June 12th, 2014 by Jim
May 19th, 2014 by Jim
And welcome to the 2014 season of Urban Grains CSA!
Welcome new members! Welcome back previous members! We hope you have enjoyed your winter and early spring baking, and that you’re looking forward to the year ahead.
Another great season has begun!
So far it’s been a decent spring. Long stretches of cool wet weather were punctuated by warm and dry stretches in March, early April, and again in late April. These allowed us sufficient time to manure and prepare the fields and get the spring crops sown. While later than usual, the crops germinated well and now look quite good. They should grow vigorously once the steady warm sunny weather arrives. Together, we can be optimistic for the year ahead.
It’s a delicious time of year. Tree swallows swoop and turn over the slough. Newly-arrived barn swallows are busy building nests. A female wood duck has taken up in the box across the road, and we think the barn owls are nurturing young in the barn. When the sun shines brightly on a profusion of Fraser Valley foliage, the whole world appears to vibrate with green, and the grain could scarcely be happier.
What’s growing this year?
Hard red spring wheat. As in previous years, this will be our main crop. We planted some in mid-April (see above photo), and more at the very end of April, using mostly seed saved from previous years (variety: CDC Go). We’re hoping that higher soil nutrient levels and a good season will lead to higher yields of this excellent bread wheat.
Soft white spring wheat. Members will still be able to choose soft white spring wheat as an option in their 2014 share on a first-come-first-served basis. The 2013 crop was so good that we reserved some kernels for milling this autumn, allowing us the flexibility to try out some new crops for the CSA. We’ve really been enjoying this stored grain (variety: AC Andrew) in our own home baking, and we’ll be sure to plant it again in 2015.
Rye! Many of you have been politely asking about rye – for use in sourdoughs, as a flavor enhancer for your breads and for other baking. Fortunately, good weather followed the harvest last year, so there was time to plant rye in late September. After hunkering down as seedlings, the rye is now flourishing, and we’re hoping for an excellent crop.
Hulless oats? We’re delighted to finally have been able to obtain hulless oat seed for Urban Grains CSA … from Ontario and Quebec. A unique product of Canadian traditional plant breeding, this oat doesn’t need to be dehulled before cooking (like rice), flattening (for rolled oats), or milling (as flour). We won’t have large amounts available this experimental year, but it’s growing well and we hope to offer at least a sample for you to try. We’ll send more info about the development and use of this new crop soon.
Specialty crops. Thanks to your continuing interest and encouragement, we’re continuing to multiply our stocks of heritage grain, and are also experimenting with some new types. We’re excited about these and look forward to showing them to you during the farm visit!
2014 Memberships? We will be posting and sending you a 2014 registration form very soon. Please keep an eye out for it.
Thank you again for your interest and participation in Urban Grains CSA.
You help make this wonderful co-operative venture possible.
From all of us at Urban Grains, Happy Spring!
October 4th, 2013 by yoshi_s
The soft white spring wheat flourished during a wonderful summer and was harvested in late August. Hannah operates the combine beside a field of golden straw from newly-harvested oats.
Two years ago, the Gentry family kindly donated a combine that had been parked for 20 years to Urban Grains CSA. Agassiz-based artist Mike Edwards (http://mikeedwardsart.com) spent many hours getting it back into working condition, and here it is – at long last – working in a field of hard red spring wheat. It’s an excellent machine, but some glitches persisted throughout the harvest, bringing new surprises each day. (As a result, we regret that despite our initial plans, this harvest season wasn’t the proper (ahem) atmosphere for visitors…) We’re confident that it’ll work like new next year (knock on wood)!
October 1st, 2013 by yoshi_s
July 16th, 2013 by yoshi_s
May 24th, 2013 by yoshi_s
A warm greeting to all our Urban Grains CSA members and friends from Cedar Isle Farm! We hope you have enjoyed a winter and spring of great baking since we were last in touch.
After two uncertain growing seasons, we are pleased to report that this season is looking a lot more promising so far. We seeded both hard red spring wheat and soft white spring wheat in that lovely stretch of warm spring weather and the crops are growing well. So now we are able to offer CSA shares for sale to our existing and new members.
The share offer will be very similar to last year. If you would like to be part of our CSA, you register and pay for your share this spring and in the fall you will be able to pick up your share of the harvest from a central location in Vancouver.
Again, we will have two types of wheat available for members. The hard red spring wheat has a higher gluten content and can be used for making bread. We call this wheat “bread wheat” although it can be used in other baking as well. The soft white spring wheat has a lower gluten content and is less suitable for bread making, but has a lovely flavour and is great for pastry and pancakes, muffins, cookies — all your favourite baking recipes. This wheat is commonly called “pastry wheat”.
If you choose to purchase a 20kg share of wheat, it will be packaged in four 5kg bags. Again, you can select either bread wheat, pastry wheat or a combination of both. Also, you can have your wheat milled into whole grain flour or unmilled as kernels so that you can sprout it or mill it at home. Simply indicate on the registration form how you would like to receive your wheat and we’ll do our best to meet your request.
The cost of a share is $95 and to place your order, please download and print this registration form, fill it in and mail it, with your cheque, to:
Urban Grains CSA
Cedar Isle Farm
3270 Chaplin Road,
Click here to download the registration form
We would like to invite all our 2013 shareholders to visit us at the farm this summer and see the crops in the ground. We’ll set a date for this farm visit as soon as the membership list is up and running but it will likely be in late July. We have so enjoyed seeing our members in the past and look forward to meeting you again this year.
With very best wishes from us all in Urban Grains,
Jim Grieshaber-Otto and Diane Exley at Cedar Isle Farm
October 12th, 2012 by admin
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July 15th, 2012 by Admin
A new season is underway and we send greetings from Cedar Isle Farm in Agassiz.
We thank each of you for your patience and continued interest in Urban Grains CSA. It was great to hear from those of you who emailed us. We are pleased to provide a short update on the season so far.
Once again this year, we planted the wheat fields in the sunny days of April. Since then, however, the weather has been cool and wet, creating some challenges for the growing crops.
While we remain confident that the weather will eventually turn more favourable, we’ve decided to delay the share offer until harvest. Once the grain is safely in the bin and we know how much is available, we’ll give you a chance to buy a share. In the meantime, we’ll keep working hard and try to keep you informed as the season progresses.
Thanks to everyone who has asked about shares for 2012. We really appreciate your interest in local, organic grain and are sorry it has taken us so long to decide how to handle this soggy season.
We look forward to contacting you all in early September … with news of a good harvest!
All the best for a happy summer,
Jim and Diane
Cedar Isle Farm
August 30th, 2011 by Admin
What a delight it was to welcome Urban Grain members to Cedar Isle Farm on August 21st. We’d like to thank everyone who journeyed out to Agassiz and shared their enthusiasm for local grain. Here are a few of Yoshi’s photos to remember the day. Stay tuned for news of the harvest soon!
Members hand-threshed some heritage wheat, and viewed one of the cleaning machines separate the wheat from the chaff.
During the hay ride, members checked the different varieties of wheat.
Jeff was the lucky winner of a spectacular basket of specialty flours kindly donated by Anita’s Organic Mill, where Urban Grains CSA flour is milled.
A local bear and cub made a special guest appearance during the tour.
Thanks to Yoshi Sugiyama for all the photos!
August 10th, 2011 by Admin
Greetings Urban Grains CSA Members!
We have a new date for the Urban Grains CSA Farm Visit and Grain Tour… Sunday, August 21st. Again, we apologize for having to postpone this event, and really hope you can attend on the 21st. Looking forward to seeing you!
We cordially invite you to join us for a visit to Cedar Isle Farm, hosted by Jim, Diane and their children. The main attractions are, of course, the grain plantings that are working hard this year to outgrow the weeds and mature as quickly as possible. You’ll have a chance to see the fields before the grain is harvested.
After a tour of the farm, we’ll sit down for a picnic lunch (please bring your own) and enjoy the scenery.
Driving out to Cedar Isle takes about an hour and a half if you’re coming from Vancouver centre, so please budget your morning accordingly.
When: Sunday August 21st – meet at the farm at 10:30am
Where: Cedar Isle Farm in Agassiz, B.C. (directions will be emailed to you when you RSVP)
What to bring: A picnic meal for you and your guests, water if it’s hot, a blanket for sitting on and reasonable shoes for field-walking, hat for sun etc.
How to get there: Group transportation will not be provided, but we strongly encourage car-pooling as much as possible to lessen the environmental impact of the trip, and to make sure everyone can find a space to park. We have set up a blog post for the purpose of matching up folks who need rides with drivers who have space in their car. In case you’re hesitant to provide personal information, the post is password protected, so it will only be visible to the Urban Grains community. Details are provided in an email sent to all members.
Please RSVP if you’ll be joining in and tell us how many people will be in your party. (Feel free to bring your families along, or the person who’s splitting your share, but please refrain from bringing too many guests. We will be a large enough group descending on the farm!)
We look forward to seeing you there!
- The Urban Grains Team