While the hustle and preparation that went into our Thanksgiving feast are behind us, Ontario farmers are still working hard in the fields harvesting another season of crops, a season of hard work that helped prepare your table with the delicious fixings of this past weekend and all year round. Corn, cauliflower, even toothpaste, farmers are working to get crops from their fields into products in your home.
The snow will soon fly but that doesn’t mean the farmer’s work ends. As city folk ready their ice scrapers and shovels in preparation for a long winter ahead, farmers are taking this time to prepare their farms for winter. For many farmers this will mean repairing, cleaning then storing their equipment inside sheds to protect them from the harsh winter elements. They are moving their livestock that have spent the summer grazing on pasture back into the barns, as their food source – the pastures – will soon be covered over with snow.
For the remainder of the fall months farmers will be extremely busy, often working from dusk untill dawn to harvest their crops before winter sets in. If you are driving through the country, see if you can spot one of the farm’s biggest machines—the combine—as it harvests grain corn. This two-storey tall machine grabs the corn plants between its teeth, takes the cobs off of the stalks, and then harvests the kernels from the cobs. After being harvested, the corn kernels will often be put through a large dryer to remove moisture before being stored in large bins where they will await shipment and processing. Once processed, grain corn can feed livestock, fuel vehicles in the form of ethanol and is used as ingredients in hundreds of products we consume everyday, like gum, toothpaste and corn syrup.
October is the last chance to gather seasonal goodies including: field tomatoes, artichoke, beans, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, squash, cauliflower, apples, celery, sweet corn, peppers and of course pumpkins. Make them last throughout the winter by preserving, a wonderful and surprisingly simple activity for the family in the kitchen. Visit ontariotable.com for 24 canning tips from local food expert and author, Lynn O’gryzlo.
Whatever your interest, there is always something happening on Ontario Farms just outside of the city. Can’t make it out to the country, why not take a virtual farm tour here: www.virtualfarmtours.ca. For more News from the Farm visit facebook.com/farmersfeedcities.com or follow @FarmsFeedCities for regular updates.
Source: News From the Fam, Farmers Feed Cities