Behind the scenes at the farm: Before Your Food is on the Table

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Hi, my name is Rachelle, I am a summer student for Clarington Tourism, as well as a Clarington farmer. For six generations, our family has been part of agriculture in Durham Region.  Our family, including myself and my brothers continue this tradition today. The season has come for us to start planting again, and I want to share with you some general steps that are taken before the food gets from Clarington farms to your table.

It’s May already which means planting season is upon us. Farmers, gardeners and growers alike have begun to hit their fields to achieve another successful growing season. Before these beautiful and delicious local foods are on your table, there is a process that is followed by farmers before they plant or pick. Going through this process you will learn the general steps taken in preparation for planting to help ensure a fruitful year.

  1. First you will prepare the fields to replace nutrients.
  2. Secondly you want to work the ground to promote or improve the growth of (a plant, crop, etc.) by:
    1. Plowing.
    2. Disking used to (thin, flat, circular plates) which are used to level the ground.
    3. Picking stones to help prevent any damages that could be done to machinery when you’re cultivating.
    4. Cultivating (disking) used to help knock the sods around and once again become level.
    5. Harrowing (spike like teeth or upright disks, drawn chiefly over plowed land to level it, break up clods, root up weeds, etc.) is finishing step to help level the earth.
  3. Thirdly you can plant your seed or seedlings.
  4. Lastly, depending on what you have chosen to plant you may need to do extra preparation (pruning, weeding, etc.) prior to picking.

*You can choose to do either disking or cultivating, but it is not necessary to do both.

Once the steps above have been followed, your product will have the chance to grow successfully. Most of the crops are then picked at maturity (a topic that I’ll address in my next blog) or just prior to maturity, to be sold at your local farmers markets, grocers or to be placed right onto your own table.

Some local well known growers in Clarington are Algoma Orchards, Allin’s Orchard & Country Market, Archibald Orchards & Estate Winery, Braggs Wild Bird Seed, Clark Meats, Country Market Garden Centre, Dare 2 Dream Farm, Found Family Farm, Gallery on the Farm, Geissberger Farmhouse Cider, H. Richardson Farms Limited, Wilmot Orchards Inc., Kent Farms, Link Greenhouses, Watson Farms Ltd., Mostert Greenhouses,  Fred’s Fruit Market, Prestonvale Tree Farms, Prices Country Market & Greenhouses, “R” Farm, The Egg Shack, Rekkers Garden Centre, Timeless Essentials,  Stapleton Farms, Tulach Ard Farm and Strickland’s Perennials Farm.

You can visit many of these growers every Sunday at the Clarington Farmers Market located at the Newcastle Arena Parking Lot. For more information contact us at Clarington Tourism or visit Durham Farm Fresh.

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