Category Archives for "Latest on the Farm"

Flower Power

By Kirsten Vidulich

Of the known 300,000 species of plants, over 250,000 of them produce flowers. It’s sometimes a hidden, mysterious thing, it’s sometimes a showy, unapologetically gaudy display of nature’s love of variety, but each one displays that species’ survival and reproductive destiny.

Along with being a botanical necessity, these petaled enticements offer much needed food to our unsung pollinators, and flowers have shaped and populated their chosen environment with their successful progeny. They’ve drawn us humans into their seduction for as long as can be remembered. Although variety and beauty has long been affected by human hands, the purpose of the flower has very little to do with humans at all. In fact, a flower’s evolution, variety and type has more to do with their surroundings, pollinating species and how they have adapted to secure reproduction.

The seed is the start of life but the flower is the reason life continues. Humans have developed a keen appreciation for a flower’s beauty and less awareness of the integral part of the life cycle these brilliant creatures participate in. Every one of our plant foods—from fruit trees to grain crops to broccoli—depends on a healthy flowering and pollination cycle, a sensitive dance of timing and optimal conditions, for that species to continue. Sometimes we’re participating in this dance, like when we watch our orchards and berry patches for its pollinator’s seasonal return. Sometimes flowering and pollination of our food crops is taken on by seed companies or plant breeders, leaving us to harvest the plant before its completed its reproductive cycle, with the knowledge that food crop will still be available to us in the future. Either way, humans are one small part of the massive work the flowering parts of a plant have to accomplish in their short and stunning lives.

The secret to their success:? Attraction. We humans fall into the draw just as pollinating bats and bees do. We’re enticed by the colours, smells, textures and delicacy of the flower, and some (myself included) would move earth and stone to create more spaces for flowers to flourish. The physiology of the flower’s power is simple, we crave beauty and sensory stimulation, all us earth bound creatures.

It’s said the true sign of depression is the lack of any pleasant or emotive response to a flower. The timely appearance of flowers, in short bursts offers our plant kingdom in its prime, ready to entice all of nature to see its potential and necessity to continue. The flower asks us to feed our senses, in exchange for pollination and the production of her seed. Kinda racy, I know, but that’s nature for you!

Think of the sensory overload of a bee inside a blossom, filling up their pollen pouches, rolling in the fragrance and colour and leaving fat and heavy with all the flower had to share, all in exchange for pollination and the promise of a future full of more flowers, seeds, fruit and food. The flower is the foundation of hope for a future existence, simplified and offered to all earth’s creatures.

Welcome Spring!

You have sure taken your sweet time arriving this year!  Record rain fall, cooler than average temperatures, creates a few issues with planting.  I feel like working with mother nature is creating the most complex mathmatical equation.  You know the type i’m talking about, the one with lots of brackets, integers and to the power of numbers.  We know the end result we want to achieve, but there are so many variables along the way.  It sometimes feels like we are faced with a great advesary, one with far more complex weapons then we have.  But it is in the face of these great challenges that we learn resilience, we adapt, we plant more then we need, we search out solutions.  And we deepen our connection to our environment.  Farming can be challenging on so many levels, and equally rewarding.  As i write this, Adam has finally been able to till in Production Garden, the cows are contentedly grazing out in the 4th field, the sheep are in the crescent, and we feel hopeful.  Resilient.  Strong and ready for the season ahead of us.  Welcome spring, as always, it’s so good to see you.  To hear the dawn chorus of birds singing your praises, to smell the smells of a world awakening after such an epic winter and feel the rush of spring energy.  I wouldn’t want to be anywhere but where i am!

Natural Cheesemaking Class with David Asher August 23rd ~ 27th

5-day Natural Cheesemaking Class
with David Asher
author of The Art of Natural Cheesemaking

From culture propagation, to rennet coagulation and on to affiance, this five-day-class is an in-depth exploration of the many possibilities of cheese.  Students should expect to gain a full understanding of how all of the different styles of cheese are inter-related, and how to bring about the ecological conditions that develop the diverse flavours and forms of cheese.  The length of the class allows participants to see cheeses through their many stages of development, and witness the growth of the many ripening cultures that define them.

Cheese styles to be covered in class include:
Dairy ferments, like clabber, kefir, creme fraiche, cultured butter, yogurt.
Fresh cheeses such as Chèvre, fromage frais, Faisselle & Mozzarella
Soft aged cheeses including Camembert, washed rind cheese, blue cheeses, Crottin and Feta
Hard cheeses, like alpine cheese, Cheddar and Gouda.

David Asher is an organic farmer, farmstead cheese maker and cheese educator based on the gulf islands of British Columbia, Canada. A guerrilla cheesemaker, David does not make cheese according to standard industrial philosophies – he explores traditionally cultured and more organic methods of cheesemaking.

David offers cheese outreach to communities near and far with the Black Sheep School of Cheesemaking.  Through workshops in partnership with food-sovereignty-minded organizations, he shares his distinct cheesemaking style.  His workshops teach a cheesemaking method that is natural, DIY, and well suited to the home kitchen or artisanal production. He is the author of The Art of Natural Cheesemaking.

For more information about the workshop and accommodations on the farm

Click here!

Get your seeds!

Seeds have been grown on Linnaea Farm for as long as anyone can remember.  They have always been traded and passed on.  The seeds offered here are some of our very favorite, grown on Linnaea Farm for years, and are perfectly adapted to our Pacific Northwest climate

Click here to see what we have to offer!


My Favorite Pickle ~ A Fermentation Workshop

Welcome to the wondrous world of fermentation with Jodi Peters, fermentation addict! Leading with our noses, this workshop will ensure that you learn how to make delicious and nutritious fermented vegetables. You will create and taste two different tried and true recipes, a dilly cauliflower/carrot pickle and basic sauerkraut (with some fun optional additions!). Each participant will take home their own small batches. Jodi will go over the basic utensils required, as well as show off some of the more specialized fermentation tools she’s acquired over the years. She will cover the common (and uncommon) errors that may arise, and give participants a science-based, historically informed overview of the fermentation process. As a bonus, we’ll make a batch of water kefir (and taste some special brews), and the first 5 participants can take home water kefir grains as well. Fermentation is a practice, and the best way to learn it is to watch and do.

Linnaea Farm Education Centre, July 2ndnd , 11am – 2:30pm


Click here for more information or to register!


Organic Market Garden Courses 2017




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It was such a successful program last year, that we are offering 2 courses this year!  Come on down to the farm and join Market Gardener, Adam Schick for a week long intensive into what it takes to become a producer.  Adam has been a successful market gardener for the past 17 years on Linnaea Farm! Check out his teaching style!

 The world is starved for people able to enrich the planet while improving soil and human ecology.You’ve dreamed of making a right livelihood growing food and raising livestock but are unsure of how to take the next step.

This summer at LINNAEA FARM we offer you 2 – weeklong programs to inoculate you with ideas and techniques to get your garden growing!

Free yourself from looming food cost increases and shortages by producing your own food. Go home knowing how to create your own market garden with delicious vegetables and fruits, while shifting away from dependence on imported food. Contribute toward sustainable food production. This hands on week long course at beautiful Linnaea Farm inoculates you with ideas and techniques to get your garden growing!

TOPICS COVERED: Sense of Place, phenology, planning & marketing, seed sowing and saving, record keeping, animal husbandry, compost & making the most of soil, pests & weeds, practical permaculture and year round cropping.

The days will be filled with lectures and hands-on training in the field to reinforce and give context to the lessons.

Click here for more details or to sign up!

Nourished ~ A dinner club at Linnaea Farm

Winter series
$30 per meal
Nov. 26, January 21, Feb 25

Delectable locavore dinners with organic ingredients from the farm

November 26th menu:

Appetizer- Amuse Bouche
Winter Squash three ways one plate three distinct flavors
Squash and sage ravioli in brown butter
Rich soup
Butternut crisps with arugula

Main Course
Braised Lamb in an apple cider and Rosemary reduction- with caramelized onions and apples
Herbed and paprika potato croquettes – lightly breaded and baked with minted yogurt
Leeks poached in white wine with thyme

Wine available from Southend Winery Quadra Island at extra cost

Full details and to book your space:
Pre-payment is required

At the end of the Season

Here’s where you count your beans, you made it.  We kept saying the finish line is in view, well here we are.  Hays all in the barn, garden is put to bed, seeds are drying, days are getting shorter, nights are longer….

You begin things at the start of the season with youthful exuberance, almost forgetting what it takes to get you here.  The finish line.  Whew.  Linnaea Farm was a flurry of excitement this year.  We fed 30 families, for 20 weeks with our CSA program, we hosted The Power of Hope,  The Gulf Island Center of Ecological Learning (GICEL), University of Vicoria’s Permaculture students, David Asher from Black sheep Cheese School, and Michelle’s Yoga from Vicoria.

Adam Schick lead an inspiration Organic Market Workshop (we will be offering 2 courses in 2017!), as well as Rick Valley, Brent Howieson and Jodi Peters offered a Permaculture Design Course.

Our herd of cows grew to 10, and rotationally grazed across 30 acres of pasture, and we pulled 900 bales of hay off our 3rd field (yep, that’s a record).  300 Cornish Giant chickens were raised and processed on the farm and were pastured out in the 2nd field.

Brent’s front stand starts keep Cortesians well stocked in plants for their gardens, and our fruit collective provided pounds of plums and apples for the every hungry locals!

Our mycelial beds grew and spread Garden Giant spawn all around the farm as well as keeping nutrients out of Gunflint Lake.

We hosted our annual Harvest Festival, feeding over 100 locals and keeping folks occupied with games and music for one beautiful afternoon in September!