Friday, November 25, 2011

Skeeter's getting a new website!

The future home of our blog posts and info about CSA programs, markets etc will now be hosted at


Not much there yet, but stay tuned as the wonders of our new website are unveiled over the next few months :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blog Neglect

Hello Loyal Blog Readers!

Our apologies for not posting any updates over the last few months. The end of the season has been beyond crazy for us, trying to manage our full time jobs, school and running the farm. The truth is, 140 character sound bites seems to be all we can keep up with at the moment.

SO, if you'd like to keep in touch with us a little more over the winter season you can follow us on Twitter @skeeterfarm or check out the Facebook page, and even like us if you feel so inclined :)

We will be posting information about how to sign up for the 2012 CSA season in the new year. If you would like to be put on the CSA email list to be notified when registration starts, please send us an email at

The Skeeter Farmers

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Quintissential Comfort Food: Seasonal Soups

Yummy times ahead! These days the weather is unpredictable, sun one moment, rain and clouds the next. But no matter what, fall is here. Crisp morning air, leaves on the ground, and the feeling like you can't get out of bed. I never craved a soup during our summertime weeks, but the simple nosh of soup is what beckons at our household these days. Now, soup I always thought was a bit of a meal one must follow a recipe for, but once you have the basic patterns down pat, you can create a soup out of any veggie there is!
Being a follower of some celebrity chefs (not to name names ; ) I have learned many techniques for soups, full of seasonal produce, and packed full of flavor and nutrition. Here are some ideas to get you going a bit in the kitchen this fall and winter season, and if you are a new soup maker, try to notice the pattern of building flavor as you go along. Then be adventurous to try more new veggies whenever you want. I have had a blast! Does anyone out there have more new ideas? Please share on our facebook page, or email us with your great recipe!

Creamy Acorn Squash Soup
1 onion, or leek, diced
1 tbsp of dried rosemary
1 bay leaf
4 cups water
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 acorn squash, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1/4 c heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Heat olive oil on medium heat, and add onion, garlic and herbs. Pan fry until translucent. Add squash, and water, and cook until squash is soft. Remove bay leaf, and puree in a food procesor until smooth. Put soup back into a pot on the stove and add cream, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Comfy Tomato and Bean Soup
1 c. cooked, or canned beans
olive oil
1 onion, cubed
1 pepper, cubed
1 sprig thyme
1 can diced tomatoes, or 4 large fresh ones, diced
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Sautee onion and olive oil until translucent. Add beans, and squash with a fork until 1/2 the beans are crushed. Add thyme, pepper, tomatoes and 1/2 water and cook on medium for 20 minutes. Add 1/4 c of grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Add additional water if too thick.

Zingy Spinach and Broccoli Soup

1 broccoli head, washed and chopped
2 c. spinach
2 c. stock, veggie, or chicken
1/4 c. white wine
1 onion chopped
2 tbsp. dill, chopped
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Sautee onion in olive oil until translucent. Add broccoli and cook for 5 minutes, and add stock, white wine and continue to cook until broccoli is soft. Add dill and spinach. Cool for 10 minutes. Add to food processor and blend until smooth. Return to pot, and season with salt and pepper.

Monday, August 29, 2011

It's all about Food Preservation

Kind of a funky title for a blog post, but quite honestly, I didn't know how to title this post. The realm of food preservation encompasses so much these days, and canning seems to spring to mind first. I think this comes from the fact that canning has hit a new stride. A new generation of canners has arisen, no doubt due to the resergence of interest in local food. Knowing that we cannot eat locally all year (although some areas of this province can), perserving our summer bounty is becoming more and more common. Of course this is not a new concept, to be sure, but the idea of canning tomatoes to see their pretty red color is something many a people have fallen in love with.

I have to say, I have been canning for years. While I love to open up my pantry to see all the pickles, jams, and other canned goods I have worked on through the summer months, I have been wanting to expand this idea of food preservation a little further. For example, food drying and curing. A technique that is steeped in history and to this day is used in every country in the world, drying and curing has now become my new thing. Last year I asked for a food dehyrator for Christmas. My parents indulged me, and with this summer, I have been trying it out. I always knew that drying foods or herbs needed a cool, dry, dark place to dry out in, and a dehydrator gives a more even thorough dry. Also, foods and herbs keep their color, and keeps more of the oils in the food. Can I just say, this is sweet. In my picture here, I have plates full of dried chamomile (for a tea order), and I am taking a stab at drying basil (for maybe CSA?). Wouldn't that be awesome too, opening up your tea or spice cupboard to find, nice clear bottles with your own dried herbs or teas? I think that maybe I am coming full circle with my idea of food preservation. For the longest time, I thought freezing veggies and fruit was persevering them, but what if I had a blackout, or my home was damaged in a earthquake? What would happen to my perishable goodies then?

So these questions helped me sort out what preserving actually is. I will always freeze berries for the winter, but in addition to this, wouldn't it be cool to maybe dry some too? To throw on cereal or oatmeal, or in trail mixes to snack on? Hmm... maybe I've caught on to something here. If only I ate meat, then I would be curing a big ham leg in my spare room.....

Monday, August 15, 2011

How to Eat Like a Veggie Farmer

One of the obvious perks of working/owning/living on a farm is the bounty of fresh food that we have to choose from when we go to construct our meals. This season, more than ever, we have delved into eating like true veggie farmers! This in part due to having a great kitchen to cook in, now living ON the farm and an amazing cooking partner do it it with (Pat).

As the meals have become more and more delicious, elaborate and fantastic I started to think about how our eating habits have changed since we started farming. Frequent trips to the grocery store are no more! We eat what we have, and make meals so good they would knock your socks off. These photos hopefully share a little insight into the world of seasonal meals that we Skeeter Farmers have come to enjoy.

There is nothing more amazing than an at home, mid-work week lunch (major perk to farming). Here we made fresh kale/basil pesto pasta. Topped off with a homebrew porter. 

In and amongst the chaos that is the summer around here, it's nice to have fresh flowers adorning the house. I realize these aren't food, but too pretty not to share.

I've had to get over my distaste for beets this summer. Here were enjoying some farmers market leftover chioggia beet and cabbage salad. Not something I would ever have put together, but true to the idea of eating what you got! Rather Dr. Seuss I think....

Another amazing mid-work week lunch at home. This time it's fresh pesto pasta topped with sauteed crookneck squashes and tomatoes on a bed of arugula.

 Just another pretty bouquet of flowers to make me happy while working on the master's thesis. These flowers were grown specifically for a wedding in August. We are happy to have the leftovers :)

Edible flower petals make eating salad so much more enjoyable. This is Skeeter Farm's special blend of salad mix!

You know what makes salad mix even more enjoyable? If you top it with pan fried peppers and summer squash then load it up with pesto. Hmmmm....I am noticing a theme with a lot of these lunches!

Here is some after-the-market dinner prep. Dinner prep usually starts around 9:30 pm and doesn't get eaten until after 10:30 - something that we have had to come to terms with in this summer of chaos. We have also had to come to terms with eating 2 lbs of beans at each sitting. Hate to see any of this bounty go to waste :)

You know what goes good with 2 lbs of beans? 4 lbs of potatoes and beets! 

We eat a lot of kale too! 

The only bad thing about this type of eating is when the season runs out! In order to enjoy our food year round we are canning up a storm. Here's Colleen and I pickling cukes and beans. Simon is supervising from his box.

Have we made you hungry? Please tell us/show us all of the wonderful things you are making with this season's bounty by posting a pic on our facebook wall. Thanks to all of our customers who have shared so far.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pickling Cukes are Ready!

Hello canning enthusiasts! At Skeeter Farm, our pickling cukes are on there way! I think each one of us, deep down has the desire to pickle to our heart's content, and think of cold, wet December days when opening up a pickle jar becomes a source of comfort.

If you are interested and full filling this canning desire, or are looking for some fresh cukes for your annual pickle fest, email us. We are filling orders now.

You can reach us at: for all orders, and we can give you pricing right away.

We hope to hear from you soon!

Oodles of Zucchini!

High summer is here everyone, and so is the onslaught of zucchinis and summer squash. I, like everyone out there who loves summer, loves the zucchini family. Our weather this spring and summer has brought on a great many crops, and with so many pollinators that we have at Skeeter Farm, zucchini and summer squash are in abundance.

Usually people have a few recipies they fall back on with zucchini, but there truly is a great mulititude of ideas out there. Zucchini, patty pans, and crooknecks are mild in flavor, so they take on any flavor that it is cooked with. Herbs are great, along with tomatoes, cheeses, and alliums highten the flavor and usefullness of this delicate veggie.

If you are in need of a few more recipie ideas, here are a few, and I hope you enjoy!

Grilled Zucchini

Slice a zucchini lengthways and brush with a bit of olive oil. Grill until soft, and grill marks appear. Remove from the grill, and squeeze some lemon juice on top, add some crumbled feta, and top with fresh mint, basil, or green onion.

Summer Squash and Pasta

Cook your pasta until al dente, and while warm drizzle with a bit of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add grated summer squash, as much as you would like, and some grated parmesan cheese.

Zucchini and Tomatoes

Cube zucchini or summer squash and add to a pan on medium heat with a bit of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and add two fresh tomatoes, and one clove of chopped garlic. Saute until zucchini is tender. Top with some ripped basil.

Baked Summer Veggies

Par boil four potatoes just until fork tender. Drain, let cool, and slice 1/2 inch slices. Slice 4 tomatoes and one medium zucchini. Once all the veggies are sliced, diagonally layer and alternate them in a shallow baking pan. Once complete, sprinkle fresh oregano, salt and pepper and bake for about 20 minutes.

Yum, yum, can't wait until dinner!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Waging War on the Wireworm

Many moons ago, Colleen wrote about the initial surge of those pesky little wireworms in the hoop house. Well, they continue to turn up once in a while around the farm, evidenced by sad, drooping plants here and there. So, the fight continues...

A little info for those who don't know much about the wireworms. Our particular wireworm species are either Agriotis obscurus or Agriotes lineatus, both non-native, both a pain in the behind. Wireworms are the larvae stage of a click beetle, and stay in the larvae stage of the life cycle for 3 - 4 years, feasting on poor little plants. Once they become adult click beetles, they don't hurt plants.

I guess in some ways, we are not all that unlike the wireworm. We both like Yarrow. We both like Skeeter Farm. We both like plants. However, there is one all important difference. While we humans like to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of the plants' labour, wireworms like to take plants well before their time. For this reason, we will forever be enemies.

Initial efforts to deal with the wireworm included negotiation (no luck) and the trusted sacrificial carrot tactic (very effective).

Well, this past week we stepped things up and took the fight to the wireworm with the enlistment of Beneficial Native Nematodes!!! Nematodes naturally occur in the soil and eat soil dwelling insects like larvae and grubs, leaving friendly earthworms and plants to go about their business. In effect, we have brought in some reinforcements to help fight the good fight. We'll keep you posted.

In Nematodes we trust.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our first CSA is on it's way!

Yes it is finally here. Our first CSA of 2011. Many a serious nights worried about harvest dates, germination happenings, and the absence of sunshine.... but it all worked out. Folks, we were very proud to put forth this effort, and we are stoked about our crops!

Amy and Patrick on there way to you very shortly.... and myself the subsequent week... to drop off your veggies. Now remember, each week brings forth a new set of unpredictable events, so bear with us, as we will do our best, and we will not forget about what the farming experience means and the ability to provide local ingredients means so much to us.

Enjoy everyone!

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Lettuce of Skeeter Farm

Crunch, crunch! Now, not wanting to let the cat out of the bag already, with just days until our first CSA delivery of 2011, but we at Skeeter Farm have had luck this year with all kinds of lettuce and greens. Truth is, this luck has arisen from the (let's face it) cold, wet spring. While some crops are a bit behind, all kinds of greens are a growin' out in Yarrow.

Back in May when I started planting the greens bed, I had a great time perusing our seed reserves to decide what kind of lettuces to plant. Freckled romaine and usual romaine, green leaf, butter lettuce, and even a 'drunken woman' variety got me interested enough to commit to several rows of lettuce. Good thing, as I never thought we would have such a challenging, nervous time in June, waiting for seed germination of dill and cilantro or for peas and beans to finally have a growth spurt. But kale, swiss chard and bok choi have all been troopers with the lettuce to flow us in to the weeks, and now days, before our first farm harvest.

So whether you are a customer that will be receiving a bag next week, or a loyal market goer in Coquitlam, or maybe a Skeeter Farm 'friend', we hope you enjoy our Skeeter Farm spring/summer/fall greens, because trust me, this head of romaine tastes even better than how scrumptious it looks!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Living in an Amish Paradise

Skeeter farms has a new baby.  It's actually a new Wheel Hoe, and, like a new baby, everyone instantly loves it, can't stop talking about it, and cannot imagine their lives before it. 

Weeding is possibly the most time intensive activity on the farm. It has usually included an upright hoe, or being down on your hands and knees pulling things out by hand and shuffling along the 100 foot rows.   The Wheel Hoe (yes, it deserves capitals) is about ten times as efficient. Ten. Times. As. Efficient.

"God Bless you Wheel Hoe" - Patrick Kitchen

The Wheel Hoe is made by Hoss, and it's crazy to imagine that everyone with a garden doesn't have one of these.  Interestingly, the Hoss website says that "In the 1910's, 20's, 30's, and 40's the wheel cultivator ruled the gardening world", but that they disappeared as people developed herbicides in the 50's.  Eliot Coleman, author of the New Organic Gardener, seems to be single-handedly bringing them back though, as every web reference to wheel hoe's seems to reference Coleman. 

What's great about the Wheel Hoe is that is greatly reduces labour, but not at the expense of the environment - as it burns no fuels.  It just uses simple mechanical principles and is made of long lasting materials that are easy to clean and repair.  In fact, the handles are made from "Amish-crafted #1 red oak". 

So, this little baby should make weeding out at Skeeter Farms a lot more enjoyable and fast, leaving more time for other important things, like harvesting - which is coming up soon!


PS:  "Amish-crafted #1 red oak" made me think of the Wierd Al song 'Living in an Amish paradise' (set to Coolio's 'Gansta's Paradise'). So, just for fun, here are the Amish Paradise lyrics. I don't recommend trying to read them at work, as I did, because they are pretty funny and you might spit out your coffee (as I did).  

As I walk through the valley where I harvest my grain
I take a look at my wife and realize she's very plain
But that's just perfect for an Amish like me
You know I shun fancy things like electricity

At 4:30 in the mornin' I'm milking cows
Jedediah feeds the chickens and Jacob plows, fool
And I've been milking and plowing so long that
Even Ezekial thinks that my mind is gone

I'm a man of the land, I'm into discipline
Got a bible in my hand and a beard on my chin
But if I finish all of my chores, and you finish thine
Then tonight we're going to party like it's 1699

We've been spending most our lives living in an Amish paradise
I churn butter once or twice, living in an Amish paradise
It's hard work and sacrifice, living in an Amish paradise
We sell quilts at discount price, living in an Amish paradise

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Experimenting with Mulches

A long, cold, wet spring like the one we had this year means one big thing for us veggie farmers. Lots of weeding! Some how those weeds are much better than our crops at growing big and strong in the weather we've been having.

Up until last week it felt darn near impossible to keep on top of them. Things are looking better now, thanks to lots of people power, and the use of some different mulches.

A mulch around the surface of your crop can serve multiple purposes - yes it helps to keep weeds down, but it can also help to regulate soil moisture and soil temperatures, provide a nice environment for soil organisms and depending on the mulch you use, can add organic matter to your soil once turned down (all good news for a veggie farmer).

Around Skeeter Farm we are using four different mulches, each in small quantities. I imagine that if we have good results with any one, we'll go ahead and use it more widespread next year.

Duck compost, which we are very fortunate to have access to from FVDG, is made up of the composted duck manure and wood shavings that the ducks are grown on.

Black plastic mulch is good for warming the soil (something that melons love) but isn't exactly great for the environment as it probably takes thousands of years to decompose. We limit our use of the stuff.

Straw is something that we have used as a mulch around our garlic to keep it from experiencing the extreme winter temperatures that we can get in the valley.

Something new this year is the use of sheep's wool as a mulch. We were fortunate to have some given to us and we are experimenting with using it as a mulch around some flowers. It looks beautiful and smells delightfully sheepy!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Skeeter Open House - June 18th

The farm is holding an open house from 10-2 on Saturday June 18th for anyone who is interested in checking out the new place!

If you'd like to come, and maybe even help pull a weed or two, please RSVP to for directions!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Yikes. It's a good thing we aren't squeamish.

Growing things without pesticides and chemicals means that sometimes you have to get creative when it comes to pest control. 

Pesky little wire worms have taken a liking to the tomatoes in the hoophouse – they crawl inside the stems and suck up the nutrients that the plant needs to grow, eventually leading to their demise.  Bummer! Usually they attack potatoes, but this is a rare case of them attacking tomatoes (how exciting?).

So Amy and Patrick found a creative solution online: stick whole carrots into the ground next to the tomatoes and hopefully ‘distract’ the worms into eating the carrots instead. Like so:


That’s step one (and it worked!). Step two is pulling up the carrots each day and pulling out the worms by hand!  

It helps if you aren't squeamish! Then proceed to do this every day and hope for the best! 
Afterwards (and after a thorough hand washing), we deserved a treat and ate peanut butter cups. I made them and I they were great, but this photo suggest otherwise! Maybe she's still thinking of worms...


Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Lovely Spring Recipie

Hi everybody! In my quest to eat local as much as possible, I've been coming up with many alternatives to eating the quintessential spring foods: rhubarb, asparagus, new potatoes... now, even though Skeeter Farm is growing everything under the sun, asparagus is still up in the air for us. Soon, though, I trust you, it will come to fruition. Anyway, as stated before I am all about supporting my local farmers when I can, and my husband and I enjoyed making (and eating) this lovely soup! Give it a try! (Sorry my pic couldn't load properly)

Creamy Asparagus Soup

2 1lbs asparagus chopped
1 large onion chopped
a pat of butter
5 c vegetable broth
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/3 c heavy cream
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper

Cook onion with butter, salt and pepper until translucent. Add asparagus and thyme and sauteed until tender. Add broth and continue to cook for about 5-10 mins. Puree soup with a food processor, put back on heat and add cream and juice of 1/2 lemon. Season further to taste.

Recipes concerning Skeeter Farm veggies are on the horizon. Stay tuned for some additional ideas......

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Reason to Farm

Hi everyone, I haven't done any blogs in quite a while, but as you might have guessed, the balance of full time work and farming has occupied my time in a big way. And of course, the workload of getting crops started really has distracted me from doing posts lately, but we are ahead of the game now, and I can now start to slow down a bit.

So, my title, A Reason to Farm. I should explain more about this. While doing some planting today I was talking to Amy about my reason to farm. While I didn't get too much into the actual reason earlier today, I will now.
I think everyone has their own particular reasons for choosing farming as a career, or hobby, but my reason to get involved in this local farming venture is because of the food. A simple statement to be sure, but the food is more that just eating the fresh peas from the field. It is, for me, the pride and joy of growing something yourself that tastes absolutley fantastic and healthy. The tomatoes are not imported from Florida, and the kale is not from California. The real flavor and taste is natural and explosive, not bland and unripe. The act of eating in season and local is affordable, challenges the creative palate, and when fresh out of the field you know it has all the nutrients.
In addition, the act of supporting local farmers is truly a great thing for the community. Like people supporting Skeeter Farm, I like to support other local farmers. It keeps people working and food accessible.

On days like this, hot sunny days, when the day consists of 12 hours of planting and potting, farm chores and watering, tommorrow at my day job, I can think of that great productive day and know that I am giving back and doing something great for my local community and that also makes tasting that local tomato even better. Or even local celery!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lil Farm Update

This was written for our May CSA newsletter, but I figure it can do double duty as a blog post:

Setting up the farm

The first season farming at a new site is special because we essentially get to design our farm. What does that mean? Well we design and set up our irrigation, design our field and planting beds, create a crop rotation and figure out where other important farm infrastructure like our washing station will go. It is a season to be creative and it is also a season of hard work because all of the set up happens at the same time as planting.

These times are not without their challenges…

Take, for example, the set up of our hoophouse, which spanned over a couple of months and involved several days of hard work (okay so the boys worked really hard…we just worked hard). The final step was to put on the brand new plastic, which we decided to do in a bit of a storm the day before Amy went on a week-long trip. We were so excited to finally have the hoophouse done and to get our light starved transplants out in the sunlight. Well…just hours after we finished the plastic, the wind kicked up, and needless to say our brand new plastic tore and was flapping madly in the wind. Guess we should have spent some more time making sure it was secure…

(Thanks to Joe for the somewhat heartbreaking photo).

Despite hard work there are several things that we are extremely excited about.

One thing is the new irrigation/water system. Those of you who have been with us for a while may have heard about our water set up at the old farm. The old system involved us dragging a 60 lb gas water pump up and down a steep embankment every time we wanted to turn water on. This often was done in office work clothes in the early hours of the morning. Get this…the new system can be turned on in a heartbeat by merely flipping on a valve. Amazing eh?

Another thing that is really quite exciting to us is the fact that our field is a regular shape (cheap thrills). Seems simple, but after farming in an oval shaped field that was shaded on one side, the new field is a dream come true. With a regular shaped field that is not shaded, we have planned out a 6-year crop rotation based on 6 separate planting beds. What this means is that every 6th year, the same crop family will be planted in the same area. Crop rotation is a critical aspect of managing pests and diseases as well as maintaining high quality soil for our style of farming.

]Speaking of soil, our little tractor, Benny, is having a much better time tilling up this nice sandy soil compared to the heavy clay we have farmed in the past. With only 12.5 horsepower, we were quite underpowered and had a very hard time doing our field preparations. Field prep has gone much more smoothly this year thanks to the big tractors from Fraser Valley Duck and Goose and our little Benny.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Another nice blog post about Skeeter Farm!

It's pretty fantastic to have CSA customers who also blog....
We've been so busy in the field lately, there's almost no time to spend on the computer (and I am not complaining at all).

Aimee and Mykol, two classmates of mine, came out to the farm at the end of the season last year to help with our last harvest - thanks friends!

Aimee, 6 months later, posted a nice story and pics of us:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Nice plug from a CSA customer.

Amber and her family came to visit Skeeter Farm last year in November. She is an avid blogger and wrote a nice little story about us.

Thanks Amber!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The farm - our other, needier, life partner.

A couple of years ago...before we really knew what it was all about, we probably would have answered "access to land or equipment" or "how to actually grow things" as the answer to what our biggest challenge is (a question we find we are asked frequently).

These are challenges that are certainly present for new farmers, but in our case, have been relatively easily overcome. They are challenges that you can do something take the steps to gain the knowledge you need to confidently plant a seed in the ground and take it all the way to market. Accessing land and equipment, well, yes it is a challenge if you don't know where to go to find it, but in our experience there is no lack of people willing to help a new farmer out. So if those aren't the biggest challenges...than what is it?

For us, it is time. Hands down.

Time is what limits our ability to do the things we do, restricts how much we can take on as farmers as we dream of bigger and better things, meddles with our ability to have a normal social life, be spontaneous, and spend time with the people we want to spend time with.

When we started out farming, we made the decision to do so on a "part-time" basis. By this I mean that we decided to not quit our day jobs (part-time in quotations as 50 hrs/week on the farm has not been uncommon). In a lot of ways, this was the right thing for us to do. For one, starting a farm while continuing to work another job has allowed us to alleviate the risk involved with taking the plunge into farming by continuing to receive a steady income while we learn how to farm and be profitable. We have relied on our own incomes (i.e. no loans or outside sources of funding) to get our farm going, and it feels good knowing that we don't owe any money.

On the other hand, not fully taking the plunge has resulted in a crazy last few years and some frustrations with not having the time to do things carefully, and in the way we want to. We feel like we are always playing catch up....and it's pretty clear to me that this means of farming will not be something we will be able to continue into the future. At some point there will need to be a decision made: grow vegetables full time and really make a go at it OR settle for farming as part of a lifestyle and not a means of income.

Reading back through this post (which I started to write back in March and never really got to it)...this is sounding complain-y, which is not what my intent was at all. The intent was to shed light on an important decision that all new farmers face - start slow and build up the business while supporting yourself elsewhere, or jump in feet first, take on the risk but have time to make your farming dreams come true. This is a decision that we have struggled with, and still do. Finding the balance between achieving our business goals and maintaining our other life commitments seems to be a perpetually moving target.
this photo has no relevancy to this post other than it a pic of the Vedder River by the farm. What I wish I had was a photo of us driving our little tractor to the repair shop (multiple times) last year at 7 am all dressed up in my office work clothes with overalls overtop with Hannah following me in the VW bus. That would have been perfectly relevant, and amazing.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Farm Art

A nice Emily Carr student, Daisy, put together this awesome CSA graphic depicting Skeeter Farm's CSA as well as Abundant Acres (Abby) and Glorious Organics (Aldergrove) CSA programs.

We like very much. Thanks Daisy!

Still looking for a CSA program?

Two great new programs to tell you folks about...

Earth Apple Farm Potato CSA


Simple Roots Farm

are two new farms who have started up at the Incubator Farm at the Bakerview EcoDairy in Abbotsford.

We love their websites (hmmm...perhaps we should make one?) and the fact that there are more and more new farmers starting up every year!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

CSA Shares Sold-Out

Thanks to all of our 2011 customers...shares are now sold out for our program this year. Please do still email us to be put on our waiting list for next year!

(cool photo by Betty Johnson)

Happy Spring from Skeeter Farm!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring is in the Air!

I know I am a few days early to be saying this, but today at the farm, it really did feel like it. The fresh smell from a recent night's rain, the bright sun and soft breeze was very welcome as I was standing on the soft soil.

Let's face it. Spring for a farmer is pretty exciting! While soil is not yet being worked, lots of things are on the go. Summer market dates are now set, CSA shares are selling out (we have just one left!), and seedlings are started. Onions, leeks, peppers, and herbs are growing in trays, our seed potatoes are sprouting, and our garlic, our precious garlic, is on its way.

Amy and I have got a few things to get done out in the field in the new few weeks, and this lovely weather will definitely help us. Between finishing hoophouse construction and prepping soil, Spring, we have been waiting for you.

Just look at that young Chesnok Red!

Friday, March 4, 2011

telling our story

We will be doing a little talk tomorrow at the Mission City Farmers market AGM. The event is open to the public and folks are welcome to come and learn about the Mission City Farmers Market as well as a bit about our farm!

Event Details

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Our Deer Friend

Yes, there he is folks, the animal to complete our farm. Or, not. This week I have spent some intimate time out in the field, trying to ressurect our hoophouse. During the bitterly cold winds, and minus degree temperatures, I never saw our little friend. But when the weather is a little warmer, he struts out looking for food.

Amy and I are a little worried about our deer friend messing with or nibbling at our crops, but boy doesn't he look cute? Yes, cute enough... we are looking into the price of deer fencing.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Farm Job Opportunity in East Abbotsford

Our friends from the Arkeysteyn-Vogler Family Farm in Abbotsford are hiring...

Organic farm seeks: Assistant Field Manager

Arkesteyn-Vogler Family Farm

5115 Tolmie Road Abbotsford

Send resume to

Farm/Job description: Arkesteyn-Vogler Family Farm is an organic vegetable farm in east Abbotsford. We produce a wide array of vegetable products for sale at farmers markets and through a weekly harvest box program. The farm is in it’s second year of production therefore there are many building blocks still being put into place. This will give the applicant first hand experience in the creation of a new farm enterprise. The successful candidate will be the lead hand for the farm and will assist the owners in many aspects of the farm operation. The successful candidate will take part in the supervision and instruction of part time employees and volunteers working on the farm. Flexibility as to work hours and the ability to work Saturdays is important as farm tasks are often dictated by the weather.


  • All manner of field work: planting, weeding, trellising, irrigating etc.
  • Harvesting washing and packaging crops
  • Supervising and working alongside part-time employees and volunteers
  • Vending at a farmers market at least one day a week (possibly Saturdays)
  • Constructing farm infrastructure such as greenhouses and tool sheds.


  • Drivers licence and a car to get to and from the farm
  • A background in agronomy or a related biological science
  • Experience working on a farm or in a similar physical outdoor environment
  • Sales and marketing experience
  • Experience in a supervisory or management role
  • Excellent communication skills and conflict management
  • General construction skills are a big asset.


Contract position: $12.50/hr; 40 hours a week averaged over a month. Plus lots of delicious veggies.

Contract Term April 15th to October 30th.

Please submit a cover letter and resume to Andrew Arkesteyn-Vogler at by midnight of March 15th .

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Reading week is...

good for farmwork. Not so much for reading. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Seeds of 2011

In a past life I had a bit of a shopping habit (clothes/shoes mostly). This has undoubtedly translated over to seed selection now that I am farming. Seed orders have been arriving over the last 2 weeks and I have been excitedly inventorying, alphabetizing and carefully dating all of our new seeds. We've built up quite a collection over the past few years, and although Amanda was a bit of a stickler when it comes to crops that didn't make much money last year ;) ....we still have an overwhelming variety to plant from.

Off the top of my head the crops that got dropped this year were okra, popcorn, turnips (yes some of you will be happy about that!) and field cucumbers. They just didn't do much for us...

As for new crops, we hope to be serving up sweet potatoes, potatoes, edamame, our own signature salad blend, and some new herbs and flowers. Along with the new stuff, over 100 different varieties of vegetables and herbs that we have come to love will be planted out in the next few months.

It all started this week with the sowing of asparagus, lemongrass, celery, leeks, kale and parsley. Up next, onions and fennel.

The farm has migrated into my apartment for the time being. This, and Amanda's balcony, are the seed starting stations until we get the hoophouse set up (note the pretty, living, valentines flowers!)

Things change as we get older. For one thing...I have an ever increasing amount of grey hair to contend with (maybe or maybe not a bad thing). And in this case an affinity for a closet bursting with fancy clothes has translated into an ever increasing collection of of unique vegetable seeds (all in all, a positive change!) 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

CSA Shares Now Available!

2011 CSA shares for new customers are now available! For more information, check out our previous blogpost on program details.

For more information or to sign up, send an email to skeeterfarm (at)

Alright winter, be over already so we can start growing!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A dollar's worth of food

For those of us who have too much reading to do:

A photo documentary of the different foods a dollar will get you.

Now to find the balance between healthy, appropriate food for all and a fair price to hard working farmers...

So it's winter still... what to eat?

I guess this question has been raised a few times, hey? Or, at least, what's for dinner now? Well, if you really did ask yourself that first question, you are more like me-a kink of, local foodist. People joke or laugh at me from time to time when I refer to myself as one, but I do try to every degree to eat local products. Sometimes, I just need a lemon, or an orange, but berries, kale, and local organic free range eggs still manage to be a mainstay on my table.

But really, what can we eat, as the lazy summer, weeding-filled days are over? Kale, brussels sprouts, potatoes, sweet potatoes (connection: Home Grown-In Grocer), beets, kiwis, and more-home grown greens and sprouts. Yup, you can still grow at home! Lettuce greens can be grown on sunny window sills, and this year has been my trial winter for testing sprouting at home. As I picked up my West Coast Seeds catalogue weeks ago, a package of sprouts caught my eye. After reading about mason jar sprouting, I had to give it a try. So, weeks have passed, and I have had a ball sprouting alfalfa, mung beans, and green peas! Yummy in salads and sandwiches, sprouts offer a great crunch in the absence of fresh local lettuce!

So farm friends, what is getting you by this winter? Your homemade pickles? Making your own bread? Can we still eat local in winter? Absolutely!
By the way, check out my mung beans, just beginning their sprouting!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Skeeter Farm 2011 CSA

Hooray for 2011! Things are looking up at Skeeter Farm, with an early completion of our seed order, and many ducks in a row to have a successful season. It's hard to imagine that in just a month we will be starting the first seeds of the season (inside of course...the ground is frozen solid out here!)

We have put together our CSA program details and this is a blog post to tell you all about it...

What is a CSA?

CSA stands for a Community Shared Agriculture Program, Which is a type of socio-economic model for agriculture and food distribution. A CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farming operation where the growers and consumers share the risks and benefits of food production (thank you Wikipedia). Customers pledge their support by purchasing a share in the farm's produce for the season and by doing so receive a portion of the farm's bounty.


The Skeeter Farm CSA will run for 15 weeks from approximately the beginning of July til October. During this time, customers will receive a weekly delivery of farm produce. As we learned last year, the season can be unpredictable and therefore we will not be able to nail down a start date until we see how the spring weather unfolds. We are working on establishing a pilot fall/winter CSA program for 2011, which we will make available to a limited number of customers.


This year we are offering two share levels

• Regular share (15 weeks) for $375

• Small share (8 weeks) for $200

The price of the share is based on $25 per week, which covers the cost of production for the vegetables including our labour as well as delivery costs and allows us to make a profit.


Veggies will be delivered to locations strategically selected for their proximity to customers and suitability for pickup. These locations will be established once we have most of our customers signed up for the season. If you would like to offer your house or business as a pick up location, that would be very much appreciated. Please let us know! We will be making midweek and weekend deliveries to most locations. The delivery day during the week will be selected democratically by our customers once we have established the list for 2011. We will likely have pickup locations available in Yarrow (at the farm), in Coquitlam, Vancouver West, Vancouver East and potentially downtown Vancouver if there is enough interest.

What's in a share?

A regular share gives you 15 weeks of produce, whereas a small share gives you 8 weeks. If you select the small share, the beginning of the season you will choose which dates you would like to have a delivery. We aim to put approximately 10 different types of seasonal vegetables, herbs and sometimes fruit in your bag. Depending on how much produce you eat, each bag should provide 1-2 people the bulk of your vegetables for the week (however we know of customers who can eat the entire thing in one delicious meal).

What else do I get?

A CSA isn't just about feeding you! It's about making a connection with the folks who are producing your food and the community around you who share the same goals and vision for our food system. In 2011 we will provide you with opportunities to connect via work parties, farm tours and perhaps a harvest party. We will also keep you informed about the events and success of the farm through a weekly newsletter and via our blog. The newsletter will contain at least a recipe a week to help expand your veggie horizons. Also we are always available to help you out with cooking ideas, to chat about growing or to hear your feedback about the CSA program.

How to sign up

If you are interested in registering for the 2011 CSA, please send an email to skeeterfarm (at) We will be releasing shares to new customers on February 1st, but it is best to contact us early so we can send you information right away. Last year we filled up pretty quickly, so it is important to contact us early to avoid veggie related disappointment! Email us with questions.

With Love, from your farmers.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Holiday Humour

Thanks to CSA customer Will for passing on this little gem...

Happy New Year!