Growing a Local Mediterranean Diet
Citrus Fruits, Olives and Pomegranates on Vancouver Island

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
May 8, 2015

Bob Duncan of Fruit Trees and More stands amid his kiwi fruit.

Bob Duncan of Fruit Trees and More has pioneered ways to cultivate kiwis, oranges and other subtropical fruit on Vancouver Island.

Scientific studies have long hailed a Mediterranean diet of oranges, olives and subtropical fruits, along with vegetables, nuts, legumes and grains, as one of the healthiest in the world. Until now, however, British Columbia food distributors have had to import most of these subtropical foods from California and Mexico. While growers in BC are able to produce some Mediterranean vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, citrus fruits have been seen as unsuited to the growing conditions in this region.

Thanks to the pioneering work of Bob and Verna Duncan of Fruit Trees and More, a demonstration orchard and nursery in North Saanich, BC, citrus fruits, olives, figs and pomegranates are now within reach of backyard gardeners and farmers.
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Growing Mediterranean Fruit on Vancouver Island
A Tour of Fruit Trees and More

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
May 8, 2015

Bob Duncan, owner of Fruit Trees and More in North Saanich, BC, takes us on a tour of his demonstration orchard and nursery and shows how to grow Mediterranean fruit on Vancouver Island.

By using microclimates, partial shelters, and by choosing varieties best suited to the south coast BC climate, Duncan has found ways to grow subtropical fruits that normally could not thrive in this northern climate. The video includes tips on how to grow Mediterranean figs, lemons, oranges, olives and loquats, as well as warm weather fruits and nuts such as peaches, nectarines, almonds and apricots.

Quinoa, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
April 12, 2015

RECIPE

This refreshing salad combines the tang of sweet cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and garlic with quinoa in a fresh basil vinaigrette. For a sharper flavour contrast, try this salad with crumbled feta or blue cheese.

Quinoa, tomato and mozzarella cheese
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Teafarm Brews up a New Crop for Canada
Cultivating Tea on Vancouver Island

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
February 25, 2015

Margit Nellemann at Teafarm on Vancouver Island.

Margit Nellemann at the Teafarm on Vancouver Island.

On a sunny slope in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, a rare Camellia is growing; rare for Canada but widely sought worldwide for its stimulant qualities. It is Camellia sinensis, better known as tea.

Far from the tropical and subtropical mountain slopes of China and India where much of the world’s tea is grown, and running contrary to Agriculture Canada’s declaration that “Canada does not have the appropriate climate for growing tea,” the 11-acre Teafarm, in Cowichan, is home to 600 thriving tea plants, adapting nicely to the region’s Pacific maritime climate.
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12 Vegetables You Can Grow in Winter
A Guide to Planting and Harvesting Winter Vegetables

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
January 1, 2015

If winter grocery-store produce has you wishing for something fresh from the garden, consider this: you can grow a surprising number of vegetables throughout the winter in our moderate south coast BC maritime climate. (Article continues below slideshow.)

Winter Salad Greens include arugula, bok choi, chicories, lettuce, mache, mustards and spinach. They grow slowly due to low light. Mulch well, and harvest as baby greens or braising mix.
Broccoli can survive most cool maritime winters but may not tolerate sustained freezing weather. Plant a sprouting broccoli variety for a continuous crop of side shoots throughout the winter.
Brussels sprouts are very hardy, and frost makes them sweeter. If you plant in June, they are ready to eat by November or December.
Certain carrot varieties, such as Danvers, store well in the ground. Sow in July, size them up by October, and pull them fresh in the winter.
Chard is frost-hardy and will make it through most winters. Sow from April to June for fall and winter harvest.
Collards are hardy and survive all winter in a coastal marine climate. The large leaves make good wraps.
Kale is one vegetable you can count on throughout the winter. It is easy to grow and hardy, even in freezing temperatures. The leaves become sweeter after a frost.
Leeks are a great onion substitute that grow fresh in cold weather. Slow to mature, they need to be planted in the spring for the fall and winter harvest.
Curly parsley reliably survives the cold, even on frosty days, and provides a leafy garnish. Hamburg parsley, grown for the root, can be harvested from September to March and cooked like any root vegetable.
Parsnips are similar to carrots. If well mulched, they will store well under the winter soil and provide a delicious root vegetable for roasting.
Scallions are Spanish onions that due to low winter light do not form a bulb during cold weather. Protect with mulch and pull them fresh throughout the winter.
Turnips can be a good early winter root crop. Pick them small for milder flavour. Best grown under a cloche or tunnel.
 
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Winter Salad Greens include arugula, bok choi, chicories, lettuce, mache, mustards and spinach. They grow slowly due to low light. Mulch well, and harvest as baby greens or braising mix.


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Broccoli Grape Salad

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
December 4, 2014

RECIPE

This lovely red and green salad is as attractive as it is delicious. Broccoli, red grapes, sauteed onions and toasted nuts come together in this sweet and tangy side dish. An exceptional addition to any meal.

broccoli salad with red grapes and toasted nuts
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Organic is Better for You!
Study Confirms Benefits of Eating Organic Foods

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
November 2, 2014

fruit platter with raspberries, strawberries, grapes, blueberries and cherriesNo surprise, but good news. A new comprehensive study from Newcastle University in Great Britain confirms that organic food is better for you and the world. Using meta analysis, an advanced statistical technique, the international science team reviewed 343 individual food studies and found that organic crops contain significantly more healthy antioxidants and have dramatically lower pesticide levels than conventionally grown crops.
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In Search of the Local Bean
Reviving Heritage Bean Varieties on Small Farms in British Columbia

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
October 7, 2014

A colorful mix of heritage dry beansThink of this— a bubbling pot of maple baked beans on a cold, rainy day. It’s Canadian comfort food. After all, Canada is one of the world’s leading producers of pulses: dry beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils. A trip to the local supermarket, however, tells another story.

Look for the source of the conventional or organic dry beans you buy packaged, canned or in bulk and you won’t see “product of Canada.” More often than not, the beans and chickpeas you eat come long distances from China, Thailand, India or maybe the U.S.
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23 Heritage Beans
Unique, Colourful, Flavourful Foods

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
October 7, 2014

Heritage bean growers like Rebecca Jehn preserve a wealth of traditions, diversity and flavours not found in today’s mechanized food chain. At her farm at Rebecca’s Garden in Victoria, BC, she grows over 30 unique varieties of beans, chickpeas and lentils.
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Threshing Dried Beans
A Low-Tech Method for Small-Scale Growers

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
October 7, 2014

Small-scale dry bean growers often lack the large equipment needed to quickly thresh their crop. In this video, Rebecca Jehn of Rebecca’s Garden in Victoria, BC, demonstrates a fast, low-tech method she uses to thresh dried beans.
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Tuscan White Beans with Rosemary

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
September 27, 2014

RECIPE

Infused with rosemary and virgin olive oil, these creamy baked beans make a hearty meal or side dish.

Tuscan white beans
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