First things first — we are so very grateful to have you as member of our vegetable basket program for the 2020 season!

Your vegetables make quite a phenomenal journey to get from seed to table. H ere at Ottawa Valley Farm to Fork, we want nothing more than to share that journey with you. So, as part of our program, our summer team member Julia will be curating this bi-weekly newsletter, Fresh off the Farm , with stories and photos from the farm, plus recipes based on our basket and any other content we may feel inspired to share with you.

We hope to give you an honest glimpse into the ups and downs of farm life, and to share our joy and passion for the true wonder of nature that is food! Welcome to our world, where love, hard work and quality products abound.

Here we are, moving into the third week of June already. Time sure flies when you’re hard at work. (That is the expression, isn’t it?)

Springtime is always the busiest on a farm, and this season has been no exception for us. Its late arrival didn’t help! The last few weeks have seen days full of planting, seeding, weeding, and preparing tough plots of earth — some of which have not been cultivated in decades — as we race to get everything settled into the ground.

Our peas are coming up as some of the stars of the show. Here they are below, with Linden and Monty on a cloudy day last week. They’ve grown a lot since this photo was taken, and are ready to start climbing skyward.

More often than not, organic farmers live and work at the mercy of the weather, and recently, its erratic ways took a toll on some of our more finicky plants. A few of our young cucumbers — who thrive in dry, sunny conditions — fell victim to a rainy spell after their roots became oversaturated with water and suffered dieback, a disease commonly known as root rot.

Low overnight temperatures also came rolling in, in late May and again this past weekend. This could have caused big problems for many of our plants, but some fast action and creative problem solving kept things relatively cozy as temperatures hovered around zero.

Cucumbers: some are gone, but many grow strong!

Nursery pots: a makeshift forcefield against frost.

Recipe of the Week: Spinach-Walnut Pesto with Roasted Garlic

This week our kitchen staff was busy trying out new recipes, including this delicious spinach pesto — the perfect use for your basket spinach!

Hailing from Italy, Pesto is traditionally made with basil and pine nuts, which we’ve swapped for ingredients that are more evergreen and everyday in our region, not to mention more budget friendly. Don’t be shy to experiment, though — pesto can be made with a huge variety of nuts and greens.

This recipe yields about a cup and requires a food processor or good blender.

What you’ll need:

  • 4 cups spinach, washed & dried
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp, pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil

How you’ll do it:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F (a toaster oven works great for this!)
  • Peel back the garlic’s papery outer layers, leaving the head intact. Trim the top off the head so that each clove is exposed. Drizzle with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, letting the oil seep down into each clove.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
  • While the garlic is roasting, toast the walnuts over medium heat until they are fragrant and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  • Remove stems from spinach and coarsely chop. Place into bowl of food processor. Add walnuts, parmesan, lemon, salt & pepper.
  • Remove roasted garlic from oven and remove each clove using a spoon. Add to food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped.
  • Drizzle in olive oil and pulse until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as necessary. For a looser pesto, add more oil (or alternatively, a splash of warm water).

Enjoy your fresh pesto as a sauce for pasta, spread for bread or dip for veggies. We hope you’ll give it a try, and if you do, let us know how it goes!

Until next time!

Ottawa Valley Farm to Fork