Thanks for coming! Photos from the 2011 farm visit

August 30th, 2011 by Admin


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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!

after-a-cool-wet-spring-the-wheat-is-now-maturing-fastAfter a cool, wet spring, the wheat is now maturing fast.

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Members hand-threshed some heritage wheat, and viewed one of the cleaning machines separate the wheat from the chaff.

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During the hay ride, members checked the different varieties of wheat.

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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.

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A local bear and cub made a special guest appearance during the tour.

Thanks to Yoshi Sugiyama for all the photos!

Farm visit rescheduled – new date August 21st

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

Evidence of April & May happenings

May 26th, 2011 by Admin

Jim and Diane have shared some progress photos over the past few months, and it’s inspiring to see the fields taking shape and starting to green up…

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A new season starts with plowing.

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Last year’s grass and clover is turned over by the plow.

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Jim reports that he sometimes puts the tractor on automatic pilot and grabs a snack.

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After smoothing out the plowed ground, the wheat seeds are planted.

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Originally seeded on May 4, this is how one field looked about a week and a half later, on May 16. The variety growing here is “Superb”, new at Cedar Isle.

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CDC Go is growing in this field, and in the above photo you can also see how Jim generally seeds in two passes, so that the rows cross each other diagonally. This helps minimize the spacing between plants, which reduces the suitable spaces available for weeds.

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The soft wheat in the field above was seeded in early April, when Jim finally had some sunny days to work with.

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Straw, baled after last year’s grain harvest, is ready for delivery to a Vancouver community garden. The organic straw will be used to mulch between rows of vegetables.

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Newly hatched chicks are a sure sign of spring!

2011, on the move!

May 20th, 2011 by Admin

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Happy Spring! The 2011 Urban Grains season has begun, and we are thrilled to be growing grain again and back in touch with our shareholders.

As you read this, the tiny wheat seedlings you see pictured below are storing up energy from the (much-awaited!) sun, packing it away and growing, growing, growing.

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Sign-ups for this year’s membership have also begun. Here’s where we are at in the process of offering shares:

- If you were a shareholder last year… 2010 shareholders were first in line for this year’s shares, and completed applications have been flowing in. Thank you to all of you who have re-joined for 2011! If you haven’t sent your application yet, please do so right away, as shares are now being offered to people on last year’s waiting list, and will soon be opened to the general public. We wouldn’t want any disappointed existing members.

- If you are on the waiting list… Congratulations! Shares are now open for you, and we’d like to welcome you to Urban Grains. Please complete the application form that will be emailed to you and send it back to the farm as soon as possible.

- Are you considering joining Urban Grains for the first timeThank you for your interest – we’d love to have you! After people on last year’s waiting list have had an opportunity to join, any remaining 2011 Urban Grains shares will be offered to you and other new prospective members. Please email to indicate your interest urbangrains@gmail.com and we’ll put you on the 2011 waiting list and get back to you soon.

Thanks to everyone who has registered for this coming season’s harvest – we are already looking forward to the fall, and the bounty we’ll share.

Here’s to another great season,
The Urban Grains Team

Post harvest, on the farm

November 8th, 2010 by Admin

The 2010 shares have been delivered, but there’s still plenty going on at Cedar Isle Farm…

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Oh, hey there.

Cows are out pasturing…

In the organic system used at Cedar Isle Farm, the grain contains an ’understory’ of clover, grass and other plants, which thrive after the grain is harvested in the late summer.

In late October — at the same time Urban Grain members were picking up their flour — the Angus beef cattle were taking advantage of the ‘extra pasture’ that grew after the hard red spring wheat was harvested.

No additional time, money or energy was expended to plant this greenery. It simply grew after harvest. Not only does it  provide extra forage for the cows, it will also provide the field protection against erosion in the face of fierce winds that frequently buffet the eastern Fraser Valley in the winter.

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Equipment needs preventative maintenance… adjustments are made before putting away the harvesting equipment for the winter.

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Simon and Pumpkin take a break from helping to clean and service the combine before winter storage.

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Local mechanics Pete den Boer and Anton Kersten (from Farm Diesel Service in Chilliwack) re-worked the combine’s electrical system and made other improvements.

Winter cereals fields are transitioned back to grass and clover…

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Combining the (late) fall rye crop.

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In mid-September, before the other grains have been harvested (and before cleaning, milling and distribution), the fall rye field is plowed. This is the initial step in preparing the field for seeding grass-clover seed — the next step in its rotation. Next year, this field will produce grass-clover silage and hay; it’ll be several years before it is returned to cereal production.

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And one month later, mid October, the newly-sown grass and clover seeds have sprouted and the plants have started to put on some decent growth, which will allow them to survive the winter and be ready for a burst of growth next spring…

The grain cleaning machines of Cedar Isle Farm

October 1st, 2010 by Admin


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Meet the Clipper. She was built in the 1920s and needed quite a bit of work done before she was in working order. As the largest machine on the farm, the Clipper is able to move the most grain per hour; having her around greatly speeds up the job.

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In this shot you can see where Jim has rigged up pipes to catch the chaff and weed seeds that flow out of spouts on the side of the Clipper.

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A series of screens with differently shaped holes each filter out particular types of unwanted material. One with round holes (marked RH in the photo above) filters out weed seeds. A slotted tray removes the chaff.

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The Hero is fed from a large tote bag, which hangs from the tractor bucket (outside the frame). This avoids the need for manual feeding by bucket load, but still requires a watchful eye.

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A modern addition: plywood has been added to reinforce the Clipper's aging hopper.

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Finally! Clean seed lands in the tote after being fed through the machine. This is the product which leaves the farm and makes it way home to you.

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But what of all that "waste" we filtered out of the original harvest? Not waste at all - this will be used to feed chickens over the winter.

Harvest update – late September

September 22nd, 2010 by Admin

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Slowly but surely, the grain is coming. Rainy weather in August and September and an overall slower growing season meant that fields were harvested a good deal later than in 2009. Luckily, thanks to Jim, Diane and the kids at Cedar Isle, most of the hard work is now done, and we anticipate delivering your grain for milling in about a week’s time. Anita’s Organics will again be our milling partner this year, and we are looking forward to working with them.

More about this year’s share

Your 20kg share will arrive as four 5kg bags this year, rather than last year’s larger bags. We hope that this smaller format will make transportation, storage, sharing and trading easier for everyone. As we mentioned before, the harvest is still making its way in out of the fields – this means that the final share breakdown is yet to be determined. We’ll let you know as soon as we do!

Distribution

Our goal is to host this year’s distribution over the Thanksgiving weekend (October 9, 10, 11). If all goes as planned, you could be using Urban Grains flour to bake your Thanksgiving pies. Distribution options have been narrowed down to two sites in east Vancouver; we will alert you as soon as a decision is reached and location and times are confirmed. Please stay tuned, and as always feel free to contact us at urbangrains@ffcf.bc.ca.

Thanks!

In our second year of operation, we at Urban Grains are more thankful than ever for your continued support. By being a part of our CSA, you are making a significant difference in closing the gap between grower and consumer, providing the necessary support and capital for the growing season, and participating in a delicious enterprise. We are inspired by your enthusiasm!

We’ll be back soon with more details. In the meantime, prepare your homes for the arrival of Urban Grains!

2010 Farm Visit recap

August 26th, 2010 by Admin

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Under cloudy skies, but with bright spirits all around, the August 8th Cedar Isle Farm Urban Grain shareholder visit and tour was a tremendous success. It was a pleasure to welcome many of the CSA members to the farm and introduce you to Jim, Diane, Hannah and Simon – our grain growers – and to the grain itself!

A big thank you to Jim and the family for their warm hospitality and for making the day such a joy. We enjoyed the demonstration of the restored grain cleaner and learning about its fascinating history. The Tour of the Grains was tremendously informative from our hay-bale perch. We were also inspired to learn about the Cedar Isle Farm philosophy for balancing and respecting the local ecology, alongside their grain growing work. Research biologist Todd Kabaluk’s described his project on the biological control of wireworm (see: http://www4.agr.gc.ca/AAFC-AAC/display-afficher.do?id=1180620561099 or http://www.farmwest.com/index.cfm?method=pages.showPage&pageid=605) and frog biologist Monica Pearson (http://www.fvwc.ca/index.php/frog-blog-main and http://www.balance-ecological.com/) highlighted efforts to create and restore habitat for the endangered Oregon Spotted Frog.

Back at the farm, Heather Pritchard and Christopher Hergesheimer shared their passion for our Urban Grains program, describing how it fits within the FarmFolk/CityFolk network and the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) community.

Although the weather has presented some challenges so far; the recent hot, dry conditions are just what the grain needs leading up to harvest. Let’s keep our figures crossed for continued good weather.

Thanks to everyone who came out on Sunday! Stay tuned for upcoming posts regarding our harvesting and distribution plans!

In the meantime, here are a few photos from the day.

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Farm visit this weekend!

August 6th, 2010 by Admin

Members and families along for the excursion2009 CSA members at last year’s farm visit

A reminder to all our 2010 members – this Sunday, August 8th, is our visit to Cedar Isle Farm. So far we have over 75 members signed up, and we’d love to see more of you there!

Meet at the farm at 11:30am with a picnic lunch, blanket, and sturdy shoes. Remember water if it’s hot out! We’ll be touring the fields and checking in on our grain in female viagra next day delivery its late summer state. Kids and pets are welcome! This year we’ll also be joined by John MacKenzie from Anita’s Mill, a frog habitat expert from the nearby slough, and a wireworm researcher, so you can depend on there being plenty of interesting people to chat with.

All members should have received an email containing driving directions. Remember to use our carpooling post to coordinate rides and reduce the number of cars we put onto the road.

Please RSVP to urbangrains@ffcf.bc.ca if you will be joining us!

Any questions can also be directed to urbangrains@ffcf.bc.ca

Protected: Members only: carpooling coordination for farm visit

August 1st, 2010 by Admin

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