I had the most wonderful opportunity last week to visit some accredited Savour Ottawa farms in the city. Honestly if you ever get the chance (and a Savour Ottawa birdie told me there are a couple of opportunities coming up in the fall) you should definitely take advantage. Not only do you get out of the city for a day – always fun for me – but you get to talk to the wonderful people who are producing your food and see how it’s done. There are also some tasty treats along the way and a wicked lunch.
After a guided tour of the ByWard Market (where I was surprised to learn quite a bit about the market I shop in multiple times a week), the first farm stop on our tour was Castor River Farm where we met George to talk about the grains they are growing – from their ever popular rolled oats / steel cut oats to spelt, rye, buckwheat, barley, and wheat.
There is not a month that goes by that I do not read or hear about some new food issue that makes me threaten to pack up my life and move out to my own farm where I live off the grid and grow all my own food. I’ve even been successful in recruiting several friends to come along (to be honest though it was like trying to get cats to drink cream). Castor River is exactly the farm I have always dreamed of. Running off of solar power (and once the turbines are fixed, wind) Castor River has four fields of grains that they rotate in order to control the amount of weeds without pesticides. Even though this means letting the field go to clover in that rotation. It would even make a great hide out for when we are eventually attacked by zombies. It’s just a matter of time people.
George found that manure helped the quality of his crops… so he added some horses, a cow, chickens and pigs to the farm!
George’s style of farming seems to be a ‘live and learn’ mantra. Which is EXACTLY how I garden. Try a (insert crop/method here) and see what happens! His steel cut oats for example came about completely by accident while he was trying out a piece of cleaning equipment and the result was a product similar enough to be called steel cut oats, even if they aren’t made in the traditional fashion.
Beyond being a super nice guy, who grows some kick ass oats, George is also really passionate about food. All things food from its role in our society to how it is produced. If you run into him at the Lansdowne Farmer’s Market (you’ll know it’s them because they are grinding the grains to order!) or if you make the trek out to their farm (open Wednesdays and Sundays) make sure you say hi and chat a while.