Sunday, May 26, 2013

roses

I took a little time to stop and smell the roses a couple days ago and made this quicky rose bouquet just for me.  A mini rose vine in a vase, bringing the garden into the house for a little indoor beauty and aromatherapy.  such a joy!

C├ęcile Brunner has just started getting her bloom on in the garden and I'm loving it.  Summer's almost here!

I really like her care-free wildness, it blends in beautifully with the wild forest all around my garden.  This climber produces piles of nice stems with a few blooms and buds in different stages of growth on them, it's one of my faves for arrangements and every year, I make a few special order bouquets with this beauty.  Even after cutting and cutting, there are still many blooms left on the vine to enjoy in the garden.

So now everyday while she's blooming, I'll remember to sniff the air every time I walk by.


Friday, February 15, 2013

33 days 'til spring!

Shoot Salad Mix:  pea shoots, sunflower shoots and purple daikon radish shoots.....this mix is really popular with customers in Victoria.  And I love them too.

Hi everyone!  I've been away from the blog for quite a while...and I have so much to write about but it's really a challenge to make the time to get here.....

"What do you do in the winter?" That's what many folks ask me at this time of year.
Nowadays I say:  I'm Growing Shoots!  Lots of them...all day, every day, from before dawn 'til after dusk.....my petzl headlamp is the fashion accessory du jour because it can get really dark out here during these short days of winter.

  So sorry to all of you in and around Victoria who've emailed me to ask where you can get my shoots....I probably haven't answered, I just can't keep up with my emails.  
I hope you're all still visiting this blog because here's a list: 
Lovely Deep Cove Market on West Saanich Road, near the ferry terminal and the pretty town of Sidney.  In Victoria,  Niagara Grocery in the friendly and beautiful James Bay neighbourhood and Fairfield Market near the corner of Fairfield and Moss streets.  I love the 'bringing back the neighbourhood grocery store' vision the folks who own and operate these two shops have!  Charming places with awesome things, a lot of them from local growers and makers. 

I'm so happy that The Root Cellar in Victoria also carries our shoots now!  Great people, great store and  it's a real town-trip-treat for me to get to shop here because they have such a fabulous selection of some of the freshest veggies around.  

Checking out the shoot display at the Root Cellar last week while I fill my basket with blood oranges for Valentine's Day mimosas : )

And on the mainland,  they're at The Organic Grocer. The owners of the Organic Grocer are Mayne Island community members and are devoted to taking the shoots back with them to the mainland and their store....so nice! 

And of course, when you visit Mayne Island, you can always find them at Farm Gate Store and Happy Tides Health Foods.

So anyway......about what I'm doing nowadays.....
This year, January flew by while I worked on building my micro-business...winter has been busy....soaking seeds....

and planting them in trays with soil.....

During the cooler weather at this time of year,  I put the freshly planted trays on heat mats with domes to quick-start germination.  This is a row of sunflower.  The pea shoots are on the shelf above.

Carefully watching them grow and managing their needs at their different growing stages is important....I really have to keep up with these tasty little morsels, they demand it.

Sunflower shoot greens, ready to harvest!

In the garden kitchen, rinsing and packaging them up for store shelves.

labelling, labelling, labelling......

All the containers are packed into cardboard boxes......

.....and at 6:30 am on Tuesday mornings I put all the boxes into the back of my truck so I can take them to the ferry terminal to meet Shanti in the Farm Gate Store van for their trip into Victoria on the 7:20 am boat.
One big challenge of my small shoot-growing business on my small island with it's small population is  the reality of not having enough customers  on-island and so therefore, the need to transport off the island to more customers.  Don and Shanti, who operate Mayne Island's Farm Gate Store have been so helpful...not only do they sell the shoots at Farm Gate but they also take them in to town and deliver them for me when they go in to get supplies for their store.....and they've introduced me and my shoots to some fine fellow grocer-folks too!  

Pea shoots on Chris's pasta dish at the Bennett Bay Bistro on Mayne Island sometime last summer.  I've been delivering pea and sunflower shoots to them since they opened last year and I'm very happy that the folks there are so enthusiastic about using the shoots we grow!