A NEWSLETTER FROM THE SALT SPRING ISLAND FARMERS' INSTITUTE This is the Farmers' Institute newsletter for the Fall. Outside with my bar of soap and m



This is the Farmers' Institute newsletter for the Fall. Outside with my bar of soap and my swimming trunks (conserving water doesn't go away easily)
We welcome the SSI Agricultural Alliance to our newsletter. They are always digging up something.
Please FOLLOW THE RED LINKS TO WEBSITES OR VIDEOS. Below is a handy content list. .


Farm Status..........................................................................What You Should Know
About Our Fair........................................................................................Tony Threlfall
Events, Clubs, Updates
Farmer's Classified Ads
The Compost Pile........................................................................Jokes For Everyone
Famous Recipes....................................................................................Healthy Fries

What Farmers Should Know About Farm Status

Mark your calendar for this very important talk from the BC Assessment Authority

“What Farmers Should Know About Farm Status”

Wednesday, November 30th – 2pm at The Farmers' Insitute

This talk will be of interest to all farmers, whatever their scale of operation and to landowners who would like to see their land farmed. There have been some major changes in reporting requirements made a few years back. Reporting of income now matches the income tax year. There are also changes in the farm products that count towards tax status.
This talk will cover defining a farm and the income required for farm tax status for farms of different sizes as well as an overview of business plans for registering as an emerging farm. Also to be discussed will be what has to be deducted from income to calculate the amount that can be claimed.
Sponsored by the Salt Spring Island Poultry Club.

SSI Farmers’ Institute Fall Fair

by Tony Threlfall

Imagine, 120 years of producing a Fall Fair !....The Farmers' Institute has done that starting in 1896 . The first Fair was held in a purpose built community building now known as Central Hall which is still serving the community . We are already busy planning the 121st.

Rather than reviewing all of the various categories in the Fair, we thought that an overview of the whole Fair process and how that process has contributed to the Fair becoming such a long standing integral part of our community.

The Fall Fair Core Committee meets in January of every year and, after much discussion, determines the Fair theme for that year. The theme has to be determined early in the game so that all sections have an opportunity to include theme related entries. As an example, a quilter would have to know, well in advance, what the theme is so that their entry could reflect the theme.

Many of the areas in the Fair involve a lot of advance planning. For example, the two day stage presentation, which features many of Salt Spring's best known and busiest performers has to be carefully structured to avoid last minute cancellations and no shows. Since our Fair grounds are small and space limited, advance work with the food vendors is done early to ensure the best variety possible. Other commercial exhibitors have to be screened and numbers controlled to prevent chaos on set up day. March and April sees all section co-ordinators reviewing their section's catalogue information. The Fair theme has to be inserted into the pertinent categories and all other revisions completed before the rough catalogue draft is presented to the Driftwood for layout. At this time, all of the articles included in the catalogue have to be written, submitted and proof read. The catalogue is released and distributed on the last Wednesday of June. Between January and September, all co-ordinators meet with the Fair core committee every other month. Hopefully, these meetings give the co-ordinators the opportunity to address their concerns and to arrange any new or altered display concepts. While all this detail work is in progress, the maintenance crew is busy preparing for Fair day. Clean up, paint up, repair and build is the order of the day ! Late in August, the collection of entry forms begins and our computer crew starts to produce all of the cards, forms and records necessary to ensure the proper placement of entries, cards for display, and documents for the judges. All of these preparatory activities advance on their own schedule but magically come to fruition by the second weekend in September and we're ready for the exhibitors to bring their contributions which are paramount to the Fair's success. As we have often stated, the Fair committee merely supplies the venue. The community, with their exhibits, provide the show !

The Farmers' Institute has certain principals that are the back bone of the Fall Fair. We do not encourage sponsors as most of the Fairs in B.C. do. We do not offer grand prizes to entice people to attend the Fair. Some Fairs offer new cars, and other exotic prizes to entice attendance. We do not have any paid employees. Most of the Fairs in B.C. have, at the very least, a paid manager. Our community Fair functions totally with volunteers. Even the professional entertainers provide their talents voluntarily for the benefit of their community.. The Girl Guides wash the dishes, so that our Fair can reduce garbage, thereby making our Fair one of the greenest in the province. We feel the Fair is all about local participation. All of the advance preparation, briefly described above, is designed to make participation simple and pleasant. The section co-ordinators put a lot of effort into displaying and presenting the exhibits. We want your florals, produce, craft, hobbies, preserving or baking to be presented in the best possible and most attractive way.

The Farmers' Institute's objective is to present an unpretentious community event. It is an opportunity to show the community what you do. The vast majority of the attendees to the Fair are local residents, coming to see their relatives, neighbors or friend's entries, or, maybe, we hope, just to spend some time celebrating Salt Spring's unique life style !


Spinning Mill

by J. Fulker

As everyone now knows, the spinnng mill has closed its doors.
We will be having a one day sale on Saturday November 5th, from 11-3. The machinery from the mill has now been purchased and fortunately will remain on the island.
We are now clearing out the building in preparation for turning it over to the Farmers Institute who very generously allowed the mill to use the building for the past seventeen years. There are several items to be sold, including bags of fleece, wool, alpaca and mohair, electric motors, voltage regulators and motor speed controls, large plastic storage bins an on-demand propane water heater, filing cabinets etc. There are also a number of skeins of yarn, dyed and natural and some roving and felting supplies. Come and see what you can find.


Poster BB 2016


by Elizabeth White

Food, glorious local food and lots of it! The mandate of the Agricultural Alliance is to advance the Salt Spring Area Farm Plan. Therefore it seems appropriate to give thanks for the remarkable abundance of this year’s harvest, and to thank the many farmers and volunteers who have donated their time, along with produce, meat, cheese, baked goods, wine, etc. Your generosity has ensured the success of our magnificent summer Farm Dinners, scrumptious Fall Fair Lamburgers, and the upcoming grand finale of our year’s efforts, the Abattoir Birthday Bash.

These foodie events are fundraisers for the Agricultural Alliance, helping to pay for the capital costs associated with the Salt Spring Abattoir, and also showcase the increasing capacity and sophistication of our small island’s rebounding agricultural sector.

Tickets for the November 12th Abattoir Birthday Bash are $40, available online at www.plantofarm.org, and at Foxglove Farm & Garden Supply. The event is at Fulford Hall this year and features a three course buffet dinner, with meat and vegetarian options, cash bar with local beer, wine, cider and kombucha, and a silent auction with a large array of interesting consumables, services and other items. The MC is the inimitable Arthur Black. Music by Yael Wand. Tickets always sell out, so get yours early. If you would like to reserve a table for eight, call Anne Macey 250-537-5511. It is not too late to contribute a pie, preserves, an hour of your time, or anything else to the silent auction. Call Mary Richardson to arrange 250-537-8707.
See you on November 12th at Fulford Hall!

SSIFarmlandTrustLogo-3 colour-02



The Farmland Trust still has ACREAGE AVAILABLE FOR LONG TERM RENTAL at Burgoyne Valley Community Farm 2232 Fulford-Ganges Road.

We are accepting responses to our Request For Proposals (RFP) for these three parcels.

For more information and to submit proposals:
Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust Society
107 Castle Cross Rd,
Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 2G1
email: ssifarmlandtrust@shaw.ca
250 537 5302

Please review the documents for:
1) Request for Proposals (RFP)
2) Memorandum or Agreement
3) Policies
4) Soil Analysis Report


Get On The Waiting list

(20’ x 50’) - $40 per year.
For info see www.ssifarmlandtrust.org
Review: Shaw Family Gardens Handbook
for rules and application form.
Email: ssifarmlandtrust@shaw.ca
or 250-537-5302


by Mike Hogan

On Thursday the 27th of October at the Farmers Institute meeting room the Salt Spring Poultry Club hosted a talk by Tim McGiffin of Mile End Farm in Cobble Hill. http://mileendfarm.com/index.html Mile End Farm, in the Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island BC, is known for top quality laying hens, pork, lamb, meat chicken, eggs and purple striped hard-necked garlic.

Tim spoke to 30 people on his methods and thoughts for raising healthy meat and egg producing chickens. Tim talked about production type breeds, heritage breeds and the pros and cons of each. He covered feeding, housing, predator protection and general husbandry. He past on several useful tips such as how to make a dozen eggs look their best for sale and how to introduce new birds to a flock. Tim imports several thousand birds a year, both meat and egg varieties which he sells as day old chicks or 4 week old which no longer need heat and are ready to go to pasture. Most of his sales are to small back yard flocks for families that want a few roasters in the freezer or enough eggs for the family.

An interested note from Tim regarding the debate about chickens in more urban areas.

https://www.chickensandyou.com/7_Myths.html There is an interesting precedence for employing family flocks as part of trash management. One example is the town of Deist in Flanders Belgium. The city buys laying hens to give to residents who want them. The chickens "job" is to divert food waste from the trash stream and eliminates it from having to be picked up by workers, transported and then disposed of. The savings is significant.

Tim is a knowledgeable fun presenter and left us with some great information that made for an enjoyable afternoon.

A big thanks to Margaret Thomson for having organized this event.

The next poultry club presentation (organized by you know who!) is November 30th and will be a presentation and discussion of farm tax status by representatives of BC Assessment Authority. This talk will be of great interest to the agricultural and farming community. If you have land that you would like to see qualify for farm tax status plan on attending.

freedom rangers poultry club

Freedom Rangers

chicken in cob

Ckicken In a Cob

spinners picture


by Margaret Thomson

There’s more to Guild activities than just spinning on a wheel or weaving on a loom. There’s creativity involved at every stage of production.

Members choose their own raw materials, then design their own yarns and woven textiles, choosing colours to fit the project. The inspiration might be the beauty and variety of the natural world, or images based on a theme such as food or precious stones. The end result could be a useful household item (teatowel, apron), or a warm piece of clothing (hat, scarf, socks). Lengths of cloth (yardage) for cutting up and making into tailored clothing yield odd shaped scraps of material that challenge the maker to invent ever smaller items. Doll clothes? Pin cushions? A piece of wall art?

The Thanksgiving weekend Show and Sale featured a wide ranging collection of high quality items made by members. This is now an annual event, offering gift ideas for every imaginable occasion. This is a major source of funding for the Guild, so it was gratifying that revenue equaled last year’s, in spite of the blustery weather. Please mark the next sale, October 7-9, on your 2017 calendar.

Guild member's handiwork continues to be on display at various events throughout the year, with opportunities for the public to learn more about the design process and to sample weaving and spinning for themselves. Artspring's Celebration of the Arts was the latest of these events. Please visit our website to see the latest events and to register for courses.


7-9 pm at the High School
Jan 3, Feb 7, Mar 7
No charge. Materials provided.
Registration via saltspringweaversandspinners.com


This November we will be holding a 3 day beginner weaving class for adults who want to learn the basics of weaving. This class will familiarise you with setting up a loom and weaving a project. No experience needed.

November 18, 19, 20
Registration via saltspringweaversandspinners.com


A Singing Bee!


by Wendi Gilson

What's The Buzz
This week we had the pleasure of a visit from Paul van Westendorp our provincial apiculturist. Paul came to Salt spring as part of a larger tour of bee clubs in our region .His intent in visiting and in accordance with the ministry of agriculture/ apiculture'a mandate to prevent the spread of disease ,was to speak to bee keepers about bee health ,especially the number one threat to colonies today - varroa destructor .
Many bee keepers question and discuss whether the issues bees face today are more a result of other factors such as environmental dedegration, pesticide use ,monoculture and lack of nutrition.
While these things do play a part and are of concern - the fact remains - varroa is the problem . On a scale of 1-10 - varroa is 10 .
Paul made the decision to visit the bee clubs on Van island and salt spring based on the inspection reports he received from myself and David macDonald which indicated that so many colonies were faced with such high varroa counts that it's almost certain that they will all perish before Christmas .
The reason for this dismal state of affairs is that many bee keepers have adopted a " hands off " approach to bee keeping .No action is taken towards controlling varroa .They disdain the use of treatments in the colony and consider a policy of " not interfering with the bees" a sound option .
As well ,beekeepers who do monitor for varroa and treat as required are faced with mites arriving from collapsing colonies that were not attended to .
Keep in mind that beekeeping is a communal activity . Bees are not isolated on properties like chickens , sheep and other livestock . They meet in the fields and on flowers and diseases spread fast , especially varroa .
I urge all beekeepers -whether just starting out or more seasoned -to compare their well intentioned and lofty values to the answer to the simple question - what is best for the bees ?
Answer - varroa control- we have the tools to deal with it .
I encourage new beekeepers to take a course or two . Beekeeping is now one of the most detailed forms of animal agriculture .
The ministry of agriculture / apiculture offers a free webinar on beginning beekeeping . The details are on their website . There are many other courses and possibilities for education - here on Saltspring I offer a season long apprentice beekeepers course .Details at Black Horse Apiary fb page .The combination of the webinar offered by the ministry and the field visits available through our course could give a new beekeeper a pretty good start to the fascinating world of bees .
They are getting ready for winter now .Most queens have stopped laying and they are forming their winter cluster . Bees don't want to be disturbed right now while they prepare their domestic affairs .
The bees in the colonies right now are winter bees .Unlike their sisters - the summer bees - whose lives are brief , adventurous and daring , these winter bees live in the hive all winter - up to five months . They will take care of everything ( the queen ) until she stirs - sometime around solstice and begins to lay their replacements .
On a sunny day they will take cleansing flights and forage on things like Heather and English ivy .
Now is a time for reading about bees . Learn about their biology . How many eyes do they have ?What is their favourite colour ?
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions
Wendi Gilson
BC Ministry of Agriculture
Apiary Inspector
250 882 2852



by Riley Byers

Salt Spring Abattoir sees another record production year
The abattoir on Salt Spring Island has seen continual growth, both in plant efficiency as well as an increase in production, year on year. The 2016 season has seen the physical completion of an upgrade enabling for both hogs and cattle to be processed on island. Although cattle have not yet been brought online, the number of hogs processed at the plant continue to grow. The Abattoir Society is working hard to bring on new revenue streams, including value added pet food sales, hanging of wild game, smoking/curing of pork products, and just recently received approval from the BC Meat Inspection Agency to add rabbit to the list of species the abattoir is able to process.
Don't forget to buy your tickets to the annual birthday bash, this year at Fulford Hall on November 12th.
Check out our booking page online



by Loretta Rithaler

Whew! What a busy year it has been!

Following the recent newsletter, the 4H Club members, leaders, and volunteers have been swamped with preparations for fairs, the events that provide opportunities for the members to show and share their project work which they have dedicated themselves to for the year.

August and September (fair season) is the busiest time for the 4H members and their projects. The animal project members (rabbit, poultry and sheep) keep themselves busy carding for, trimming, bathing and training their animals for show in the show ring, before judges. We are delighted to report that our members have worked incredibly hard this year, with tremendous success!

The members participated in three big events during these months:

Coombs Fair – Seven of our intermediate and senior members participated in the Coombs fair with entries in Sheep and Rabbit projects. Our members did very well. It was a great learning opportunity for the first fair of the season, and prepared them of possible expectations at future events. All of our members received acknowledgment for their showmanship work and received first or second place in their showmanship and various breed classes. There were 54 sheep in a number of events throughout the Sunday, with Nathan’s Yearling coming out on top in the yearling class. Great job, Nathan! William also participated in Rabbit Project all day Saturday. It was a very long day, but in the end he was recognized for his work with “Peter Rabbit” in Showmanship and Breed classes. A fantastic judge in this section was extremely helpful and encouraging to over 60 entries. Well done!

Pender Fair – Intermediate and Senior members of the Sheep and Rabbit projects put on a fabulous display and mini-sheep show for the visitors and audience at the Pender Fair. The Fair Coordinator, Barb was able to provide some judging comments for the members and commentary to the interested fairgoers, about what 4H is all about and

Salt Spring Island Fall Fair – This was our club’s achievement day. We were lucky to have involvement by some fabulous judges, which included past alumni and some great folks from Vancouver Island and the Mainland, as well as some local judges from various community groups. We are so grateful for their involvement – we couldn’t have a successful achievement day without you!

As a result of everyone’s efforts, our members (and visiting members) received well-deserved recognition for their work in:
- showmanship
- breed classes
- demonstrations
- displays

Ribbons were awarded in classes for the following projects:
- Sheep
- Rabbit
- Poultry
- Photography
- Woolcraft
- Cloverbuds

Excellent work everyone!

The kids really enjoyed having the opportunity to host visiting 4H members, their families and leaders from the Parksville-Qualicum Oddstock Club and the Cowichan Community Club. Their poultry entries provided a welcome addition to Emily’s entries, and a great opportunity to learn and share information about “all things poultry”, including a judging event which Christine arranged. Some Rabbit members added company to “Peter’s Rabbit Corner” – which provided some welcome competition there. We had the addition of 3 Photography members and one Cloverbud member to the youngest 4H group, as well as 4 members from the Parksville-Qualicum Woolcraft project who provided a beautiful display and demonstrations of the fabulous work they have created throughout their project year.

The 4H photography building once again showed off a beautiful display of photographs by not only our two local club members, but 3 visiting members. Thank you for your representations of 4H project work and some of the fun activities that the various clubs participate in throughout the year. We are once again grateful to the Judges for giving their valuable and thoughtful commentary for the members to recognize their meaningful project work.

The participation of visiting 4H members makes the experience for our local members that much more enjoyable, as they have a chance to meet new friends, touch base with old ones , share their love of 4H with the community at large, and provides opportunities for competition and additional achievement for our members

Friday evening’s rainy weather curtailed the original plans for members to have a sleepover in the 4H barn, but we are grateful for the permission to do so from the Fair Committee. Members hope to plan a little earlier to do this next year.

Saturday’s events finished with a 4H barbecue at the Rithaler farm for all 4H members, their families, volunteers and Judges! We were excited to have the visiting Sheep Judges (Sherri and Terry Thorne from Langley) and Rabbit Judge (Danica Jensen and family, former 4H Alumni and leaders) join us for the evening. Thanks to all these folks for a great get-together, the “4H way”, sharing lots of food, fun and laughter.

Cloverbuds - The Cloverbuds met in August for their project meeting and in September just before the Saltspring Fair to work on their Scarecrow for entry and to finish up preparations for their Cloverbud display at the 4H Barn, with Anna and Jaylene. Illness took a bit of a toll on participation, but those that could come did, and did they ever work hard! The Cloverbud display at the fair was lovely, with displays showing each of the member’s record books, some of the crafts they completed and several photos of the activities and events they were part of throughout the 4H year. On Fair day, all members arrived and were ab le to have some fun with a “bubble-making” activity, inviting friends to try it out. This was also a great chance for the young members to show off what they’ve learned, with one of our Cloverbuds presenting a brief “speak and show” about her naked neck chicken. Well done everyone! Another meeting in early November will wrap up their project work with a Safety session, and preparations for the upcoming Club Banquet.

Thanks to Parent Volunteers - Many thanks go to club leaders and parent volunteers for their tireless work in taking on construction tasks in the barn to prepare and accommodate all the fabulous entries. It was well worth it and the barn looks terrific! And the members refreshed the barn with a coat of paint where time permitted. Looks great everyone!

The members have now submitted their project Record books for marking – and all members of the Sheep and Rabbit projects are preparing to take their Junior Proficiency Exams for their current projects. Success will allow them the opportunity to participate in future events as “senior members” and begin earning Senior Skill Certificates in their project work.

Our annual Club Awards Night and Banquet will take place on November 19th. It is the next event we all look forward to. This event is the time we set aside for a yummy dinner and a chance to make special presentations of thanks to our community Sponsors, Judges, Volunteers, and of course recognize the members for their year’s project work.

It’s always a bit sad to bring the year to a close, but is also an opportunity to look forward to the coming year and all the excitement that new projects and hopefully new membership will bring.

Thank you everyone for your support and enthusiasm this 4H year….. and by the way, November 2nd is National 4H Day. We look forward to your continuing support by asking you to wear your 4H green to Celebrate 4H on November 2nd”!


Organic straw for sale

Large square bales of wheat (Marquis) straw. Grower can be delivered to Salt Spring Island. Hopefully we can pool orders to have a trailer load delivered. If interested please contact Ben at Treasure Life Flour Mills. cherrerageo@yahoo.com Tel 250 428 4414




Famous Recipes

Oven French Fries

Here is a good way to enjoy those bad french fires. Indulge yourself with this somewhat healthy alternative
You will need at least 2 large Yukon Gold potatos for one serving.
Method 1 - Not So Quick Fries
Wash potatoes and cut them into semi-thin strips.
Place strips in a bowl and add cool water to cover the potatoes.
Wash out some of the"starch" and then drain the potatoes well.
Mix in the olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Mix all of the potatoes well so that they all get coated evenly.
Spray a cookie sheet with PAM and then place the potatoes on top.
Cook at 350F for approximately 20-25 minutes (flip them over halfway through) Serve and enjoy!
Method 2 - Quick Fries
Cut fries thinner than thicker in a bowl. Add a liberal pouring of olive oil. Mix with spoon.
Place on cookie sheet (with parchment paper) sprinkle with pepper and salt.
in 350 Degree oven for 1/2 hr.


The Apple Core

We are too busy juicing, see you in three months

NOV., 2016