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Monthly blog - October, 2015

Posted on by Rhea Hamlin

 

I’ve just come in from the flax field to complete some computer work that I put on the back burner back in August, when I started harvesting flax.

With all the leaves changing colour, things are beautiful here in the Annapolis Valley and like the weather, things at TapRoot Fibre Lab are changing! Here is what’s been happening:

  • We have started searching for used equipment. We have a lead on a seed cleaner out in Saskatchewan and are sourcing harvesters and Hollander beaters (for paper making).

  • We are building partnerships and networking with folks who are interested in our machines. I have been working on putting together a letter to send to individuals, businesses, and organizations that will include photos of the rippler testing and progress on the breaker, a description of our work thus far, and where we are heading.

  • A few weeks back we had a visit from a friend of ours who works with flax in Québec. He spent the day with us, talking about things to consider during our test runs and offered suggestions on how to improve the quality of our flax straw. His visit was jam-packed with information!  

  • We are testing out some products that we can produce while we are waiting for the long line linen machines to be built. Linen is our final goal, but there is so much more that the “cast away” fibres, seeds, and shivecan be used for!

  • Patricia is following up with her contacts from her recent trip to Belgium and is in the process of securing financing to move the TapRoot Fibre Lab into the next phase of development.



October happenings at TapRoot

Posted on

It has been a hive of activity around the farm this past month as we work to get the harvest in. Despite the late start to the season this year, we have an abundance of delicious veggies going into storage for the winter months and into share boxes for our members. 
 
  
(L) Garfield preparing Brussels sprouts for shares (C) Martel and Richard sorting grape tomatoes (R) Patrick sorting tomatoes
 
We have been saying goodbye to many of our seasonal workers on the farm team. Our summer students have returned to school and the Newfoundland crew has gone home until next year. And sadly, we had to say goodbye to one of our first pigs here at TapRoot, Shirley. She was one of our first pigs, and it was a tough day for everyone, especially Josh. 
 
 
In partnership with Nourish Nova Scotia, we piloted a school fundraiser--Nourish Your Roots. Students at four elementary schools in HRM and the Annapolis Valley sold boxes of healthy Thanksgiving veggies. It was a great success! You can read more about it HERE and watch a short ATV feature HERE. It was really gratifying to see the excited faces of the children coming out to meet the van and listen to them chattering to one another when they peeked inside the boxes. :)
 
 
 
If you're not a CSA member but would like to check out what TapRoot Farms has on offer, we are at the Prospect Road Community Centre until 1pm on Saturdays. Drop by to visit Justine and Gilbert and fill your basket with all kinds of deliciousness--veggies, fruit, eggs, meat, herbs. :)
 

  


Recipes from Denise's Test Kitchen

We made these crispy sesame fish burgers with lime mayo over the weekend and gave them two thumbs up. :)

Another winner for fish share members. This lemon dill pollock is nice and light with lots of flavour.

Peaches are abundant right now. We've been eating them by the bucket in our house. I am really committed to eating local foods so come January, when I'm craving peaches, I don't run to the grocery store to buy peaches from Washington; I go to the freezer to thaw out peaches I've frozen. When freezing peaches, you want those fuzzy skins to be gone and here's how you do it with ease and in minutes.

  

I love peach salsa. I love it with corn ships and on tofu, and Andy loves it on chicken, pork, and fish (oh, and with corn chips, too.) It's lighter and (obviously) fruitier than straight-up tomato salsa and with peaches at their peak right now, it's a great time for all kinds of peachy recipes. Click HERE for the recipe.

We made this roasted cauliflower with red chile, cilantro, and lime last night at our house. Three words: Make. It. Tonight. Holy moly, it is amazing! Don't fear the red chile--there's just a hint of heat. Seriously, this is one of the tastiest cauliflower dishes I've made. Go and get your cauliflower on! 

I tried this butternut squash and smoky black bean kale salad last fall, and it's really yummy. Great colder weather salad. 

Black kale recipe #2: Tuscan white bean soup (with kale and sausage). I'm vegetarian so I make this soup with my own spicy "sausage" but Andy tells me it rivals carnivorous versions he's had, so I feel confident posting this and telling you it's earthy and authentic and delicious.

   

What to do with your habanero peppers once you've carefully handled and cleaned them? Try this fantastic spicy and sweet habanero-jalapeno jelly. So seriously yummy!

Try this spicy habanero avocado sauce on all kinds of your favourite dishes. It's great on sandwiches, eggs, crab and fish cakes, burritos and enchiladas, grilled meats... the list is endless.

We were hankering for Indian food at our house last night so among the dishes we cooked up was this creamy coconut eggplant curry. It was the first time I'd tried it and it was a definite "make again." It was really lovely with the other curry dishes we had and was super easy to pull together.

Four words: mint chocolate chip cookies. :) There are several other recipes for fresh mint when you click on the link. So good!

   

Unless it's really well cooked, eggplant can taste a little spongy. I'm not a big fan of spongy, but I am a fan of eggplant, so I like to ensure it's really well cooked. The easy way to do this is to fry it, but I'm a bit of a health nut so I roast it in the oven, instead. Much less oil, and I like the slightly caramelized flavour. Here's the HOW TO. Give it a try!

Chimichurri sauce is great served over grilled meat or fish, or in my case, tofu. :) It's an Argentinian condiment that is super easy to whip up and a delicious way to put your fresh parsley to use!

And finally, a creepy treat for Hallowe'en. Apple cider + apples + imagination = spicy shrunken heads cider. :)

  



Monthly blog - September, 2015

Posted on by Rhea Hamlin

Happy Belated Autumnal Equinox!

I have been busy in the flax field harvesting, drying, and retting this year
's crop. 
 
In August, I experimented with some flax from 2014 that had not retted 
long enough--I retted one-pound bundles of flax for varying lengths 
of time and noted any changes in colour and processing time. I 
also conducted some market research to identify yarn shops located in 
the Maritime provinces that carry linen yarns. 
 
Recently, Patricia visited Belgium for a week to talk to professionals 
in the flax industry.She had a wonderful time and blogged about her 
visit in the Facebook group: Flax Learning Tour 2015. 
 
The rippling machine testing is ongoing and yielding positive results. 
The challenge now is finding a cost-effective way to crush and clean 
the seeds. Construction has started on our second piece of 
equipment--the breaker--and the designs are finished for the third 
piece--the scutcher. Construction on the scutcher will begin when the 
prototype breaker goes into the testing phase. 
 
Have a safe and happy October!

 



TapRoot Meat update

Posted on by Justine Mentink

Hello Meat share and Full Monty meat share members!

My name is Justine and I'm just back from a year away from the farm on maternity leave. One of the jobs I did before I left was write a bi-weekly meat share update outlining what you were getting in your share, how much it was valued at, as well as recipes and animal updates.

Meat shares:

We are finished our 20th week of shares. Some weeks have been over $20 and some under, depending on what is available.

The total of the  weeks is $430.79. Which is an average $21.54 per week.

Your last two meat shares have been:

Week 19 Meat share total = $31.64

1 lb Shaved Ham = $9.50

Bone-in chicken breast @ $9.00/lb, average weight of 2.46lbs = $22.14

Week 20 meat share total = $35.75

1 duck @ $6.50/lb, average weight of 5.5lbs = $5.75

S

Full Monty Meat Share:

The total of the 20 weeks is $372.06. Which is an average $21.51 per week. The Full Monty Meat Share doesn't have a set price, but this is just so you have an idea of what we value it as.

Week 19 Full Monty Meat share total = $33.00

Whole Free Range chickens at $5llb weighing over 4.5lbs = $25.00

1lb TapRoot Herb Sausages at $8.00/pack = $8.00

Week 20 meat share total = $25.18

TapRoot Pork Chops at $9.5/pack = $9.50

1lb TapRoot Herb Sausages at $8.00/pack = $8.00

Free Range chicken Thighs at $6/lb, 1.28lbs average = $7.68

Recipes from Denise's Test Kitchen:

I can't tell you if this recipe is delicious--I'm vegetarian--but I do know this: there is no way I'm using my oven this week. Assuming many of you are in the same frame of mind, I went searching for a recipe for grilling duck on the BBQ. The reviews for this spit-roasted duck look fabulous. I'd bet it's equally delicious whether turned on a rotisserie or cooked on the grill in a broiling pan and turned regularly.

This is what my mom would have called a one-pot wonder. Herb-roasted chicken thighs with potatoes. Throw in a side of beautiful greens and you have the makings of an easy weekday dinner.

 

S

 

 

 



Monthly Blog - July, 2015

Posted on by Rhea Hamlin

 
 
 
Things have been picking up speed here at TapRoot Fibre Lab. Our flax field is growing well and will be ready to be harvest within the next week or so. I am working on finishing our content marketing plan.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Some of our flax from 2014 that was not retted long enough before we stored it. I am working to determine if additional retting would work to improve the quality of the long line. I am dew reting 2 lbs bundles in predetermine intervals, i.e. 3, 4, or 6 days per side, to track any changes in the processing time, weight and quality of fibre.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I visited Yarnsmith Fibre Works in Yarmouth, NS for a couple of days to work with Paula. We were working on developing a short line linen yarn. After some trial and error, we were able to produce an 80%/20% linen and wool blend. There is still some quality work that needs to be done. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mike has been testing out the first rippler prototype. Early in July we sent out a newsletter regarding our first rippler prototype. If you would like to receive our newsletters, please follow this link.
 
Have a safe August.