GRENDELGrow provides an opportunity for individuals to learn about and engage in a breadth of gardening activities and to help support food security through the production and sale of healthy, locally grown food. Our all-natural produce is grown at the Northern Root Community Garden and in several lots adjacent to Grendel Place. You can find our products at Natures Pantry from spring through summer and in many of the delicious catered meals cooked by GRENDELivery. You may also see our produce with a 1st place ribbon (okay, maybe a second place ribbon) at the Fall Fair ; ).
In the gardens, program participants receive training and education in: seeding, soil preparation, fertilization, proper weeding techniques, plant spacing, transplanting, watering and water conservation – primarily through the use of drip irrigation and mulching, and harvesting. Given that we also utilize three greenhouses of varying sizes, participants learn about the production of greenhouse crops, especially tomatoes and cucumbers. More specifically, participants learn how to properly trellis/train, prune and pollinate these plants.
Harvesting Cucumbers Tomatoes and Basil in the Greenhouse
Also, because we sell the majority of the produce that we grow, participants of the Grendel Grow program learn and develop skills relating to processing, packaging and marketing of the harvested produce. Topics and activities covered include: proper cleaning, cooling and transportation of harvested produce, economical and attractive packaging/bunching of produce, and attractive display of produce on store shelves.
In 2016 we grew over 3800 lb. of produce, including nearly 900 lb. of tomatoes and close to 500 lb. of cucumbers! Other significant crops for 2016 were: garlic, herbs, lettuce. We also successfully grew sweet corn for the first time ever! While it was a lot of work, 2016 was our most most successful and productive year ever. Check out more photos by clicking here - GRENDELGROW 2016 -
A visit to Lauriston Farm Picking Garlic Scapes at High Slope Acres
Trip to Senden in Hazelton Greenhouse on top of Skeena Bakery in Hazelton
As part of the GRENDELGrow program, we also like to get out to other farms in the Bulkley Valley. This provides the participants (and the program manager) with a little reprieve from the day to day gardening tasks, and allows the participants to form a better understanding of what agriculture looks like, both in terms of its diversity (such as animal husbandry vs growing produce) and its regionally specific nature. We also just have a lot of fun and laughs hanging out with the farm animals.
GRENDELGrow also maintains a large compost behind Grendel Place. This compost is derived from organic wastes from surrounding businesses including Bug Wood Bean (lots of coffee grounds!), Mountain Eagle books, and our own programs GRENDELivery and GRENDELGrow. These wastes, with the help of resident red wiggler worms, is converted into beautiful, biologically and nutrient rich soil that is added to our gardening areas. We are pleased to know that these "wastes" are not only being diverted from the garbage stream, but are also directly benefiting the health of our soils and the quality of produce that we grow and provide.
GLEANING and PROCESSING
Picking Cherries in Smithers Getting Ready to Shake the Apples Down
In conjunction with the GRENDELivery program, GRENDELGrow participants also glean tree fruit, primarily apples, each fall. In the past these apples have been processed into apple sauce and also into dried apple rings, but we currently press most of the apples to make fresh, delicious cider. In 2015, with the help of funding from the Kasandra Trust, we purchased an apple grinder and press. 2015 was a great year for gleaning apples and we brought in several thousand pounds of apples. Over two days we held a fun, open-to-the-public pressing event where participants, staff, family, friends and passersby could jump in and help out in the pressing. You can check out pictures of the event by clicking here - APPLE CIDER PRESSING -. Everyone went home with lots of cider too!
In 2016 we did another pressing event. Last year there were fewer apples though, so we only had one day of pressing. Nevertheless, we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and pressed several hundred litres of cider. We hope to make this an annual even, so stay posted for the 2017 dates.