The Weblog

This page contains news, event information, and other items added by myself, the intrepid farmer-in-process at Old 99. I send out a message every week, but most are set with a delete date about two weeks later. I archive some of the posts if they have content other than weekly availability of produce and meat.

You can send me questions too, which if they are of a general nature, I can post to this Old99 blog.

Subscribe to an RSS Feed

Market Day Change Reminder

Ian’s internet is down today, so I’m posting on his behalf and following on his latest post. Next week’s market day is Wednesday, regular hours. Kindly, please place your orders on time. Thank you in advance,

Old 99 Farm, week of Jan 25 2015

Hi, surprised to be hearing from me on a friday evening? Next week I’ll be going to the Guelph Organic Conference on Thurs through Sunday. If want to go with us, we can carpool for up to 4 people.

I’d like to have the market here on Wednesday evening, usual 4 to 6. If you would prefer to pick up at a different time, I can make arrangements, like leaving your order in the cooler in the store.

My grain mill is now back in service so i will be able to offer wyw milled whole wheat and spelt flours.

Does anyone on on this list already belong to the Ontario Natural Foods Coop as a buying club member? I’m thinking this could be interesting to create a club based here so you can pick up what you buy through ONFC at the same time as you come to the farm.
If you are interested in joining, or already are a member, pleased drop me a line via email. There is no charge for membership.

Carrot recipe
German Carrot Salad (from Acres USA mag Nov 2009)
1.5 cups shredded carrots
10 TBS veg oil
4 TBSP vinegar (white wine suggested)
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 TPSP honey
1 bunch fresh dill chopped or 1 tsp dried
salt and pepper to taste
1 shredded apple (optional)
Combine all and let sit for 30 minutes min or up to 24 hrs preferred so flavours mingle.

Yes, I have lots of carrots!

Healthy Eating
Ian and Camelia

Old 99 FArm, week of Jan 19 2015

Needless to say, this is getting to you too late to be much help as reminder to order this week. (The regulars have mostly placed their orders without my mail in their inbox)

We have some chicken broth for sale this week, at $10/liter plus jar exchange. (bring a jar take a jar) I’m using mason jars with sealable lids.

We have Hubbard squash in 500gm freezer bags, cut up and ready to cook. This is a trial, to see if the reason squashes aren’t that popular is because of their size.

Lots of eggs.

See you tomorrow!
Healthy eating,
Ian and Cami

Old 99 Farm, week of Jan 11 2015

The Guelph Organic Conference is coming up soon, Jan 29 to Feb 1, but the main event is the sat/sun weekend. You can go for free, no admission on the weekend, and visit over 200 booths in the tradeshow, or $40/day for workshops (choose 5 from 20 on sat, 3 from 12 on sunday) The tracks are themed: Organic Crop Production, Organic Livestock Management, Urban Agriculture and CityFarm issues, Pollination, Horticulture and Production, and Permaculture & Restoration Agriculture.
Friday evening there is an Organic Foods/Holistic Health symposium for $40. See the website for details. Prices go up after Jan 14.

The egg situation has stabilized, thank you for helping out via my buy 3 get 4 incentive. Wouldntya know it, the hens drastically cut back this week, for as yet unknown reasons, so I might be short now! Needless to say, regular terms are in effect as of yesterday.

We harvested several bushels of carrots from the greenhouse, very tasty due to the cold: Eliot Coleman calls them ‘sugar carrots’ and sells out every year. We have the baby size and regular size.

Another helpful book from the Weston A Price Foundation is now available at local bookstores: Nourishing Broth, about the legion health benefits of bone broths and their many uses. I’m right into it. There is a chapter on each of 11 different diseases or afflictions that broth can help. And then many recipes for broth and its uses.

As of Jan 11th, we can offer 57+ items including the following crops: salad greens, mint, beet root, chard, celeriac, carrots, squashes (hubbard, butternut, Sibley, buttercup, spaghetti and delicata), mixed greens, green onions and lettuce. There are lots of eggs and honey.

Camelia is cooking prepared foods from our produce: garlic pesto, cucumber relish, quiches (on order).

Would anyone be interested in bone broths prepared by Camelia? We could sell in 1 or 2 L jars, with deposit. Would you pay $10/L? Options could be beef, chicken, lamb or pork. Feedback requested.

We have lots of ground beef and a quarter side. I have 5 lambs in the freezer, as well as veal. The pork is selling well as are the stewing hens.

Healthy eating
Ian and Camelia

Old 99 Farm, week of Jan 4 2015

First thank you to the thoughtful Old 99 loyalists who gave us a gift of something home cooked or brewed, or a card and well-wishes over the Holiday Season. You reeally made our day!

I learned recently that Jan 1st is a very important day for chickens in California. Yes their new egg law is being implemented. Proposition 2,(2008)requires that all shell eggs for sale in the state come from hens afforded enough space to turn around and stretch their wings and fly, well, maybe walk and hop.

How much space do the scientists think a hen needs to comply with the new law? A spacious 116 square inches, as it turns out. That’s a nice upgrade from the very stingy 67 square inches (less than a piece of writing paper) afforded to hens unfortunate enough to be born into the battery cage neighborhood.

To comply many egg producers are just reducing the number of birds per cage which in the short run, means fewer eggs laid. Out of state producers have to comply too, if they want to sell in California.

The industry spin is generally the same; California voters approved the measure ultimately causing a decrease in the size of the flocks supplying the egg market *with a corresponding increase in the cost of eggs. *

There’s an economy of scale example to illustrate in real-life why small pastured producers have eggs that cost more. But are eggs at today’s prices expensive?

If a price of eggs costs $6 per dozen, that’s really 50 cents per egg. That means two sunny-side up eggs for breakfast is $1. You can’t buy a latte, a 20 ounce root beer, a pack of cigarettes, or a gallon of gas for a $1. The US pastured poultry average for a dozen of eggs is $5.20 per dozen with premiums paid for organic and soy-free production.

While the hens supplying California’s cheap egg markets have more space to live, it doesn’t result in a better quality egg. And it doesn’t eliminate cages. This is part that nobody is really talking about. Here in Canada, there is no law forbidding confinement cages for layers. That’s why you can buy eggs for $2/doz. But do they taste good? Are they nutritious? do you care about animal rights to not subsidize that industrial mode of egg production?

I figure pasture produces better quality and provides a suitable welfare environment for the chickens. There are many studies to back up the nutritional differences in pasture-raised eggs. Also, there is no caged production and the living space for pastured hens can be measured in square feet with additional space for foraging. My 90 birds have 400 sq ft inside and 8000 square feet of outside space and were eating grass on Xmas day! (Mild winter helps:)

That is the context for my “Let’s all eat eggs” campaign here for the next while. I have happy hens producing more eggs that you’all are buying. So puleez, get your neighours and co-workers interested in pastured eggs. I’m offering a free dozen with every 3 you buy. That works out to $4.50 a dozen. Buy three, get four. Sounds like an omelet to me!

The greenhouse offerings are still plentiful, with salad greens, kale, collards, spinach, green onions, and carrots. More root crops in the cold cellar. Lots of meats in the cooler, including stewing hens.

Healthy eating
Ian and Camelia

OLd 99 Farm, Week of Dec 28 2014

The last post of 2014! And it’s still green outside. I saw a couple of blooms on the forsythia bush outside my window.

The offerings are still plentiful here at the farm, greens, eggs, meats, root vegetables and some homecooked delights from Camelia. Check the website for details.

I’m using the list to get the word out about The People’s Platform project of HAmilton Civic League.
Here is our first opportunity in 2015 for Hamiltonians to network with like-minded neighbours:

Norman Kearney of The People’s Platform is organizing a town hall meeting for Tuesday, January 20, 2015 from 7:00 to 9:00 P.M. in the Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall, 71 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8P 4Y5.

The meeting is titled “Making Every Voice Count” and its themes are direct democracy and social justice. Maria Antelo of the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic is the moderator. Norman wrote,

“I have already invited organizers of the participatory budgets in wards 1 and 2, and I will be presenting a review on The People’s Platform. I have also extended an invitation to community development workers who are involved with the neighbourhood hubs. I would like the event to emphasize the voices of residents, rather than staff and elected officials, since direct democracy is about fostering active participation of amateurs, whereas representative democracy emphasizes the roles of experts and professionals. . . . We very much want this event to have a spectacular and diverse attendance so that it sends a clear signal to City Hall: the people of Hamilton want and are ready for a say in planning and spending decisions. . .”

I can commend an excellent book to you, The Once and Future Great Lakes Country, about the ecohistory of our incredibly benign and fertile geography and what changes have occurred over millenia due to human and climatic influences. The auther is John L Riley, sr science advisor at Canadian Nature Conservancy and much more. He’s a heavy hitter in the conservation/sustainability movement.

Healthy eating
Ian and Camelia

Xmas Week, Old 99 Farm

A quick note to remind and state the obvious, will not be open for pickup on Thurs tomorrow. But will be on Saturday 4 to 6pm, for your usual orders. Special arrangements can be made.

Here’s our Year in Review at the Farm.

Old 99 Year in Review.

A friend sent me her 2014 yearly letter with a xmas card and it made me decide to do one too.
The mindmap brainstorm Cami and I did over breakfast yielded these categores: visitors and interns, health and personal, new plantings, rootcellar, kitchen projects, critters and the major building projects.

New plantings
The obvious addition is a polyculture garden beside the new in 2013 farm store planted over several months, mainly by most helpful intern, Janine S. It now has fruit trees, blackberries and raspberries, (watered by swales moving rainwater from the store roof ); currants and kiwis, in addition to the peach, and nut trees already there. We got most of the tree cribs in the 10 paddocks planted and mulched, finishing the work that started in 2013 with the French visitors. Tree cribs,will keep the cows away from about 60 saplings for the next 10 years, while them mature. We planted lots of garlic and squash on ‘Berry Hill’ which early in the year attracted in succession, geese, chickens, sheep and cows to nibble. Still got a crop! Both greenhouses were in use all year, as poultry coop, lambing shed, winter greens, summer tomatoes, and now carrots and greens.

Visitors and Interns
Unlike 2013 when we had about 15 young people come stay with us for weeks at a time, we only had three visitors this year and our intern, Janine S from Ancaster. Thanks to these people a lot of projects advanced faster than they would have. I have many fond memories. We put 800 bales of hay and straw in the barn with help of Old99 customers and friends, mostly women I might add! Friends came from Toronto, and some family help all the way from the UK, thanks Carsons! Michael L from Germany stayed for two months and ran the farm with Cami while I went to a week long permaculture teacher training. Mike could handle milking four cows by hand all alone after a month’s practice. Nicolas from Toulouse stayed for two weeks this very month, helping with chores and harvest.

Kitchen projects.
Cami loves to cook as many of you well know. In fact the feedback in the guestbook from visitors says it best. This year she started making conserves, fermented vegetables and jellies for home and sale in the store. Not so much got canned this year, as the fruit crop was insignificant, but we do enjoy her whey fermented pickles. We got the new rootcellar stocked with bushels (that’s 35L = 1 bu) of carrots, celeriac, beets, potatoes, leek and onions, and squashes of various sorts.

Health and personal
I’ve been putting up with a sore back for years now, but his year it came to a crunch and I went to see various practitioners for relief. Good I did, because an x-ray showed a pinched nerve in the lumbar region which could only get worse.
Cami was ‘stampeded’ by a few sheep last April when we were putting the new lambs out to pasture, knocking her off her feet and breaking a bone or two in her leg, It seems minor at the time, but she was off work for two months and still in a foot cast in July.

The population swells to about 450 mouths to feed at mid summer. We had 17 lambs, 6 calves, 6 Maremma pups, numerous chickens, ducks and geese all born here. Three piglets had a good life for 6 months before butchering day. I helped a local young farmer get started with her herd of heritage Lynch Lineback cattle, which is gratifying because there are only about 30 known females alive.
The chickens did well pasturing without fences under the guard of the Maremmas, Rama and Sheba and 150 ended up in various ovens, as well as 50 stewing hens and roosters.

Building projects.
The big one this year was a wonderful arched cover over the barnyard for the cows in winter. My friend, Robert vanZanten, a Vineland, market gardener, greenhouse erector and craftsman, designed a unique solution in time for the fall bad weather.
The Hobbit house, a greenhouse built into the side of a hill facing south is now equipped with an underground heating and cooling system, passive sola,r and will soon become the site for growing woody plants, and perennials, as well as a sauna!

Cami and I are enjoying as much time together as we can manage, with her school teaching in Mississauga and my being ‘harnessed with a saddle’ as Robert Lynch likes to say about milking cows. We enjoy the life, believe in the future of local self-reliant homesteading and look forward to more years of doing permaculture here at Old 99. Come by and visit when you can.

Old 99 Farm, Week of Dec 14 2014

Yes, another mild spell is upon us, no snow and no frost in the ground. Normal for this time of year is -2 to -6dC, which is forecast to catch up with us by mid week.

I have the Old 99 pork now in the freezer: cuts include loin chops, butt chops, side ribs, bacon, smoked hams, picnic roast, smoked hocks, fresh hocks and feet, lard, sausage and ground. A half pig provides about 65 lb of meat, at about 15 discount from buying the same mix of cuts at retail.

Also have 50 stewing hens now in the freezer; these are my two year old layers and some Sussex roosters. Price is $7/kg most weight around 2kg.

We continue to have a good selection of greens and root vegetables.

Next thurs is last market day before Christmas, will do a market on Sat Dec 27th. If you need something special or in a hurry, feel free to call.

In the area of food education, I just received three new dvds: Fed Up (sugar in our food causing epidemic scale havoc with our metabolism), GMO OMG, about yes, genetically molested foods and why it’s a problem (suited to family viewers) and Genetic Roulette (we haven’t viewed this one yet). If you would like to borrow any of these, just let me know.

Healthy eating,
Ian and Camelia.

Old 99 Farm, week of Dec 7 2014

Carrots are in the cold cellar, 4 bushels of them (that’s 140 L, which sounds more impressive )

The pork cutting instructions have been given to the butcher and you will be able to pick up your half or individual cuts on Thurs 18th, that’s next week.

As of Dec 7th, we can offer 60+ items including the following crops: salad greens, arugula, mint, spinach, beet root (two varieties, Detroit Red and Chiogga), chard, celeriac, carrots, collards, squashes (hubbard, butternut, Sibley, buttercup, spaghetti and delicata).

Camelia is cooking prepared foods from our produce: garlic pesto, cucumber relish, quiches (on order).

Beef cuts are now limited but I have lots of ground beef. I have 5 lambs in the freezer, as well as veal. Geese and chicken are sold out. I have live stewing hens for sale at $6 each.

The pork will be back from the butcher on December 18th.

My current price is $6/XL doz. I sell mixed size dozens that weigh at least 588 gm (medium), 672 grams, the ‘large’ size dozen, and Extra Large, 770gm plus carton. Please bring in recycled cartons.

Raw Honey
The summer crop is extracted from the comb and available. You bring your jar and fill it here, or buy in prefilled mason jars.

Thank you to all bringing in recycled egg cartons, hold off now, I have several months supply.

OLd 99 Farm Week of Nov 30 2014

This is the week to shout CARROTS CARROTS! Ours are still in the ground, cool and crispy, getting sweeter with the frosty weather. Very tasty for eating fresh but quite fine for cooking too. Prices reduced on orders over 3kg by 20%.

Leeks are ready to be harvested, also still in the ground for flavour development. And in the cold cellar, root crops, squashes and garlic.

As of Nov 30th, we can offer 60+ items including the following crops: mint, beet tops, spinach, beet root (two varieties, Detroit Red and regular), chard, celeriac, carrots, collards, squashes (hubbard, butternut, Sibley, buttercup, spaghetti and delicata) and kale.

Camelia is cooking prepared foods from our produce: garlic pesto, cucumber relish, quiches (on order). Arugula pesto is her latest and it’s a delight, but you can make your own too!

Beef cuts are now available, a total of about 300 lbs of pastured meats. There are several geese in the freezer. I have 5 lambs in the freezer, still have about 10 chickens as well as veal.
I have listed pork now so that you can order specific cuts and I’ll know how to instruct the butcher: pork coming in December.

My current price is $6/XL doz. I sell mixed size dozens that weigh at least 588 gm (medium), 672 grams, the ‘large’ size dozen, and Extra Large, 770gm plus carton. Please bring in recycled cartons.