Spring is officially here even though it looks like Mother Nature did not get the memo.
The transformation from winter to spring always has so much packed into it between the last of the snow and the beginning of green grass. We have all hands on deck for spring-cleaning. It’s time to spruce up the market, get rid of the cobwebs so to speak, clean the farm animals' pens and perhaps add a few more fences in case we add to our farm family. You never know when we might get the urge to adopt another cute animal. Minor repairs are required for the greenhouses at the market to get ready for the precious little seedlings that Leigha has been growing in our greenhouses at home. We are just as busy next door at Furnace Falls Farm planning and preparing for landscaping and barn renovations for the coming weddings and events booked.
I cannot believe our first outdoor event for the season is only a few weeks away. It is our Spring Celebration Sunday April 29th. Leigha and her helpers have been rapidly filling greenhouses...sometimes a bit faster than Rick would like since this adds to his wood heating woes. We have focused on lots of heritage vegetables, annuals, and perennials again this year as they are more resilient and provide us with a great variety. Many of the tomatoes we grow come from our own seeds. As Leigha and I look around, we realize as usual, we have gone a bit crazy on growing plants again this year. It is just so hard to stop planting when you love growing things as much as we do. We think the best time to stop is when we run out of greenhouses, Ha, Ha.
This year we are very excited that we get to start the season off by adding Furnace Falls Farm events to our list of activities. In a time when the world has so many negative things happening we are hoping to provide a bit of reprieve and bring people back to a simpler time when the focus was on growing food, family, friends and community. We are excited to have people come, stay, relax, enjoy a kayak ride, pack a picnic, go for a walk, pick fresh vegetables for dinner, visit the animals, sit by a bonfire, or enjoy a farmhouse dinner with new friends and family.
Springtime is all about new beginnings so come join us on the journey of new experiences with old-fashioned traditions. We invite you to refresh, renew and enjoy yourselves at our farm.
From all of us at Wendy’s Country Market & Furnace Falls Farm Retreat
Even though April showers forgot to turn off in May (!!) we do have May flowers and other great plants in our greenhouses, all ready to share with you to brighten even the cloudiest day.
Despite the rain, I love spring. Walking through our greenhouses and seeing all the different plants is a great way to both start and end my day.
My love of plants comes naturally: both of my Grandmothers had lots of plants surrounding their houses. One Grandmother had every type of plant you could think of to grow as a houseplant, and was always collecting slips of plants from friends to add to her collection. My other Grandmother taught me a lot about the wild flowers and their names and uses as we walked along the pathways at their cottage. And I remember seeing a picture of myself when I was young surrounded by amazing flower gardens that my Mom made. Over time the flower gardens switched to large vegetable gardens, and then to multiple fields of vegetables and a full blown market garden business (Corn Acre Farms). So began my life long journey and passion with plants.
I am so very glad to have been able to share all this with my daughter, and even more excited that she has carried on the love of plants by starting our seeds and nuturing them for all of you to enjoy. With her help, we have been able to expand this year and offer so many more varieties of flowers, herbs, and vegetable plants. We focus on many heritage varieties of tomatoes and look to the past when picking out our selection of seeds for our flowers. A look around our greenhouses will sure to send you on a trip down memory lane with names like larkspur, zinnias and cosmos.
If you have never grown any plants before then now is the time. Start with a cherry tomato. A few marigolds and a basil make great companion plants ... and now your off!
I think it is also important for all of us to take the time and introduce a child to the amazing world of plants. Even if it starts with picking a bouquet of dandelions.
Dandelions are in the recipe of the week. You can eat the leaves, buds and bud stalks, flowers, heart, and the young root of dandelions.
The Recipe of the Week
Mushrooms Stuffed with Dandelion Hearts
Dandelion hearts - In your yard or ours!
Cremini mushrooms - Carlton Mushrooms
Sunflower oil - Kricklewood Farm
Rosemary - Wendys MArket
salt and pepper
Bring the hearts to a boil and cook for 5 minutes to remove bitterness. Take the Hearts and mix with sunflower oil, rosemary, and salt and pepper. Take mushrooms and fill with the hearts. Bake in oven for 15 - 20 minutes at 350.
Have a Great Week.
Rick & Wendy & Leigha
Thanks for supporting Local Producers.
Visit us at the market.
We're open Thursday through Saturday, 11 am – 6 pm, Sunday 'til 5 pm
(After the long weekend, it will be 7 days a week.)
It might be dull and dreary outside, but it looks a little like spring in the greenhouse. Since we try to grow a lot of our flowering annuals from seed rather than cuttings, we have to start them extra early. We find when we start from seeds rather than cuttings we can get better varieties with lots of heritage choices. One of the other reasons is this way we have control over the start of their life so to speak. A good start means better success later on. Even after all these years, I never get tired of watching those little sprouts shoot up almost over night.
We have also started lots of veggie and herb plants as well, along with a great selection of heritage tomatoes many from seeds we had saved from last summer. Of course, what are tomatoes with out basil? So we've made sure to have lots of basil varieties to choose from.
We will be updating the lists on the Wendy's Country Market website, so you can plan out your gardens as well. What better way to spend a winter evening then planning a garden?
Mark Sunday, April 30th on your calendar. It is our first event of the season. Hard to believe it is only a few months away. We will have lots of bare root crops, hardy perennials, herbs, heritage seeds for sale and more.
AND down on the farm, the real work has begun. We have the house building permit and can move ahead with our plans for one of the many barn structures! As the layers are removed we've seen history unfold, and got a real insight into a house that was built over 100 years ago. We've found wide wooden boards covering some of the walls, hard wood floors, and a 10 foot ceiling.
We've also been exploring our own local history, and have posted some photographs of Furnace Falls on the Farm's Facebook page. Have a look!
I find my favourite places to be are all over 100 years old (like our market which is an old school house also over 100 years old.) Can't wait for the rebirth of this wonderful farmhouse as a place for guests to stay, with great kitchen and dining spaces for celebrating local food.
Considering I love heritage plants and heritage homes, I think this week's recipe should be heritage sourced.
Recipe of the Week
Wild Berry Cornmeal Scones
Makes 8 servings
1 1/4 cup Red Fife Wheat Flour or Spelt Flour – Ironwood Organics or Sonset Farm
3/4 cup Cornmeal – Against the Grain
1/4 cup Maple Syrup – Gunnebrooke Farm
2 tsp Baking Powder – Purest
1/4 cup Baking Soda – Purest
1/3 cup Whey Butter – Stirling
2/3 cup Milk – Limestone Creamery
1 cup Mixed Berries – Brierlea Farm, Wendy's Country Market
1 tsp Vanilla
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Have a Great Week.
Rick & Wendy & Leigha
Thanks for supporting Local Producers.
Visit us at Wendy's Country Market.
We're open Thursday through Saturday 11 am – 6 pm, Sunday 'til 5 pm
Welcome to Eastern Ontario winter and a new weather system. Word of the week "Freezing Fog"! Not only can't you see the road, but you get to have everything coated in ice!
To distract me from the weather and the fact the market is kind of quiet these days I turn my thoughts to Flowers – in lots and lots of colours. We are expanding our selection of flowers at the market this year. Since it is Canada's 150th, there will also be a focus on more heritage plants, and a variety of plants with a red-and-white theme. No worries though for those of you that favour hot pinks, purple and orange; since these are my favourite colours, we won't leave them out! We also carry a long list of herbs and vegetable plants, and I will have more about them in future notes. Today its all about Flowers .
Along with heritage plants for sale in our greenhouses, we will have a selection of bee-friendly annuals and perennials, and a kid's area with a focus on attracting butterflies (we like to encourage kids in the garden). We have a great culinary selection of edible flowers, and of course the tried-and-true drought resistant, and favourite low maintenance.
Have you got any favourites we should start for you? Let us know in a comment.
The hard part for us is to limit ourselves, because when you start looking at all the great reasons to have flowers in your life (aside from the obvious that they are just good for the soul) it is hard not to go overboard. I think part of our solution for that is that we grow them for multiple uses: culinary, customers, market, and the farm.
Across the road form the market at Furnace Falls Farm everyone will be able to enjoy a kalaidescope of colours in our cutting garden. There, you will be able to sit back and smell the flowers. The Furnace Falls Farm Garden will also showcase perennials so you will be able to see first hand how they grow and what they look like in a garden. The gardens will also provide fresh-picked, colourful bouquets for that someone special.
Can't wait for planting season to be started! But for now I have to be patient and dream.
The recipe of the week is full of colour and a bit of zip to brighten up any day – even one with Feezing Fog!
This is not a slaw and not your typical salad.
Fire and Ice Salad
Serves 6 people
1/3 lb of mixed greens – Burt's Greenhouse
1 cup baby kale – Forman Farms
1 cup micro greens – Patchwork Gardens
2 cups carrots, cut into matchsticks – Patchwork Gardens
3 cups mix watermelon and daikon radish, cut into matchsticks – Patchwork Gardens
1/2 tsp salt
Jalapeno Cilantro Dressing
1 tsp jalapeno paste (or more if you dare) – Wendy's Country Market
1/4 cup chopped cilantro – Burt's Greenhouse
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar – Hall's Market
1/4 cup sunflower oil – Kricklewood Farm
1. Make the dressing by mixing ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. For the salad, put all the greens mix in a large bowl. Combine with veggies and toss.
3. Toss with dressing just before serving
Have a Great Week!
Rick & Wendy & Leigha
Thanks for supporting Local Producers
Stop by Wendy's Country Market. We're open Thurs - Sat 11am - 6pm; Sun 'til 5pm
Wendy Banks is a 6th generation farmer from Lyndhurst, Ontario. She runs Wendy's Country Market with her husband, Rick Trudeau.