What Is It About Farmers?

Farmers are Weird, by Farmer Daniel
Farmers are weird.  It may be 40+ degrees with the humidity, but we’ll be in the greenhouse (where it’s even hotter) staking the tomatoes.  It may be pouring on the farm, but we’re out there harvesting garlic in soaking, stinky boots.  We may be facing financial ruin (and what we need to be doing is making phone calls trying sell our abundant crop of beets), but we’ll be out in the field weeding the kale.  Never has this love for food, farming, and the land been more clear to me than in observing the farm team at ClearWater this year.  Lead Farmer Deb sets the example.  She’s taken perhaps 2 days off since she got the greenhouses rolling in January.  You simply cannot keep her away from the farm.  Her devotion to growing veg for the community, to caring for the land, and to mentoring the other farmers on the team is truly something sacred.  Farmer Michael, and farming assistants Hannah and Anna-Mae also display this unquenchable hunger to farm.  They’re out there day after day, dripping in sweat, bodies aching, with dirt and smiles smeared all over their faces.  And, I feel that undeniable drive to farm too.  Every March I get really nervous, “I am so busy already, how will I ever integrate the farming season into my life?”  And then April comes, and I get out on the farm and start composting the rhubarb and I cannot be stopped until frost and/or snow tell me that I must.  Yup, we’re a weird breed.  Give us a shovel and a wheelbarrow and we just go go go.  Wendell Berry sums it up best, “Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: “Love. They must do it for love.” 
We love you all ClearWater Community.  Thank you for the opportunity to grow food for you.

Q&A Session with Chef Cori

We sat down with Chef Cori Doern and asked her all about what inspires her, how she got started as a Chef, and how she came to be the Chef of ClearWater Farm. Check out our interview below:

What is your food philosophy?

That no one should ever go hungry. To always cook with love and remain passionate about my art.

Where did your passion for food come from?

The pleasure I get from cooking, creating and hearing people say mmmmmmmmmmm.

What is your favourite thing to cook?

Soups, sauces, salads… really everything 😀

How did your career as a chef begin?

The first time was when I was 19 and a server at a restaurant, paying my way through university.  I challenged the head chef by telling him to apologize to all my tables for the food coming out of the kitchen.  He asked me if I thought I could do it better than him and I said yes. Long story short, He made me his right hand after my first kitchen shift.

The second time was when I moved to Georgina with a newborn and a 2 year old and made Miss Melanie from Country Kids a thank you gift of soup.  In just over 5 weeks that single gift turned into 250 orders which led to making soup for cafes from here to Toronto and the rest is history.

What is your biggest accomplishment to date?

Leaving a successful career in film and television and being the Executive Chef of ClearWater Farm.. You could say I traded film stock for soup stock.

If you could cook with any chef world wide, who would you like to cook with?

I’m so blessed to have been able to cook with amazing Chefs such as Lynn Crawford, Chuck Hughes, Mark McEwan, Vikrim Vag and Michael Smith.  Having said that it would be a dream come true if I could cook with Chef Gordon Ramsay.

What do you mean by The ClearWater Experience?

Food is one of those things that you can attach a feeling to. When we gather with family or friends we eat. When we celebrate, we eat. When we mourn, we eat. We create memories with and surrounding food. Eating can and should be an emotional experience. I don’t want people to simply taste our food, I want people to experience it. I want people to appreciate the work and the love that went into growing, preparing and serving that food and the unforgettable moments created around that experience.

How did you come to be involved with ClearWater Farm?

Annabel Slaight presented her vision of a local community farm that would celebrate the production and education of wholesome food and I was sold. It is so awesome to be a part of this incredible farm.

Meet Suzanne Howes

Meet Suzanne Howes, Chair, ClearWater Farm Water Walk

 

In my First Nations culture, we live by something called the Seventh Generation Principle. That those decisions that we make today, in our everyday lives, should contribute to a sustainable world seven generations into the future.
This philosophy is widely abused, in modern culture… but I have found a place, a place in our own community, where the people are trying to embody this principle. ClearWater Farm is all about kids experiencing nature, growing
healthy, local food and making decisions on the land that minimize any impact on our water and earth. Really it is a place to learn about sustainability.
I believe in what ClearWater Farm is doing. So, I am helping to organize a fun, free Water Walk, in the spirit of my ancestors’ traditional water walks. We want the whole community to join us at Willow Beach Park on Saturday, June 23 rd to walk behind Chippewas of Georgina Island Elder, Shelley Charles, and Mayor
Margaret Quirk to ClearWater Farm. Then we can all have some fun on the farm; planting, playing and experiencing the magic of the place. See the gardens, the greenhouses! And the kids’ camp! So much more.

The event is graciously sponsored by local businesses as a fundraiser to rebuild the ClearWater Farm Barn that burneddown in 2016. The barn will be rebuilt using traditional methods this summer – come hear about the amazing plans – plans you can be involved in!
Come take the first steps with us as we rebuild the barn at the ClearWater Farm Water Walk on Saturday, June 23 rd .Join Me by registering here.

I will see you there!

Suzanne Howes

The Seventh Generation Principle today is generally referred to in regards to decisions being made about our energy, water, and natural resources, and ensuring those decisions are sustainable for seven generations in the future. But, it can also be applied to relationships – every decision should result in sustainable relationships seven generations in the future positive for many generations to come.

On Saturday June 23 rd , 2018 students and families from the surrounding area will be participating in The Clear Water Farm Water Walk. The Clearwater Farm Water Walk is an event to help rebuild the Clear Water Farm Barn that burnt down accidentally in 2016 as an amazing interactive hands on learning stations themed around
water, earth, food and community.

Volunteers Make The World Go Round

My background in farming is organic, high end user, unique product. Niche market user.

Lots of celebrity clients.
All the top Toronto restaurants.
Toronto Film fest. Governor general. Air Canada. Cityline.
Lcbo magazine.
I always felt a little conflicted.
I was growing delicious, beautiful, nutritious, organic food, but who was it benefiting? A small percentage of who could afford it?
I wanted to grow this amazing and beautiful food for everyone.
Clearwater Farms is giving me the opportunity to grow these products in a clean organic way and offer it up to the local community.
We have opened our doors to all that want to participate in learning to grow this way. Eexperience the joy of planting a tiny seed and harvesting pounds and pounds of food from that one simple act.
I have been farming for twenty years and am still delighted and astounded at what ONE seed gives us.
The joy of watching the progress of plants through all the various milestones.
Hope. Fear. Pride. Sound familiar?
Part of the fun is supporting and igniting people who want to learn the ancient art of growing food and providing for your community and loved ones.
keep an eye on all our upcoming events.
Yoga. Friday night socials.
Kids activities. The water walk.
Drum circle.
Thank you to all our volunteers.
Not only do they support us with their physical exertions, we also have such fantastic time putting the world to rights over a kale bed!
Here’s to the volunteers!
Your dedicated farming gal,
Deb

The Return of Michael Wilson

Heat Lovers in a Dangerous Time

God it has been hot! Between the fields and the greenhouses the temperatures continue to climb. I spent two months this past winter volunteering on a permaculture farm in Costa Rica, deepening my growing knowledge and sampling an abundance of fruit from their food forest and gardens.

Upon returning to Canada and Clearwater Farm I felt confident that I would hit the ground running, well acclimatized to the heat and rigors for another farm season. Boy was I wrong. Like a tender young spinach leaf on a hot day I wilted fast.

Over the past few weeks I have slowly been finding my feet. I am really enjoying learning from Deb and Daniel as we work together to bring you our wonderful food each week. The exciting thing for you to remember is that unlike me, some things do really thrive in the heat! We have planted up a greenhouse full of our heat lovers; tons of different varieties of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant and we will be filling in the extra spaces with herbs and marigolds in the coming days. Weather report: Stay tuned for some quick plant growth as the heat continues to climb.

Sincerely sweating for you,
Farmer Mike

Edible Flowers!

Our edible flowers are blooming!
We grow flowers all through our crops at Clearwater.  They help bring the polinaters and beneficial insects to our fields and greenhouses as well as attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
We have chosen a variety of edibles so we can enjoy their flavour and colour as well as their beauty and benefits.
Sweet violas, spicy nasturtiums, festive bachelor buttons and more.
Add some  edible art to your salads, desserts and cocktails.
Or garnish a cheese plate or cupcakes.
Available soon from our website or farm gate at Clearwater farm.
Your dedicated farming gal,
Deb

Farmer Daniel’s Take on Rain

Farm Update – The Raindance
Water is a big deal on the farm. Not just because Clearwater Farm is a project of the Ontario Water Centre.   But because water is a big deal on every farm! Some farms have sandy soil, and the more rain that comes, the better.  Some farms have clay soil, and when there’s too much rain, the soil can get oversaturated.  That’s the scenario at ClearWater these days.  Our clay soil, in combination with the spring rains, is highly saturated, which prevents us from working the field with machinery.  As always, farmers must adapt with what the season brings. So, we are preparing for planting by adding soil and compost on top of the existing beds, ensuring that we can plant arugula, spinach, onions, kale, Swiss chard, and other crops in the coming days. 
Farmers are funny, when it comes to rain.  We want it exactly at the right moment.  We don’t want it when we’re working in the fields, but we want just when we leave to go home.  We want it when the plants are thirsty, and then not until the plants are thirsty again.  Often, we want it and don’t want it at the same time.  When our plants are needing a drink, we are desperate for it to rain…unless we are running a Farmers’ Market, so that more people will attend. This raindance of competing needs goes on inside of farmers, and challenges our emotional wellness.  For farmers, how well our crops are doing often has a big impact on how we experience life.  Lousy crops and plants that aren’t thriving can give us the blues, and dampen our spirits.  Happy plants and bumper crops lead to happiness, joy, and inspiration.  Of course, the challenge is to maintain emotional stability throughout the ups and downs of each season.  Organic farming truly is a spiritual practice for many of us.  Whether we like it or not, our inner world will be challenged.  Some seasons, the timing of the rain seems to work out just perfectly.  In 2017, the spring rains meant we never needed to water after planting a crop outdoors.  It was perfect — it would rain every week or so, but not in between.  It would rain just as we were leaving the farm, after a hard days work.  Conversely, back in 2010, we were thrilled when April was super dry, allowing us to get a major jumpstart on the planting.  Then it rained almost every day in June, and drowned our plants.  In farming, and in life, we don’t always get what we want exactly when we want it.  This challenges us to practice acceptance, patience, trust, etc.  But in those moments, where we get what we want, when we want it….it feels pretty damn good!
Your Dedicated Farming Guy,
Daniel

Farmer Deb Loves Spring Turnip

White turnips, a delicious spring treat!

White turnip also called Tokyo turnip or hakurei is a sweet crisp salad turnip.
Use it raw, sliced ,grated or spiraled. It can be cooked, sauteed in butter  or miso, with the greens.
Or try a quick pickle with ginger.
They will only be available for a couple of weeks in the spring but don’t worry we have a batch of amber turnips that should be ready in June.
One  thing about eating seasonally and locally is it forces you to really appreciate the short time some veggies are at their peak and available in our community.
Yes ,Asparagus and Strawberries, Im talking about YOU!
Now is the time to think about how you could prolong your favourites by freezing or preserving.
I never get around to doing this but DO encourage friends and greatly appreciate their efforts!
Warmest regards,
Your dedicated farming gal,
Deb

What to expect from your ClearWater Basket Experience

Hi Friends,

Farmer Daniel here. I’ve been involved in growing for weekly veggie basket programs since the year 2000, and I wanted to give you a heads up about what you can expect from your ClearWater Basket Program experience. If you are looking for the selection you’d find in a grocery store, you are in the wrong place. If you are looking for the cheapest possible produce, look elsewhere. However, if you are looking for the tastiest food that is highly medicinal, and grown with love of people and the earth in mind, then the ClearWater Basket is for you! Through participating in our basket program you will be eating sustainably grown food, and what is in season in southern Ontario. Yes, this means sometimes you will get radishes multiple weeks in a row, and you will need to learn to get creative with kale and Swiss chard (or share it with your loved ones!) Beyond the flavour and incredible nutrition, the benefits of being part of a weekly produce program are immense. You are supporting a small farm focused on providing experiential educational opportunities to children. You will have the opportunity to be creative and flexible in the kitchen. You will know where your food comes from, and feel the peace of mind that comes from choosing to participate in a food system that enriches the earth, rather than harming it. In short, through the ClearWater Basket Program, you can expect to enrich your quality of life while changing the world. One radish at a time.

 

Update From Farmer Deb!

 

Update From Farmer Deb!

We started seeding in the (barely) finished greenhouses in early February. The first crop in a brand new environment with a few technical challenges. I was nervous! In farming, sometimes things out of your control go wrong and all your plans and hopes are just wiped away. Well not this time! Everything went amazingly well! We got a beautiful sunny March. The soil we created was extremely fertile and my makeshift irrigation system held together. In fact, it all worked so well everything was ready ahead of schedule. This almost never happens.We look forward to bringing you a wonderful variety of greens and roots, veg and fruits, throughout the season. We hope to keep you excited, curious and surprised by our selections.We aren’t just farmers we are mad about good food. It’s all we talk about!I would love to meet and show you around the farm this summer.There is nothing better than a Sun warmed tomato eaten right in the field.

Warmest regards,

Your dedicated farming gal,

Deb