Archive | March, 2022

March 2022

5 Mar
A Barred Owl on our farm in Havelock, Ontario.
Ava discing the garden in late autumn to break up the weed roots.
Ian (the land owner) plowing the field for the first time in over a decade!
What the soil looks like after one plough pass. It is very rocky so we have lots of work to do!

What a year it has been!

We finally moved to Canada after a year’s delay due to Covid-19. We were so lucky to sell all our farm infrastructure in Kyoto and have now found some rental farm land here in Havelock, Ontario. The arable land has been fallow for many years and the 60 acres of surrounding forest has been creeping into the field all those years. The forest also provides habitat for tons of local wildlife life deer, rabbits, coyotes and wild turkeys.

Luckily, we found some wonderful landlords who have been looking for land stewards and farmers for quite some time. So, they have been very helpful with building infrastructure like heavy duty deer fencing, and soon, some greenhouses, a farm-gate sales shed, and a harvest/ storage building as well. The forest provides all the wood we need for these structures and Zenryu is particularly loving all the access to beautiful timber for his building projects. In fact, he built our grow light stand for early seedlings as well as hooks and useful features around the house.

Our goal this year is to just grow! Experiment. Build our resources. Try selling at a farmer’s market. Find customers. Fail and succeed. Make lots of observations and then fine tune our crops for the following year. In this way, we can observe and select the most suitable crops for this soil, land, climate and market. We have over 200 varieties of vegetable seeds ready to go! We have already seeded eggplant, peppers, bulb onions, bunching onions, basil, sage, marigold, parsley, celery, garlic chives, and leek under grow lights. In the next few weeks we will start some brassicas like cabbage, Nappa cabbage, broccoli, and probably over 20 varieties of tomatoes.

Zenryu’s hand-made grow light stand made from wood in our forest. Grow little veggies!
Bulb onions and bunching onions germinating well.
Sweet bell peppers, Japanese peppers, and hot peppers have all germinated.
Some of our exciting vegetable varieties. Lots of Asian veggies. Seed orders are so much fun.

Since we moved to Ontario in July, we have focused on settling and sourcing resources and materials. Luckily, we could lean heavily on our farmer friends to guide us towards reliable and reasonably priced companies. It has definitely been an education! Things have changed so much since Ava was farming in Peterborough 14 years ago. With this economy right now during Covid, combined with the crisis in the Ukraine, market prices are outrageous. Buying new equipment and materials for our new business is proving to be crazy expensive. We sure picked a great time to start a new business, didn’t we! Oi! But the good news is that it has forced us to really search high and low for sales, re-used materials, and seek online yard sales. We have found many good resources and continue to be as frugal as possible, often building things ourselves.

Wild turkeys are everywhere in Havelock. And they are huge!
Can you guess what animal this is from? If you guessed fisher, you would be right.
Hinata-chan getting lots of love after his big flight across the world from Japan to Canada.
Hinata-chan even got a home made Christmas present from our niece, Josie 🙂

This 2022 growing season will be a challenge for sure. But we are ready for it! We feel blessed to have family and friends nearby ready to lend a helping hand. We have several farmer’s markets nearby we can sell at and Zenryu is already tapping into the restaurant scene with his vegan culinary skills and salesmanship. He already found our first chef customer in Cobourg! We will keep you all posted with updates as we start sales. We are still in the market application process and are making decisions about where we will focus our sales this year.

Thank you all for your tremendous support. We love you!

Sincerely,

Ava and Zenryu

Zenryu praying for a good year in his Yoga Ashram and Zen-Buddhist Temple.
Shinto purification ritual ceremony to pray for a good first year in Havelock, Ontario.
Zenryu wearing his traditional Buddhist Monk ceremonial robes to pray for a good first year on this land.
Ava stoking the ceremonial fire to purify the farm field for a good first year of growing.