Thursday, August 27, 2009

An Inspiring Story from Cache Bay

Cache Bay woman experimenting with exotic crops

Greenery from around the world is sprouting in Cache Bay.

Jeanne Labonte's garden on Anderson Road features purple corn from Peru and a Russian sunflower that towers at three metres -- and it's still a baby," she says.

I look for different exotic things that normally don't grow here," says the 45-year-old, who bought seeds online from around the world.

Her purple corn from Peru surprised her.

I didn't think it would grow here," she says, pointing out a corn stalk that has grown to the roof of her garage.

And with Mother Nature being less than giving this summer, it leaves Labonte to wonder what would happen in a better growing season.

I am sure everything would be a lot bigger."

Monica McLaren, a master gardener with the North Bay's Heritage Gardeners, says it is not uncommon for different seeds to take in this climate.

It depends on the length of the season and how many days are required for the plants full length of maturity," she says.

Seeds can also be started indoors giving those who would like to experiment a leg up on growing.

In Labonte's numerous garden boxes, she has corn of all colours including ruby red, red stalker, strawberry, blue, baby ear and peaches and cream.

And her bean collection -- featuring European Helda, Big Mama lima beans from New Jersey and French purple pole beans -- would put some markets to shame.

Adding to the rainbow are chocolate cherry tomatoes and purple tomatoes.

Her scores of gourds include a batwing pumpkin which is orange on top and black on the bottom.

This year it is kind of like a test garden," she says. Next year, I will actually plant rows of purple corn and stuff I have experimented with this year because I know it will grow in our climate."

And that is the best part. What excites me the most is

seeing what I can produce from a seed and to see if it will grow."

Friday, August 21, 2009

Another Photo Update of the Locavore Community Garden

Just another quick update of how things around the garden are looking. We have some more ripe nightshade toms (yay!), we had surprise chamomile show up in our poppy pot, the bush nasturtiums are blooming, and so are the peas, pole beans and bush beans. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sage & Timely Advice About Canning Tomatoes

Thinking about canning tomatoes this year? Go over and read Late blight warning: Don’t can those tomatoes! over at Poor Richard's Almanac (and have a look at the rest of their blog while your at it!).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Corn Festival at the North Bay Downtown Farmers' Market!

Here is info about the upcoming Corn Festival at the North Bay Downtown Farmers' Market from the Market's website:

On Saturday August 22nd the North Bay Downtown Farmers’ Market will be hosting it’s Annual Corn Festival. Bring the whole family to experience a wide variety of quality locally gown and handmade products. Get to the market early on this day to get your cobs for corn-roast season!! Bags and bags of super-sweet corn will be available from select vendors!

Support the Market by visiting the Market Booth (located in or about the centre of the Market) to get your drinks and snacks. And on August 22nd only you can enjoy hot, buttered corn served fresh on the cob and piping hot. Seasoned with salt and pepper and slathered with butter, corn on the cob is a taste treat that is enjoyed by people universally. You can buy a sweet, juicy, delicious cob of corn for $1.00 each. All proceeds from the Corn Festival go towards the dream of a permanent home.

There is lots of FREE parking and the Market is open “rain or shine” every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Bring your friends & family to the same great location --parking lot #11 on McIntyre St. across from City Hall {behind the TD Canada Trust on Main St.}

Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Phelps Community Gardens in Redbridge

Volunteers working in the garden {photo by Keri Edmunds Mulka}

In the Spring 2008 community members of Redbridge got together to create Phelps Community Gardens on the property of Phelps Central School on Glenvale Drive. Here is a little blurb about the group from their Facebook page:

We are a group of community members committed to strengthening our local school, the community we live in, and most importantly educating & inspiring through gardening. The schools gardens is a fun way to expand curriculums, conservation efforts, to develop a healthy understanding of nutrition, and to further the academic achievement through hands-on learning.

Phelps Central School students getting ready to work {photo by Keri Edmunds Mulka}

The group is a grassroots organization that runs largely on material and financial donations from community members and the work of dedicated volunteers. The group did receive a small grant from the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unity through the Take Heart Ontario program (the same funding source that the Locavores got this year for our Community Garden) for material start up costs.

Phelps Community Gardens does sell some produce from time to time and also have a neat little cookbook that was created by SOFA Communications, a company which donated its designing services for the cookbook project.

The Community Gardens is in its second year, and the group is very excited to have the children come back to school so they can enjoy the garden!

On a suitable day in late September or early October, students will get to enjoy a harvest festival where they will harvest the veggies, collect seeds, and enjoy a feast made from food in the garden.

Each class is responsible for its own part of the garden {photo by Keri Edmunds Mulka}

This is a fantastic project and the Near North region needs more like it. If you would like more information you can check out the group's Facebook page, and if you are interested in making a donation, volunteering, or purchasing a cookbook, please call Keri Edmunds Mulka at (705) 663-2885.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Calling All Local Producers: Great Opportunity with Vested Interest!

We are please to announce our support for a new and exciting venture that is being undertaken by Vested Interest that is both sure to benefit local food producers, as well as local eaters!

A little while back, Brent and Jenn Bywater, the owners of Vested Interest has approach the Near North Locavores with their idea. They are looking to carry products grown and made by local producers in their store, which is centrally located in downtown North Bay.

To start with they are looking to carry products with a longer shelf life, and may expand further to other products, dependent on the success of this initial trial run.

If you are a producer who might be interested in getting involved (or know of another Near North food producer who might be, for more information and application please contact Jenn and Brent Bywater at (705) 474-5055 or email them at

Thursday, August 6, 2009

More Locavore Community Garden Photos

This is just a quick photo update of the Near North Locavore community garden. These have been taken over the last couple of weeks, including a few yesterday. Enjoy!

Lemon balm




The last poppy in bloom

Bush beans

Sweet marjoram ready to be harvested!


More peas

Rainbow Swiss chard

Finally! Some ripe tomatoes!

The shade garden got a bit of a makeover {stones that we dug up when creating the garden beds}

Pretty purple flowers that I have no idea what they are called {does anyone know?}

Sweet basil {looking a little sad due to all the rain and attention from the ear wigs!}


Herbs packaged and ready for the Amelia Rising food bank! {pictured: peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm, sweet basil, oregano, sweet marjoram, parsley, garden sage, tri coloured sage, pineapple sage, English thyme, rosemary, and cilantro.}

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

2009 International Plowing Match & Rural Expo in Temiskaming

From September 22nd to 26th, Earlton Municipality (in Temiskaming) will host the first ever International Plowing Match & Rural Expo in Northern Ontario. Here is a blurb about the event from the website:

...the IPM 2009 will be geared to all ages and all interests, providing a perfect venue for education, awareness and entertainment. Its sheer size and diversification will provide areas of interest for everyone. There will be displays of antique equipment from the mining, forestry and agricultural sectors, local food sampling, forest harvesting demonstrations, fashion shows, a quilt tent, musical entertainment, dance troupes, traditional French Canadian singers and native wind singers and dancers. We will showcase the culture and heritage of Northern Ontario and focus on the growth of our natural resources in mining, forestry and agriculture.

The International Plowing Match and Rural Expo will also feature over 100 acres of Tented City showcasing 600 exhibitors. From a fantastic educational program, including little sprouts tent to interactive exhibits, a Show Ring Corral, Queen of the Furrow competition, Theatre Tent, and of course plowing competitions. There literally is something for everyone. These are just a few of things to discover at the IPM!

Go check out the website for more details. Hope to see you there!