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Archive for May, 2008

In Season

Markets start on June 21st, but we’re already enjoying the pleasures of Spring around here. The asparagus, a particular favorite of mine, has been coming up for weeks and is still pushing up plenty of new stalks.

If you’ve never seen an asparagus plant in person, please do. They are bizzare and beautiful things. The spears emerge quickly from the ground, gaining color as they lengthen. If not harvested, our spears grow 3-4 feet and then begin sending out branches from each scale along their sides. The branches burst out in bright green foliage, and will develop brilliant red berries later in the season.

Spring is also the season of waiting… One thing I am waiting especially ardently for is these:

Just starting to blush pink and fill out, they’ll be plump and delicious in a few weeks. (Less, if I’m lucky!)

And one more good sign, the bees are in high activity mode. Our beekeeper Alan has given me an optimistic update for this season, and if all goes well there will be UBC Farm honey for sale this summer.

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Weekend Bird Count

Cooper\'s Hawk at the Farm

Cooper’s Hawk at the Farm

Each month the Farm is host to a group binocular-sporting folks who are compiling a master list of bird species that reside or migrate through our site. They were out again this Sunday and spotted 38 species, bringing the total count to 73 species. The full list is uploaded to ebird, which lists the UBC Farm as a local hotspot. I’m really glad that the group is documenting our local birds, and really impressed with the number of species that they’ve found so far. 73 species!! It says a lot about the importance of green spaces like the Farm as wildlife habitats. And without them I would have never known that the Farm is host to species with such delightful names as the Pine Siskin, Wilson’s Warbler and the Spotted Towhee. If you’re the bird-loving type, come by for a visit some time and see how many you can spot. The next organized bird walk will be held on Sunday, June 15.

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Danger lurks everywhere...

I’m not one for fear-mongering, but Tuesday’s Vancouver Sun article about the surprising number of tetanus infections in BC last year is a good reminder for all of us who frequently find ourselves around sharp tools and dirty hands. Tetanus is definitely a disease you don’t want to mess with. I believe I got my last booster at age 12 after the hedgehog I was babysitting latched onto my finger with it’s teeth. That means I’m due for another, as public health officials recommend that adults renew their vaccinations every ten years.

Only 4 infections, true, but that’s almost as high as the annual number reported in all of Canada. The tetanus virus is “ubiquitous in the soil,” so hypothetically any injury incurred while out in your garden could be susceptible. Get your boosters to be safe, so you won’t have to worry about those inevitable nicks and cuts you give yourselves this season.

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Strawberries on their way...

Amy, our Market Coordinator, has just sent out an announcement that applications to join our community supported agriculture (CSA) program are now available. The online form can be found on our website. Please be aware that as much as we’d like to serve you all, spaces are extremely limited. Preference is given to last year’s participants, and most of them are staying on board!

For those of you unfamiliar with the CSA concept: community supported agriculture systems are a method of farming in which customers make an up-front payment at the beginning of the growing season and are then supplied with a box of fresh, seasonal produce each week. It’s like buying a share in the farm, and is therefore an agreement to share in the Farm’s fate for the year – whether that means bumper crops of strawberries or tomato blight disasters.

The system benefits us farmers because it supplies funding early on in the year, a time when there is traditionally little to no income stream. For consumers, CSAs offer a way to more actively support local farmers, as well as a simple, delicious way to taste your way through the season.

More information:

New Farm published a great article in 2004 about the history and resurgence of CSA programs which can be found here.

Rent The Real Dirt on Farmer John for your next family movie night for a fun and inspiring look at how CSAs can help save the local farmer.

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