Archive for March, 2009

Not Far From The Tree

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Not Far From The Tree BannerOne of the cool projects we heard about at EcoSuave was “Not Far From the Tree.” They are a non-profit organisation in Toronto that “help fruit tree owners make use of the abundance of fruit that their trees offer by dispatching teams of volunteers to harvest it for them. One third goes to the fruit tree owners, another third goes to the volunteers for their labour, and the final third is distributed (by bicycle or cart) to community organizations in the neighbourhood who can make good use of the fresh fruit.” Last year (2008) they picked 3003lb of fruit!

We thought this was a GREAT idea and will consider calling them if our lonely pear tree is as abundant as it was last year.

Here are some similar organisations in the rest of the province and Canada:


Forum

Maple Sugar Rush

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

This week we ventured out to the Kortright Centre conservation area for their Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival. Tanny and I have a special affinity for the Kortright Centre since we got married there but we have never made it to the Maple Sugar Festival. The centerpiece of the festival is a walk through the forest to visit several interpretation areas (with yummy samples). The guided walk is about an hour. We made our own way along the trail, eavesdropping on the tours when we met them and did it in less than an hour and really enjoyed ourselves. I think that if we didn’t have Ella with us we wouldn’t have taken the entire tour. Some interesting maple syrup facts:

  • Sap from the sugar maple tree is 97% water
  • The ratio of sap to syrup is 40:1!
  • In the old days you had to boil the sap for 24 hours to make syrup - continuously
  • Modern syrup making takes 6 hours
  • Maple trees are one of only four families of trees in Ontario that have opposite branches (i.e., branches and leaves come off the main stem in pairs on opposite sides of the stem). M.A.D. Horse is the way to remember these trees: Maple, Ash, Dogwood and Horse chestnut.

Tanny and I loaded up on maple sugar and maple almonds from their sugar shack. Ella was mesmerized by the pony ride but was a little too scared to get closer than 3m away.

The festival runs until April 13, 2009.

Maple Syrup Festivel Banner


Forum

Happy Spring - the sprouts have sprung!

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Thyme sprouts


Seeds are in!

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

seeds from Seedy Saturday

Tanny, Ella and I went down to Seedy Saturday and picked up this year’s crop of veggies. Seedy Saturday was held at the Wychwood Barns this year and it was PACKED!

Our haul for 2009:

  • Tomatoes: Yellow Cherry, Beefsteak, Ruffled Red
  • Pepper: Lipstick Sweet Red
  • Herbs: Italian Large Leaf Basil, Thyme, Italian Parsely, Cilantro
  • Misc: Sugar Snap peas, Brittle wax beans, Scarlet Nantes carrots
  • Garlic: six varieties!

Making a return to the garden from last year:

  • Tomatoes: Blanche Beauty, Black Cherry
  • Sweet Basil
  • Midget Golden Watermelon

This weekend we started all the tomatoes, the basils, the thyme and the peppers. In a couple of weeks we’ll start the melons. The rest we’ll plant directly outdoors.

I’ve already started getting the yard ready for spring. I cleaned up the leaves and debris from our East and South yards (sounds bigger than they are) and some green flowers shoots are already peeking through! We had a nasty infestation of Viburnum leaf beetle that stripped both our snowball trees last year so I’ve been painstakingly pruning all the infected branches.

This year we’re going to convert one of our flower gardens into a vegetable garden since our current vegetable garden is really shaded. We’re also hoping to plant a second fruit tree (to replace a fallen tree) and some Veestar strawberries. It absolutely breaks our hearts to know that we have to clip the flowers from the strawberry plants the first year and won’t get strawberries until 2010!

If anyone has a recommendation for a native fruit tree that doesn’t suffer from neglect and insects but has a plentiful yield - please let us know!


Forum

EcoSuave Experience

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

LocalEating @ EcoSuave

Tanny and I have been a little buried with our day jobs (which have recently extended into evening/night jobs) recently so we’re a bit behind with our posts. We’re on vacation currently so the site will get some more attention in the coming days.

As we had written previously we were fortunate to be invited to this year’s inaugural EcoSuave fundraising event. We had a table set up with two laptops connected to localeating.ca and hosted a video testimonial to local eating. Tanny and I had a GREAT time. The event was very well organised, with a lot of yummy local food and a lot of very friendly guests. It’s the first time we’ve ever actively promoted the site and it was fantastic to get feedback from people. I hope some of you found your way to our site after the event!

The video testimonal was setup as a way to enter a raffle for a wonderful gift basket of sustainable goodies. We’re planning to release the video on our site once it’s ready, but due to the excitement and energy level in the room it’s pretty difficult to hear many of the speakers on the video so I will be captioning them before I post it.