Blogs

Aug 22, 2022

We are finally seeing some quantities of ripe plum tomatoes as well as our Galaxy collection cherry tomatoes, so early last week we decided to try calling in an extra crew to help get them harvested.  This time of year worker availability can be a bit hit and miss because everyone tends to be busy, but we were fortunate enough to be able to book five people for Friday.  Since we don’t have enough tomatoes to keep a crew busy for the entire day, we came up with some extra jobs that we needed done and the could free up the rest of the crew from.  There were the last bed of onions to harvest, the weeds were getting bad in the carrots so we figured since they were ready anyway might as well harvest them as well.  There are lots of cabbages ready to harvest that need to get in soon, tomatoes to harvest in the greenhouse, and we needed the lower leaves pruned on the tomatoes in the greenhouse.  If we got through all of that there is always weeding to do, so I didn’t figure we’d be short on work.  Well carrots and onions took most of the morning but we got them done.  After lunch we decided there really wasn’t room in the cooler for three bins of cabbage right now, so we had them pick tomatoes in two of the greenhouses and our regular crew kept packing tomatoes for orders and market.  We really wanted to get the lower leaves pruned, so they finished the day getting just over one greenhouse all cleaned up. We got a lot done and it was great, but it was about twenty minutes after they left that I remembered we hadn’t picked a single tomato in the field.  Oh well.  Most of them will hold for this week.  I guess we have a lot of work to catch up on.

This week in CSA we have Italian Beans, Heirloom Tomatoes, Small Cabbage, Golden Beets, Iceberg lettuce, Cucumbers, Garlic, and Basil.

This week we will have a limited quantity of fresh lamb available at our Wednesday and Saturday markets.  As mentioned, plum tomatoes are ripening.  Please be patient with us for canning quantities of seconds.  They will be here soon, but I’m not expecting much yet this week.  But we’d be glad to take your name and contact down if you want some when they are ready.

This week is looking like a lot of the same as last week.  Just trying to keep up with harvest and sales while trying to keep ahead of the weeds.  And maybe this week we’ll actually pick those tomatoes.

Until next week,

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen

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

[email protected]

Aug 15, 2022

It has been a blessedly different week for us, enjoying our annual week off the farm, with time to relax, and enjoy some time on the lake.  Back at the farm, in spite of being short staffed, things more or less went on as normal.  New seedlings got weeded, the seeds we planted before leaving got watered and were mostly up by the time we got back, some of the cabbages and onions got harvested.  Greenhouses continue to be well maintained, and some of the tomatoes in the field even got tied up.  All while still keeping up with orders and three weekly markets.  In short, considering how many people were here, I honestly don’t know how they did it.  And six lambs were born and all looked after in the midst of it all.  Thanks again to our crew for pulling together to make this possible.

This week in CSA we have Cherry Tomatoes, Kale, Sweet Corn, Leaf Lettuce, Flat Beans, Rainbow Carrots, and Cucumbers.

Between the fresh perspective from being off for a week, and just being better rested, and how well looked after things are right now, I’m a little optimistic about being able to keep a sustainable non burnout work pace for the next little while.  Still wondering how cherry tomatoes are going to get picked in all that, but we’ll take it a week at a time.  Weekly strategic planning also goes a long way, so we’ll try to stay on top of that game so we can work towards common goals.  And if you know someone who could use a farm job for the fall, we could use the extra help for sure.  The first plum tomatoes are starting to ripen, and they aren’t going to pick themselves!

Well there’s lots to get done after a week away.  Need to make a trip to town for a new fitting for the pump, parts for a tractor, and we’re picking up our last batch of chicks this afternoon.  Never a dull moment.

That’s all for this week.

Until next week,

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen

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

[email protected]

Aug 8, 2022

This week it finally feels like the drought has broken.  More than an inch in one week, which is finally enough to have sufficient moisture in the soil for a few days anyway.  Enough to make fall seeding for storage crops seem more possible.  And none too early for getting a decent harvest before winter.  Things are looking good, but it’s been one heck of a push to make it happen.

CSA this week we have Leaf Lettuce, Beans, Orange Beefsteak Tomatoes, Onions, Mini Cabbage, Cucumbers, Golden Beets, and Basil.

With the bulk of the fall crops seeded, and irrigation set up, garlic harvested and drying, onion and shallot harvest started, and a lot of the harvested beds cleaned up to get ready for re planting, it’s time for a short break.  This is our annual week on the lake with family for a much needed break.  It isn’t the easiest year to get away, with staff a few shorter than we’d like, but sometimes when it is the hardest to get away it is also the most important.  So this week it will be a short update, but I took a bunch of pictures before leaving for a bit of a picture update.  And back at the farm, our crew will be doing their best to keep things running as normally as possible.

If you know someone who wants to work on a farm for a few months this fall, have them contact us.  We’d love to have some interviews to schedule when we get home.

That’s all for now.

Until next week,

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen

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

[email protected]

Aug 1, 2022

Tomatoes are really hitting their stride and we have the first bulk quantities available of “seconds” grade tomatoes for anyone who wants to freeze them or can tomato soup.  Plum tomatoes are still a little ways off for those who like a thicker sauce, but they are looking good so we are hoping for a good crop.

Garlic harvest is underway as well.  Last week we got the first bed pulled and hung to dry.  We have more already loosened in the field but we’ve had a lot else occupying our time and are short a couple people from what we are used to. Jason has been off sick all week which puts more load on the rest of us already, but then on Thursday at market Hayley broke a finger trying to catch a dog that had been left un attended.  So now we are down two people, and Jason is already scheduled off for this week so this should be interesting.  Major shout out to the rest of the crew that we are even keeping up at all and still making it to markets as normal.  Anyway, if anyone wants to come out and get their hands dirty on Wednesday we will be trying to get the rest of the crop in.  Send us an e-mail ([email protected]) if you want to come so we know who to expect!

This week in CSA we have Cherry tomatoes, Beets, Spinach, Carrots, Peppers, and Mini romaine.

Our other project right now (as if we didn’t have enough going on) is getting ready for the fall seedings of carrots and beets as well as turnips and winter radishes.  Overall we are close to where we should be for this, but it’s a challenge finding the time to get all the way.

We could still use rain.  Hopefully what they are promising today comes.  Every bit helps.

That’s all for now.

Until next week,

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen

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

[email protected]

July 24, 2022

As the summer marches on, the drought has kept production in the field a little slow, but in the greenhouse, tomatoes and cucumbers are getting into their full swing of production and we are even seeing a first few ripe peppers.  And regardless of the weather, things keep maturing.  This week we are starting garlic harvest.  One bed is undercut to pre dry slightly before harvest and more will follow over the next few weeks.  Onions are also only a few weeks off, and we are working to get the last of the first panting of cabbage off the field so we can reuse the space for our fall storage crops.  It’s that time of year already where we have to think about filling the cooler for the winter months.  Not yet, but planting the seeds.

CSA this week we have Fresh Garlic, Tomatoes, Carrots, Flat Beans, Onions, Basil,  and Cucumbers.

We’ve had a few sprinkles of rain throughout the week but nothing compared to what we need.  Just enough so that we haven’t had a chance to make our second cut of hay  (we need four dry days in a row) but not enough to really do much good for anything else.  Oh well.  We’ll try to be thankful for what we get.  It makes it easier to keep up with irrigation.  

It sometimes feels like not much happened in the week – a trip to the scrap yard and just regular things keeping the place going and markets happening, but that’s life around here.  Today we have an interview for a local TV segment on small regenerative farms so that should be interesting.  I guess it’s a good time to talk about climate adaptation as we continue to find new ways to survive increasingly unpredictable weather.  

Well that’s all the news that’s fit to print.  

Until next week,

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen

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

[email protected]

July 18, 2022

It is such a wonderful change to see some rain this morning, even just the 1/4 inch we’ve gotten so far.    Nowhere close to what we need, but every bit counts.  Even this does more than I could in four days of irrigating.  Hopefully we get the rest of what is forecast this week.  We could sure use it.

New this week – Carrots have finally sized up enough to harvest.  Also this week, we have fresh lamb available at all our markets.

CSA this week we have Heirloom Tomatoes, Butter Lettuce, Carrots, Littlefields Farm Zucchini, Garlic Scapes, Small Cabbage, English Cucumber, and Cilantro.

Yesterday, before the rain our tenant farmer managed to harvest his organic spelt and bale the straw while it was still dry.  I haven’t checked for sure that he managed to finish, but I’m thinking he would be thankful for that timing to get that done.

Our other exciting thing this week is we got ducklings!  These little quacks should be ready sometime in September.  Sometime we hope to get more laying ducks to increase our duck egg supply as well, but that is a longer term goal – 21 weeks from when we get the ducklings, which itself probably won’t be until September that we have the space again, so sometime next spring we might have more duck eggs.

We’ve been busy planting out the fall storage cabbages.  Glad for the rain to help keep them watered.  Maybe this can help us finish the job and get the storage crops seeded soon as well.  Between it being dry, and the cooler nights we’ve had it seems everything just grows more slowly.

Well that’s all for now.

Until next week,

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen

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

[email protected]

July 11th, 2022

The heirloom tomatoes in the greenhouse are gorgeous and we’re starting to see the first of the regular red tomatoes coming on as well.  Out in the field we need to stake the tomatoes, but fruit is still a long way coming.

It’s been a long week to get through.  Honestly it feels more like three.  But we got a few things done.  We had chicken processing on Monday, and they all got weighed and into the freezer late Monday night.  On Tuesday we survived our annual organic inspection, with better records than we have often had in the past.   And we finally went and picked up the frozen chicken parts from the last batch.  Wednesday and Thursday are both market days so there was all the prep for those and time at the market, and Friday prep for Saturday while of course looking after several hundred chickens and 67 sheep.  And with the long weekend, several staff were off for a day, and one for the entire week.  It’s been an interesting week.

This week in CSA we have Carrots, Beets, Cherry tomatoes, Garlic Scapes, Lettuce, Onions and Basil.

Well it’s looking like another long week trying to keep up with weeding and watering, and we’re still down a person.  Sometimes long weeks mean short updates.

P.s.  Send rain.

Until next week,

Happy ordering!

Nathan and Aleta Klassen

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

[email protected]

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

[email protected]

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

[email protected]

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

[email protected]