Similkameen Seedy Saturday

Thirty years ago, our then-Head Gardener, Sharon Rempel, founded a little something called “Seedy Saturday” that has since become an incredibly popular way, across Canada, to share seeds, knowledge and community.

The Grist Mill and Gardens invites you to Cawston Hall on Saturday, February 22nd, from 10am – 3pm, for our very own Seedy Saturday to exchange seeds and share knowledge.

Be sure to start looking through your seed boxes and cupboards to see if you have anything you’d like to share with others as part of our big seed swap table. Also, please invite anyone else you know who might be interested in this event.

ADMISSION IS BY DONATION with partial proceeds going to support the exceptional work of Seeds of Diversity, and in particular their Canadian Seed Library–a collection of over 2300 regionally-adapted and rare seed varieties–some of which have a very close connection with our site.

Presenters, vendors and info tables include:

The presenters below are from 2019; stay tuned for updated 2020 information.

  • Keremeos Public Library
  • Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society
  • Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society
  • Keremeos Garden Club
  • Naramata Seed Company
  • Herbalists Without Borders (OK/Similkameen Chapter)
  • …and more!

And presentations by: (to be announced soon!)

If you’ve got seeds you’d like to sell or swap and need a table, please get in touch with us as soon as possible at info@oldgristmill.ca or 250-499-9021.

Similkameen Seedy Saturday

Twenty-seight years ago, our then-Head Gardener, Sharon Rempel, founded a little something called “Seedy Saturday” that has since become an incredibly popular way, across Canada, to share seeds, knowledge and community.

The Grist Mill and Gardens invites you to Cawston Hall on Saturday, February 17th, from 10am – 3pm, for our very own Seedy Saturday to exchange seeds and share knowledge.

Be sure to start looking through your seed boxes and cupboards to see if you have anything you’d like to share with others as part of our big seed swap table. Also, please invite anyone else you know who might be interested in this event.

ADMISSION IS BY DONATION with partial proceeds going to support the exceptional work of Seeds of Diversity, and in particular their Canadian Seed Library–a collection of over 2300 regionally-adapted and rare seed varieties–some of which have a very close connection with our site.

Presenters, vendors and info tables include:

The presenters below are from 2017; stay tuned for updated 2018 information.

  • Keremeos Public Library
  • Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society
  • Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society
  • Keremeos Garden Club
  • Naramata Seed Company
  • Herbalists Without Borders (OK/Similkameen Chapter)
  • …and more!

And presentations by: (to be announced soon!)

If you’ve got seeds you’d like to sell or swap and need a table, please get in touch with us as soon as possible at info@oldgristmill.ca or 250-499-9021.

Similkameen Seedy Saturday

This event has so many vendors and info tables that we’ve had to move down to Victory Hall in downtown Keremeos at 427 7th Ave. See you there!

Twenty-seven years ago, our then-Head Gardener, Sharon Rempel, founded a little something called “Seedy Saturday” that has since become an incredibly popular way, across Canada, to share seeds, knowledge and community.

The Grist Mill and Gardens invites you to Victory Hall on February 11th, from 10am – 2pm, for our very own Seedy Saturday to exchange seeds and share knowledge.

Be sure to start looking through your seed boxes and cupboards to see if you have anything you’d like to share with others as part of our big seed swap table. Also, please invite anyone else you know who might be interested in this event.

ADMISSION IS BY DONATION with partial proceeds going to support the exceptional work of Seeds of Diversity, and in particular their Canadian Seed Library–a collection of over 2300 regionally-adapted and rare seed varieties–some of which have a very close connection with our site.

Presenters, vendors and info tables include:

  • Keremeos Public Library
  • Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society
  • Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society
  • Keremeos Garden Club
  • Naramata Seed Company
  • Herbalists Without Borders (OK/Similkameen Chapter)
  • …and more!

And presentations by:

  • Lee McFadyen Mariposa Organic Farm
    “Healthy Plants make Healthy Seeds” @ 10:30AM
  • Anna Bartlett, Don & Anna’s Nursery
    “Choosing Varieties for our Climate” @ 11:00AM
  • Lia McKinnon, Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society
    “Supporting Native Species” @ 11:30AM
  • Cara Dawson
    “The Shapes of Pollination: forms and functions” @ 12:30PM
  • Chris Mathieson , Grist Mill and Gardens
    “Selecting Heritage Varieties” @ 1:00PM

If you’ve got seeds you’d like to sell or swap and need a table, please get in touch with us as soon as possible at info@oldgristmill.ca or 250-499-9021.

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Recipe: Tomato Tart

Nothing beats a tasty tomato tart, hot from the oven! Photo © Grist Mill, 2016.

As we mentioned in our previous recipe for tomato jam, we’ve been part of a project to grow out tomatoes for the Canadian Seed Library, a project of Seeds of Diversity, an exceptional non-profit dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing heritage seeds. Through the first week of October, we’ll be exploring recipes that suit each of these varieties.

Our second tomato from the Library is a large cherry tomato called Camp Joy. (You can see them in the image above.) It’s about 4cm, perfectly round, dense, low in seeds, and very flavourful. Camp Joy is named after Camp Joy Gardens near Santa Cruz, California that was one of the early leaders in bio-intensive gardening. It was developed by noted English gardener Alan Chadwick, who was at Camp Joy teaching classes in organic gardening.

An oven-baked tart is a great way to showcase this gem of a tomato and we love any excuse to play with puff pastry.

Tomato Tart

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Either as a bite-sized morsel or a larger tart to share, this is a great way to showcase perfectly ripe tomatoes.

Ingredients

  • a handful of large, ripe cherry tomatoes, washed and cut in half (Camp Joy tomatoes, being the size of a two-bite brownie, are perfect for this)
  • one package puff pastry
  • 3 tbsp soft goat cheese
  • a few tbsp fresh herbs (we love basil, but you can try thyme, rosemary, chives or parsley)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Although we have a couple of technique suggestions, this simple recipe is just an excuse to play and experiment. Mix tomato varieties, try different cheeses and consider including other ingredients like roasted garlic or caramelized onions.

Directions

  1. Defrost the puff pastry, for an hour on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Cut the tomatoes in half, then place cut-side down on paper towel (to absorb some of the moisture) for up to a half hour.
  4. Unfold and roll out the pastry into an 11 inch square on a lightly floured surface. Trim off the corners with a sharp knife to shape the pastry sheet into a circle; score a circle (lightly track it with a knife) around 1 inch in from the edge.
  5. Crumble the goat cheese into the centre of the crust, then put the tomatoes on, cut side up. Brush tomatoes with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh herbs.
  6. Bake in middle rack of oven for 15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.
  7. Cut into quarters, serve cool or hot and enjoy!

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Recipe: Tomato Jam

Tomato Jam
The perfect way to enjoy tomato jam? On a cracker with goat cheese. Photo © Grist Mill, 2016.

This summer, we had the opportunity to grow a half dozen varieties of tomato for the Canadian Seed Library, a project of Seeds of Diversity, an exceptional non-profit dedicated to collecting, preserving and sharing heritage seeds.

As one of about sixty growers from across Canada for this project, we’re obliged to plant the seeds they send us, tend them well, document our results and then send back some seed so that they can be put back into the library for the future. (All seeds have a limited shelf-life, so need to be grown out every so often to get fresh seed and reset the clock.)

In the interest of ensuring a healthy amount of genetic diversity, we need to grow many more plants of each variety than would be needed just for seed, so we now find ourselves with an abundance of unique tomatoes. We’ll be exploring recipes that suit each of these varieties over the next couple of weeks.

Our first tomato from the Library is a top-notch paste tomato called Federle. (You can see it front-and-center in the image above.) It’s big, dense, low in seeds, and very flavourful. R. W. Richardson of New York introduced this variety to Seed Savers Exchange (an American organization similar to our own Seeds of Diversity) in 1991. He had obtained the tomato through a seed swap with a gardener from West Virginia–its previous history is unknown.

Tomato jam is the perfect use for a tomato like this; the long simmer concentrates the bold flavour. Once finished, this jam is perfect smeared on a cracker with soft goat cheese. It’s also a great addition on a plate of cured meats and cheeses or as an out-of-this-world condiment for a grilled cheese sandwich.

Try this recipe with any ripe paste tomatoes you can find and you won’t be disappointed!

Tomato Jam

  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

An exceptional sweet and savory condiment that goes perfectly with soft cheese.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds good ripe paste tomatoes (our Federle’s were perfect for this), cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • if you like spice, fresh or dried peppers (jalapeno, chili flakes, etc) can be added to taste

Although we prefer this version, where the sugar adds a sticky sweetness that makes it feel like jam, some commenters on the original recipe suggest reducing the amount of sugar. Trust your taste buds.

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy pot then bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  2. Reduce heat and let simmer, stirring once in awhile until mixture has consistency of thick jam after 90 minutes, or more. Take care to ensure it doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pot, which becomes more likely the longer it cooks.
  3. When ready, pour into jars and put in your fridge. You can also put this jam into sterilized jars and process them in a boiling water bath. With intact seals, unopened jars of tomato jam will last up to two years. Kept in the fridge, it will keep for at least 6 months.

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Seedy Saturday at the Grist Mill

Twenty-six years ago, our then-Head Gardener, Sharon Rempel, founded a little something called “Seedy Saturday” that has since become an incredibly popular way, across Canada, to share seeds, knowledge and community.

The Grist Mill and Gardens invites you to our Visitors Centre and Apple House on February 13th, from 10am -2pm, for our very own Seedy Saturday to exchange seeds and share knowledge.

Our Seedy Saturday is coming together with a ton of great speakers and exhibitors that include:

Lee McFadyen, of Mariposa Organic Farm, Similkameen’s original organic farm, will be speaking on seed saving
Eva Durance, a South Okanagan gardener and author who will be speaking on the origins of common food and ornamental plants
Leda Fair, President of the West Boundary Sustainable Foods and Resources Society will share her enthusiasm about microgreens
– The Similkameen Garden Club will be setting up a table with info about their many fantastic activities
Border Free Bees, an exceptional public art project associated with UBC’s Eco Arts Incubator, will be sharing their passion for wild pollinators [Link] – Members of the Okanagan Master Gardeners will be here to answer all your gardening-related questions [Link] – The Okanagan And Similkameen Invasive Species Society (OASISS) will be sharing information about invasive species in the Similkameen and Okanagan [Link] – The Slow Food Thompson Okanagan convivium will be promoting their initiatives to ensure our food supply is good, clean and fair. [Link] – Naramata Seed Company will be selling their heritage open pollinated vegetable seeds [Link]

Be sure to start looking through your seed boxes and cupboards to see if you have anything you’d like to share with others as part of our big seed swap table. Also, please invite anyone else you know who might be interested in this event.

ADMISSION IS BY DONATION with partial proceeds going to support the exceptional work of Seeds of Diversity, and in particular their Canadian Seed Library–a collection of over 2300 regionally-adapted and rare seed varieties–some of which have a very close connection with our site.

Our kitchen will be serving coffee, tea, baked goodies and lunch.

If you’ve got seeds you’d like to sell or swap and need a table, please get in touch with us as soon as possible at info@oldgristmill.ca or 250-499-2888.