grown back very quickly.  We had a few spots left un cut for the sheep these last few weeks, but they were getting sparse.  What continues to amaze me though, is that with rotational grazing, even when it’s dry, there is still green grass to move the sheep onto.  And now that they are off of that paddock, it can grow back for later in the summer.

The chickens are still growing out on pasture, just not quite as fast as they would have a month ago.  The heat really gets to them and they won’t eat for most of the day.  On the hottest days we’ve been trying to help them beat the heat by misting them with water a few times per day, but you can still tell they would rather a cooler summer day.  One more week and they will be freezer ready so we’ll try our best to keep them comfy until then.  Also, if you want a fresh chicken next week, shoot us an email, or take your chances on our inventory at market.  This batch the birds will be smaller than the previous two, and since half chickens were so popular from the last batch we’ll be doing more of them this batch too.

Well that’s about all the news I can remember right now.  We could still use some more rain, so if you see any rainclouds, blow them over our direction.

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen

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

info@nithvalleyorganics.ca

June 20, 2022

Getting off the farm is hard, even if it just for a couple days.  But it felt good being able to leave it in competent hands as we did just that over the weekend to attend an out of town wedding.  Even better, we got our hay in before leaving.  Most of it we got in on Wednesday, but the new field we planted this spring wasn’t dry yet so we finished up on Friday.  Wednesday night we didn’t finish getting the bales inside until almost one in the morning, and Friday took a lot of creativity to fit it all in, but we did it, and the sheep will eat for another winter.

Strawberry season is really here this week so we’re getting more worth while numbers of berries each picking.  If you are looking for a flat for preserving this would probably be the week to get them since the season seems to go by fast.

Garlic scapes are just starting.  This week that will be in the CSA boxes (we think we have enough for at least a few each) and there should be a few for markets by the end of the week, but by next week there should be plenty to list online as well.

This week in CSA we have Strawberries, Garlic Scapes, Parsnips, Asparagus, Spinach, and Dill.

Out in the field crops keep growing and fields are filing up.  There is a little strip that we just got rye straw off of that will provide a few more beds for planting and a bit of space beside the tomatoes, but then it will be tight until we can start turning over more beds when the first crop is off.  We try to keep ourselves tight in the fields to maximize our irrigation water, but it does present it’s own challenges for getting things planted on time.

The new crop of parsnips has germinated.  It looks like they are coming up well which is always the first challenge, so now we just have to weed them, and keep them alive until October.  Hopefully with the better germination this year we can have at least as good a yield as last year, but with luck the individual parsnips will be a little bit smaller.

Well that’s the news for this week.  Now that we have the hay in we could really use some rain again.  Not that we’re picky or anything, but it can come anytime now.

Until next week, 

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen

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

info@nithvalleyorganics.ca

June 13, 2022

Strawberry season is here!  First picking today, so we’ll have to see how many we get, but at least it should be something.  Rain in the later part of the week may make our picking schedule difficult, but we’ll just have to live with it.  We need the rain, and have been thankful for what we have gotten, but it’s the timing that is the issue.  Especially finding four dry days in a row for making hay.  So we did something we haven’t done before; we cut hay, expecting it to be rained on.  Not ideal, rain not only makes it difficult to get hay dry, but if not managed properly can rot the hay in the field.  Even with good management, rain will leach nutrients from hay, reducing the feed quality.  But like everything, it depends when and how much.  So we cut Friday, with rain in the forecast for Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday night we got a few drops, and overnight we got enough to get the bottom of the gage wet, but considering the season we are dealing with I think we did fairly well.  Overall I think we would have lost more nutrition letting it stand for another week and get more mature.  Now hopefully it stays dry until Wednesday.

CSA this week we have Strawberries, Asparagus, English Cucumber, Lettuce, Arugula, and Dill

Also this week we have fresh chicken again.  Once again this time they are mostly large chickens, most of which will end up as parts rather than whole chickens.  But if you want a six pound whole fresh chicken, do let us know and we’ll set one aside for you.  And if you are looking for a smaller whole chicken, we’ll have those in three weeks.

Also coming up, in July we have some lambs booked, so if you were thinking of ordering a whole lamb (cut however you want), now would be a good time to start thinking about that.

Stuff is coming along nicely in the field and the weeds are mostly staying under control.  Early in the week we were noticing the garlic looked a little lighter green than we hoped, but a well timed application of fish fertilizer is already helping them come around to looking better.  The wood chips are all spread for the squash patch, so we are ready to plant at a somewhat more reasonable time this year than last.  Now we just have to get them seeded between all the other little jobs we have for the week.  Somewhere between Strawberries and Hay, and all the other things we have going on this week.

Well that’s all the news for now.  Chicken days are busy and there is hay to spread after the rain so it drys.  

Until next week,

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen

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

info@nithvalleyorganics.ca

Weekly Update June 6, 2022

It’s been a good week for progress, even if we didn’t get the entire list checked off.  Of course we still feel behind, but it’s holding.  Most of the tomatoes are planted in the field, probably half the potatoes, and parsnips got seeded.  Overall a success.  We decided not to take our chances on cutting hay, and the forecast looks less than helpful for the near future as far as finding four reliably dry days in a row, so we’ll just continue to wait and watch.  We could really use the rain for the vegetables, so we can’t be too sore about the forecast for this week.

New product this week, we have lamb pepperettes.  Honey Garlic and Regular for now, but depending how popular they are, we may add more flavours in the future.  We also have more spinach available now that the first planting in the field is ready, Cilantro is also ready, and we have more chicken back in stock, including chicken sausages.  Strawberries are coming soon, but for now there are only a few random ripe ones in a field of berries that look like they need at least another week.  Soon though.

CSA this week: Spinach, Lettuce, Asparagus, Carrots, turnips and Cilantro.

On Saturday we started spreading wood chips for our squash patch.  It will take a little while before we are ready to plant, but at least we have a start on it.

We’re had another four lambs born this week, and I think we are down to one more expecting before we have a few weeks break until the next group starts.  

After long consideration we finally decided to discontinue our time at Kitchener Market.  It hasn’t really been worth while from a sales perspective from the start, and we were hoping that maybe moving outside to the covered area might help, but it was even substantially worse than inside.  In addition to that, we realized that with how busy we are, we wouldn’t have time to prepare for and staff the market if it were to do well without all ending up very burnt out.  So we’ll focus our efforts where we are doing well.  If you are still looking to access our products in Kitchener, we do still have an order pickup point on Homewood Ave, or come out to the farm.  We’re only 23 minutes from the market.

On another somewhat sad note, one of our team members let us know he is moving on to pursue other interests.  We’ll still have a great team, but if you know someone looking to work in organic vegetable production who doesn’t have a job yet, send them our way!  

Well that’s about all the news for this week.  Hoping the rain comes, but may it fall gently on our fields.

Until next week,

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen

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

info@nithvalleyorganics.ca

May 30th, 2022

It’s shearing season for the sheep.  We had actually initially planned to schedule a little later in the season, when more of them had had their lambs, but seeing how much happier the sheep look it was probably just a good thing to get it done.  Last week our sheep sheerer called us up and said he was available on Saturday to do ours.  They come from quite a distance and like to group up farms in an area to do on the same trip, so we basically get to take what we are offered or wait until July.  Thanks to our staff for taking both markets on Saturday so Nathan could be home to help.

In addition to the sheep needing a haircut, we also save some of the wool for spinning into yarn which will probably be available in winter of 2023.  There is a bit of a lead time for all the steps getting from sheep to finished yarn.  But not to worry, the 2021 clip is at the mill right now being made into yarn for this winter.

This week we are full of hope for all the things we are going to get done.  There are tomatoes to plant, potatoes to plant, more seeding, and of course the perpetual job of managing all the weeds that make their appearance between our planted crops.  And possibly hay to make, if we think we trust the clouds to be house broke for enough days in a row.  But first there is that dead tree to clean up that Nathan cut down a month ago, and is still very much across the hay field.  Ok, so maybe we won’t get that all done, but we gotta dream big…

Out in the field our first spring seeded spinach is almost reaching a harvestable size.  Dill and cilantro are coming along, and beets are definitely getting established, but still a long way from ready.

This week in CSA we have Lettuce, Asparagus, Parsnips, Bunched Beets from the high tunnel, Salad Turinps, and Garlic Chives.

Greenhouses are looking great with the tomatoes getting established.  There are still a few places still occupied by lettuce where tomatoes have yet to go, but it is well into the summer half of that transition.

Well if this list is going to get completed we’d best get at it.  

Until next time,

Happy Ordering,

Nathan and Aleta Klassen

info@nithvalleyorganics

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