Nutrients and Happiness in the Community

Imagine this:

The nutrients and energy captured in these beautiful plants are about to be distributed throughout the community by the hands of skillful chefs and eager mouths, making each one who shares the meal just a little bit healthier and happier. But these aren’t the only beneficiaries in this network. The growers were enriched by witnessing the soil, water, air and sunlight interact with a seed, a seedling, a little plant and the mature flora. The neighbourhood in which the plants grew also took part in the experience, watching the transformation from lawn to harvest, with anticipation and fascination.

This week’s Oppenheimer Park Community Kitchen harvest

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Eat Together Pop-up Dinners

Collaboration and collusion are amongst the best perks of Inner City Farms. This spring, through some fortuitous coffee shop eavesdropping, Cam met Ellen and Ken of Eat Together. They were planning their meals and events for the upcoming months and Cam was thinking about how to get more of our veggies into the community – a great match!

From their website:
Eat Together is a secret dinner for nine aimed at bringing together people for a good time and highlighting locally sourced organic ingredients harvested only a few hours before they’re served. Hosted in Tin Can Studio, dinners are popping up all over the city, dedicated to being a summer hideaway serving delicious seasonal suppers monthly.

To find out when and where, a mail out is sent to notify people a week ahead of the night of the dinner. Sometimes it is mentioned on their blog or sometimes it gets mentioned in Scout magazine. It’s a first come first serve basis.

If this sounds like something you’d like to experience, contact Ken & Ellen at
Here are a few images and descriptions from July’s dinner to give you a sense of their culinary and aesthetic creativity. The beautiful prose courtesy of Ellen.
We used your rhubarb to make a rhubarb lime granita – the amuse bouche for the night. It was sweet, but still sour enough that it made your mouth pucker, woke up the palate a bit and made you hungry for dinner!
Cauliflower panna cotta with a curry granola and lemongrass and ginger infused oil. We steeped chopped up cauliflower in cream, and then mixed it with agar to make the panna cotta. The textures and flavors in this were great and we were really happy and excited with this dish!
Fennel braised in sambuca and orange juice with golden raisins, toasted almonds, creme fraiche, and fresh toasted breadcrumbs. This is the fun/most exciting part of the dish: underneath all this a cauliflower cous cous. Ken came up with it – we cut the little heads off of the cauliflower to make it look like cous cous and mixed it with brown butter and salt and pepper. We had all this cauliflower left over, and used that to make the cauliflower panna cotta in the previous dish.
Roasted beets in a rye dirt with whole pistachios, goat cheese, and a reduced balsamic glaze. This dish is a playful one – it would be like if you were to encounter beets in the ground and would be able to eat everything around it!
We used the blueberries and rhubarb to make two compotes: one rhubarb only and one blueberry and rosemary. Then we mixed these into freshly whipped cream and also put in crushed meringues. So good!

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Harvesting Garlic

So it begins. Harvesting the fruit of our efforts from last fall. More accurately, we are harvesting the bulbs of our efforts, but we must live within the limits imposed by our common idioms.

In no particular order of rank, here are the hardneck varieties that we grew this year (13 in total!):

  • Yugoslavian
  • Russian Red
  • Chesnok Red
  • Persian Star
  • Leningrad
  • Musica
  • Cuban Purple Creole
  • Purple Creole
  • Purple Glazer Creole
  • Burgundy Creole
  • Spanish Morado Creole
  • Genki Creole
  • Native Creole

We grew some varieties in large number and will have them available for sale in a month or so. Some we are growing strictly for seed stock. If you are interested in purchasing garlic, email us at

Here are a few images from yesterday’s harvest in the Sunset neighbourhood of Vancouver. These are some of our Yugoslavian variety. Amazingly, this front yard had about 650 plants!

Mid spring growth
2/3 of the harvest
Fragrant piles of garlic tempting sidewalk strollers
Pete doing a preliminary prep for curing

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Oppenheimer Community Kitchen + Veggie Updates

We are continuing our relationship this season with the fine folks at Oppenheimer Park Community Kitchen (one of the Downtown Eastside Community Kitchens). They make a delicious batch of soup each week with our veggies.

Intern Michelle and the Oppenheimer harvest

Our cucurbits are coming on-line finally. Michelle is trellissing our lemon cukes and the first of the zucchinis are being harvested for our mid-week box (offered through Harvest on Prior).

Good use of vertical space

Amatista Grey and Ambassadors ready to go

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Harvest #6 – July 29th, 2012

The Harvest Board says it all, courtesy of Ms. Jess, volunteer extraordinaire!

Showcase bin with some feathery fennel 
Romaine, tempting the hens
Shares waiting for their holders
Shareholder Showcase: Blas (longtime ICF supporter)

Of Note: No harvest next Sunday due to long weekend, will resume Sunday, August 12th.

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Harvest #5 – July 22, 2012

Howdy, howdy.

Every week has a few new items and a few staples. This week’s NKOTB are the beautiful dill and succulent wa wa sai (sui choi) cabbage. The former is great with salmon and the latter, grilled on a bbq (oil, teriyaki, salt & pepper), makes a lovely side to accompany the fish.

In the share:

  • Head Lettuce, Lovelock or Romaine
  • Kohlrabi, Kolibri 
  • Collard Greens, Champion
  • Dill, Bouquet
  • Sui Choi Cabbage, Wa wa sai
  • Kale, Redbor

Here’s are some images from today’s harvest. Modeling courtesy of the Drill.

Wa wa sai, makes a good jar of kimchi

Kolibri, killing it!

Love(ly)lock Lettuce

Kohlrabi profiles continue

Brassicas are sick

Beautiful bounty


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Sunset Tomatoes

Last year, we had a tomato fiasco. It hurt. We were pretty enthusiastic and had about 15-20 varieties going all at once, in one yard. Then, collapse. Disease spread early and quick and wiped them all out. But quick as knives in a fork shop, we did some reflecting over the winter and switched up our strategies. Now we have fewer varieties in more yards.

The following pics are from one of our sites in the Sunset neighbourhood. It’s a little oven of a backyard and gets full sun, beauty soil too. We’re putting our hearts on the line again this year for some sun-kissed tomatoes! Inshallah.

Beds weeded and ready for action back in late spring
Idle hands are bad news, so weeds must be good news.

Post weeding, staking in progress
Hells ya Rosalind!

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Cat blog posting, round 2

Due to high demand, we will continue to dedicate blog posts to Cats in the Gardens as they emerge. This particular incident unfolded quite spontaneously and somewhat unfavorably for the once-a-week-farmer. Of note: look who elbows his (her?) way into the spotlight as well – kohlrabi. Typical.

And for those readers whose appetite for on-line feline adventures is not satiated from these images, here’s a feast in the making.

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Harvest #4 – July 15, 2012

Lots of images from today’s harvest. Cauliflower looked great, first round of kohlrabi(!) and some beautiful Lovelock lettuce. The shares are beginning to fill out in volume and variety and the season is just getting going!

Claire taking care of business
Galen’s prep skills in action, sans chaussures

Farm Van

Le Marche is a wonderful host, delicious coffees too.
Showcase Bin
Display cauliflower, a perfect specimen

And the goods per item:

Radishes, Easter Egg mix
Swiss Chard, Rainbow
Kale, Russian Red
Cauliflower, Snow Crown
Kohlrabi, Kongo
Lettuce, Lovelock
Lettuce, Romaine (Conquistador)
Oregano, Greek

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Weekly progress

Plants dig heat and sunshine. Here are a few highlights from this week’s hard work in the gardens around Vancouver…actually, full disclosure, these photos are from gardens across the street from each other in the beautiful, and fertile, Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.

Intern Claire back in action, showcasing some cauliflower.
Just organic matter, microbes and love in this soil.
Farmer Cam tending the tomatoes.

Looking forward to a good harvest tomorrow and seeing our lovely shareholders at the Marche.

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