A trip to the Orretts’ organic farm

July 26, 2009

Just wanted to share some photos with everybody from my trip to this amazing organic farm about two hours north-east of Toronto; Jacob and I went there this weekend to visit a friend and spent most our time picking raspberries, swinging in hammocks, playing with the dogs, brushing the horses, inspecting all the vegetables, going for hikes, miraculously dodging the persistent rain and generally having a wholesome, nutritious, sustainable time — definitely worthy of Wellingtons and pigtails. Oh, but one tip for potential raspberry pickers: do NOT wear a white shirt.

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Me crouching by the entrance to the farm.

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Craig marching through the fields.

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Garlic drying out on the back porch.

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Me and one of the work horses.

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Canadian Gothic — our photo shoot in the barn. Does this make a good Christmas card or what? Watch out, Sears Portrait Studio!

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Here’s the original, for comparison.

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Raspberry bushes! That’s another friend of ours, Caroline, in the background. She actually got full just from eating raspberries.

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How yummy do these look? No pesticides or GMOs here…

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Standing in the river. Somehow, the novelty of being able to stand in water and not get wet is going strong, even at 30 years of age.

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You can’t beet local eating (Day 345)…

February 8, 2008

aggie

OK folks, next up in the “You’ve Gotta Be Kidding Me” series is local eating. And I mean really local — not just restricted to North America, as I’ve previously pledged, and not just from within Canada; all my meals will be limited to what’s being grown in Ontario.

What does this mean? I’ll tell you what it means: Apples, rhubarb, onions, leeks, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, mushrooms, potatoes, sprouts, butternut squash and beets (apparently “without tops”, though I’m not quite sure what that means). Oh, and seeing as I’m a total mycophobe, there won’t actually be any mushrooms on my plate.

This is what Foodland Ontario says is in season during the month of February, so that’s pretty much what I’ll be buying (exceptions will have to be made for protein, as well as tea and coffee — sorry, but if I don’t have caffeine, I get destructively cranky). The online guide is actually pretty handy, and if you click on the menu items to the left of the screen, you can learn more about all the seasonal produce — there’s even a colouring book section, featuring what appears to be the Foodland Ontario mascot, named Aggie (short for… agriculture, maybe?).

Anyway, I’m going to do my best with this one, but I’m also pretty naive and forgetful when it comes to food, so if I end up eating someone’s homemade bread but it actually had some baking soda from… well, wherever baking soda is from… then I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

Still, I think I’ll have to find some innovative ways to prepare cabbage, and if anyone has any breakfast recipes for beets, feel free to pass those on!


Croak if you love alternative energy (Day 335)…

January 29, 2008

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Ever since Bullfrog Power landed in Toronto, I’ve been DYING to sign up. Living in a condo with standard monthly fees and shared energy bills meant it wasn’t an option, but as soon as I signed the deal on the house, I was like a kid sitting in front of my Christmas presents, waiting for mom and dad to wake up already so I could start tearing into them. All I could think about for weeks was the day I’d finally be able to pick up the phone, call Hydro to set up my account and then log onto Bullfrogpower.com so they could start putting some more wind turbines to good use.

That day, my friends, was today.

What I love about Bullfrog is that it’s not just about offsetting. As they explain here, users continue to draw power from the Ontario grid, but Bullfrog then injects that same amount of energy — in the form of wind power and low-impact water power — back into the system to compensate.

All of their generation facilities have met the environmental criteria of Environment Canada’s EcoLogo certification process, and they publish their green power audit on an annual basis so you can check up on them.

From what I’ve heard, most Bullfrog users don’t end up paying more than $5 or $10 extra per month for this service — but maybe my parents could chip in here, seeing as I made them switch over months ago!