Where to begin …

So, we have a farm (at least that is what we call it), so where do we begin?

Take stock:

Pigs: Berkshire, Tamworth cross. Two sows, one boar, four piglets weighing in at 40kg. each.

Chickens: We have hens and we have roosters, lots of roosters, we have many breeds. All I know beyond that is they are a bit stringy if you eat them and they do lay eggs. We also have Guiney fowl, Muscovy Ducks (super tasty) and Mallards to round out our poultry.

Goats: One Billy Goat named Oreo who I call Biscuit because, well, he is a bit of a biscuit. (the Brits out there will get it). Five nannies’, four yearlings and two brand new kids in the past two weeks.

Bees: Three brood boxes and several supers, two hives alive and kicking after the winter.

Garden Beds: 11 raised 4″ x 10″. beds, a small plot with southern exposure by the goat barn and a small enclosed space with six 3″ x 8″ foot beds, a trellis and some grape vines.

Greenhouse: 4″ x 8″ greenhouse, yet to be assembled.

All surrounding a central fenced yard, we have:

  1. Chicken coop
  2. Hen house
  3. Bee hut
  4. Guiney runs

Other part of the farm and property, include:

  1. Goat barn and two goat paddock’s with a giant steel electrical tower right in the middle of it.
  2. Pig barn and a pig enclosure with concrete curb wall.
  3. A tractor, old John Deer with a couple of attachments.
  4. One-ton flat deck truck.
  5. Old van.
  6. Maintenance yard with machine shop.
  7. Outbuildings used as various offices, classrooms (we bare an all school property).
  8. 10 residential cabins, sleeping 139.
  9. Longhouse, which is used for overnight accommodations.
  10. Administration building.
  11. Assembly hall or auditorium.
  12. Two dining halls.
  13. Three certified kitchens.
  14. Registered salmon hatchery.

All of it sitting on 165 hectares of land with lots and lots of big leaf maple trees, apple trees and one cherry tree.

What we don’t have is a farmer.

So, who do we have?

Well there is me, the Chef. We also have members of my staff who can throw in an hour or two, here and there, between meals and such. Some maintenance staff who care for all the animals, structures, feed and logistics. Our Maintenance manager, Steven knows a heck of a lot more about any of this than I do at the moment, and his staff is doing all the heavy lifting (and I mean this literally folks), but they are also responsible for maintaining dozens of other buildings on site, as well as the approximately 50 kilometers of groomed nature trails around the property, the hatchery, and the equipment. They also deal with any mechanical issues in the kitchens, which (in case you have never worked in a kitchen) are pretty much constant. Then we have WWOOFERS volunteer groups and environmental groups, classes and organizations who will help out with various aspects of all this as part of team building, curriculum and other such group activity.

What are we doing right now?

  1. We separate our organic waste into edible waste for pig slops and chickens, and compostable waste for the compost pile. This right now is a large pile of organics surrounded by an electric fence with dirt plowed over it to help keep scavengers at bay.
  2. Steven used the tractor to dig up some soil from an older part of the pile which we are mixing with potting soil to use for starting seedlings. I hope that the greenhouse will be constructed in time but we need to build a pad or foundation for it first.
  3. I have collected close to 500 eggs in the last few weeks and we use them in our baking.
  4. I have tapped 20 maple trees as part of a forest studies with grade 6 students and we have collected 165 liters so far. We use the reduced sap in some of our recipes.

Points!

That is pretty much it right now, we have a long way to go and this is just the beginning. Next is: what to plant, where to plant, when to plant, and how to plant it. Should be a fun few weeks.

Until next time…

Executive Chef, Wade Rowland

Cheakamus Centre

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