Blogs

Nov 7, 2022

This week has been a week of change.  Certainly most of that is the season, or at least relates to it.  Most of the fall crops are now harvested – there are still cabbage and golden beets that are maturing late, and the arugula and spinach for fresh harvest as well as the last of the lettuce, dill, and cilantro protected under row covers, but nothing that we are putting in a big push for harvest anymore.  The garlic is all planted and mulched, and the last of the tomatoes are now out of the greenhouses.  And with that all finished up, Friday was the last day for our summer field crew.  

Another significant change this week was the ending of the Summer market season at Montgomery’s Inn and Dufferin Grove markets.  Both will be moving inside, but this year they both have gaps before we have indoor space available.  So after doing often three markets per week throughout October, taking last week Saturday off market to work on the greenhouse meant Nathan was on the farm for nine days between markets.  And apart form a light delivery run on Wednesdays, our sales for the week are squeezed into one day.  Speaking of deliveries though, if you are in the area of the Montgomery’s Inn or Dufferin Markets, we are offering home delivery for the month of November on Wednesdays, get your orders in by Monday night for Wednesday delivery.

Our other big change this week is that we welcome back a past employee, Dylan, now in a new role as field manager as we look forward to the 2023 growing season.  We are still looking to fill the pack house manager position in the new year, but that is more January February timeframe now.

CSA this week we have Parsnips, Beets, Turnips, Garlic, Lettuce, Green Peppers, and Dill.

Well that’s the news for this week.

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen 

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

[email protected] 

Garlic Planting and Greenhouse upgrades

Oct 31, 2022

We have been blessed with some beautiful and unseasonably warm weather this last week.  It has been good for what we’ve had to accomplish.  On Wednesday we tried to dodge the rain showers to get some garlic planted.  The end result was we got the planter on the tractor, got 30 feet of garlic planted, and got wet.  On Thursday morning before market we managed to fight through the rest of that bed and one more so it’s a start anyway.  There are too many weed stems leftover from the previous potato crop in the field we chose so it kept hanging up on the fronts of the planter shoes.  Friday we sent a crew to gather the surface layer of weeds and haul them to the compost pile so hopefully today when we get back at planting it should go a little easier.

Between all that on Thursday and Friday, Aleta picked up the rest of our greenhouse parts and we got ready for Saturday’s greenhouse upgrade work day.  Friday we got the new end arch wiggle channel installed and the old plastic re fastened for overnight.  Saturday mid day, after waiting for the weather to warm up and doing a lot of pre assembly, we pulled off the six year old plastic and pulled on the new plastic.  We still have a major project ahead, but the plastic is installed and one end trimmed, the new rollups also attached to the plastic. And the one side now runs on a motor and controller automatically.  We are all exhausted, but it feels like amazing progress.

This week in CSA we have Arugula, Carrots, Onions, Lettuce, Potatoes, Cabbage, and Delicata Squash.

This week is a huge transition for our schedule.  A few weeks ago Nathan was trying to personally attend all three of our weekly markets, leaving very little time at home for actually farming.  Now for the next two weeks we only have one market, Saturday mornings.  And this week, Hayley took the lead on that market so Nathan could be on farm for the greenhouse work bee.  So for the first time since at least July (probably longer) Nathan has ten days in a row without going to a market.  But never fear, we still have options for you to get our lovely vegetables, meats, and eggs.  For November you can now order online for home delivery in the areas of our usual Wednesday and Thursday markets, follow the link below for our online store, select your items and then choose delivery to see what options are available in your area, then follow the prompts to complete your order.  Other than that we hope to get lots done here at the farm with this slightly more manageable schedule.

Well that’s about all for this week.  Remember to get those orders in Today for Wednesday deliveries.

Until next week,

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen 

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

[email protected] 

It Never Rains, but it Pours

Oct 24, 2022

We could use a little time at home on the farm to get things done.  Over the past month, Nathan has been doing often three markets per week, which on it’s own is about 36 hours per week, making it difficult to get anything done on the farm.  For example, greenhouse upgrades, fall field work, and planting garlic.  But the next few weeks will be a bit of a change.  This week Dylan has offered to do Wednesday market, and we had already scheduled Hayley for this Saturday so Nathan could have the day on the farm to work with a friend on the greenhouse.  Then last Wednesday we learned there would be no Montgomery’s Inn market for the month of November due to construction delays, and Dufferin we already knew was off the first two weeks of November because of space availability.  So that’s three weeks of only one weekly market for Nathan.

Since we are off from our weekday markets for a bit, we will be doing deliveries in the area of our Montgomery’s Inn and Dufferin Grove markets on Wednesdays in November.  So if you normally shop with us at those locations, this is the last week for in person market, but you will still have an option to get some of our stuff through the online store.

CSA this week we have Carrots, Garlic, Red Potatoes, Salad Turnips, Onions, Lettuce, and Delicata Squash

We have new Yarn inventory and hand made knitted goods on the online store!  We have more colours this year, and also new this year we have sock yarn blended with mohair for a harder wearing natural fibre sock.  This last Saturday we had a booth at a knitting retreat with our yarn.  It was a fun way to make connections and meet other fibre artists.

We are hiring again!  We have two openings, but hoping to fill one soon, and the other in the February timeframe.  One is for a Pack house Manager and the other is Assistant Field Manager.  If you know someone who might be interested, send them over to our website for more details.

Potato harvest is now finished and we are on to getting the field ready for garlic.  We also finished harvesting turnips, and are working through the winter radishes.  We harvested the cabbage that are ready and are still waiting on the late cabbage to see if they mature in time.  The nice weather this week should help, but time will tell if it is enough.  Until then there are carrots and parsnips enough to keep us busy for a while.

It’s a full week so we’d better get at it.  Now let’s hope my greenhouse parts are ready soon so plans can go smoothly.

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen 

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

[email protected] 

Oct 17, 2022

Fall colours are close to their peak here at the farm as we slowly progress through fall storage harvest.  We’re still waiting on some things to mature – cabbages that should have been ready weeks ago are hardly heading.  It’s been a strange year and some crops seem delayed.  So we’re hoping we have a longer warm fall for that to mature, but may end up with a much lighter storage crop than we had hoped for.  The storage carrots won’t be enormous, but we’ll at least have something from them.

CSA this week we have Lettuce, Rutabaga, Tomatoes, Carrots, Delicata Squash, Beans, Cabbage, and Cilantro.

This week was the first since July that Nathan had a Saturday off of market and since even longer that we took one mostly off of work.  We were thankful for our team pulling together to make it possible for us to have the day to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary.  So much has changed over the past six years, and we are thankful to be able to farm together.

Also this week we managed to make some good progress on the greenhouse endwall upgrades.  There are still the sliding doors and top trim on the one end to finish, but most of it is done, and we got rid of most of the holes.  It feels really good to see progress.  We still need to replace the top plastic and the rollup side vents, but that’s a job for another day.

This week we will have fresh lamb.  I forgot last week to say preorder, but if anyone wants a whole lamb cut to your specifications, let me know today (Monday).  $9 per lb hanging weight.

Well that’s the news for this week.  We’re thankful for the rain we have received this past week.

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen 

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

[email protected] 

Oct 10, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving!  Lots to be thankful for this week, starting with the fact we survived last week.  On Saturday we were very thankful for friends coming out to help with market.  After a long week, it actually made market enjoyable again.  Also thankful for the changing of seasons and finally making progress on fall improvements.  We are making headway on changing over the greenhouses to winter salad production.  Still two greenhouses full of tomatoes yet to go, but it’s nice to see a few new seedlings sprouting up for the new season.  And speaking of new beginnings, we also had two lambs born this week.  We are thankful for the season we have had, but most of all right now, thankful that we can look back at the busiest part of the season in retrospect rather than still living it.  

This week in CSA we have Lettuce, Onions, Beets, Watermelon Radish, Cherry Tomatoes, Huckleberry Gold potatoes, English Cucumber, and Dill.

We’re already starting to plan for next season.  The first of next year’s crops to be planted is garlic which will be happening soon.  But wherever we put one thing impacts everything else, se we are talking about next year’s crop plan, and irrigation blocks.  And it is also important for fall field work, manure planning, and what cover crops we plant where.   So we’re starting now for at least a rough outline of next year’s field plan.

Hopefully today we can make some more progress on the greenhouse endwall upgrade.  So far Nathan has managed to finish the doors on one end by getting up early to get a few hours in before our afternoon markets.  It is at least a start, but there is a lot to go.  We’re just looking forward to the result when it is all done.

Well that’s all for this week.  I can’t believe I’m still saying this in October, but send rain.  We’re still dry.

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen 

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

[email protected] 

Thanksgiving, Fresh Chicken, and Fall Harvest

Oct 3, 2022

It’s funny the difference a degree of temperature can make.  Last week we had a light frost – forecast low of 2ºC but dry, which experience shows is usually frost.  Even so, about half of the tomato plants made it through.  Then a week later, with a forecast low of 0ºC but just after a rain, and no frost.  It makes planning work difficult, but we were still back at picking tomatoes in the field on Saturday after they were spared freezing a second time.  So for this week at least we still have plum tomatoes available.  From how frosty things looked overnight, I think this will be the last.  That’s ok. To every thing there is a season.

Fall harvest for storage continues.  This week the rain finally knocked the dust down enough that we were able to get most of the remaining potatoes dug.  We also harvested the rutabagas and some of the winter radishes are ready to harvest this week.  But the rain only lasted a few days, and on Saturday we were right back to irrigating.  Hard to know what to do when it’s time to get things winterized but we still need irrigation.

Today we are getting our last batch of chickens processed so if you want some fresh chicken, this is the week!  

CSA this week Carrots, Parsnips, Pie Pumpkin, White Potatoes, Spinach, and Butternut Squash.

This week other than getting a few more storage crops harvested, we are mostly going to be focusing on getting enough stuff ready for markets.  With Thanksgiving this weekend we’re expecting busy markets and we’ll be packing extra of your Thanksgiving essentials like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, squash and pumpkins.  We’d also love to pack an extra market helper, but are running short on crew to call on, so if you know someone who enjoys a fast pace and wants something to do this Saturday, maybe have them contact us.  Otherwise, please be patient as we try our best to serve everyone. 

Well I think that’s all for now.  Lots to do just to make it through the week.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen 

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

[email protected] 

Fall and Frost.  

September 25, 2022                                                                                                      This last Thursday marked the first official day of fall, and rarely does the weather so perfectly match the calendar transition of the seasons.  After a chillier than anticipated Thursday market, we woke up Friday morning to frost on the ground.  It didn’t catch us completely unawares.  The forecast of overnight 2ºC was enough to get us scrambling to get the squash in and greenhouse windows closed up.  Nathan also spent a bit of time to test all the greenhouse furnaces and make minor repairs.  There wasn’t time to get the tomatoes picked so we had to take our chances on them.  Well the frost was light enough that we mostly won on that gamble.  The plants are mostly dead, but the fruit survived well enough that we were still able to get them picked on Saturday.  

On the one hand we’ll miss the income that the tomato plants could have represented, but on the other hand we are so ready for this transition in the season.  Time to move on to squash and rutabagas and start planning for bringing in the storage crops.

This week in CSA we have Galexy Cherry, Plum Tomatoes, Buttercup Squash, Carrots, Beets, Rutabegas, and Cilantro.

If you are looking for a Turkey for Thanksgiving, we just found out our friends at Little Fields farm still have some available.  Raised on Pasture, Non GMO feed.  If you are local to the Kitchener or London areas you can contact them directly, or if it is more convenient for you to pick up through us, get in touch with us and we can bring them to the Stop’s market on Saturday the 8th.  Fresh, $7 per pound.  Expecting weights between 14 and 22 lbs if there is a specific size you would like to aim for.

Somewhere between all the harvesting we are trying to make time for some of our fall projects.  The most important this year is making some upgrades to one greenhouse.  This year the plastic needs to be replaced.  If we went by the book, it should have been done last year, but one extra year seems to be reasonable before it tends to develop holes faster than we can patch them.  Six years ago when we built this greenhouse we planned to upgrade the end-walls to ridged polycarbonate when we replaced the top plastic.  Funny how those far off deadlines sneak up on you before you know it.  Over the last six years we’ve also learned a few things about how we like doing greenhouse ends so there will be a few upgrades from how we would have done them when we built the greenhouse.  Anyway, today we are picking up supplies for that project.  Then we just need to find time to chip away at the installation 

Our summer CSA season is almost at a close so if you are interested in continuing for the winter this would be a good time to start thinking about that.  This week is the last pickup of the season for our bi weekly shares, and second last for weekly shares.  The next block is now live on the online store and runs until the end of January.                Well that’s all for this week                                                                                                 

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen 

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

[email protected] 

Sept 12, 2022

There is nothing harder to fence than hungry livestock.  Normally when the grass is growing it is easy enough to keep moving paddocks and keep the sheep happy, but as the drought drags on for enough months that I’m loosing track, even what little grass there is is hard to graze because the sheep have little respect for the fence.  At least we had a good yield on first cut hay so no-one is truly going hungry, but we know they would prefer fresh grass.

This week we were able to catch up on some of the tasks that have been pushed too long.  Because Monday was a holiday we were able to bring in an extra crew from another farm to help us get through the backlog.  At one point, counting us, and our regular crew, we had 20 people working.  So we’re still behind, but it doesn’t feel like hopelessly behind anymore.  Even with the extra work day, we are still getting in pickers on Saturday and once mid week just to keep somewhat on top of the tomato harvest.

If you are planning on canning, this would be a good time to order your plum tomatoes. This is about the peak of the season so we should have the quantities you need, and the quality is still very good.

This week in CSA we have Mini Romain Lettuce, Flat Beans, Galaxy Cherry Tomatoes, Carrots, Beets, Perry’s Corners Farm Shepherd Peppers, and Onions.

We will have fresh Duck available this week.

Hopefully today’s promised rain is enough to help.  Normally at this time of year we are nearly ready to think of packing up the pipes for the winter but it’s a whole different thing this year.  As already mentioned, the pastures are pathetic, and everything else is reliant on us running irrigation for a couple hours every day to get a bit of water on everything each week.  Oh well.  We don’t get to chose the weather.

For those of you who shop with us at he Montgomry’s Inn farmers market, as of last week and through the end of October, the market is at a new temporary home at Islington United Church while construction takes place in the Inn’s parking lot.  If you are local to the area you will probably be less surprised than I was the it is located on Bernanthotp Rd, but it still felt worth noting.

Well that’s the news this week.  Thanks to all of you who keep showing up to support us at markets and through orders.

Until next week.

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen

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

[email protected] https://nithvalleyorganics.ca

Sept 5, 2022

Well September is here and the harvest rolls on full steam ahead.  Tomatoes are in their glory, already past peak production in the greenhouse, but still on the increase outside.  Very much still that late summer glory, but we’re already noticing the shorter days, and the cooler nights.  And because we got our squash planted on time this year, we have the first squash and pumpkins ready.  As fall approaches, many people have difficulty letting go of summer.  For us, it’s a different mix of feelings.  On the one hand, there is so much that has to happen yet before the end of season.  The storage crops are off to a nice start, but still have a lot of growing left to do before harvest.  We still have a lot of tomato harvest yet to look forward to, or at least we hope they still produce enough to cover the cost of getting them this far.  And there are even some fall projects we hope to get to if we can budget the time.  On the other hand, we’ve worked hard all summer and could seriously use a change of pace.  Already now, the shorter days help with that slightly.  Every night we have to wait until dusk to close in the chickens and sheep, and now that comes earlier.  But regardless of our feelings, good or bad, we’ll just have to live with the season as it comes.

CSA this week we have: Plum Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Small Cabbage, Carrots, Summer Crisp Lettuce, Cucumbers, and Arugula.

This week we will have fresh whole and half Rustic Ranger chickens. 

We are still very short staffed, trying our best to get by with what we have.  We made the difficult decision to take a week off from the Duffern Grove market this week because it just isn’t sustainable for Nathan to try to run three markets in a week himself.  Next week we are expecting to be back to our regular schedule.  We are looking to hire one more person, but are still working on what the job description should look like.  Someone who can work on the farm and at market, and either has experience or ready to learn tractor skills is about how far we’ve gotten so far.  If you know someone, send them our way.  For now we’ve been fortunate enough to bring in some extra help on Saturdays to get caught up on harvesting.  It’s not everything we need, but it’s better than what we had.

Well that’s about it for another week.  

Until next time,

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen

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

[email protected]

https://nithvalleyorganics.ca

Aug 29, 2022

It’s hard to sum up what this last week has been like, and even harder to do so politely.  It’s been a ride.  As many of you probably know, we’ve had more people off work for a variety of reasons this summer than we had remotely reason to anticipate and it feels nearly impossible to keep up with the basics, never mind keeping things up the way we want, or make improvements.  And it’s been a week to push our own limits, and reaffirm some that we already knew we had.  But before we get too mired in what all has gone wrong, there have been some blessings this week that I would be remiss to not be thankful for.  1). We’ve had enough rain that in spite of not running irrigation for an entire week, nothing is in completely desperate condition.  After some problems with the irrigation pump we did an oil change and service on it on Monday, but since then it has only made it back to the top of the pond bank, not connected to anything.  I don’t know how we would have made it through the week without that rain. 2). Our friends and family have been an amazing support.  Having a friend come over along with her baby to look after David on Tuesday allowed Aleta to focus more of her day on getting ready for Wednesday and Thursday markets.  This in addition to the regular support from our parents with child care and work around the farm. 3). Being able to pull on our community for referrals for extra help.  We have been able to bring on two part time people, one on the farm, one at market through connections to customers and people who already work here.  Additionally a huge shout to to David who has put up with being hauled along through all of this, entertained himself with an onion in his stroller, sat and played in a corn crate while we worked, ridden along for supply runs and deliveries, and just generally had his schedule disrupted with minimal complaint.  We are so blessed that he is such a little champ.  So things aren’t great, but we still have things to be thankful for if we take the time to look.  On top of that, if you looked at the farm you might never know how tough the last month has been.  Sure there are areas that weeds have gotten away and things haven’t been tilled in after crops are finished, but there are always some of those.  But the fall crops are with a few exceptions looking well cared for and coming nicely, we’re still packing orders, and making a fairly good showing at our markets.  We know it is not by our own strength, but the blessings we have been given.  But it would be nice to have a more reasonable workload that wouldn’t cause us to constantly question our decision to farm.

This week in CSA we have Cherry tomatoes, Sweet Corn, Onions, Carrots, English Cucumbers, Butter Lettuce, and Dill.

We did finally at the end of the week manage to get tomatoes picked in the field.  We weren’t able to get a crew on Friday, but Saturday we had a crew of four spend the day on tomatoes.  Yield is still a bit light, but hopefully next week we’ll see larger quantities of canning tomatoes.

Until next week,

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen

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

[email protected] https://nithvalleyorganics.ca