Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cheesemaking and Lamb

I've been following Kevin Kossowan's blog for a short while now... He always has great articles and wonderful tales of his adventures! I've now put him as one of the HomePage Tabs on my browser so I don't forget to check it :)

His latest posting is about Tangle Ridge Ranch, a lamb ranch. It's definitely worth the read, and I'm seriously considering purchasing from them. I'll have to discuss it with my hubby first, of course. But he likes lamb, so that shouldn't be a problem :) And I'm sure I could get at least one of my sisters/aunts/etc in on it as well...

"Hello? Yes, I'd like to order 4 whole lamb please..."

:) Yes, they only sell whole lamb. Which is the way to go in my opinion. How will you ever know what you like if you only purchase/cook/eat "prime"/"choice" cuts??? That's one way to really miss out...

And now for CHEESE! :D
If I'm gonna make cheese this summer I better get on it... My basement is almost organized enough that I should have a good cool spot to keep it. Otherwise, it'll be stored in my mother's or my baba's cold room. Which I guess would be ok, but not ideal.

Again, thanks to Kevin's Blog, I'll be looking into Glengarry Cheesemaking. Their site so far is very straight forward, easy for a novice (like me!) to understand and be able to order the right ingredients and equipment with only the beginnings of research under my belt.

So, go check the sites and be adventurous with your cooking!! :D


Market Adventures!

Alberta has been seeing a lot (I mean, A LOT) of rain lately, mostly in the evenings when I'm trying to get out to the farmer's markets.
Yesterday at Baseline, downpour! I didn't even stop because I didn't see Nelson there... I'll see him tomorrow though at the Garrison Canada Day Market.

Today I finally found a vendor that sells fresh cream and butter. yes, BUTTER! Johnson Family Farms attend the Salisbury Greenhouse Market in Sherwood Park Thursdays from 4:30 till 8pm. So, Londyn and I took a trip down there, in the rain, to go get FRESH BUTTER!

And they weren't there.

Just a sign that said, "Due to care troubles Johnson Family Farms won't be here until 5:30pm."

Londyn and I were home through all the rush hour traffic by then.

Next week. Next week I shall have FRESH BUTTER! Or make fresh butter from their cream... and then I'd have buttermilk to make biscuits from! :)


The Garden is Up and Growing!

Spinach up, check.
Lettuce up, check.
Beans up, check.
Peas up, check.
Carrots up, check. (though some silly person ended up planting them all in a clump...i still dont know how that happened...)
Beets up, check.
Onions up, check.
Potatoes up, check.
Tomatoes planted and making fruit, check!

YAY! by the end of July I should be able to start getting a nice little haul out of my garden plot.

There was thunderstorms and big fat raindrops and a little bit of hail yesterday evening... my spinach has thus been pinned to the dirt and the lettuce looks a little beaten, but I see a full recovery in their future. The rest of the garden was none the worse for wear this morning.

Here's some pics of my upcoming bounty :)

Almost ready to eat!

The fat raindrops and a touch of hail flattened my spinach... but it'll recover.

Mmmmmmm... peas :)

Tops of the onions growing high to the sunshine! And some wicked tall (in need of larger hills...) potatoes in the background.

Fresh beans are one of my favorite summer treats!

My sister Kristy and our aunt attended the Summer Mushroom course last weekend. Ate puffballs and whatnot :) We'd all like to take the Fall course as well, but it wasn't on the list yet when we were registering and now it's all full up... next year maybe...

Nelson of Rose Ridge Land and Cattle is attending a Market at the Edmonton Garrison tomorrow. Londyn and I will make a stop there to sample some wares on our way out to see my parents for the long weekend. Mmmmmmm, farmer's market goodies...


Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Garden Plot

My little garden plot was finished a couple wks ago now... the frame was filled with soil and the seeds were planted.
There's potatoes, beans, peas, carrots, spinach, lettuce, beets and onions.
As well as some transplanted full grown tomato plants from the Strathcona Farmer's Market :)

The spinach is the first to come up! :D

Isn't cute?? :)

My compost bin is also completed and in use. No smell, as all good compost bins/piles should be lol
It's quite large. I'm hoping it'll last through the summer and winter no problem, breaking down and shrinking as it goes....

Now all that needs to happen is bright sunshine, but not too hot, during the day, and lovely rain all night for gardens everywhere to grow! :D

New Resources

When I first went looking for Eating Local/Eating Organic/Living Local/Living Sustainably/100mile Edmonton/etc I could hardly find anything. I knew it was out there, somewhere!, on the inter-web, but nothing time after time again showed up. For Edmonton. Canada's most northern major city.

It's much easier to find things for Canada, specifically Vancouver area and Toronto area. Of course it's easier to eat local in southern BC and southern Ontario! Their growing season is WAY longer compared to Edmonton! They get more heat and moisture, close to large bodies of water giving more variety for 100mile foods, and since they're larger than Edmonton, their environmental communities are larger and stronger than what is found here in Edmonton.

There is also something to be said for the Conservative Albertans... BC and Ontario are still largely Liberal in their views. Albertan's are seen as rednecks, behind on the times. And some are. And sometimes it's hard to get past those people when you're trying to create a better life for yourself, your family and your community.
But those people exist everywhere. Sure Alberta probably has more than the national average, but it hasn't stopped the green movement. Maybe, just a little, slowed it down compared to the rest of the country.

That being said, here's some links for Canada-wide resources.

Organic Alberta. Yes, it says Alberta, but most of the resources are for Canada. The few that are strictly Albertan are mostly about GMO canola...

Earthsave Canada. Mostly Vancouver and Southern Ontario...

Travel Alberta. Listing of farmer's markets, amongst other great Alberta attractions.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mushrooms and RoseRidge on Global!

Had the mycology course at the Devonian Gardens a couple weeks ago (yes, I'm behind on my blogging) and it was quite informative (as all courses should be).
We learned how to use our books to id mushrooms, which species are mostly likely to be edible and which ones in our area which can be easily identified by viewable physical characteristics only.

REMEMBER! Only consume a mushroom when ALL the characteristics match! very important.

One of the biggest things I learned was the "Brown Tops" that we collect out at the farm when spring is wet and hot (above 20C for more than a couple days with lots of moisture) aren't Brown Morels. They're Verpas. Which are similar to morels, in look and taste, and yes, are a tasty edible mushroom :)

Mike, our instructor, teaches a Spring Summer and Fall course every year and they ALWAYS fill up. If you're interested in forging, be sure to sign up fast! It's definitely worth it :)

In local news, Nelson Boychuck of Rose Ridge Land and Cattle (link on right hand side) was in an "Eating Local" segment on Global News Edmonton this evening.
I'm so proud of him!!! Of course, now my -not so secret- supplier of great local beef and grains and eggs, etc has been let loose on the world!
But I know he can handle it ;)

Way ta-go Nelson!