Thursday, May 24, 2012

Organic Harvest Box for May 24, 2012

So we did get eaten alive by blackflies on the weekend, but we did enjoy our Japanese Coleslaw, a fantastic Quinoa salad, a tasty cantaloupe and the asparagus grilled on the BBQ was fantastic.

And we went on a field trip to Belle Terre Organics Garden at Otter Lake, QC.  Owners Joyce Angelus-Keller and Wayne Keller were fantastic hosts and showed us around, let the girls plant some pumpkin seeds, let us taste some herbs, and astounded us with their immense amount of knowledge.  It was fascinating to learn that their business is the original Belle Terre Botanical Gardens that ran from 1978 to 1994 when the Kellers ran a tea house, teaching gardens for local colleges, and their organic plant business.  Their business is much smaller now, supplying their organic plants, flowers and herbs to a small number of select stores in the Ottawa/Gatineau region.

Joyce is wealth of information when it comes to plants, what their uses are, how to prepare or eat them, grow them, and care for them.  They have an unimaginable variety of plants from flowers to herbs to vegetables to perennials and more.  If there is something unique or unusual, they might have it.  Pretty much anything that you are looking for, Belle Terre can probably offer.  It is obvious when talking with both Wayne and Joyce that they have a love of the business and the land around them.


Belle Terre is certified by Pro-Cert and meets both the Canadian Organic Standards and the Quebec Organic Standards as they follow the strict criteria for organic production.  Organic production is based on principles that support healthy practices that are sustainable and harmonious with the environment.  Belle Terre uses watering and irrigation sources from natural spring headwaters.  They work with the Quebec Ministry of the Environment to maintain a healthy and sustainable forest and they compost and sterilize their own soil through strictly organic means.

Helping out with seed planting

All sorts of basil

The classic old sign that Joyce didn't want me to photograph, because "it's old and there's dirt on it."

Kale plants on their way
Young Toy Choy plants which do well in our cooler climate
I am sure that if you had any questions about any of the plants that Belle Terre is offering that Joyce and Wayne would be happy to answer them.  Our visit there made me really excited about the growing season and I'm looking forward to our harvest in our small garden.  Life Organics is still offering Belle Terre's plants for sale and a full list is available on the Life Organic website.

The newer sign that Joyce really wanted me to take a photo of, no dirt!
I won't offer you much in terms of recipes for this weeks produce. Don't forget to chop the greens off the carrots to keep them as fresh as possible, and Tasha thinks that the Pachino tomatoes are better if they have been chilled for a few minutes.  We have our daughter's birthday party this weekend and will be serving up sliders and mini hot dogs for the kiddies and parents so the romaine and spinach are going to come in handy for a nice big green salad.  And the carrots will be great cut up and dipped for the younger crowd.  I can't wait to grill the asparagus again as it is so good this time of year.  And I still have more rhubarb from my garden so another apple and rhubarb crisp is on the way.   But I am a recipe addict so I have to leave you with Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Apples which is how I will choose to use the yams and apples, served alongside some simple grilled asparagus, grilled chicken and elk sausages from the market.

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