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Innovations protect fruit crops against weather, predator damage

A Life’s Work - Charles Stevens 2013

Charles Stevens in his orchard. Photo by Courtney Stevens.

Newcastle – Damaging weather and predators can mean the difference between a good year and a bad one on the farm.

No one knows that better than Charles Stevens, who grows apples and blueberries on his farm near Newcastle, east of Toronto.

He’s turned to technology and innovation to protect his apples against hail and frost – and to Mother Nature to help keep his blueberries safe from hungry wildlife. Continue reading Innovations protect fruit crops against weather, predator damage

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Where potato chips are grown

Mmm, there’s nothing quite like cracking open a bag of fresh, crunchy potato chips.

I confess to consuming more than my fair share of the salty snacks over the years and love seeing what new flavours will be coming out next.

But one thing I’ve certainly never really thought too much about was how the contents of that crinkly bag get there in the first place.

I mean, I know chips come from potatoes and that there are farmers who specialize in growing potatoes – but that was pretty much the extent of my potato knowledge.

Well, as it turns out, there’s nothing easy about growing a perfect potato chip potato.

And after spending a couple of hours with Ontario farmer Jack Murphy on his Alliston-area potato farm recently, I have a whole new perspective on the contents of that chip bag – and on the work that farmers put into growing those potatoes just right. Continue reading Where potato chips are grown

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Waxing about weather defines us

The winter blahs have well and truly set in, especially for those of us who can’t escape by heading south. Last week’s few short days of warmth and sunshine seemed to transform our drab winter world as people reawakened and remerged. Everyone was talking about the weather those few days — because that’s what we do as Canadians, we talk about the weather.
Continue reading Waxing about weather defines us

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Near normal storm season predicted

hurricane-imageThey’re calling for a mostly normal season this year – hurricane season, that is. And that’s a relief to many, not only those who live in traditional hurricane areas in the Caribbean and along the Atlantic coast, but also to those of us here in the Great White North otherwise known as Canada. Continue reading Near normal storm season predicted

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UK water rules sign of future for Canada’s farmers?

irrigationsmA new strategy on water usage in agriculture unveiled by Britain’s Environment Agency paints a potentially grim picture for farmers.

This according to a report in Farmers Weekly, a leading British agricultural publication. The strategy includes tighter restrictions on agricultural irrigation as well as increased costs for water recycling and construction of on-farm reservoirs. Continue reading UK water rules sign of future for Canada’s farmers?

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Spring, farmers and the lure of the land

The following column I wrote was published in the Guelph Mercury yesterday.

We were sitting on the deck with the dog as I was musing about the topic of this month’s column. My husband jokingly suggested I write about the relationship between man and his dog. I laughed it off — what did that have to do with food, farming and farmers? Not much, but as I thought about it some more I did start to see some parallels between the strength of that relationship and the one between farmers and their land. Continue reading Spring, farmers and the lure of the land

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The flip side of banning biotech

I came across an interesting post today on a blog called “Gate to Plate” by Michele Payn-Knoper. She talks about hunger and how sad it is that in a country as rich in land, food and farmers as the United States, children have to go without.
Continue reading The flip side of banning biotech

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