|Posted on April 18, 2016 at 10:35 PM||comments (111)|
We are gearing up for a big year here at Kildara, trying lots of new veggies, increasing salad production (again!) and adding even more catering partners! We are so excited to be working more with Toque Catering, one of Victoria's very best caterers, as we transition to become their main organic produce supplier! Working with local small businesses is so incredible as the customers get the best and freshest ingredients prepared creatively! This week is our first "ad" week at Thrifty Foods, and the team is hard at work packaging our greens into the wee hours! This is what it looks like when produce is picked and delivered to the store within 24 hours!
|Posted on April 12, 2016 at 2:40 PM||comments (0)|
Last night saw the boys working into the dark with the tractor's headlights getting thefirst planting of potatoes in the ground! Looking forward to enjoying delicious new potatoes in June! Bring on the summer feasts!
|Posted on March 26, 2016 at 8:45 PM||comments (92)|
Nowadays, most people know what the term "organic" means as it pertains to their veggies and fruit, but the organic standards for animals are a little more unclear. Our animals are obviously raised without antibiotics, hormones or chemicals of any kind, but what is less obvious are the standards for living conditions. Our chickens have to have roosting space (which is the natural way chickens sleep), size an number requirements for nesting boxes, and minimum outside and inside requirement for each bird. One of the recommendations is that each flock have a rooster or two as it promotes the mental well-being of the hens. Roosters are very protective of their flock and knowing they have a bodyguard makes the hens happier! Roosters take their jobs very seriously, alerting the flock to danger and when they've found a particularly tasty patch of grass. Several times we have ahd particularly brave roosters lose their lives defending their flocks against racoons and hawks.WE are happy to welcom our three newest members of the flock to Kildara--we found out three beautiful roosters needed a home and they arrived last week. The hens love them!
|Posted on January 9, 2016 at 9:20 PM||comments (13)|
Suffice it to say that we have been a bit slow on the blogging since we got hit with the spring hurricane of business last year! The farm had an exceptional year, seeing the biggest salad production year in our history, a fantastic apple crop, and a number of beautiful weddings! We continue to work together as a family, trying new things, starting new crops and teaching all the kids what we do and why we do it!
We lost our lovely yellow lab Bailey in April, and to say that hit us hard would be an understatement. The only thing bad about dogs is that they do not live long enough, and that is something we constantly have to deal with and it is always awful. But as we all discussed tearfully after her passing; no matter how hard it is when they leave us, they give us so much in their short lives, and make us smile every single day--there is no greater gift than that!
To that end, we just welcomed a new member to the Kildara Family. This is Caoimhe (pronounced Kay-Vah--don't ask--the Irish language has no respect for correct vowel and consonant sounds). It is hard to believe how quickly you come to love them--she is an unending source of hilarity and joy, and we know if Bailey were alive, she would be proud of her love of balls and how quickly she wolfs down her dinner (chewing optional).
|Posted on April 16, 2015 at 12:05 AM||comments (0)|
Every year in the spring, we carefully examine our plum and apple trees--are there more blossoms than last year? Less? Do the trees look like the newest invitational bug convention? Do they look like they have been the buffet of choice all winter for the resident deer?
We are pretty excited this year that the trees all seem happy and healthy, and we are looking forward to a great harvest! Our wide variety of apples are sold all over Victoria, especially at the Root Cellar which goes through hundreds of pounds a week of many different Kildara varieties, including the hundreds of years old variety, the Brambley Apple!
Our orchard also serves as the backdrop for some pretty epic wedding photographs, and last year, for the first time, we collected the windfalls and had The Flying Fish Winery make some absolutely fantastic sparkling wine and cider. This year we are going to try adding plums and blackberries to creat even more amazing wine and cider flavours!
|Posted on March 24, 2015 at 12:05 AM||comments (0)|
We have had a very busy couple of weeks! The new piggies are thrilled with their digs and we have had no instances of escapees frolicking on the lawn of the Deep Cove Chalet Restaurant (something that has happened before!) The first wedding of the year was hosted at Kildara under brilliant sunny skies after three straight days of torrential rain--our miraculous timing strikes again (it really is uncanny the number of couples we have had who dodge the rain bullet by hours!).
In April, we are excited to be a part of Farm Folk City Folk's event, Get Ready, Get Local event at the Victoria Conference Centre!
"Created in partnership by CRFAIR, the Island Chefs’ Collaborative and FarmFolk CityFolk, Get Ready, Get Local showcases Vancouver Island food, and the farmers, ranchers and fishers that produce it, alongside local food artisans, craft brewers, vintners, recognized chefs, culinary professionals and industry leaders.
Capturing the energy and enthusiasm driving the local food movement on Vancouver Island, Get Ready, Get Local provides the public with opportunities to “get local” while offering businesses a one-of-a-kind opportunity to network with other industry folks & promote to an engaged audience!
In anticipation of the upcoming growing season, Get Ready, Get Local will provide workshops, training, education and resources to help you or your business connect to local food and sustainable agriculture on Vancouver Island.
Get Ready, Get Local is a festival with a mission, using its net proceeds to support the work of it’s non-profit partners–CRFAIR, the Island Chefs’ Collaborative and FarmFolk CityFolk."
So come and visit us--sustainable agriculture is everyone's problem! If you like eating, this is an important issue for you! Tasty treats will be had and we will be there answering questions!
|Posted on March 12, 2015 at 11:55 PM||comments (0)|
For everyone who thinks that pigs like to live covered in filth and don't mind being kept in tiny little cages because they don't like to move around much--you're wrong! Pigs are very intelligent and play organized games, learn to use self feeders and automatic hoses, and, if given enough space, will all adhere to "bathroom" protocol, choosing one area of the pen for such activities!
They are great fun to watch, and form hierarchies and bonds just like we do (well not "just like"--I have never tossed someone aside because they ate at the buffet before me, but I have certainly thought of it!).
Six brand new piglets arrived at Kildara last week, bred and hand raised by our good friends Tess and Jim! We are thankful their baby weeks were spent at such a great place--after their little ten minute open air journey in the truck, they were released into their new quarters--we think they like it!
|Posted on February 24, 2015 at 11:10 PM||comments (0)|
The average age of a farmer in BC is somewhere around 60. That means, if farmers were to follow the trajectory of public "service" workers, no one would be growing food in this province in 5 years. Well, a few people would, but not that many, and probably they wouldn't sell it to you anyway as they would be busy trying to supply food for their family and friends. But that doesn`t matter, does it? I mean we can always import our produce from California......oh no wait, global warming has resulted in an incredible drought in California lately, vastly reducing their capacity to procuce food (and predictions have it only getting worse), scrap that, California is out.........China! Doesn't China produce a lot of produce? Let's just get all of it there, a tomato is a tomato, right? They have the same health regulations as we do, don't they!? (cue news stories of Chinese-produced baby food being laced with melanine.... which KILLED BABIES).
The fact is, our base for locally produced food is contstantly shrinking, and the people that want to become farmers face a never-ending uphill battle, with very little financial pay-off. Do not become a small farmer if you want a Ferrari....or a Porsche......or a Volvo......or a vehicle that was made in the last 20 years. The fact is, modern small farming is a labor of love perpetuated by a small group of individuals who want to a) produce healthy, sustainable food for their families, b) not want to be a part of the zombie apocalypse when there is a shipping crisis and we have decided that local produce is unimportant and thus we rely entirely on foreign production. Let's extrapolate that fact for a moment and put it into another scenario: scrap that, I can't think of a single thing more important than the sustenance we need to live. FOOD MATTERS to every. Single. Person (On this planet).
Supporting local farms is not just a cutsie movement perpetuated by granola-eating-stereotype-embodying hippies, it is a very real necessity that will affect EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US if we lose the ability to produce food in our own province. Everybody eats, therefore agriculture matters to everybody. Each and every one of us can make a difference by choosing to buy local, asking for local options at your grocery store and seeking out farmer's markets where you buy directly from the farmer (THANK YOU to all you Moss St. Market supporters!). Before you make your next grocery list; think LOCAL!
The outside spring salad mix at Kildara Farms!
|Posted on February 16, 2015 at 11:10 PM||comments (0)|
While it is always a welcome sight to see the blossoms out and the daffodils blooming, this winter's five second cold snap is slightly worrying for famers! While the mild temperatures are producing fantastic growing contitions early in the season which is nice, we can't help but feel a little worried about what this might mean for the bug population later in the season.
Organic farmers rely on the cold weather to diminish the population of bad bugs, and the warm weather means that most of them will survive the winter to go on to very prolific springs! In turn that means more bites out of lettuce leaves and holes in apples! So while the prospect of eating our Easter dinner al fresco does seem appealing, we are definitely hoping for at least one more good spell of freezing weather so we can have healthier crops for everyone this summer!
Also, I haven't thrown a snowball at anyone yet this year, and that is always a satisfying endeavor!
|Posted on February 9, 2015 at 10:00 PM||comments (0)|
While the rest of the continent is getting pounded by mountains of snow, we west coasters are bathing in rain. Literally. It's so warm it is a little bath-like, and every day we're getting as soaked as if we got dressed and climbed in the tub and just sat there for a while. "Waterproof" has become a relative term, greenhouses are flooding and we've completely given up trying to dry the dogs off every time they come in--we have decided the muddy trail from door to kitchen is farm-chic.
Similarly, in the interests of being positive, we have compiled a list of the reasons we actually love the rain:
1) The sound on the rooftop at night.
2) Filling up the resevoirs!
3) The greenhouses may flood, but rain does not make them fall down! Snow, not so much (exhibit A--the delightful derelict item we still have languishing in the field) thanks to the snowfall of 2000.
4) At least we aren't freezing.
5) The west coast vistas really aren't complete without some moody precipitation!
Photo Credit: Imagesbuddy.com