So I decided to learn about farming

Leave a comment

My Scio – Day 12

Last day at Mt. Scio and I can’t thank Farmer Jeremy enough for letting me spend time on his family’s farm, it was a great experience!

On my way back to Toronto today and back to Jay who I miss desperately. I have spent a lot of time away from him this summer and I don’t intend to leave his side anytime soon.

Farmer June in the savory dome building. This is where the savory is broken down and the twigs and silt are separated out.

Front door of the dome

Scallions… Drying them to use as seed for next year.

Black Knot… Fungus that has attacked the plum trees in the orchard. Must be removed and destroyed to be controlled.

Black Knot and plum


1 Comment

Native Edibles

There are lots of plants and shrubs to eat in Newfoundland. Not all are pleasant or popular, but some are a favorite.

Partridgeberry or Lingonberry or Mountain Cranberry.
Commonly found in the barrens and coastal area. Yummy good!

Alder… Some people chew on the spring bark or nibble on the young buds. Not really my taste.

Angelica… used to flavor gin and other spirits. Young spring stems taste like strong celery.

Chickweed… This is so plentiful. It is probably the weed that I pull most frequently. Can be used in salads… honestly it taste like grass.

1 Comment

Beautiful Bonavista Bay

What an amazing place! Crazy beautiful! Wonderful! I am struggling to find the best words to describe the past weekend in Bonavista. It was by chance, luck, and good old Newfoundland hospitality that made this trip possible.

In Bonavista Bay there is a small community of about 3 dozen homes called Upper Amherst Cove. This wonderful little town is a sometimes summer home to Ella and Brian. First, let me thank Ella and Brian for welcoming me in to their home. The beds were warm, the food was tasty, the drinks were cold and they were lovely hosts. Also a big shout out and thanks to Terri, Troy and Buckley… you helped make it happen!

Upper Amherst Cove is also the location of Paterson Woodworking and the Bonavista Social Club Both of these enterprises are run by the members of the Paterson Family.

Mike Paterson is a woodworker… a masterful one at that, and he runs a woodworking business but he does much much more too! Mike has built a farm to support the family and the family restaurant (daughter Katie is the chef) the “Bonavista Social Club”; and it was thier farm that I visited this past weekend.

It is hard for me to stay just how big the farm is…. more than 1 acre but less than 10…. I don’t know… that was a total guess. The farm… the land, has many vegetable plots, an orchard, sheep and goats pastures, barns, 40 chickens, two greenhouses as well as bunkhouses, two family dwellings, woodworking shop, and a restaurant. It is the most well organized farm that I have visited to date.

I worked for two days with Mike and Woofer Judith. Each morning we would gather at 8:00 a.m. and sort out the work that was to be completed that day. Mike knows a lot about farming. He uses the tools around him to find out about the things he is growing, he remembers what worked before and why, he references books and experts to find solutions to problems, and he has an open mind. Mike showed me, by example, that you can learn about farming by doing… just try it… be smart about it and read up on it or try small… but “do it”. It was inspirational to see someone living what I am dreaming about. I will probably remember that most about my visit.

There were many other things I learned and saw too. I have made a list… cus you all know that I like making lists!

– The life cycle of a sawfly (which affects carrots and the like) is about 4 years. The way to control sawfly is to stop growing members of the carrot family altogether. As no one else in the Cove is growing carrots he was able to… for lack of a better word… quarantine the Cove and rid the farm of the nasty pest. It is a organic method that may not work anywhere else but here.

– Because Newfoundland is an island, it is one of the only places left on the planet where bees are not subject to the varroa mite, which can cause colony collapse. New bees entering the island are held for 24 hours to determine that they are mite free.

– Mike’s magic growing soil is 1/3 native soil, 1/3 compost, 1/3 kelp. As you will see in the pictures below the mixture is working very well. The lack or weeds in the garden is a testament to the hard work of the interns, but also may be because of the acidic nature of the kelp based soil.

– The farm is producing lots to tomatoes. One variety that is been able to withstand the Newfoundland cold, wet and wind is “Red Alert”. Mike is growing this variety outdoors.

– The farm has to fence in the apple and cherry trees to keep out another and larger pest… The moose.

– There was a conversation about poor pollination or cross pollination if you plant dill and fennel too close to each other. Note to self: read more about this.

– To combat the pest “root maggot” Mike has found it helpful to bury the roots or mound the roots with soil to encourage new and addition root growth. This additional root system may be helpful should the plant be severed or rotted away where the maggot first started.

– After pulling garlic you may not choose to peel or cut green tops of as the garlic will continue to grow… about 20% more.

– 400 crowns of asparagus will give you about 3000 spears for 6 weeks. You must harvest every day when in season.

Finally, I would like to thank Mike, and the farm and restaurant families for welcoming me to the Cove, it will be an experience that I will remember fondly for a long long time to come!




Handmade homemade green house

Colourful Carrots

Katie baking bread.

Mike making a hive check

Kelp soil… clever idea!

Buck… Buckley

Pin Cherries

Cukes and Basil

Ella and Brian’s house and garden

Chickens with oregano. Chickens are keep in a coop over night and until noon so they lay their eggs in the coop and not the woods.

View from the Cove looking up towards the restaurant.

Asparagus gone to seed

Mounded Leeks… Clever idea!

Cove at night

Pest control… Clever idea!

Black Currants


Soy Beans

Harvesting chives and watching whales breach… wow!


Leave a comment

Forging With Peter

Early rise this morning. Jumped in a truck with my friend Peter and went around the bay to find some good eats.

Goose Tongue Grass aka seaside plantain


Mushrooms… Chanterelles.


Crowberry… Juicy but not that tasty.

Labrador Tea

The pitcher plant (not edible) Newfoundland’s official flower. The carnivorous plant is protected.

Pedal of a pitcher plant sure makes a nice natural decanter.