Amma Toronto

Aug 6: Summer at the Farm

Apples ripening on the tree

Summer's abundance at the Farm

Three volunteers at the Farm stand, loaded with fresh veggiesSome Farm team members arrived bright and early Saturday morning to harvest the garden’s fresh, organic vegetables and have them ready for sale. By 10 AM, the veggie table was filled with kale, Swiss chard, Malabar spinach, green beans, eggplants, carrots, cabbage, zucchini, hot green chillies, bitter melon and cucumbers.

The bright, hand made sale signs placed strategically on the main road, in front of the farm have been attracting more and more first time customers. Some are becoming repeat customers! One customer has returned two weekends in a row to buy tomatoes and eggplants: the best she's ever tasted!

Chillies & eggplantAt the end of the day, the remaining vegetables are usually purchased by volunteers and the rest donated to local food banks, like ACSA Community Food Centre in Scarborough.

More volunteers arrived throughout the day, helping with farm maintenance, grass cutting, vegetable sales and the abundant amount of weeding. Weeds grow rapidly, deteriorating the quality of the soil and affecting the healthy growth of our vegetables. Keeping our garden weed free takes a lot of work and patience.

Malabar spinach & long eggplantSome of the vegetable beds take a whole day to fully clear of the numerous tiny weeds close to the root and the tall, larger weeds which obstruct the sunlight of our vegetables. Burdock removal efforts are also underway in the gardens. With respect and reverence, burdock plants with seeds (burrs) were cut down, and collected for burning. This week, volunteers will remove the remaining roots to prevent regrowth. Burdock root can be harvested for herbal medicine or eaten as a tasty side dish. However, burdock will gradually take over if left unchecked, so regular removal is important.

In the orchards, soil and leaf samples were collected and delivered to the lab in Guelph for nutrient analysis. Results will return in two weeks, and will guide the orchard team in their care of the trees. Apples are falling from the trees, a normal occurrence at this time of the year. Early fruit drop in apple trees is Mother Nature’s way of reducing the number of apples produced, to prevent tree limb breakage from an overly heavy fruit set. Fruit drop also allows the tree to focus on the ripening of the largest and healthiest fruits. The fallen apples, however, can become a breeding ground for apple maggot flies, that can spoil the rest of the harvest. To prevent this, fallen apples must be picked up to prevent pest reproduction. The Farm team is asking for volunteers - young and old - to assist with the collection and disposal of fallen apples.

Bitter gourd and different eggplant varieties, freshly harvestedVolunteers have also been organizing and collecting donations for a much anticipated Charity Yard Sale, on Saturday, August 20. We have a large collection of pre-loved clothes, accessories, household goods, mirrors, kids items, toys, bikes, furniture, tools, vintage items, artwork, house plants, and many more bargains. AYUDH TO will also offer freshly baked goods, and the Farm team will, of course, be selling organic vegetables from the garden. All proceeds support Amma's local and international charity projects.

Nature is healing. Volunteering in the garden is a wonderful opportunity to stay active and healthy while selflessly giving back to those in need. Boosting our immune system, gardening helps us reconnect with Mother Earth, while absorbing the most natural form of Vitamin D from the Sun and purifying our lungs with fresh, clean air. We invite you to come by the Farm for some fresh, organic vegetables, or to lend a helping hand for as long or as little as your schedule permits. Enjoy an active day in the sun, in a beautiful environment, with a joyful and uplifting team. For more information or to get involved, please email ammatoronto@ammagroups.org.

Om Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

Volunteers loading produce donations into the car to take to the food bank