What’s Fresh News – October 2, 2012
Thanks to all the Farmers for their hard work and great successes this season!
Egg Production on Small Farms
Organic agriculture is based on a whole farm system. Chickens are a big part of that cycle. Hens assist with pest management (cleaning insects out of the field), are herbicidal (break up clods of soil and munching down on the weed seeds) and they fertilizer the soil. In addition, we get fabulous eggs for breakfast.
Any farm can have 99 hens. More than that and you need a license. Up to 399 hens is the next level and this is what Evelyn has out at Terra Nossa Farms. She pastures out her hens so that they have a chance to do their work out in the fields and live their lovely chicken lives in the great outdoors!
Chickens scratching at Terra Nossa
Over 400 hens and you are into buying quota – this is an amount that the farmer must pay per bird. Quota is $200 per bird! Having larger numbers of birds also makes it impossible to allow them outside in the same way Evelyn can at 399 birds. The taste of Evelyn’s eggs far surpasses anything you can get from the larger organic growers and now you know why!
Most large-scale organic chickens are, in fact, de-beaked as well. Organic standards allow de-beaking in exceptional circumstances but it is my understanding that the exception is in fact the “rule” at the 1000 plus hen level.
Organic standards are the only standard that defines how much space is needed to be considered free range. (IOPA Standards say: Indoors = 6 birds per sq meter, Outdoor = 4 birds per sq meter). They also require that the birds have access to the outdoors and do not allow forced molting (look it up if you have the stomach for it…).
The bad news for us is that Evelyn has decided not to continue raising egg birds as she has been told that she will be required to build a grading station on her property and at the under 399 level the economics do not work! The investment will never pay off.
The good news is that Kildara Farms is building a new barn and will be taking over Evelyn’s organic flock. This should supply us with eggs until December and hopefully we’ll have a continuous supply. Brian at Kildara tells us the new barn will hold 700 birds at time, with 3 or 4 runs outside to at least 3/4 of an acre. The runs will send the chickens to different areas of the farm that are in need of chicken scratching.
How can I tell if the eggs dark yellow yolk is due to dye in the chicken feed?
Farmer Brian says: You know it’s feed dye if all the eggs in the dozen are a consistent yellow colour and this colour is consistent over the course of the year. Organic free range chicken egg yolks will be different shades of yellow depending on how good a forager the particular hen is. In the winter months, when there are almost no green to be had, the yolks will be pale yellow.
From our local Quince Scholar and Grower
We grow Le Bourgeot Quinces here on part of our 100 acre farm in Yellow Point. I have raised them sequentially, over the last 8 years, from bare-root stock sent over from Cannor farms in, I think, Abbotsford: I am opposed to chemical additives of any kind & have never used them: even to the extent of not even using dormant oil spray.
The only care these trees get is
(1) peat mulch in fall & spring (the ancient peat I dig myself from one of my fields)
(2) irrigation as required from our deep well (thus no chlorine)
I first got interested in quince fruit during my research as a classical scholar into food practices in the Greco-Roman world. “Quince” is derived from an ancient Greek word for Crete: but it remains a common European fruit; & many species grow in warmer climates in the USA & in South America.
Subsequently I wrote a number of books on classical cuisine & translated Apicius.
Regarding recipes: most people make quince jelly; it is same process as for apply jelly; for quince-apple sauce use one quince to three apples. Basically, one can do with Le Bourgeot Quince everything that works for tart cooking apples. Various websites have recipes for more ambitious chefs as the word quince has an exotic sense to it, I suppose.
I have begun harvesting my organic Le Beourgeot Quinces for this year; & Isabelle (of Wyndlow Farms) can ship them again to Victoria for me from Yellow Point. This year, because of the great weather, will be a bumper crop. I hope your customers will be interested again. A quince is such a unique & classical fruit. Did you know that the apple Eve ate in the Garden of Eden was actually a quince? I can prove it, philologically.
John Edwards, Quinceotica Farms
Horticulture Centre of the Pacific Guest Speaker: Raj Patel
Raj Patel, an author uniquely qualified to take a long, broad view of world food production, looks at food systems – the machine most of us don’t even know exists – and the web made up of corporations, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, farmers’ groups, government agencies and corporate lobbyists.
From farm to fork, Patel travels to rural collectives in Brazil, investigates the all-powerful distribution networks, serves up the specific journeys of coffee, soy and high-fructose corn syrup, and visits the kitchens of fast-food restaurants. What he uncovers is the shocking story of commercial greed and helpless hunger that is a key ingredient in everything we eat.
Stuffed and Starved is one of the most shocking investigations into the “haves” feeding off the “have-nots” and a compelling look at how we all suffer the consequences of a food system cooked to a corporate recipe.
Dr. Raj Patel – Friday October 5, 2012,
7:30pm – 8:30pm
Garth Homer Society, 813 Darwin Ave., Victoria BC
Event Website is here.
If you would like to view or add to your order please click here!