Some days I feel more certifiable than others – and yesterday was definitely one of those days! I spoke with a rep from the EcoCert group, and he told me that if I had everything in order I could be certified organic by May!
After hearing from others about how many years they had to go through inspections and deal with soil issues, I was expecting that it would be a long and onerous process. What I didn’t realize is that being a greenhouse grower, using potting soil, makes the process a whole lot easier.
Still difficult and time-consuming, but quicker and comparatively easier.
Here I go.
I need to rethink a bunch of my seed purchasing plans, because I’ve been told that some of my suppliers are not as reputable and may not be accepted by the certification body due to the potential for contamination. Even though the seeds are labelled untreated and GMO-free. Doesn’t that sound interesting.
I spent a lot of time last night searching through seed catalogues again and trying to find replacements. I haven’t yet updated my own online catalogue, but I’m hoping to get to that soon. In the meantime, if you’re looking through it and are particularly interested in a certain variety and wonder if it’s one of those that need to be swapped, just send me a quick email (or post it here so everyone else will know too) and I will let you know.
Thank you for your patience as I go through yet another set of growing pains in this wee business! I think it will be for the best, though.
This weekend is the Guelph Organic Conference! The Expo and Tasting Fair is open to the general public, for FREE, so if you want to eat some yummy organic yogurt and chocolate and carrot juice, (among other things) please come check it out! While you’re there, come say hi – I’ll be downstairs near the book table. My display space will look something like the photo on the left. Possibly without the lights, depending on whether I get electricity or not. I’m pretty sure I requested it, but it was so long ago I can’t remember.
I’m getting pretty excited for the show – I had a lot of fun last year as a member of the general public – and I hope you can come. There are also many opportunities to learn new things about growing food, and to purchase organic seeds without paying for shipping!!
In other news, I made a savoury discovery this week:
I cooked some venison chops with smoked sausage and apple and shallots
Then, at the end of cooking, I took the 1/2 inch of juices, liquid pork fat, apples, and shallots, and blended them up using my stick blender.
I call it – AWESOMESAUCE.
I’m not sure there are words in the English language to describe it. Basically the best gravy ever… but also reminded me a bit of the cheese sauce usually served with broccoli. Maybe because we were eating broccoli and cauliflower that night too? I ate the sauce with everything. It’s free of dairy and grains, so I am super happy with it.
I didn’t realize that the liquid would instantly turn into this thick, slow-moving sauce. I guess the fat basically emulsified into all the other ingredients. It still hasn’t separated, after being in the fridge overnight.
Plans are underway to try this with other food and fat combos and see what happens!
p.s. Don’t forget to come to the Guelph Organic Conference if you can!
My children found the new pins this morning in the office, and both insisted on wearing the full set on their shirts to school today. I love it! The first question from one of them was “Can I wear this pin today, since I’m a Tomato Lover?” From there, it snowballed when the other one wanted to wear ALL THREE.
Things have to be equal, you know.
So this morning, in between using my brain for stuff, I’m also mounting them on cardstock so they look all pretty for the Guelph Organic Conference. The Expo/Tasting Fair is FREE to the public, so please come check it out on the Jan 29/30 weekend!! I’ll be downstairs near the books table, selling these pins and letting people know that Sarah’s Kitchen Gardens exists and wants to help them grow their own organic food.
Spread the word!
I’ve been pouring a lot of energy into getting ready for the Guelph Organic Conference. It will be happening Saturday and Sunday, January 29 and 30, at the Guelph University Centre. Please come and check it out – it’s free for the general public! There are lots of yummy food samples and opportunities for learning about organic gardening. A number of seed vendors make an appearance as well, so if you’re looking for certain organic varieties and don’t want to pay shipping, this is a great occasion to take advantage of.
I’ll be downstairs near the book table – come and say hello! Tomorrow I’ll show you one of the things I’ll be selling: the new pins that came in the mail today!! <happy dance>
I had a meeting today with Amy at Cute Gecko. She helped me think a bit about the business, and we also talked about ebooks because that’s one of the things I have in mind…. and paper books too! It was good to get out of the house and chat with someone who has a depth of knowledge that I don’t have. So thanks Amy for the great visit!
One of the things she asked me was whether the business was local or national or global. Well. I wasn’t sure how to answer that. I feel like it’s a split personality, really…. seedlings are fairly local, unless I get into mail order seedlings – in which case I can’t ship outside of Canada, so… national? But if I write an ebook it has the potential to go global! My workshops, on the other hand, happen wherever I am. That’s very local, unless someone wants to fly me farther afield. See? I’m confused.
However. Confusion about my local/national/global identity will not keep me from growing seedlings, preparing patio pots, speaking at events and organizing workshops. It all comes down to making organic gardening easy for whoever wants to grow their own food.
As I have less and less in the garden to take care of, I gain more and more projects in preparation of my business product lines and presentation. Lately I’ve been working on a few things at once, one of them being my display space for the Guelph Organic Conference.
So far (this may change) I’ve got a 4×4 Garden Patch on the floor, a 4×1 Balcony Planter on a 5×2 table, and a ladder set up with pots of plants on it. And hopefully some white xmas lights or rope lights too on the ladder. There’s a banner on the backdrop. Oh, and this is all in a 7×7 space.
I’ve started plants, hoping I can grow them to a reasonable, healthy-looking size using my indoor resources.
That could be tricky. But, you never know until you try.
Last night we went to check out pricing for PVC pipe and plastic sheeting, because one greenhouse just isn’t enough for what I want to grow. I’ll need a second one in the later spring to house all the plants as I repot them into larger containers. It will basically be frost protection at that point – a ‘just-in-case’ shelter. Very temporary.
I’m also working on gift packages for Christmas (Little Bird Told Me Craft Sale), and have only one so far: ‘Sprouty Salad’. This will contain a pot, soil, composted fertilizer, misting spray bottle, a few other little things, and a package of seeds that contains a mix that will provide lots of flavour and crunch. I’m working on gathering the materials to plant one and see how it grows.
My guess, I’ll need to package the radish seeds separately, because they grow faster than the lettuce. The idea is to eat them as sprouts, which takes only 4-5 days!
I’m also working on some new pin ideas in preparation for the sale and the show – but those are top secret for now.
These are the ones from the first batch. I’m in the process of trying to figure out the best way to offer these for sale through the website – shopping cart services etc – so hopefully that will happen soon.
Here’s my other helper. She told me she likes to destroy things and wanted to help pull the beets, so I seized the moment and got her a big box. I forked the beets so they would be easier to pull, and she came along behind me and pulled up every one. Quite quickly. Now I need to store them. I’m thinking blanch and freeze, tonight sometime probably.
These beets also fed us greens throughout the growing season; when I went to gather leaf lettuce I also grabbed a few beet leaves to add to the mix. There’s a healthy dose of vitamins A and K in beet greens, along with minerals that our bodies need. They’re a great addition to a salad. Some people like to boil them but I can’t always handle that kind of slop. In soup, that’s ok. In a stir fry, ya that’s ok too. But just boiled – I have to be in the right mood.
Lately I’ve been doing some cleanup around the yard, finishing projects that I started in the spring, and preparing for winter. There’s lots more to do, and I’m afraid it won’t get done before the snow flies. Some things really need to get done, like the shelves for my greenhouse and clearing the garden for fall tilling. Other things are not so urgent, but I’d really like to get them done, such as cleaning out the front garden beds so the house looks a little more presentable.
Fun stuff I’m working on includes getting ready for the Guelph Organic Conference (January 29 and 30 – it’s free to the public!! Yummy food samples and buttons to collect for the kids at University of Guelph), and the Little Bird Told Me Craft Sale at Little City Farm. December 11 – come and buy for your favourite gardener!! Or check out what the other vendors are selling, it’s not just garden stuff. Lots of beautiful art and beauty supplies and sewing and knitting…. and I’m sure there will be more. Here’s an excerpt from the website:
A Little Bird Told Me Craft Sale!
Sat, December 11, 10 am-4 pm.
Drop by our exciting craft sale to purchase unique, earth-friendly handmade gifts for the holiday season! Featuring 5 local crafters, and a beautiful array of handmade goods, including reconstructed wool clothing, children’s items (clothing, toys, quilts), jewellery, pottery, soaps, teas, vegan treats, infused oils, garden items, and more!