Jan 25, 2010                                                                                 

Green Croft Gardens News

What’s happening on the Farm?

Happy New year to all!

This is quite a different winter compared to last. We have just a little snow on the fields and lots of ice in the yard. I could not even take out the sleigh but who knows it could still snow.

Many farms around us have water standing in the fields that is now frozen and could lead to winter kill. I just checked our garlic planting and was relieved that we have no water standing. All our gardens are ok just the pasture has some ice build up.

My horses, sheep, turkeys and chicken are great skaters by now.

We are enjoying the slower pace at the moment and do lots of planning, repairs and house renovation projects. All our helpers have left and we have a small family at the moment. 

We are planning to build a significantly bigger cold storage and possibly a farm store so we can increase our production.

A Bed and Breakfast will be added and we hope to be ready to take guests in the summer.

Wolf and his partner Pat are planning to organize a Grain CSA and we will keep you posted. CSA members will pay a yearly membership fee which will buy them organic locally grown grain and flour (like spelt, wheat, kamut, rye, buckwheat and golden flax). They are also looking for investors to buy a commercial stone flourmill and sifter.

There is more info at www.wolfgangsgrainandflourmills.ca

The Farm Animals

All animals seem to be happy enjoying the mild winter. The mild weather is saving me a lot of hay so far. I am still milking one goat and “Sprinkels” my older goat is getting very round. Her earliest date to have her kids is February 23, that’s in 4 weeks. My other milking goat “Ivy” and the two doelings are with my friends buck “Santana” for goat kids in June or July. We will see if this works, I am trying to space the kidding dates so I have milk year round.

The chickens  (17 hens and 2 roosters) are laying enough eggs for us at the moment. Sometimes I take some to the Kelowna market or sell some to friends or neighbours.

The ducks start to wander more in search for spots to make nests. This year I am determined to have no nests under our porch and steps. I have been busy blocking all the holes. The ducks are not impressed.

The turkeys have been getting smarter about going to bed at night and I am building them some proper nesting boxes to lay their eggs.

Kelowna Winter Market every Saturday

We are selling at the Kelowna Farmers Market every Saturday at the Parkinson Rec Center 9-1pm

January 9, 23, 30, February 6, 13, 20, 27, March 6, 13, 20, 27     Hope to see many of you there.

Produce for Sale

Rainbow Carrots, Juice Carrots, Potatoes, Beets, Parsnips, Sunchokes, Cabbage, and fdepending on weather conditions and availability Corn salad, Kale, Chinese Cabbage and Leeks.

Recipe of the Month

Carrot Gratin

2 med Onions , chopped

100g Ham (optional)

1 tbsp. Oil

300g Sour cream

4 tbsp. Parmesan cheese , grated

2 tbsp. parsley, chopped

2 lbs carrots, peeled, quartered lengthwise

Salt , Pepper

2 tbsp. Pistachios, chopped

Heat oil in pan, add onion and ham and sautee lightly. Combine sour cream, parmesan, parsley, cooked onion and ham. Salt and pepper to taste. Lightly brush bottom and sides of a gratin pan with oil and put in 1/2 of the grated carrots, then a layer of sour cream mix and then repeat ending with sour cream mix. Bake at 400F for about 20-25 min.

Icelandic Lamb skins

We got our beautiful and soft lambskins tanned and are selling them for $ 120 each. 

You can choose from colours white, black and brown.

Felting Workshop

I am offering a felting workshop, at our farm on Sunday  Feb 7,  1- 4 pm 

Sunday Feb 21, 1-4 pm  and Sunday March 14, 1-4pm

Wool products

We are offering 

Beautiful Icelandic raw fleece from our summer shearing in multi colours $ 25 per fleece

Wool bats for spinning, felting $2 per oz

Roving for easy spinning, hooking and felting $2 per oz

Hand spun wool in many colours for $4 - 5 per oz

Handmade cozy slippers, hats and scarves.

Farm gate Sales

You can come and buy directly from the farm 

call or email to make an appointment greengdn@junction.net   Call  250-838-6581

Food for Thought

Organic food better for you

Organic produce contains more minerals, such as iron and magnesium, than non-organic produce, and higher levels of antioxidants such as phenols and salicylic acid.

"Organic plant food overall contain double the amount of phenolic compounds," the researchers wrote.

Animal foods produced organically contained significantly more polyunsaturated fat than non-organic animal products. In addition, organic vegetables contained 50 percent less nitrates than non-organic produce. No more than 6 percent of organic produce tested contained pesticide residue.


Grass fed cows

The problems with raw milk can arise when ruminants are fed grain (yes even organic grain) which completely upsets the rumen PH amongst other things.  There are numerous articles from the Weston Price foundation and the magazine stockman grass farmer which document the health benefits from grass/silage/hay only fed cows.  It is especially telling that Texas A&M University is doing genetic research on cows to reduce the huge levels of e-coli in feedlot beef due to their intense grain diet. Unfortunately, cow size in our time has gotten so big that they will not produce adequate marbling or milk production without mainlining grain and concentrate carbohydrates while at the same time becoming much less efficient at utilizing mature forages and having a significantly reduced lifespan. This is why ruminants are considered to be solar powered protein converters of poor quality grasses and yes even weeds as demonstrated by Kathy Voth in her grazing trials.  Additionally the use of ultra-high stock density grazing (or mob grazing) which basically mimics the great buffalo herds is proving to be great for weed control and is actually carbon negative.  Grain is for making beer I say.

 Mike Doehnel

Saanichton, BC

Organic Feed Shown to Affect Genes in Chickens


Genetic expression differed based solely on whether the same feed ingredients were cultivated organically or not

By Jeremy Hsu 

 According to a new study, organic feed produces measurably different gene expression in chickens compared to normal feed, even if the ingredients are the same. The finding surprised researchers at the Louis Bolk Institute in the Netherlands, where a large research project is underway to examine possible health effects of differently produced feed.

Two generations of chickens were fed either organically cultivated feed or normal feed. Scientists then sampled RNA, the partner molecule for DNA during gene expression, from the small intestines of five organically fed chickens and five conventionally fed chickens. The results showed significant differences in gene expression among 49 genes.

Those 49 genes may not sound like much among 20,000 chicken genes. But the Dutch researchers note that seven of the 49 genes were involved in helping the chickens synthesize cholesterol, when just 30 genes are involved in the overall cholesterol biosynthesis.

"Cholesterol is a building material for many substances, such as hormones," said Astrid de Greeff, a scientist with Livestock Research in Lelystad. "We don't know yet what the cholesterol does in the chickens."

Factory farming manages to efficiently feed much of today's world, and yet it has some demonstrated downsides based on chemical spraying and other practices.

But this study seems to be one of the first to show a biological difference on the (chicken) consumer end, based solely on whether the feed ingredients were grown organically or not -- we're not even talking about genetically modified organisms here. What this all means remains to be seen.

The Inactivity of Intellectuals

Jason Austin wrote:

I believe that all farmers should pitch in and call for change to these Meat Inspection Regulations regardless of whether we ourselves produce livestock for slaughter.   

To paraphrase  that old poem about the inactivity of intellectuals when the purges began in Germany:

First they came for the meat producers, and I did not speak out  -  because I was not a meat producer;

Then they came for the egg producers, and I did not speak out  -  because I was not an egg producer;

Then they came for the fruit growers, and I did not speak out  -  because I was not a fruit grower;

Then they came for me  -  and there was no one left to speak out.

I happen to be a vegetarian, so I have no livestock for slaughter but I do produce eggs, fruit and vegetables.   What will be the next target after the MIR ? - probably eggs.  Then it will be something else.   If we don't campaign for common sense in all aspects of small scale farming now, then at the end of the day we too might be saying  "they came for me  -  and there was no one left to speak out."

 ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change

the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’     Margaret Mead, 1901-1978