Category Archives: Agriculture

Large Black Pigs ~ Why heritage breeds matter.

We’ve seen the Is it local? episode on Portlandia, and laughed at its ridiculousness. And we’ve seen the heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market with all of their charismatic bumps and scabs as we balk at the price tag. On menus we have read Red Fife wheat, or Berkshire Pork in an item’s ostentatious description. But why should we care?

It’s important.

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The Art of Collecting Eggs

Eggs await removal

There is a common, yet irrational fear of placing one’s uncalloused fingers into a chicken coop for the first time. I’ve heard this phenomenon expressed by several seasoned friends and acquaintances who have embraced the joys of raising chickens. It starts when you walk toward the coop. Within a few metres the scent of ammonia becomes salient, the warmth created by roosting hens, and rooster counterparts, emanates from their humble abode, and the clucking, chirping and cock-a-doodling rings in the ears. You brace yourself for the collection event, which deep down you know will bring joys of custards and frittatas, with certain caution that comes while reaching in.

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Wolfville Farmer’s Market – One Brick at a Time

The Plans - Photo Credit, Bruce Dienes

Eighteen years have passed and it’s been a long and fruitful journey for the volunteers, directors and staff of the Wolfville Farmers Market. Starting with three vendors in a parking lot, this community hub has been transformed into a bustling intersection of business and pleasure. Live music plays prominently every Saturday morning like a piper, enticing neighbours and tourists alike to spend an hour or two taking in all of the flavours of Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. Well known for its sensational array of apples, berries, organic produce, and rich, red soils, the region is an integral piece of the Nova Scotia food map. It’s a true coming of age story for the little farmers market that can, and with a big fundraising campaign underway, the Wolfville Farmer’s Market is casting off its outgrown, outdoor shell and will be moving into its new home in September, 2011.

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Greenwich, Nova Scotia Rezoning and the Future of Farmland in the Annapolis Valley

Greenwich, Nova Scotia

Please visit

Good Food Revolution

to read my ideas on Greenwich, Nova Scotia’s farmland rezoning issues and the  Kings County Municipal Council decision to defer their decision.

*This weekend* Stinking Rose Festival – Baker Settlement, Nova Scotia

While many of you will be donning French Maid, or Spider Man costumes this weekend, Camelia Frieberg will be cooking up a storm on her farm in Baker Settlement, Nova Scotia. So before you get all hopped up on refined sugar, check out a wholesome family event this Saturday down on the South Shore. 85% of what’s being served for lunch is coming from the Watershed Farm garden, accompanied by live music and workshops on different garlic varieties, medicinal uses, and gardening techniques. Despite a weekend of ghosts and goblins making their way above ground, vampires will be motoring to Cape Breton for fear of all the gorgeous garlic just outside of Bridgewater.

Please join Camelia, her family and friends for a fabulous Pollination Project special event. Details in the image below:

Mycophile

Just came back form a three days mushroom-a-ganza! Headed out with the new-ish Nova Scotia Mycological Society for their third annual foray. We had four expert mycologists, and 50+ participants working together to collect, identify, eat, grow, learn about, and catalogue over 100 species throughout the weekend. The foray was held at White Point Inn by the south-east coast of Nova Scotia and the white capped waves of the Atlantic. Bliss

Find out more about the foray by reading my piece for Good Food Revolution

Early Bird Gets the Berry

Highbush Blueberries

Labour Day. What better way to celebrate being unemployed than by getting out to harvest something to put up for the winter. In Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley there’s a lot of talk of how prolific this summer has been for the crops. And despite the threat of Hurricane Earl, which thankfully did not cause the chaos anticipated, farmers are likely to be reaping the benefits. I am also reaping the benefits of their hard work and good weather at the U-Picks just outside of Wolfville. Bright and early, and within 15 minutes of my front door, I found myself at Blueberry Acres, surrounded by rows of highbush blueberries. I was the first picker there, and got myself set up with a box and a pail on a string, set out and within an hour I had harvested 17lbs of delicious, juicy, enormous berries.

Blueberry Fields Forever

Highbush blueberries grow about 5-6 feet tall. Unlike wild blueberries, there is no crouching necessary, no bending over or squatting down. This is the most civilized berry picking a girl could ask for. Just reach out in front and pick. The blue orbs are plentiful and easy to detect, yet just when you think you’ve cleaned off a bush, look down, below the branches at eye level, and you’ve found another mother-load. In amongst the serenity and meditative qualities of berry picking, are disturbing sounds, however. As a measure of pest prevention for birds mostly, gunfire shots, squawking calls of birds of prey, and a lovely sculpture of a bald eagle are ever-present in the fields.

Integrated Pest Management

I would caution anyone going there who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, if the sound of gunfire is rattling, because the recording is amplified across the property inconsistently and often, bearing no resemblance of pattern. I got used to it pretty quickly, though, but was adequately disturbed.

Along with the flavour of late summer bursting from my freezer, I am looking forward to the antioxidant powerhouses gracing smoothies and baked goods all year-long.

The lovely ladies at Blueberry Acres also informed me that there was a raspberry U-Pick just down the way. Making two lefts and a right, I came up to miles of hoop houses, or tunnels filled to the rafters with raspberries, red and gold, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and strawberries. Victor, originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, was charmed by my six words of Spanish that I could string together, and told me that he supervised 72 Mexican farm labourers in the tunnels. He lives in town, but the rest of them live in trailers at the back of the property. They’re paid by the hour, but he said that many Mexican ladies go to be paid piece work a the blueberry farm and make upwards of $200.00 a day. Pretty good, but far from home. Victor only spends three out of 12 months in Mexico. Tomorrow I am going to go pick at the blueberry fields again, this time as a commercial picker and will be paid to spend a beautiful day outdoors.

Raspberries