Have you checked out the 2016 schedule for our farm-to-table culinary series Harvest Wednesdays? From a traditional Syrian feast with Newcomer Kitchen launching on Aug 24 to a Harvest Table dinner with Guest Chef Jamie Kennedy at the final harvest on October 19, we have some amazing feasts for you! The common thread and inspiration behind each event is that our guest chefs and partners will incorporate produce from the Gladstone’s C.S.A. Box, picked every week and delivered by Chick-a-Biddy Acres Farm.
(Photos found on Instagram: @cowgirl_tibet)
So, what exactly is this adorably named farm? Chick-a-Biddy Acres operates on 72-acres near Peterborough, in the beautiful Trent Hills. Along with being dedicated to pesticide-free local farming, it’s a C.S.A. (Community Shared Agriculture). This means the farmers grow food for a predetermined group of consumers who pay an annual fee to purchase their share of the harvest. It is a relationship of shared bounty and shared risks. Harvest Wednesdays is inspired by the Gladstone’s long-time investment in four ‘shares’ of the farm. Each week, we receive a box of local produce harvested just the day before.
We sat down with the founder and farmer of Chick-a-biddy Acres C.S.A. Sherry Patterson to find out more about life on the farm, this summer’s harvest and why we should all connect more with Ontario’s natural growing season.
Harvest Wednesdays connects urbanites to Ontario’s growing season. Why do you think this is important for Torontonians?
All communities and farms need to support each other. By becoming aware of where your food comes, when it’s locally available, meeting and talking to the grower of your food you create a strong connection to the land. This bond helps people in their busy daily lives to make thoughtful healthy food choices.
It’s really been stressful and gruelling at times. But on the other hand it’s always quite a miracle how the crops strive to grow. This year for the first time ever we’ve had to truck in water to the irrigation pond. The bounty though somewhat less this season is still able to serve the CSA & market customers. Because we grow 60 different crops we have the variation to allow for some failures. Also because we are tending the land carefully and keeping it healthy therefore enabling the plants to sustain the drought better. I do believe as a CSA farmer that I feel extra responsible to keep the land healthy and thriving for all those that eat from it.
Chick-a-Biddy has always been the inspiration behind Harvest Wednesdays and we’re bringing it back after 5 years! What are you looking forward to in the 2016 season?
You grow some of the best produce around. What are you enjoying this summer from your farm?
Crookneck summer squash, basil, tomatoes, fennel, cucumbers…Mmmmm!