Plan a Seed Saving Garden
How Seed Saving Can Help You Grow Better Food

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
January 13, 2016

Packets of open-pollinated seeds for seed savingThis winter, as you pore over the seed catalogs and dream of next season’s garden, think about including seed saving in the harvest. By selecting seeds from plants with the best flavour, size or other desired characteristics, you can create a garden most suited your tastes and microclimate.

Starting a seed-saving garden is easy and depends on two things: 1) willingness to let your plants go to seed, rather than tidy up as soon as they bear fruit, and 2) choosing heirloom and open pollinated varieties. Open-pollinated plants grow true to type, which means that (unlike hybrids) their seeds can produce the same kind of plant as the parent.
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Hazelnut Biscotti

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
December 15, 2015

RECIPE

Homemade biscotti are nothing like the dried-out versions you find in coffee shops. These twice-baked Italian cookies are crisp, nutty, and eminently delectable. Make these biscotti with local hazelnuts or use pecans for even richer flavour.

fresh baked pecan biscotti
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Edible City Gardens
Turning Lawns and Balconies into Food Gardens

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
December 2, 2015

Strawberries and lettuce interplanted with ornamentals in a patio container garden.

Strawberries and lettuce are interplanted with ornamental flowers and plants in this edible patio garden.

Edible gardens are changing the landscape of modern cities. A desire to save money on food and to eat local, fresh healthy produce is motivating people to grow food in urban spaces. The edible city gardening movement is transforming front and back yards, curbside medians and community spaces into active food growing areas. It is also spurring small businesses such as SPIN farmers—who “farm” in multiple backyards throughout a city—and edible garden landscapers who design, install and maintain urban food gardens.
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Sausage!
Artisan Sausage Makers are Preserving a Tradition

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
November 11, 2015

Artisan sausages on display at the Village Butcher in Victoria, BC.

Handcrafted sausages at the Village Butcher in Victoria.

Traditional sausage making is an art that dates back thousands of years. About 500 BC, the Greek playwright Epicharmus wrote a comedy entitled, The Sausage. It is one of the earliest references to the ground spiced meat in casings we love to sizzle on the barbecue or fry up for breakfast with eggs.
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Beet Chips

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
November 1, 2015

RECIPE

If you love vegetable chips, why not make your own? The trick is to slice the vegetables seriously thin so that they crisp up nicely in the oven. This beet chip recipe is easy to adapt to other root vegetables, such as carrots or parsnips.

A plate of homemade beet chips.
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Starting a Farm in One Year
How Two Young Farmers and a Love of Fine Food Created The Fickle Fig

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
October 13, 2015

Mitchell Morse and Chris Margetts stand in front of the tool shed at The Fickle Fig Farm.

Mitchell Morse (left) and Chris Margetts at The Fickle Fig, the farm they started on Vancouver Island in one year.

Three hundred sixty-five days, more or less — that’s the time it took. When Mitchell Morse and Chris Margetts told their friends they planned to start a farm, no one expected to see it in a year’s time. Because back then Mitchell and Chris were living in the city, in Vancouver, with no land or tools — just an idea, a picture in their heads of how they would start a farm.

Of course, there was also that longing to return to their roots. For Chris, who grew up in the small town of Sidney, not far from Victoria on Vancouver Island, and lived for six years on a llama ranch on the Sunshine Coast, a city allotment garden in Vancouver was never going to cut it.
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Starting the Fickle Fig Farm
Farm to Plate from the Ground Up

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
October 13, 2015

In this video, Mitchell Morse and Chris Margetts talk about the planning, hard work and adventures that went into starting The Fickle Fig Farm. In just one year, they transformed an empty hay field on Vancouver Island into a fully diversified farm-to-table venture with pigs, chickens, ducks, goats, rabbits, beehives, an array of fresh vegetables and herbs, and an orchard of nearly 200 fruit and nut trees.

Their ultimate goal is to open a farm-to plate restaurant and supply it with the special produce and meats they cultivate on the farm.
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Quince and Apple Crumble

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
October 3, 2015

RECIPE

Combined with apples, quinces add an amazing flavour to this traditional apple dessert. Tart and tough when raw, quince softens, becomes sweeter and turns a lovely pink when cooked.

Quince and Apple Crumble
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Six Ways to Screen and Winnow Seeds
Low-Tech Tools for Threshing Seeds

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
September 5, 2015

Cleaning and separating barley seed by shaking it through a set of screens.

A set of screens can simplify the task of cleaning barley seed.

Gardeners who save seed, or grow and harvest grains, know that separating seeds from their pods or husks can be a time-consuming job. While large industrial growers use machines to thresh and winnow seed crops, home seed savers can look to a number of simpler tools to accomplish the task. Once cleaned, seeds stored in moisture-proof containers can last for several years.

Here are six devices for separating seeds from debris and chaff:
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How to Screen and Winnow Seeds
Simple Ways to Thresh Seed

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
September 5, 2015

Sage seeds that have been harvested and left to dry.
A wide-meshed screen removes the main chaff and debris.
A succession of finer-meshed screens separate out the seed.
When the sage reaches the finest-meshed screen, mainly seeds and a little chaff remain.
To winnow out the chaff, seeds are dropped from one bowl to the next.
As the seeds drop, the wind blows away the chaff.
After winnowing, only a very small amount of chaff remains.
Rolling the seeds off a paper leaves behind the rest of the chaff.
Sage seeds that have been harvested and left to dry.

Screens, strainers and wind power can simplify seed threshing. This slideshow demonstrates three simple ways to separate seeds from chaff and debris.

Have Local Fresh Tomatoes All Year
How to Enjoy Fresh Tomatoes Year-Round without Processing or Freezing

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
August 12, 2015

ripe tomatoes all yearIt’s becoming possible to eat fresh local tomatoes year-round in South Coast, BC. Through the use of season extension in the garden, careful choice of tomato varieties, and planned buying and storage, you can access a supply of fresh tomatoes throughout most of the year.

Whether you plant your own or simply buy local, here’s how:
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