|The Ridge Berry Tea Blend...a taste of the farm!|
The Ridge Berry Blend is actually based on the key berry crops of the farm: Kiwis, Raspberries and Currants. The result is a soothing, delightfully fruity tea, as good for morning breakfast as it is for an evening respite.
Meanwhile on the farm, we finished the week with what seemed to be abnormally warm weather. So with Spring finally here, it was time to think about planting once again. While our Birch syrup is slowly being processed, we set to work on cleaning our raised beds and started work on the dome in anticipation of getting some of our plants to germinate early.
|What happens to Kale when left to over-winter in a passively heated greenhouse? |
They grow 4 feet and are now flowering.
This year the Birch trees are producing well, so we should have a good batch of syrup to bottle in a couple of weeks. We've noticed that the flow of sap on a specific tree may be alternating from year to year. Those producing well last year are producing poorly and vice versa, those producing well were not so great last year. Perhaps, Birch sap production is like nut production; it peaks on a 2 or 3 year cycle.
|Collecting Birch sap; trees that performed poorly last year are doing well this year ( and vice versa)|
We've also decided to progress on an experiment we carried out last year: Black Walnut syrup. This syrup is actually difficult to make; it takes 80 litres of sap to get 1 litre of syrup (like Birch) and the trees do not "bleed" as much as Birch or Maple. As such it is difficult to get a large quantity of this syrup, even though we have more than enough Black Walnuts. The process however is very much worthwhile; the taste of this syrup is so distinctive when compared to Maple or Birch. We actually hope to make enough syrup to bottle for the market.
Since Black Walnut is likely the last batch of sap syrup we will be making this year, we'll be reporting on this later. We're probably the only ones in Niagara crazy enough to attempt this, so it's probably worth sharing our experiences on this one.
Finally, we'll leave you this week with more signs of Spring.
|Our raised beds are already occupied by new hatchlings. A young Garter Snake.|
|...and the Crocuses are blooming!|