We think we speak for everyone when we say,
“For crying out loud…could we just get ON WITH THIS already???”

We’ve tried to be patient, as have you, but this is enough to test the mettle of even the most resilient among us!

We typically expect corn to begin around the 25th of July.

Did you catch that word?   “Typically”

As you may remember, this past spring was anything but “typical”!

Although…we can’t blame the tardiness of the sweet corn entirely on the spring.  (Our first patch was actually planted in very good time).  The fact that June and July were so uncharacteristically cool seems to have contributed much more to the situation.

There are no ifs, ands or buts about it.  Corn needs heat!

So now that you have our excuses…what’s the prediction?

Soon!  Very soon!!

2017’s First Pick…just enough for dinner

We had our first taste last night.
The verdict…sadly…not quite yet.  Although the cobs look fairly good, once they were cooked, it was pretty clear that they were not quite mature.

With the sun shining today and forecast for through the week (mostly…) we SHOULD be good to go for the weekend.  We sure hope so anyway!  Could you imagine the August long weekend without corn?

No, neither could we!

Thank you for your patience and understanding.  We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again…
“Our customers are the BEST!”

In the meantime, you’ve still got to eat!  Check out our ‘Featured on the Stand‘ page to see what IS ready for your table.

Looking forward to seeing you soon,

Robert, Shannon & The Family.

Tax time made me tear up.

It’s funny how things hit us out of the blue sometimes, isn’t it?

I mean, if I were to tell you that organizing our income tax files left me a little misty-eyed, you might think I’d finally, truly “lost it”, mightn’t you???

Let me explain…

Each April, as I ‘switch over’ my files to the current year, there is always the 8th year back to dispose of.  (We only have to keep 7 years of records on hand, right?)

So, being just a little bit nostalgic, and prone to being a little bit forgetful, I like to leaf through the receipts and records from that 8th year.  I pick out the historically significant things….invoices for major purchases, the going rate for certain price benchmarks (fuel, hydro, labour, etc.)….and keep a bit of a record from year to year….just because.  This time, it’s 2008.

Maybe someday our successors will look back and find it interesting, who knows?

What I’m finding interesting today though, is that it’s not the numbers making me feel wistful.  It’s the names.

Don’t get me wrong.  Just like you, I’d love it if our hydro rate was still $0.05/kwh, or student wage was at $8.20/hr.

But those are just numbers.

What makes me pause is not the cost of labour. It’s the names of the student employees who are now married or engaged, raising families, or running their own successful businesses…all of whom we remain in contact with, and consider dear friends.

It’s not the prices for the last remaining dairy cattle we sold.   It’s the name of that one special cow, who went on to live out her years at the farm where I first learned to love the farm life, now owned and operated by my brother and his wife.   Dear old ‘Abby’ is no longer a part of the herd there…but her progeny carry on her legacy.

The cost of equipment rented is trivial. The fact that the man we rented it from in the next county is no longer with us, makes me sad.

The ‘young lad from down the road’ to whom we paid a one-time, lump sum of $37.25 for ‘weeding’ is now a knowledgeable, apprenticing mechanic. He happens to be outside with Robert as I type, working equipment, getting it ready for the upcoming planting season.  (We’ll pay him more than $37.25 today!)

 

And so it goes. Today’s exercise leaves me with much more than a bin full of papers and an empty file drawer, ready for the coming year.

IMG_20160412_115856

 

It leaves me with some worthwhile reminders;

….that change is not something to be feared. The past decade has held many changes for Miller’s Bay Farm.  2008 was our LAST year to sell Maple Syrup and our FIRST year to sell strawberries.  As Socrates said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the  new.” 

… that what we do here is more about the people than anything else. We’re not in this to get rich (in the monetary sense).  If we were, we’d do something else!  As it turns out though, our lives are made rich by each of the people who walk through our lives in a year….and that’s worth far more to us than any dollar figure that we submit to Revenue Canada by the end of the month.

And I can’t help but wonder….7 years down the road, when 2016 becomes “the 8th year”….which names, events, and memories will make me pause and reflect, all over again.

 

I had the most enjoyable experience just the other day!

Mrs. Cunningham’s Kindergarten class, at St. John’s CES in Perth invited me to come and share with them about what we do here on the farm and how it relates to our community.

Shannon Miller

These young folks were genuinely interested, eager to (politely!) share their own experiences and just simply enchanting.  I could have stayed and chatted with them all day!

Their personal anecdotes, and well thought out questions served to me as an important reminder that it’s never too early to gain a good understanding of where our food comes from.

As food producers, we feel a huge sense of responsibility to be open and ready to share what we do, how we do it, and why we love it with anyone who will listen…of ANY age!

To Mrs. Cunningham and her lovely students, may I just say,
“Thank you!” once again for the warm welcome.
It was my pleasure to meet you all!

 

 

It’s Bountiful Basket packing day here at the farm.

An email I received last week keeps springing to my mind (and each time, it brings a smile!)

The message came from one of our faithful customers – a member of the Bountiful Basket program since it began in 2013 (and yes – she said it was ok for me to share her thoughts with you!).

In the message she remarked,
“So sad we are on holidays for the next few weeks, and our daughter will be picking up the great stuff.”

Did you catch that?  She is SAD to be going on holidays because she’ll be missing her baskets!

They must be good.

Hopefully she’s being a trooper, and doing her best to enjoy her vacation…in spite of what she’s missing out on at home…

Week 7 2015

(One of our Small Bountiful Baskets from earlier this season)

 

How do you know when Strawberry season is truly finished?

Well, once we make a run through with this machine, there’s really no mistaking it!

IMG_20150725_165730

 

Yes, that is a mower, much like a larger version of your lawn mower.  And yes, we are chopping off ALL of the tops of the strawberry plants!  (Don’t be confused.  Robert is moving backward down the rows, so it’s the plants in front of the tractor that have already been mowed down.) 

Seems rather harsh, doesn’t it?
It’s called “Renovation”.

Now, if you’ve ever lived through any other type of ‘renovation’, you will know that it almost always means that things are going to look worse before they look better.  It’s the same with the strawberry patch.

This video does a decent job of explaining the ‘how?’ and ‘why?’ of renovating a strawberry patch.

When the mower has passed by, this is what we’re left with…(the row on the right)…

IMG_20150725_165831

It doesn’t end there!

We will still have to do the tilling and narrowing of the rows.  Then in the late fall – after a frost or two, we will apply the straw mulch over the whole patch and ‘tuck them in’ for the winter.

Until then….we’ll be in the vegetable patch!

Never a dull moment!!

 

 

The Story Behind the Stones

 You have waited so patiently to find out what this….

…was all about.

 

I have finally stolen a few moments to let you in on the whole story.

But first – a disclaimer…

You should NOT bother to read this post IF:

  • you are only interested in news about the farm/strawberries/vegetables.
  • you only like short blog posts.
  • you don’t “do” sentimental.

Still with me?

Okay, but don’t say you weren’t warned!!

2014 has held some significant milestones for our family.  In case you missed it, I (Shannon) became a member of the “40+ club” back in July.
Far more impressive than that, my Grandma Hunter (my Dad’s Mom) just celebrated her 90th birthday last week!

We had been rolling this particular project over in our minds for a long time, and it just seemed that this was the year to  make it happen.

You see, Grandma was born and raised on a farm not far from here – just outside of Perth (Wildlife Road, for those of you who are familiar with the area).  The farm buildings there still stand today, and are lovingly cared for – and enjoyed by – their current owners.

Something that Grandma had always felt sad about though, was the fact that many years (and owners) ago, the once-majestic, stone gateposts had been left to crumble.

Once Upon a Time...

Once Upon a Time…

 

We had always hoped to add something similar at the front of our property…

… and we were fairly certain, that seeing them finally reconstructed would make Grandma pretty happy!!

And so began what became known between Robert and I as the top-secret…
“Operation 40-90”!

After the preliminary talks with the owner of Grandma’s home farm (and thus the stones),
discussions with, and quotes from the Stone Mason,
we sprang into action…one hushed step at a time.

Step #1 – Bring home the pieces….without raising too many questions….

Those things are...HEAVY!

Wagon Tires….please don’t fail us now!

 

IMG_20140929_132149

“Home” safe and sound.

 

Steps # 2 – 4

– Unload wagon
– Wait for the Masons to be ready (and for things to quiet down out by the road)
– Shhh!  Don’t let anything slip!!

 

November… the guys from Keystone Traditional Masonry are ready to work their magic!
(Jim and his team are absolutely the BEST!!  Incidentally, they also re-bricked our house when we renovated back in 2000)

Steps # 5 – 287 (a.k.a. completion!)

The actual building of the posts only took about two weeks, and most of it  happened under the large, very orange, tarps.  (as you seem to have noticed)

(We can’t get away with ANYTHING around here!  We don’t mind.  We’re flattered that you folks keep such a close eye on our shenanigans!  Your guesses regarding what was under the tarps ranged from…
…”a new fence/gate” … “a Nativity scene” …
…to … “a broken down tractor” and “a permanent farm store”.)

Of course, the main purpose of the tarps was not to create a commotion, but rather to keep the stones, mortar, and working area warm (yes, Hydro One is loving us this  month!).

The (seemingly excessive) height was necessary to accommodate the electric hoist system used to set each of the stones into place.

 

…..You’re STILL reading along??

Thanks for sticking with me.  I promise I’m almost through!

 

Now…the second-best part:

 

The End Result

The End Result

You may ask, “If the end result was the second-best part, what was the BEST part?”

That’s easy….

 

Grandma's Reaction...

Grandma’s Reaction…

"Are those "My Gateposts"? "

“Are those “My Gateposts” ?”

 

“Yes, Grandma.  Yes, they are!”

She could scarcely believe her eyes.  She was thrilled…even called it, “a dream come true”…

 

…and that, friends, is a memory you cannot put a price-tag on.

November 25, 2014

November 25, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flashback Friday…

Once in a while it’s fun to look back….

 

Young Robert

 

Whoops!  Not quite THAT far back.

How about 20 back years to the Kingston Farmer’s Market at just about this time of year…

 

Dad at Market

If you look closely, you’ll see potatoes…squash…pumpkins…and, yes, Maple Products (that’s a whole other blog post!)…but no SWEET CORN!

Fast forward to today…here at the farm….

Corn October 31

…as always – freshly picked today.

We’ve had several customers report back that it’s been among the tastiest corn of the year!  We had some for dinner earlier this week, and while we might not go that far, considering that it is the 31st of October, it still is very nice corn.

Who needs Halloween Candy Corn when you can have the real thing??

Check our Facebook page or your Farm Fresh Alert email for special end of season pricing!

 

 

 

How do you like your corn?

There are dozens of different ways to prepare this classic “taste of summer”…

…BBQ with husks on, grill with husks off….microwave, wrapped in foil over the campfire….or the traditional pot on the stove…

For the stove-top method (which is the way we most often end up cooking ours), did you know that there is no need to “drown” your corn?  It takes too long to get all of that water up to a boil anyway!

—Technically it’s more like steaming the corn than boiling it, because some of the cobs may not even be IN the water.—

Just start with 2 to 3″ of water in the pot.
Bring to a boil and add the (already husked) corn.
Cover and return to a boil.
Continue cooking for 7 minutes.
Remove from pot and enjoy!

 

By the way…never add salt to the water.  It will only toughen the corn!

 

 

Transition Time

 

Is it just me, or does it seem like only days ago we were here….

 

Berries-a-plenty

 

 

 

 

 

Picking Time

 

 

 

 

 

Bounty of Berries

 

 

 

 

 

…right in the thick of Strawberry season 2014?

…and a wonderful season it was!  Starting (much to our surprise, after that long, cool spring) right on time and stretching out for more than a whole month.  The weather cooperated beautifully; we picked berries for you; you came and picked your own; all in all it was a fantastic time for everyone!

With those days (of giggling children in the patch, and berry-stained chins – on children AND adults alike!!) behind us for another year, we turn our thoughts to what comes next.

What does come next?

We’re so glad you asked!

For now….

Move over Strawberries!

….beautiful greens – Romaine & Leaf Lettuce (green AND red)…

Beets… Zucchini… Green Onions… Peas…

…and YES, those are strawberries…there will be a few pre-picked baskets available for the next few days, if you haven’t quite had your fill!

 

Soon to Follow…….

…our MUCH anticipated Green & Yellow Beans, Sweet Corn, and MUCH more!

 

At this time of year, more than ever, you won’t want to miss a thing…..here’s the solution:

 

Be the first to know when we have
new crops ready for your table
Click here to sign up for our Farm Fresh Alerts

 

So, how’s the picking??

 

I did something today that I don’t take time to do very often.  You see, it’s not really “my department”.  I walked through the strawberry patch, just to see where things were at.  This is what I found….

Berries-a-plenty

 

Looks like we’re at the“sit-down-and-fill-a-basket-without-moving” stage now!

 

So then I thought,
“I’m going to try it, and see how many I can get – just within my arm’s reach
.”

 

I got settled in the row,
started my stopwatch, (because we’ve recently stepped into the 21st century and have all of these glorious gadgets on our phones now!!)
and picked everything I could reach.

 

This is the result….3 short minutes later…

 

My 3-Minute Basket

 

The bottom line…..

If you’ve been toying with the idea of coming out to do some picking

– whether you’re a die-hard, fill the freezer, picker,
or a curious sort who hasn’t been in a berry patch for years –

NOW is the time. 

 

Oh, and speaking of “bottom lines”, don’t worry about yours…..

Go ahead...sit down!

….we’ve put down LOTS of straw to keep things clean & dry!

 

See you in the patch!

 

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