Since our beginning in 1948, Thiessen Farms has grown mainly fruit - peaches, cherries, plums and pears. Nectarines have been tried more recently, and apricots have come & gone several times. To satisfy our desire for change and something different we've previously been content to try variations of these - white flesh peaches, Asian pears...
One has to be patient growing trees. Trees are not something to plant on a whim. Peaches are about the quickest to yield a crop - 3 years. Our "new" pear orchard was planted out in 1999. Finally it's producing a nice harvest!
Small fruits used to be common on our farm. Our last strawberry harvest was in 1965. Raspberries were something we tried quite a few years ago and continue to grow. Then we added blackberries, saskatoon berries, tayberries, gooseberries & currants.Only the blackberries are still around.
Which brings us to vegetables ...
When we started selling our fruit at farmers' markets about 20+ years ago, we began to grow more vegetables - both to expand our display at market, and our income. We soon learned that unlike trees, vegetables are quick and CAN be planted on a whim!
Our thirst for change and something different could be satisfied by a seed catalogue, a few dollars, and some packets of seed.
The craziness began!
This year we grew approximately 370 varieties of 31 different vegetables and herbs. We 're always on the lookout for something new & different - maybe something no one else sells at the farmers' markets.
Which brings us to edamame - green soybeans - a traditional Japanese bar snack. We have been learning how to best grow and harvest it for a few years now. It's a lot of fun to bring it to market and hear the customers' comments. Many people are familiar with edamame - but most only know it frozen, not fresh.
Here is our small patch. We planted 4 rows, each about 10 -14 days apart in order to prolong the harvest. The earliest 2 rows germinated and grew well, the latter 2 not so much.
To harvest, we cut the entire plant at ground level. Edamame is a legume and can add nitrogen to the soil if the roots remain in the ground. The cut plants are taken to the barn where the bean pods are pulled off. This is a favourite job for our summer students, especially on these hot & humid days. Anything that gets them out of the orchard and into the relative coolness of the barn is preferred!