Recipe: Vinegret

Not to be confused with the salad dressing that shares its name, vinegret is a traditional Russian salad that's always found on the table at a dinner party or festive gathering. It's popular both because of its colourful look and the fact that it's made from hardy storage veggies that can be pulled out of the cellar in the depths of winter. Growing up in a household of Russian emigrees meant vinegret was present at every single celebration, although picky kid eater that I was, I usually wanted nothing to do with its vinegary flavour. With a more grown-up appreciation for this vibrant salad, I decided to oven roast the beets and carrots instead of boil them so as to better bring out the earthy sweetness of these delicious root veggies. It takes longer, but the taste is well worth it. If you're interested in other more traditional touches you can try adding some peas and sauerkraut, although if adding the latter I would dial back on the white vinegar and pickle brine.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

- 2.5 cups (375 g) each of beets, carrots, potatoes
- 1-2 dill pickles
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tbsp pickle brine liquid
- 2 tbsp diced white onion
- salt and pepper to taste


1) Drizzle unpeeled beets in olive oil and wrap individually in aluminum foil (if beets are large, cut in half or quarters first to save time in the oven).

2) Peel carrots and place in shallow baking pan, drizzle with olive oil. Place foil wrapped beets in same pan and roast at 425 F until tender. The carrots will likely take about 30 minutes, the beets about 60 minutes.

3) Peel potatoes and boil until tender, about 20 minutes.

4) While the veggies are cooking, assemble dressing ingredients and dice pickles. Set aside.

5) Drain potatoes and dice when cool enough to handle. Place in colander and rinse under cold water to wash off the starch and separate the diced cubes.

6) Remove carrots from the oven and dice when cool enough to handle.

7) Remove beets and take foil off. Rub peels under running water to remove. Dice beets when cool enough to handle.

8) Combine ingredients with dressing in a salad bowl and mix well. Chill until ready to serve. Can be stored in the fridge for 3 days.

Recipe: Broccoli with Beets

The colours of this side dish are striking in combination. The bright green of steamed broccoli against the deep ruby red of raw beets is a beautiful sight to behold. Both veggies bring out different aspects of each others' earthy sweetness and this contrasts well with the tart bite of a sesame-lemon dressing. Toss some nuts or sesame seeds over top if you want added crunch.


- 1 large broccoli (1 1/2 lbs), coarsely chopped
- 2 medium beets (1/2 lb)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt or to taste


1) Steam broccoli for 3-4 minutes or until tender. I use a steam basket over an inch of boiling water in a shallow pan but whichever method you prefer is fine.

2) While broccoli is steaming peel beets and then grate with a box grater on the coarsest setting.

3) Toss steamed broccoli with beets and dressing ingredients and mix well. You can serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold.

Enjoy the colours of summer! Our first CSA boxes went out last week but there's still time for prospective members to apply for Block 2 of the CSA season. Check out our CSA page for more info.


Summer is officially here and so is the heat! The garden is soaking up the sunlight on these ultra-long days and growing fast.

In Fields 2 and 3 are potatoes, garlic, onions and various cover crops. Nearby are the two greenhouses. The old greenhouse in front is home to the tomatoes and the new greenhouse behind is still where seedlings mature before moving out to the field as transplants.

Through the roll-up sides of the old greenhouse (put up in the daytime for ventilation and put down at night for warmth) you can see the tomatoes are getting tall.

Inside view of the tomatoes growing up the string trellises.


In Field 1 are the peas, broccoli, eggplant, radishes, lettuce, spinach, bok choy, kohlrabi, beans, turnips, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, corn, carrots and beets. Most of the mid-late summer veggies are still small but growing by leaps and bounds every day.

Lettuce is one of the first late spring veggies to appear and we've been eating it for the past couple of weeks. It's so exciting to start digging into fresh garden produce after a long winter of root cellar veggies, preserves and pickles and the few things we buy at the grocery store. I'm never disappointed at the amazing taste of the food our land gives us.

Veggies aren't the only thing growing at the farm this season. Baby #3 is due to arrive in two months with all my late summer favorites like corn, peppers and zucchini.

The kids have started their own little garden in the front near the house. They check daily on the progress of the cherry tomatoes, beans, peppers, cucumbers, peas, carrots and lettuce. There's also a small corn plot nearby.

Stay cool during these sweltering days! Visit our CSA page for info on our local pick-up options.

Spring snapshots

It's a busy time as the weather is finally settling. The greenhouse is bursting so here's a quick tour of what's growing.

Best seats in the house (on the heat storage tank): tomatoes, peppers and some new seedings.

West benches.

East benches.

The onions are ready to transplant.

Tomatoes are rarin' to go! I have one batch transplanted in the ground in the old greenhouse and these ones are ready to get out there once the nights warm up a bit.

Early beets.

The first wave of broccoli is in the field, here is the second.

Some trays of lettuce, also ready to get out to the field.

OK, back to work!

Root Cellar Soup

On this frigid Saturday evening deep into February, I'm warming us up with a soup made from some of our stored fall harvest veggies. Into chicken stock seasoned with tamari, sesame oil and kombu seaweed I tossed some lentils, potatoes, beets, carrots, winter radishes and garlic. I could have added some onions too, but the kids always pick them out with wrinkled noses, so I decided to pass for tonight and challenge them with onions another time. All but the lentils came from our basement storage and all were fresh and ready to be used.

Yum! I hope everyone out there is staying warm and dreaming of spring!

Recipe: Beet Pasta

The way beets colour everything they touch is amazing (if sometimes overwhelming when it feels like my entire kitchen has turned red). In this dish they lend their vivid scarlet hue to a comforting bowl of pasta. And don't even think about tossing out the beet greens after you've peeled and chopped your beets. Greens can be easily incorporated into many beet recipes, this one included. The addition of Parmesan gives this dish a bit of heft, but you could leave it out or substitute a different cheese if so inclined.

Roasted beets are also delicious cooled and sliced into a salad.


- 5-6 beets, peeled
- 300 g dry pasta
- 100 g Parmesan cheese, grated
- 500-750 mL water, depending on pasta cook time
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 small onion, chopped
- olive oil for drizzling
- salt to taste


1) Chop beets into quarters and place in an oven safe dish or pan. Drizzle with olive oil until evenly coated and cover with aluminum foil. Roast at 450 F until tender, about 20-30 minutes.

2) While beets are roasting, heat another pan on medium-low and cook onions until softened, about 5 minutes.

3) Chop beet greens. The stems can sometimes be a bit fibrous so you can opt to discard these or trim off the woodier ends. Add greens to onions and cook until slightly wilted, about 5 minutes.

4) Add garlic, dry pasta, water and about 3/4 of the grated Parmesan. Mix thoroughly until liquid is creamy from the cheese. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer. If pan starts to look dry add a bit more water and stir. Depending on the type of pasta it will take approximately 8-12 minutes to cook.

5) While pasta and veggies are simmering, check on the beets. When fork tender remove from the oven and puree. Adding a bit of water to the blender can help it puree smoothly. Add pureed beets to the pasta.

6) Mix beet puree in with the pasta thoroughly. If pasta is not yet cooked, simmer until complete. This is a good point to taste a noodle and see if you need to add salt.

7) After you plate the pasta sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over top. An alternative topping if you're going cheese-less is chopped parsley or chives. Prepare yourself to be blown away by the beautiful colours and flavours!