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Perfection in Pemby potatoes
Chieftan. Desiree. La Ratte. Pontiac. Warba. White rose. Have potato names ever sounded so poetic? They're but a few of the 18 varieties the family-run Helmers' Organic Farm is focusing on this year - a case of returning to their "roots." The potatoes won't all be ready at once, but like a good wine taster you can start sampling your way through them, along with honey, farm-fresh eggs and other veggies, when ready. Starting in late July they'll be at the farmers' markets noted below. Or watch for them for sale at Whole Foods stores or on menus of great eateries, including Mount Currie Coffee Co. and Bishops. The farm gate will be open August 21 for the sumptuous annual Slow Food Sunday Cycle ( slowfoodcyclesunday.com ). And check out the Helmer farm website ( helmersorganic.ca ) for great potato recipes, tried and tested by the best chef who ever cooked on a wood stove, Jeanette Helmer. There's even a recipe for easy-make potato pancakes.
Three women and a farm
Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a terrific concept: you pay your favourite farmers up front and then share in the bounty as it rolls in. If you haven't already, sign up now for a share of next year's harvest from Rootdown Organics, a progressive, cooperative farm run by three talented women: Simone McIsaac, Niki Strutynski and Sarah McMillan. You'll get a harvest box brimming with sumptuous veggies. Check out the outrageously brilliant red Romaine lettuce or the gorgeous rainbow chard, and that's only the beginning. Carrots, onions, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, parsnips and more - even the now-famous Queensland squash - will be flowing from Rootdown this season. You can check them out at markets; enjoy their produce at restaurants, such as Araxi and Rimrock; or even visit the farm by calling first (604-894-5929). You can also buy a "pig share" of one of their Tamworth pigs. Sample a taste at the Swine & Dine that's part of this year's Slow Food Sunday Cycle. Rootdown keeps an excellent blog at http://rootdownfarm.net/ .