Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Just across the street from us there's a little side road with no name that leads to Haliburton Farm. This is a working demonstration of sustainable organic farming, operated by a society on land that they lobbied to keep from being sold for a housing project. The local government bought the land and donated it to the society to use as a demonstration farm. This place has grown in leaps and bounds since we first moved here three years ago.
At that time the road led to a chain link fence with a sign saying: CRD Water - No Trespassing. On one side was a derelict house and on the other a small stunted cherry orchard. There were a couple of tilled fields behind the house but nothing else. That first winter we used to go down to the orchard and let the dogs run around. Since then big changes have taken place.
The diseased cherry trees have been removed (except for a few), greenhouses have been built and the soil amended and cultivated to create fields. Now when we go down there we see crops growing--flowers, berries, vegetables, buckwheat, herbs, and more. The Haliburton Community Organic Farm Society produces organic crops and sells veggies, flowers, seedlings, and seeds from its rustic cedar farm stand. And it leases some of the land to three farmers who grow organically and sell to local outlets, restaurants and at neighborhood markets.
These are a bunch of totally committed farm folk. Ray and his wife are at their plot of land every single day from early in the morning to late at night. Last year they made $30,000 from sales of their crops (not a huge amount but pretty credible). Plus they produced 7 tons of compost.
It's just so cool living across the street from Haliburton Farm. A couple times a week I wander over with my canvas bag to see what's available. I've bought seedlings for my garden, home baked bread, sunflowers, and all kinds of seasonal vegetables. Their fresh salad green mix is incredible--freshest ever. Usually the greens are less than a couple of hours old. Last summer I discovered purslain, a delicious succulent green with a nutty flavor that's chock full of Omega 3s. This summer we've discovered Terralicious, a new gardening and cooking school that's operating there. Tomorrow I'll tell you more about that.