A NEWSLETTER FROM THE SALT SPRING ISLAND FARMERS' INSTITUTE This is the Farmers' Institute newsletter for August. So give yourself a little rest afte



This is the Farmers' Institute newsletter for August. So give yourself a little rest after all that haying and have a read with your favourite beverage.

Please FOLLOW THE BLUE LINKS TO WEBSITES OR VIDEOS. Below is a handy content list.

Usha Rautenbach continues with part four of The Burgoyne Valley.


ADULTS - $10/DAY, 2 DAY PASS $12
SENIORS - Show your Care Card for a $1 refund per day
AGES 7 to 17 - $5/DAY, 2DAY $6


Events, Clubs, Updates
Our Farming Community Remembers...........................Ken Byron Sr.
Celebrating The Family Farm......................................George Laundry
Farm Animals Affectionately Remembered.................................Nash
A Young Male Ass.....................................................Caroline Hickman
The Apple Core............................................... Sweet and Sour Cherries
The Burgoyne Valley Part 4.....................................Usha Rautenbach
The Compost Pile.....................................................Jokes for Everyone
Breaking Through The Grass Ceiling.........................Fiona Campbell
Famous Recipes............................................................Driftwood Steak



Heritage Day was held at The Farmers' Institute on Sunday July 20th.

The Directors of the Salt Spring Farmers' Heritage Foundation, formerly the I.F.I. Foundation, wish to express our thanks to all of the volunteers and participants in the recent Heritage Day event. The event was a great success with many favourable comments being passed on by people attending. We hope that next year we will be able to expand the number of craft displays which are intended to showcase the equipment and techniques used by the early settlers.

The I.F.I. Foundation has now had it's name formally changed to the Salt Spring Farmers' Heritage Foundation. We feel that this better reflects the mandate of the foundation which is to promote better public awareness of the lives of the early settlers and farmers on the island. The museum is the anchor for our activities and we plan to expand events around the museum and organize special days for schools to participate. Directors of the foundation are John Fulker, Tony Threlfall, Conrad Pilon, John Woodward , George Laundry and John Wiebe.








Two Happy Folks




Fun With Goats


Museum Addition



Update - Museum Extension

Applying 21st century building codes to a 19th century building can be challenging however great progress has been made by the Tuesday morning work group on the major expansion of the Museum.
Take a peek next time you do your recycling.



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).
Proposals for up to 10 acres are reviewed as received until the land is completely rented. There is still space available
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

at Burgoyne Valley Community Farm
Although all our plots have all been rented, you can get on our waiting list.
(20’ x 50’) are available for rental of $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

Clubs & Updates of Interest


The Salt Spring Poultry Club and Abattoir Society are planning a workshop titled Growing Healthy Meat Chickens, this coming winter at the Farmers Institute. Guest speaker will be Lori Gillis of “The Cluck Stops Here” in Coombs. Once the date has been announced Foxglove Farm and Garden will take registrations and payment..

The workshop will cover the various kinds of chicken that can be grown for meat and how they differ, their feeding and housing needs and preparation for slaughter. Beginners will learn how to safely get their young birds home and keep them alive and well, and how to minimize the disappointment and distress that new growers so often experience when things go wrong. Anyone attending this workshop will learn how to reduce the occurrence of “utility” birds. (A “utility” bird is one that has some damage such as a missing part or a skin tear, which reduces its sales value.)

Lori Gillis has raised her own meat birds for many years and operates her own abattoir in Coombs. She sets a high standard for her processing services and for the growers who use it, and can pass on many useful tips to help you grow healthy perfect looking chickens, ducks or geese. Registration will cost $25 if paid in advance, or $30 at the door. A light lunch is included with the registration fee.

For more information or to submit questions you would like answered at the workshop please write to Margaret Thomson at windrush@telus.net or phone 250 537-4669.

Salt Spring Island Weavers & Spinners Guild

July 11th the Weavers and Spinners Guild sponsored the first session of drop spindling with a knitting needle and a potato. It was a gorgeous, breezy 10:30 when we met at Drummond Park for an hour. A small but enthusiastic group unravelled, or should we say, ravelled the twists and turns of transforming fibre into yarn.

The guild welcomes new members at any time. From September to early May we meet every Thursday morning from 10:30 to noon at ArtSpring and Spinners meet on the first and third Tuesday evenings from 7-9 pm in the Multipurpose Room at the high school. During the summer months we maintain our meeting times while we enjoy the meeting spaces of each other’s homes. For more information, check our website at www.saltspringweaversandspinners.com or drop in at any meeting.
Photos Courtesy Lisa Luft

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For the third year running the abattoir will be preparing the meat for the delicious local burgers available at the Fall Fair. The lambs in question lived their whole lives on Salt Spring and are being donated by local farmers. Proceeds will go towards the abattoir project.

The abattoir can now handle pork on a small scale. Suckling pigs up to 70 lbs can be processed using existing equipment. Pigs up to 200 lbs can be accepted, but will have to skinned. In due course scalding will be available and the skin can then be retained. To enquire about pork processing please write to Contact Us on the website, saltspringabattoir.ca, or leave a phone message at 778-354-1111 with your name and the best time to call you back.


Pig growers need to know that before shipping animals for slaughter they have to give them an approved ID tag, rather like sheep and cattle, but a different tag. Not all farmers know this. please go to



Hello Farmer’s Institute Friends and Families!

Hope you have been able to enjoy some of the fabulous events that our Salt Spring Island 4H Community Club has participated in so far this year, in celebration of 100 years of 4H in British Columbia!

Our club started off the month of May with our participation in the annual Ruckle Farm Days event on May 4th. We hosted a very successful animal display as well as our famous concession, with beverages and goodies. Thank you to our community for its support. This is one of our favourite events and we always have lots of fun visiting with our friends, families and visitors to Saltspring Island, showing them all we’re learning in the 4H Program.

Mid-May brought 8 of our club members to the Saanich fairgrounds for a full day of the District Judging Field day. The members were required to prepare written reasons to judge 9 different classes – specifically, photography, sheep, swine (pigs), eggs, halters, goats, miniature horses, rabbit and cavy. This is the first time in many years that our members were able to attend. Our members ranged in age from 9-17 and placed in the top 5 of many classes, coming away with ribbons for each and every class. Our most senior member’s marks qualified her for an invitation to the South Coastal Judging event in July.

The May long weekend had one of our Junior members attending 4H Junior Camp in Shawnigan Lake – for an “awesome time” -- camping, activities, food, building new friendships, learning about 4H and the values and commitment it brings to these young lives. We look forward to being able to support more young members with this fabulous opportunity next year.

June marked a milestone for many of our members, moving forward with their academic education at school – we had students moving from one school to another, from elementary to middle school, four members moving from middle school to high school, and our President (Anna) graduating from high school. Anna was honoured to have been selected as the recipient of scholarships from the National 4H Program and Chrysler (RAM) Canada, which will be presented to her the 2nd week in August by BowMel Chrysler in Duncan, as well as from the Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia (Agriculture in the Classroom Scholarship). Thanks to our community and both the national and provincial 4H Programs for acknowledging the efforts of our members to this program with their generous support. There are many such opportunities available in the 4H Program.

July was busy with submissions of small animal IDS in preparation for upcoming 4H show season. This process is required to allow 4H members and their projects animals to participate in fairs. Our annual Salt Spring Island club campout was held on the 3rd weekend in July. We had a great campout at the Rithaler Family Farm, enjoying our 4H Family, two of our alumni (Sarah and Danica) who provide their expertise in workshops on showmanship and husbandry, and a fun Demonstration event – one involving how to halter-break a cow, and the other preparing poultry for showmanship classes, how to make a great sandwich, and hot to train your dog to do simple tricks.

As you may be aware, last year our program celebrated 100 years of 4H in Canada. This year we have our own celebration taking place during the Coombs Fair on August 9, where many of our members will be participating in their first Project shows of the year. The celebration will involve alumni, formerly from all over our District, now living in many other parts of Canada and the world, with activities, food and visiting with friends. We look forward to a fabulous day of celebration of 100 years of 4H in British Columbia, where our motto is “Learn to Do by Doing”.

Please come join us in our celebration of 100 years of 4H in BC at our Saltspring Fair in September!

We are currently seeking new leaders for the upcoming year’s 4H program. If you are interested, please contact Loretta Rithaler any time at lrithaler@telus.net.



The Farmers' Institute welcomes the Salt Spring Island Blacksmiths. Their new shop and education centre on our grounds will be finished for the Fall Fair.

Our Farming Community Remembers

Kenneth Byron

September 10, 1920 – July 2, 2014

On the evening of July 2, 2014, Ken passed away at his home on Salt Spring Island. He was 93 years old.
Ken was born the eldest of 5 boys to parents Jesse and Elizabeth Byron in Stockholm, Saskatchewan. In 1934, at the age of 14, Ken and his family left their farm in the Qu’Appelle Valley and moved to Salt Spring Island, purchasing the farm on Epron Road. Ken attended North Vesuvius School and later Ganges High School. After graduation he became part of a firefighting contingent stationed in Campbell River until September of 1939 when he quit his job to rejoin the 13th Platoon of the Canadian Scottish Regiment. A poignant highlight of Ken’s military career was his part in the D-Day operation, landing in Normandy on June 6, 1944. He was wounded twice during the war but both times he was able to rejoin his regiment and participate in the Liberation of Europe. Ken went on to complete a 40-year career in the army including service in the Korean War. His career took him to Europe, the USA and numerous postings across Canada including Gagetown, N.B. and Wainwright, Alberta.
On his retirement in 1976, Ken started a second career…farming. He was well known for his vegetables, fruit, hay and beef.
Ken was an avid hunter, marksman and fisherman. He was a story teller and a walking history book; his memory of personal and historical facts never ceased to amaze. He was fond of music and it was a treat to hear him break out in song.
Ken was a member of the Canadian Scottish (Princess Mary’s) Regimental Association, a member of the Black Watch (RHR) Royal Highland Regiment of Canada Association, a member of the Worthington Branch Legion #29 and a Royal Arch Mason affiliated with Buffalo Park Lodge in Wainwright, Alberta and Kentville Lodge in Nova Scotia.
Ken was preceded in death by his brother Colin, Howard and Mike. He is survived by his brother, Terry, his sister-in-law Bev, and countless family members.
We would especially like to thank the many members of his support group who made it possible for Ken to remain in his own home until the end, as he wished. We are grateful to Art Dennis, Alyson, Marianne, Debbie and Don, his former doctor, Dr. David Woodley and his present doctor, Dr. Magda Leon and all the Beacon Community Home Support workers.
(Reprinted with permission from"The Driftwood")


Fall Fair Theme For 2014

Year of the Family Farm

The United Nations has declared 2014 the “International Year of Family Farming.”

The Salt Spring Island Farmers’ Institute encourages all islanders to embrace and promote this initiative in their own way. We invite you to work with us and share your ideas for the Fall Fair, September 13 and 14, 2014: “CELEBRATING FAMILY FARMING”.



By George Laundry


Let us welcome again, 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming. Most are already aware that over 360 world-wide organizations have endorsed this United Nations initiative. The idea is to encourage national agendas to help the (about) 75% of the world’s family farms.

In this article, however, I would like to search my memory for some background of family farming on Salt Spring Island. The struggle here was not nearly as difficult as that of the people on behalf of whom the UN is speaking!

We have watched the demise of the Family Farm on Salt Spring Island. (Lets set the bar at 3 generations+)

By those standards, there would be only about two such farms in the Burgoyne Valley and only a handful elsewhere on the Island. So, how will it play out? Many of the old farms have been sold - some, several times.

In some cases, new ideas and energies have appeared. Several old farms have started back with new ideas about crops. This is a good sign.

Many of the older farms have been divided up and this has allowed newer farmers to have farms of, say, 2, 5, 7 acres or so.

Many of these small farms have been put into aggressive production. This is one of the most positive signs that I have seen. The farms that I knew were often in the 75, 100, 160+ acre range.

I associate the family farm with continuity and community. My earliest memories begin with the earliest years of the 2nd World War. With so many of the men away, the remaining farmers would move down the valley, harvesting farm after farm in sequence. The wives cooked the meals and I took cold water to the men in the fields. This was a true farming community based upon multi generational farming. Now, machines do all the work. Will the new order be community based?

Much of this era of agriculture came to an end in the l950's and finally, as the Creamery closed in l957, Most of the farms gave up their cows as the market was gone.

During the war, all cream was rationed. Each week, all cream went to the Creamery for production of butter for the ‘war effort.’ At the end of each month, you were allocated your ration of butter and any value of cream beyond that was issued as a credit to the farmer.

Agriculture suffered a severe blow in l957. Most of the young people left the Island for jobs elsewhere.

In the l970's, however, a revival in agriculture emerged. The first of the new Fall Fairs occurred in l976. There is new energy in production, many small organic farms and a vital interest in “local” production of food. Check out the Tuesday and Saturday Farmers’ Markets - very impressive.

When I returned home for good(!!) In l995, to my grandparent’s farm, there was not a single food stand in the Burgoyne Valley. Now there are probably a dozen or so - eggs, vegetables, beef, lamb, bread, blueberries even a brewery! What else does one need?

From my perspective, I am very positive about the status of agriculture on Salt Spring Island. There are many new projects, apprentice programs for Youth and educational courses. How will they play out?

The incredibly rapid changes in social dynamics may seriously affect farming – why would young people choose farming - it’s hard work and low pay.

As the old song goes “How can you keep them down on the farm, after.....!
Very few of the kids I graduated with are on Salt Spring Island - their farms sold long ago.

We must see that the remaining farms and farmland are saved. The tragic loss of farmland to development is evident.

So, please, let’s cherish our special location and community and celebrate Family Farming at our Fall Fair 2014.

Get the kids involved in the many projects available in the Fall Fair Catalogue.

See you at The Fair!


Nash with Mike Lane

Farm Animals Affectionately Remembered


May 1998 – July 2014

Nash was born 10 May 1998 in a litter of 9 Welsh Border Collie puppies to Charlie Eagle’s female & Mike Lane’s male, The Gnasher. A month later, at 5 years old The Gnasher died in a car crash on the way to see the puppies. Mike’s mother Nancy Wigen and Charlie brought the litter to Mike recovering at Lady Minto Hospital to choose a new dog – this was Nash. He loved to play catch & hockey, retrieving the puck from the edge. Prior to retiring at age 5, he worked the sheep at Ruckle Farm suffering many injuries. He gave annual herding demonstrations at the Fall Fair. Nash loved the Fair! Just turning the truck up Rainbow Road would have him excited about working & performing. When his son Mario came to live at Ruckle Farm, his enthusiasm for working allowed Nash to retire & step down as Alpha. Nash sired many litters and is survived at Ruckle Farm by his sons Mario and Robbie and Grandson Benardo who still entertain at the Fair. Nash was a loyal, hard working dog, and a loving pet. Nash, RIP: May 1998 – July 2014.

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Nash and Robbie

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The Boys

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Robbie, Nash and Mario

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The Boys

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Nash & Grandson Benardo


Alistair Arrives

"A Young Male Ass, Asellus." AKA Donkey...

By Caroline Hickman

After looking at an advert pinned up at Foxglove for a donkey on Galiano, "free to good home," for at least 6 months back in 1988, I finally decided to make the call. How hard can it be to get to Galiano and back?

After the usual "fairy tale" dead ends, my brother and I borrowed Stepaniuk"s stock rack, picked the most convenient day, time etc., and headed off to pick up the miniature Sicilian donkey. We couldn't find anyone at Scoon's farm when we arrived, but after a good look around we discovered a pen containing a little brown and black donkey with a white belly and huge dark eyes. He loaded up with ease and I thought his name, Alistair, did seem to suit him. The little guy sure made that stock rack look large. Alistair unloaded neatly in the middle of Mrs. Ford's old farm, and was soon surrounded by a very curious herd of my trail horses. He never looked back. This was much more the home he would have chosen!

That little donkey, with his bigger-than-life personality certainly had a powerful effect on me...not to mention the many folks who got to know him during his years with us. He never objected to the introduction of a tiny western saddle with a hand made crupper attached. ( donkeys really do not have much in the way of withers, and a crupper is always needed to keep the saddle back where it is most comfortable.) He accepted his little snaffle bit matter-of-factly and within a few months he was packing small kids around, pulling his cute little cart at birthday parties and fullfilling, as the years went by, more and more social duties: ie Fall Fair, Sea Capers parades, Fulford Day rides etc.


Alistair - "Ready to go"


Still "Ready to Go"


Alistair at "Sea Capers"

One of Alistairs quirks was, he had no intention of letting a rider on horseback LEAD him along . My husband found out about this form of evasion while helping me move the herd up over the mountain to our new farm in the Cranberry Valley. However, we found that he was fine following on his own, and although he picked his own pace he would never leave "his" horses. The Dudes always had a lot of fun when Alastair decided to come along on trail rides. They would laugh as he got slower and slower going up hill, stopping to chomp on some choice weeds to catch his breath, then, come charging downhill like a bronco at full gallop, bucking and farting as he raced by everyone in the string...except the lead Mare (me).

Alistair would always decide when to participate in the trail rides: always on the first early morning ride, sometimes on the mid day ride, almost never on the last ride of the day. When he didn't join in, he'd hang out in the corral and wait for our return. Most of the neighbours would know when I was heading home from his exuberant "welcome back" bray echoing off Mt Belcher. He was always partial to a treat: carrots, celery and much to the surprise of his biggest fan, Donna, frozen yogurt! She will always remember how he stuck his tonque out to savor the full flavour while he ate it. ( or maybe it was the temperature?)

A domesticated Ass for a long time, donkeys are still very much their own "cariature equine." They are much stronger pound for pound than a horse, and far more sensible. While a horse, when frightened , will tear off in a panic , a donkey will stop to look, think about the outcome, then carry on calmly. You can see why they are a safer animal to use for packing and to carry people on rocky, steep trails. Donkeys seldom have leg or hoof issues, and it is indeed rare to see one that needs to be shod. Not every ferrier knows how to trim their upright boxey hoofs correctly; however as they grow quickly on our lush green island, they must be trimmed. I have never known a donkey to founder from too much or too rich eating habits, but, they can get very fat if overfed. Being a donkey, they put the extra fat on in a most peculiar area, the top of the neck!

Alistair was an excellent "baby sitter." When we had a mare due to foal, he was always kept in the paddock with her. He would welcome the new arrival with great care and full attention. Needless to say, he was very protective of the many foals he "helped" deliver. the mares seemed much calmer with him on the job. When they went "back to work", he would choose to stay with the foals in their pen until they got used to the program. Although, donkeys live an average of 50 years (hence the term "donkeys years") Alistair tragically came down with a bad colic at the age of 20. Dr. Dave McDonald said he was in excruciating pain and beyond saving. The only humane choice was to euthanize him. He now rests under a hardy crab apple tree planted in his memory.

One year later on a Tuesday morning reading through Buy Sell & Trade, I noticed an advert. for a young male donkey named Farley up in Black Creek....Even without seeing this one year old grey, black and white pinto fellow, I was thinking his name would suite him...and it does.....


Alistair "The Baysitter"





More About Donkeys and Mules



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Donkeys are very intelligent and learn quickly. Their instinct for self-preservation is much higher than that of the horse. Although donkeys are sometimes characterized as being stubborn, the fact is that they tend to stop and think before acting.

Predator Control for Livestock
Donkeys can protect farm livestock such as sheep, goats, and cattle against canine predators. A jennet or gelding should be selected for this purpose since the jack can be too aggressive with livestock. If a donkey hears a strange sound, it will alert the herd to danger by voicing a warning. The donkey will then chase the predator, and endeavour to trample it.

Riding & Driving for the Disabled
Donkeys make wonderful companions for children and handicapped people. When properly selected and trained, the donkey can be used for driving, riding or as a companion for the physically or mentally challenged. The gentle thoughtful nature and affectionate disposition make then ideal for these purposes. A special, mysterious bond often develops between the donkey an its human friend.

Farm and Recreational Work
The donkey's versatility makes it useful for a variety of jobs, such as recreational riding, driving, and packing as well as around the farm doing basic chores. Donkeys may also be useful for teaching calves or horse foals to lead at halter. The different tasks your donkey can do are limited only by your imagination.

Companionship to Other Animals
It is a well documented fact that donkeys have a calming effect on other livestock when used as a companion. Donkeys are most often used as companions for horses. At weaning time the friendly donkey can help ase the trauma of a foal being separated from its mother. The donkey will have a calming influence on the foal and willingly takes on the responsibility for the foal's well-being. Due to their quiet thoughtful nature, donkeys also make wonderful companions for nervous horses or those that are recovering from surgery or injury.

The donkey naturally loves people large and small. Their patience makes them ideal around children, but all children should be taught basic equine handling to manage the donkey safely. The donkey by nature is very thoughtful and kind. Jennets and geldings make the most suitable companions for children. There is an old saying that "horses look at you, but donkeys see through you, right into your soul."

Parades, Shows or Display
Donkeys are unique equines. They attract unlimited attention at events such as parades, shows and display booths. Many people have as much fun showing off their animals as owning them!

Mule Production
Donkeys play an integral part in mule production. Draft mules are sired by Mammoth jacks, out of draft mares. Saddle mules are produced when Mammoth or Large Standard jacks are bred to saddle-type horse mares. Small Standard and Miniature jacks can sire mules for driving and pets.

photos: J.Dunham



male donkey

female donkey

36" and under

over 36" to 48"

over 48" to under 54" (jennets)

over 48" to under 56" (jacks)

54" and over (jennets)

56" and over (jacks)


Mules are sterile and cannot reproduce. However they are anatomically normal and males must be gelded.

Mules are a "made-to-order" breed of livestock. These fine animals can carry you safely on a trail, pack in the high country, compete in the show ring or pull logs and other equipment.

Mules are popular for many reasons. Pleasure riders find that mules are smooth to ride, sure-footed and careful. They have great physical endurance and soundness, which enables them to work to a much older age than horses.

Mules have wonderful personalities, a high level of intelligence and a strong sense of self-preservation. What is sometimes characterized as stubbornness is simply the mule's ability to think for itself and make decisions for its own protection and the safety of its rider.

The mule combines the best features of both of its parents. From the donkey sire, the mule gets intelligence, ease of keeping, sure footedness and longevity. The mare usually determines the size of the mule, its length of stride, style and conformation. Although sterile, all male mules and hinnies should be gelded.

The Canadian Donkey and Mule Association classifies mules according to height: 14.2 hh and under, and over 14.2 hh.

Mules come in a variety of colours and sizes ranging from miniature to saddle and draft types. The type of mare that is selected to produce a mule is very important. From the mare, the mule usually inherits most of its athletic abilities, which could include jumping ability, "cow sense" and reining ability, as well as outstanding endurance capabilities. Mules bred from rising mares usually make excellent saddle mules. Draft mares produce larger draft type mules that are valued as packing, driving or work animals.


horse dam/donkey sire

donkey dam/horse sire

male mule/hinny

female mule/hinny

36" and under

bred from riding type mares

bred from draft type mares

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The Apple Core

by Conrad Pilon

Sweet & Sour Cherries

What are the main differences between sweet and sour cherries? And, are tart or sour cherry trees good pollinators for sweet cherries? Although sweet and tart cherries have very similar growing requirements and are subject to the same pests, they do not cross pollinate effectively. Sweet cherries are excellent to eat out of hand, (every bird and raccoon knows that!) while sour cherries, not so much. However, sour cherries do have an up-side.
All sour cherries are self-pollinating (self-fertile such as Montmorency, North Star, Balaton, Meteor, English Morello, Early Richmond, Hansen Bush Cherry and Nanking), while nearly all sweet cherry varieties are self-unfruitful and require cross pollination with another variety as the pollen source. Sweet cherries can grow into large trees and bloom early enough in the spring that cold, wet weather can impair pollination, resulting in inconsistent fruit production. Sour cherries grow on much smaller trees (shrub like) and bloom later than sweet cherries. As a result they are a much more reliable cropper. Finally, sour or tart cherries are more tolerant of cold winters and long, hot, humid summers and generally have fewer disease problems.

When planting sweet cherry trees in the orchard it is important to remember that some varieties (e.g. Bing, Lambert, Royal Ann/Napoleon) are also cross-unfruitful and cannot be depended upon to provide pollen for each other. Lapins, Skeena, Sweetheart, WhiteGold, Sonata, Stella, Symphony, Sunburst, and BlackGold varieties are self-fruitful sweet cherries that can serve as “universal” pollen sources for many self-unfruitful sweet cherry varieties.

Finally, a few notes on sweet & sour cherries when they end up on your table. Sweet cherries have a much more sugary taste, are typically larger and the type of cherries that you’ll see sold in bulk for eating out of hand. Sweet cherries can range in color from being golden with hints of red to a dark red, almost purple colour. Bing, Rainier and Sweetheart are just some of the more common varieties of sweet cherries. Sour cherries are typically a bright red color or a distinct dark red and are renowned for their antioxidant properties. Sour cherries have a sharp, tart flavour and are not typically eaten as is. Instead, they are used for juice and called for in recipes for everything from pies to preserves. This is not only because they keep their shape but also that tartness can be balanced with additional sugar to bring out that sought after cherry flavour
Oh, and one more little detail you may want to consider when choosing to plant a cherry tree in your orchard. Sweet cherries are “the” summer treat for birds and raccoons, so you can expect that your crop will most definitely be ‘shared’ (in our case 90% to the feathered and furry visitors and 10% or less for us). However, the taste of tart cherries appears to be less attractive to these guests and, therefore, the crop ‘sharing’ is much more to the advantage of the orchardist!


Burgoyne Valley Farm - courtesy of the SSI Archives


by Usha Rautenbach

The End of an Era Cont'd

“The First World War brought labour shortage, bad weather, soil depletion - and the end of an era ...” Mort Stratton

AGRICULTURE: Farms, Farmers and Farming:
by Morton B. Stratton, August 15, 1991 (as-yet unpublished)
Chapter 4
WORLD WAR I (1914 - 1918) - "a sort of milepost of everything"

World War I, considered at the time the Great War, dragged on over four long, difficult years. They proved to be a watershed in the history of farming on Salt Spring. Neither the recent growth of the farm population nor the prosperity of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were to be matched in the years from 1914 to 1939. The most immediate and obvious repercussion following the outbreak of war was a labour shortage on the farms. Nearly 150 able-bodied males went off to serve their country in a genuine burst of patriotism. Nineteen of one hundred and fifty who left the island failed to return.[ 1 ] Among them was Jim Maxwell, who had taken over pioneer John Maxwell's Burgoyne Bay farm from his father on the latter's death in 1897. On many farms women or older men were left to do the farm work during the war years.

The labour shortage was aggravated by the fact that the flow of new immigrants that had characterized the last two decades before the war had dried up completely by 1915 when the last of the pre-emptors moved onto the hills west of Fulford Harbour. The era of the remittance man and pre-emptor was basically over. World War I marked a line between the often easy and sometimes prosperous farm life of many recent better-to-do immigrants and that of their children after World War I. This was true not only on Salt Spring but all over the province. Said a teenager from the Interior, brought to Canada in 1905: "It was a very happy-go-lucky sort of life in those early days before World War One. But the war seemed to be a sort of milepost of everything."[ 2 ]

Not only was there a labour shortage and few new recruits, but farmers were plagued with several years of low prices and a depletion of the fertility of the soil due to the strain of all-out war production. J.C. Lang, who had bought the lovely Fernwood farm in 1910, records in his Log Book that 1914 and 1915 were good fruit years but with bad prices and especially no market for his cherries in 1915.

A report in the Cowichan Leader for Sept. 13, 1915 adds:
"A splendid crop of apples this year is liable to prove almost a drug on the market, as prices realized hardly cover the labour of production and shipment."

Also, it reported, the wartime campaign for cultivating waste city lots "has so reduced the demand for vegetables that they can only be grown and shipped at a loss."

1917 was no better - it was a bad fruit year because of the weather.[ 3 ] It was not until 1918 and 1919 that prices improved and a good profit was possible, says Mr. Lang.[ 4 ]

The drain on the soil of wartime production was attested to by Mr. W. T. Burkitt, a veteran who in 1920 bought 40 acres of the old T. W. Mouat farm on St. Mary Lake. He found after he arrived that the land gave very low yields due to the fact the Mouats had taken off crops of wheat four years in a row in support of the war effort.[ 5 ]

As might be expected, the farmers' organizations suffered form the strains of war, too. The annual Fall Fair continued but the Poultry Association, for example, gave up its special show after 1915 as many breeders were out of business or had enlisted and "the show was not nearly so good as in previous years."[ 6 ] Wartime shortages and priorities made it difficult also for the
Farmers' Institute to keep up its educational programs.

Even before the war W.E. Scott had suggested to the members of the Institute that they merge with the Islands' Agricultural and Fruit Growers' Association. Membership in the Institute was only a fraction of that in the other body and in any case, members of the Institute were also members of both groups. The first initiative on the island toward amalgamation came when the Directors of the Agricultural Association moved on December 20, 1917 to write the
Farmers' Institute and the Poultry Association with regard to amalgamation and ask their views on the matter. but apparently the Superintendent of Farmers' Institutes of B.C. was behind the move. When the matter came up at the Annual Meeting of the Farmers' Institute held January 10, 1918, the Minutes note:
"In discussing amalgamation of Institute with Agricultural Society it was decided to submit the Superintendent's letter respecting same to the Directors of the Agricultural Society and arrange, if approved of, to have a joint meeting of the Directors of the two bodies and be guided by decision of such a meeting of the Directors."

Things proceeded quickly, though nothing more is heard of the Poultry Association in these negotiations. Amalgamation "for the present year" was agreed on Feb. 11, 1918, officers for the new society were elected a week later with John T. Collins, President, and on March 11 the by-laws of the newly named "Islands Agricultural and Fruit Growers Association and Farmers'
Institute" were adopted and the accounts, books and effects of the former Institute were turned over by its Secretary, Mr. Ashton, to the new society.[ 7 ]

Given all of their problems it is a credit to the farmers of the island that they came through the war years as well as they did. In opening the 1918 Fall Fair, Mr. M.B. Jackson, M.P.P. for the Islands, congratulated the Society for a fine show "considering the difficulties of labour and transportation," and Dr. Tolmie referred to the improved stock shown. Patriotism played a part in this. Farmers during the war years had been spurred on by frequent appeals such as that printed in the Programme of the 21st Annual Exhibition held September 22, 1917:

"If Germany is to be beaten and stay beaten, it is through Agriculture it has to be accomplished and it is therefore due to every man, woman and child to do all in their power to produce food . . . The Island District can do their little bit by supporting their home Fair . . . Be British, magnanimous. . . do your bit to develop Agriculture, and when all do likewise the safety and solidity of the Empire is assured."[ 8 ]

But despite their best efforts and that of other farmers in the province, it is the judgement of Prof. Ormsby of the University of British Columbia that agriculture and "particularly fruit growing" were still languishing in B.C. in 1918; not a good situation from which to face the difficult years that lay ahead.

1. Ivan Mouat, talk to SSI Historical Society, (hereafter cited as SSIHS), November 10, 1992.

1. Jean Barman, "Race and Ethnicity", in Peter Ward and Robert McDonald, British Columbia Historical Readings, (Vancouver, 1981), p.616.
2. Farm prices of the period are detailed by Fernwood area farmer, Gerald Young, for 1917. Some examples: eggs retail, 306 to 496 a dozen; roosters live, 206 a lb; old hens, 136; baby chicks, 206 each; calves, 166 a lb; pigs, 206 a lb; pears, 1 1/46 a lb; apples, 756 a box. Egg and pear prices
were no different than those reported by island farmers in 1893; apple prices were actually lower in 1917 than in 1893. See his Diary in SSI Archives, (hereafter cited as SSIA).
3. See J.C. Lang's Log Book in SSIA.
4. Same for W.T. Burkitt's Memoirs.
5. Cowichan Leader, December 30, 1915.
6. On amalgamation see Islands' Agricultural and Fruit Growers Association Minute Book, 1912-1920, and Farmers' Institute, Minute Book, 1915-1920 - both in SSIA.
7. This programme and others are in SSIA.

“The First World War brought - the end of an era ...”
Subdivision of large farms into smaller units began after close of the First World War, said Mr. Basil Cartwright in a 1967 interview in the Driftwood. Many small tracts were purchased for farming under the government's soldiers’ settlement scheme. Decline of farming on Salt Spring began during depression years, and was accelerated following World War 2 when farming became mechanized. "There was no use in trying to fight with horse and waggon against the tractor," declared Mr. Cartwright.
Increased shipping costs had been another discouraging factor.
Elsie Worthington, writing of her interview with Basil Cartwright, concluded; “So much of the colour of Salt Spring Island's history is linked with the old farms. Perhaps this is because the men and women with the physical and mental stamina to battle the wilderness and wrest a living from the land also had the courage to stand as individualists in matters pertaining to the growth of this island community. Can you imagine Salt Spring Island's history without their story?”

Want to read more? Full article:

DRIFTWOOD July 13, 1967
I recall a conversation held some time ago with Mr. Basil Cartwright on the subject of old Salt Spring Island farms.
Mr. Cartwright, 84, has lived on Salt Spring for 63 years and has been a farmer for most of that time. He and Mrs. Cartwright live on part of their old farm on Fernwood Hill, in a little house with a delightful garden.
Mr. Cartwright has rich memories of life on the island in the early years of the century when Salt Spring was truly a farming community [before the First World War changed all that].
Can you picture the freight shed on Ganges wharf (the wharf was much smaller then) piled high with 10 tons of butter, packed in 40-pound boxes, waiting for shipment across Canada?
And that's not all. Add 260 dozen crates of eggs and hundreds of boxes of fruit.
Mr. Cartwright has seen 1000 boxes of apples, beautifully wrapped and packed, standing on the wharf; also 3000 crates of Italian prunes; 250 boxes of pears and 50 boxes of quinces, all waiting for shipment to Vancouver and the prairies. Salt Spring apples may not match Okanagan apples for colour," said the old farmer, "But they beat them all hollow for flavour!"
Local butter was topnotch too. Mr. Cartwright recalls with pride that Salt Spring's famous creamery butter won prizes at every show from Victoria to Halifax. The Creamery was located where Island Bakery now stands. In the old days Ganges Hill was known as "Creamery Hill". Old residents still refer to it by that name.
In those days when Salt Spring butter was winning honours from coast to coast, there were only two cow sheds with concrete floors or any drainage, said Mr. Cartwright. "But there was never a case of undulant fever on the island until two cases arrived from outside." Mr. Cartwright was plainly skeptical of the multiplicity of regulations that govern dairies today. "Thorough cleanliness is the first and greatest requirement on a dairy farm,” he declared. All of Mr. Cartwright's farming knowledge and experience was gained on Salt Spring. When he arrived on the Island in 1904 as a young man of 21 he had never worked on a farm. His main interest was in sports. "My whole mind was taken up with cricket or any game going," he remembers. He had come out from England to his brother Arthur, "to learn the rudiments of using a saw and axe; how to feed pigs and chickens and to clear land." Arthur Cartwright was farming on what is now [1967] the Crawford farm on Beddis Road. "I learned the hard way how to chop wood," said the one time farmer's apprentice. "The second day here I split my big toe with a sharp axe!"
Mr. Cartwright mentioned the many "gentlemen farmers" on Salt Spring - particularly in the years before First World War - and their far-reaching influence on island life. He recalls that whole families, including house servants and farm help, went to church. Nobody questioned the custom, it was part of the discipline and social structure of life.
"The Island was so different then," he said nostalgically. "These men were real English gentlemen from the best families but that made no difference in their behaviour toward others. Take boat day for instance. Everyone rubbed shoulders waiting on the wharf for the old "Iroquois to come in."
"Boat day" was an island institution right up till the last call of the C. P.R. vessel "Princess Mary" some 20 years ago. Farmers shipped their produce on Mondays and Thursday. Everyone gathered to see the boat come in and to wait for the mail "There was another interest in the boat's arrival", said Mr. Cartwright, eyes twinkling. "Those who liked their liquor could treat themselves to a few drinks at the ship's bar, then fill their pockets with bottles of their favorite brand." There were times when the journey home was a bit hazy. It was then that old Dobbin prove a good friend. Mr. Cartwright remembers one "gentleman farmer" who, having imbibed freely, set out on the drive home. Before long he gave up trying to guide the horse, hung the reins over the front of the rig and went to sleep, leaving his faithful mare to take him the rest of the way. "Something a car wouldn’t do," observed Mr. Cartwright.

Before the First World War Salt Spring Farms of every size had “everything”; cows, pigs, chickens, fruit trees in an orchard, small fruits like strawberries, the vegetables, and a couple of horses to do the work.

Salt Spring Island had many large farms before World War I. Some were old at the turn of the century. Three farms in active service at the time of Confederation are still [1967] working under the same names: Fernwood Farm at Central; Akerman's at Fulford, and Ruckle's at Beaver Point. Fernwood Farm originally stretched from St. Mary Lake to the sea; covered approximately 400 acres and contained numerous salt springs from which the island takes its name. Most of the springs have been ploughed over and covered with earth. A few of the larger ones are still active. These are all on private land.
Subdivision of large farms into smaller units began after close of the First World War, said Mr. Cartwright. Many small tracts were purchased for farming under the government's soldiers’ settlement scheme. Break-up of land that once held big farms still continues, but today the lot are purchased for homesites.
Decline of farming on Salt Spring began during depression years, and was accelerated following World War 2 when farming became mechanized. "There was no use in trying to fight will horse and waggon against the tractor," declared Mr. Cartwright. Increased shipping costs were another discouraging factor
So much of the colour of Salt Spring Island's history is linked with the old farms. Perhaps this is because the men and women with the physical and mental stamina to battle the wilderness and wrest a living from the land also had the courage to stand as individualists in matters pertaining to the growth of this island community. Can you imagine Salt Spring Island's history without their story?



Bruce was driving down a country lane in his pickup when suddenly a chicken darted into the road in front of him. He slammed on his brakes, but realized that the chicken was speeding off down the road at about 30 miles an hour. Intrigued, he tried to follow the bird with his truck, but he couldn't catch up to the accelerating chicken. Seeing it turn into a small farm, Bruce followed it. To his astonishment, he realized that the chicken had three legs. Looking around the small farm, he noticed that ALL of the chickens had three legs.

The farmer came out of his house, and Bruce said, "Three-legged chickens? That's astonishing!"

The farmer replied, "Yep. I bred 'em that way because I love drumsticks."

Bruce was curious. "How does a three-legged chicken taste?"

The farmer smiled. "Dunno. Haven't been able to catch one yet."


BreakingThroughThe Grass Ceiling

by Fiona Campbell

Thank you Fiona Campbell and Small Farm Magazine for allowing us to republish this article

Women are changing the face of farming
Amy Smith knows what it’s like to stand
out in a crowd of men. Despite being
part of a welcoming farm community in
Prince Edward Island where she and her
partner Verena Varga have run Heart
Beet Organics, a one-acre biodynamic diversified
vegetable farm, since 2010, she says that she once
felt “less than welcome” at some of the larger farm
and tractor auctions “where you can count on one
hand the number of women.” And those there are
the wives.
But she isn’t a farmer’s wife or a daughter: she’s
a farmer. And along with women from coast to
coast, she’s breaking through the “grass ceiling,”
changing the face of Canada’s agricultural
Women have always made a critical
contribution to the farm, but traditionally a
supporting one, largely from the kitchen, the
milk house, the vegetable garden and the chicken
coop, leaving the “real” business of field work and
farming to the men.
Not anymore.
Today in the same way they’re entering maledominated
professions and becoming engineers,
pilots and mechanics, more and more women
(almost 30 per cent according to recent statistics)
are now the primary farmer — running CSAs,
custom grazing cattle, making cheese, growing
hogs. They farm on their own or with partners,
male or female, who may work in the field or off
the farm.
“What’s different now is women are allowed
to believe that they can be farmers,” says Christie
Young, executive director of Guelph, Ontariobased
FarmStart. “Before, if they wanted to be
part of a farm they had to marry a farmer.”
A growing number of young people, new
Canadians and second-career farmers of both
genders are heeding the call to farm, bringing
with them urban upbringings, university degrees,
business smarts and hands-on learning from
And while women are actively involved in
all scales and sectors of agriculture, there’s an
explosion of female farmers starting small-scale
organic or ecologically-minded farms where
there is less emphasis on big equipment and
mechanized production, and more focus on
connecting with the land, their customers and
each other, through CSAs and farmers markets
that favour collaboration over competition.
“Women are good farmers because the new
business models allow them to succeed in the new
marketplaces,” says Young. “If you wanted to be a
woman in a cow-calf operation, you would go to the barn with these big, tough men and you would have to
act like them to succeed in the auctions.
And women did in the past . . . but the culture didn’t
really change. They were just able to cut it. But I think the
culture is now changing which is allowing women to succeed
with their [own] skills, rather than having to act like men.
They can farm like they want to farm.”
Their reasons for going to the land are as diverse as the
enterprises themselves, with women seeing farming as both
a mission and a passion.
“It’s not just the physical aspect, but the immediate
gratification of going to market and selling the produce
you’ve cultivated to customers who are so appreciative of
your hard work and labour,” says Smith, 41.
Julia Grace, 63, of Moonstruck Organic Cheese on Salt
Spring Island, B.C., who produces between 10,000 and
12,000 kilos of artisan cheese with her partner Susan and
a herd of 20 Jersey cows, got into farming because she loves
food and where it comes from. “I moved from gardening to
farming because I loved being in that chain. I always wanted
to take what I grew into the kitchen so I could cook it.
When milk came along it was another ingredient.”
For some it’s political. “There are a lot of women who
just want to take the bull by the horns and get going,” says
Sue Earle, 55, of Duck Creek Farm, a market garden farm
in Salt Spring, B.C. “Political action is far too frustrating.
There isn’t really enough going on that’s putting food on the
table for their families the way they want it to be, so they’re
doing it themselves.”
For others it’s a spiritual calling, a means of connecting
with the earth. “Most of the seed keepers and seed sellers
that are in business out here [on Salt Spring Island] are
women,” says Marsha Goldberg, 60, of Eagleridge Seeds,
producer of endangered heirloom seeds since 1995. “As
more and more women flood the fields with their love and
commitment that is how we change the world.”
But do women farm differently than men? A touchy
subject, to be sure. Gendered stereotypes label women as
nurturers, while men are more drawn to machinery and
mechanization. (But we all know compassionate male
livestock farmers and women who love their tractors.) Still
anecdotes suggest, as an example, that women do have a
natural connection with livestock.
Susan Winter, 62, a custom grazier for 400 cattle that
run over 3,500 acres in Kirkfield, Ontario, has a soft spot
for her “crazy stockers.” Despite their acting like “12-yearold
boys let loose on 1,000 acres with a case of whiskey” she
spends a lot of time with the herd, even telling them they’re
Susan Winter is a custom grazier for 400 cattle that run over 3,500 acres in Kirkfield, Ont.
handsome, to the point she can bring
in 100 on her own. “They’ll come with
me because I truly love them,” says
the sole proprietor of Carden Angus
Beef. “And that sounds crazy but I
do.” But she has her eye on the bottom
line: calm cattle gain better and stay
healthier. “I have a mandate to give
back a healthy bunch that is a little bit
And Tarrah Young, 37, of Green
Being Farm in Neustadt, Ont.,
knows she has a knack for observing
behaviours and identifying sick
animals. “I don’t know if it’s because
I’m a woman or not, but I can do that
really well.”
While gender-driven
discrimination is less prevalent today,
especially in sustainable and organic
agriculture systems (though most
women farmers still get mistaken for
the farmer’s wife), it hasn’t always been
this way.
When Karen Davidge, 65, of
Good Spring Farm in Keswick Ridge,
N.B., started at the Fredericton Boyce
Farmer’s market 34 years ago, not only
was she one of few women but she
was selling vegetables and small fruits
— organic ones — at a time when
chemical agriculture was king. “Local,
and especially organic, wasn’t what it is
today,” she says. “You were crazy. I was
crazier because I was a woman farmer.”
That said, she adds: “I can’t say I
ever felt disrespected though. It was
always because of the organic part; that
opened the conversation up to jokes.”
It’s clear the face of small farming
has changed dramatically in the last
decade. “Now it’s more about what
you do rather than who you are,” says
Grace, noting that she and her samesex
partner feel more accepted since
buying their farm in 1992. “In the early
days what we were doing [artisanal
cheesemaking] was unusual. We’re
so much more known and part of the
island community now.”
But while women are making
inroads in the fields and the barn,
patriarchy remains at an industry and
farm organization level, although this
too is slowly changing. “I think the
establishment still exists,” says Joan
Brady, a farmer and Women’s President
of the National Farmers Union. “The
only reason [the NFU] is different is
because we included a space for women
in our bylaws. We have a good balance
Marsha Goldberg, Eagleridge Seeds, Salt Spring Island, BC.
of women leaders, not just ones who fill women’s positions.
By census there are about 25 per cent women operators
but you don’t see that same 25 per cent represented at the
leadership table of other commodity groups.”
Female farmers continue to shatter old stereotypes, but
they do face some unique challenges. One is an often smaller
stature. Women have lower centres of gravity so strength
tends to be in their legs, whereas men have more upper body
strength. Most tools and equipment are not designed for
women’s bodies — even hand tools are meant for a largehanded
“That remains one of the biggest challenges,” says
Smith. “Having worked as an apprentice with men, you try
to do tasks the way they do them and nine out of 10 times
it doesn’t work. We need to think differently about the
tools that we use and how we use them and how we use our
bodies,” as improper use of tools and machinery can lead to
stress and injury.
The second is biological. Even in the most egalitarian
households where men and women share family
responsibilities, women face the intractable challenge of
having a baby. It’s not that the men can’t be involved with
the family, but there is a period of nine months when you’re
carrying a baby, plus the time you want to breastfeed, says
Young. “It’s really hard for younger women farmers to
figure out how to manage the farm, a challenge that can be
compounded by a high-risk pregnancy or fussy baby.”
But the same holds true for any women entrepreneur, she
says: “Whether it’s a farm or any business, you have to face
that when you’re going to have a child.”
Tarrah Young, who’s been farming for 11 years (six on
her own farm), gave birth to a baby boy early this year. “I
am glad, really glad, that I had a chance to get the farm
established. I feel like we just got to the point where we have
a rhythm,” she says. “We have a stable business, a trajectory
and we were ready to take on something else.” She adds with
a laugh, “Every year we add something to the farm, this year
it was a baby.”
That said, it wasn’t easy: “It was pretty typical — the
first three months I was exhausted, and the last three
months I was exhausted.” A lot more responsibility fell
to two on-farm helpers. “It wasn’t the year to improve
anything: I felt that I was just keeping my head above water,
so I was really glad we had a lot of systems in place already.”
For Allison Muckle, 34, of Rowantree Farms in Wanup,
Ont., who started her CSA after her maternity leave ended,
farming with a child required some creativity — bartering
for daycare, childcare swaps, and farming on the weekends
when her husband was home.
“[My daughter] would be in the backpack a lot when
she was smaller, especially for all the livestock chores and
in the garden. For a while worms were the ultimate in
entertainment. But eventually it got to the point that she
wasn’t so entertained in the garden. The three-year-old stage
was the worst.”
That said, raising kids on a farm has great benefits, says
Muckle. “It’s really rewarding to hear about what she’s going
to grow this year and that she understands where food comes
from. She can taste the difference between Mum’s carrots
and other carrots. I took her somewhere when she was two
and she started weeding.”
As more women become farmers, the demographic will
continue to shift, opening the space for yet more women
“Women see other women who are doing this
successfully and it’s very encouraging,” says Smith. “If you’re
considering a career in farming and you go to a farming
conference there is going to be a lot of women in that room.
And that tells them this is something I can do too. It’s a real
And when it comes to tractor auctions: “I have a feeling
now, having lived here a few years, that maybe some of the
looks I was getting from men had more to do with them
trying to figure out who my father was, or whose wife I was,
rather than ‘she’s a woman, she doesn’t belong,’” says Smith.
“I now feel much more comfortable. I know more of the
farmers. And their fathers.”
Do women farm differently than
men? A touchy subject, to be sure.
To learn more about these women farmers:
Amy Smith & Verena Varga: Heart Beet Organics, Darlington, PEI: http://www.heartbeetorganics.ca
Julia & Susan Grace: Moonstruck Organic Cheese, Salt Spring Island, B.C.: http://www.moonstruckcheese.com/
Marsha Goldberg, Eagleridge Seeds, Salt Spring Island, BC: http://www.eagleridgeseeds.com
Sue Earle, Duck Creek Farm, Salt Spring Island, B.C.: http://www.duckcreek.ca/
Susan Winter, Carden Angus Beef, Kirkfield, Ont.: http://www.cardenangusbeef.com/
Allison Muckle, Rowantree Farms, Wanup, Ont.: http://www.rowantreefarms.ca/
Tarrah Young, Green Being Farm, Neustadt, Ont.: http://www.greenbeingfarm.ca/
Karen Davidge, Good Spring Farm, Keswick Ridge, NB:

Famous Recipes

The Driftwood Steak - Literally

1 T-Bone 1 1/2-2 inches thick
2 jars lemon pepper seasoning
2 jars peppercorn
2 jars Grey Poupon mustard
A roll of masking take 1/2 inch thick
5 sheets (whole) Driftwood newspaper
Bag of Rock Salt (8.8 oz.)
Mix dry ingredients together. Take steak and lay on paper preferably The Driftwood (one of its many uses). Rub entire jar of Grey Poupon on one side of steak. Take handful of dry ingredients. and place on Grey Poupon side. Take steak and flip to other side (so Mustard side on paper). Repeat on other side with mustard and dry ingredients. Lay it on The Driftwood and fold like a present. Tape entirely with tape and soak (submerge) in lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes. Place directly on medium hot coals until paper catches fire - flip over so other side catches fire. Take off coals. Remove paper and all salt and mustard off steak. Place steak on grill rack until done. Approx. 8-10 minutes. It sounds bizarre but this steak is great!

NOTES: Taping the entire steak in tape is unnecessary. The second recipe I found stated to use the tape more like "ribbon on a Xmas present". I think wrapping the entire thing is more for effect then anything else. Next time I try this I may just use chicken wire and/or butcher's twine. I'm sure you could just use aluminum foil too, but where's the fun in that? Hmmm, maybe cardboard....

As for the taste, it was delicious. One of the better steaks I've had. Very succulent and tender. Personally I thought the mustard was understated and the salt was a tad overpowering, but overall, very good. A slight mustard crust would have been tasty. I might have been too zealous on scraping the toppings off before the final grilling, but I think scraping everything off and actually basting a little mustard back on is the way to go.

Some garlic (fresh, dehydrated, or garlic salt) would have been a nice addition, though I'd probably omit it if I added Worcestershire sauce as the second recipe did. And I'd put rosemary on anything.

When it comes to procuring the ingredients, give yourself some lead time. Food grade rock salt is not easy to come by. We actually used granular sea salt which is a much smaller grain the rock salt. As for the steak, a T-Bone is too small, even at 2" think. A porterhouse, maybe - the point being that a larger diameter is certainly needed such as a sirloin or ribeye. Anything that is 0.5 lb per person (or more) should suffice.
Overall, a great recipe, and a perfect recipe for the summer.

photo 2

ah... Gray Poupon

photo 3

Salt, Mustard and Peppercorns

photo 1


August, 2014