Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bailey's Buying Club - Ordering is now open for June 19, 2009

Hi Eaters,
How is bean season going? I declared it dried bean season while we wait for strawberries to come, remember? I made a big pot of chili - sort of following the recipe on the bag of Hillbilly Beans - Chili Mix. It was thick and good! I added chunks of sausage from Traditional Foods Farm and my whole family ate it happily. For several meals. It's always a sign of successful cooking at our house when the kids eat something for 2-3 meals without complaining.  We have also had refried beans for a couple meals. YUM! I used the same mixture of beans I had cooked up for the chili. I dumped three pounds of beans into the crockpot and let them soak all afternoon and evening. Then at bedtime I turned on the crockpot and we woke up to the house smelling like someone was making us breakfast. No such luck. But supper was half made. I put half of the cooked beans in the freezer for later in the week.

Sale on Beans
We sort of accidentally stocked up on bean mixes and would like to see these in your crockpots instead of in boxes. To encourage you to jump into bean season, we are offering a sale on bean mixes.  They each come with a handy recipe on the back. Consider buying 3-5 pounds. My family ate three pounds last week. 

Tortillas and Chips!
This week we're offering locally made tortillas and tortilla chips. If you've tasted them, you know how good they are! The corn tortillas are very authentic. We only offer these once a month because we need to meet a minimum order of $500. So buy enough chips and tortillas for four weeks. Will you want to serve them for family gatherings around July 1?

Notes from the farmers
Some of our farmers are part of the Old Order Mennonite community. You won't get to meet many of them so I'll pass on stories when I can. Selema called me tonight asking how many heads of lettuce we'll be wanting a week throughout the summer. Well, how many heads are you and your families going to eat? It's a guessing game. Selema has never grown as many heads as she is now. She has a neighbour who is growing the lettuce seedlings in her greenhouse and then Selema and her family transplant them into their soil. Selema has perfected the art of babying lettuce along so that it stays sweet and tender. She gives them drip irrigation, fish emulsion for a foliar feeding (yes, leaves need to eat too), and lots of hoeing. I told her that 200 heads a week might be enough for us. But who knows??

Paul Bowman, another Old Order farmer, sent me a "Farm Planting Report" that I'll share parts of with you. It is dated June 2, 2009. 
"Ah, springtime! What is so fair as a day in June? Everywhere we look, new growth is seen. The strawberry plants in particular have appreciated the frequent rains of the past season. We have put in considerable effort to protect the blossoms with fabric row cover on several frosty nights. Now we're anticipating a good crop of luscious berries in a few weeks.

This past dry, sunny week we have been busy planting corn and beans. These gentle, warm rains are ideal to germinate and sprout the tiny seeds. It is fascinating to observe these seeds develop roots and push tender green blades toward the warmth and light of the sun.

Now we need to focus on our cucurbit plants. These are vine crops including melons, squash, and pumpkins. The fragile plants that we have nurtured at near optimum temperatures in the greenhouse have outgrown their small pots. They need to spread their roots in the soil. What an adjustment these tender plants must face when they meet the real Canadian climate! Cold, damp weather will chill them and cause root rot.  It takes only one frosty morning to freeze them.  Conversely, a hot, dry wind can scorch and wilt a newly transplanted plant in a number of hours. We try our best to coordinate transplanting on warm days. Floating row covers are also an important tool used to alleviate transplant shock in young plants."

It has been cool enough and a few frosts in May have zapped strawberry blossoms so the strawberry season is later than usual.  I am SO READY for FRESH FRUIT!!!  We got a taste of organic berries on Friday but we're hoping to bring you more this week. We have a limited number of pints of organic berries available, and while we are waiting for berries from Waterloo Region to ripen, we're hoping to get about 300-600 quarts of conventional strawberries from Simcoe for this Friday. If we do not receive enough orders we may not be able to bring them in, so order an extra quart to eat on the way home.

Selema has kohlrabi for us this week! My whole family LOVES thin slices of kohlrabi with a touch of salt. It is so crisp and fresh. It tastes like the inside tender part of a broccoli stem - but better!

Grand Opening date clarification

It is the 26th, not the 19th. Sorry for the confusion. For that week we will be offering a special on the amazing salad mixes from Antony John and selling them to you at cost.  Now is your chance to try out these salads.  I'm warning you, though, it will make the imported California salads seem like poor imitations of the real thing.

Happy Ordering.
Keep loving local food,
Bailey's Local Foods

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