Thursday, November 19, 2015

Little City Farm 2016 Workshop Registration Policies

Please use paypal complete your registration. If you do not use paypal, we can accept e-transfer or cheques - but remember that we can only hold your workshop space once payment has been received.  Please contact us if you wish to pay by e-transfer or cheque.

Workshop participants will receive a reminder email one week before your workshop with any details you need for the class. If you have questions please contact us at:

Waiver Form for soap making classes
You will receive a Workshop Registration and Waiver Form before the class (either by email in advance, or on the workshop day), which we ask you to fill out before taking part in the class.

If you need to cancel your registration to a workshop, we ask that you kindly do so by 48 hours prior to the workshop date. We are unable to offer refunds. However we will provide you with a credit for the value of 50% of your workshop fee, toward a future workshop at Little City Farm. Any cancellations less than 48 hours prior to the class will not be credited.

If you are interested in registering for a class this is full, you have the option of choosing another course date (if available), or being placed on a waiting list to be notified when the next class does open up. We will contact you to let you know.

All Little City Farm workshops are for adults, unless otherwise specified. If you have a nursing baby you would like to bring along, please inquire as we would be happy to accommodate this if the workshop setting is suitable (unfortunately soap classes are not suitable for young children). Children under age 14 may not attend soap making classes due to safety hazards (unless discussed with us in advance please). Children between the ages of 14-17 in a soap making class must be accompanied by an adult, who assumes full responsibility for the minor.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Soap Making Class NEW DATE - Sat, Nov 14

Calling all would-be soap makers!

For those of you wishing to learn the science and art of soap making from scratch (in the traditional cold-process method using all natural ingredients including organic oils, pure essential oil, organic botanicals) - we have just added one more of our popular Intro to Cold Process Soap Making workshops to our  schedule for November.

There are limited spaces left, so sign up soon - a great opportunity to learn to make soap in time for the holidays and gift giving.  Saturday, November 14 from 1-4 pm at Little City Farm.   Pre-registration required - sign up through our workshop schedule here.

Winter Herb Shares Now Available from Little City Farm/Homestead Herbals! Discover Community Supported Herbalism

What is a Winter Herb Share?
Similar to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) our Winter Herb Shares offer members unique limited edition herbal remedies made with herbs grown here at Little City Farm, or sourced from local/organic sources. These winter remedies are mindfully prepared in small batches with your best winter health in mind. Winter Herb Share members pay upfront, and Herb Shares are picked up at Little City Farm (by appointment), starting January 15, 2016. More information about this upon registration.  Please note that Winter Herb Shares are limited, so please do sign up soon if you wish to become a member.  Registration open until shares fill.

What is in a Winter Herb Share?
The Winter Herb Share includes:
  • Elderberry Syrup - 8 oz
  • Sage Cough Syrup - 2 oz
  • Winter Wellness Tincture - 2 oz
  • Warming Winter Elixir - 4 oz
  • Breathe Easy Cold & Congestion Oil - 2 oz
  • Winter Flu Fighter Tea Blend - 40 grams
  • All Purpose Healing Salve - 4 oz
  • Your choice of 1 Herbal Lipbalm: (lemon-thyme, lavender-honey, peppermint-red clover, or calendula cacao)
Winter Herb Share Cost: $105 (20% off regular retail value!)


Include your choice of lipbalm:

Winter Herb Share Ingredient Details:

Elderberry Syrup - a classic winter remedy that is highly beneficial for colds, cough, flu, bronchitis, sinus infection, viruses
Made with organic elderberries, local honey, alcohol.

Sage Cough Syrup - a delicious herbal syrup to ease sore throats and coughs
Made with organically grown sage, horehound, local honey, alcohol.

Winter Wellness Tincture - to boost the immune system, anti-viral properties
Made with organic elderberries, organically grown echinacea, thyme, boneset, astragalus, alcohol.

Winter Warming Elixir - this delicious fiery sipping vinegar ("shrub") is sure to beat any flu
Made with organic local apple cider vinegar, organically grown thyme, rosemary, organic turmeric, organic ginger root, organic garlic, organic onion, organic cayenne.

Breathe Easy Oil - massage and bath oil used for coughs, colds and congestion
Made with organic olive oil, organic grapeseed oil, pure essential oils of eucalyptus, rosemary, wintergreen.

Winter Flu Fighter Tea Blend - an immune boosting blend that also soothes sore throats
Made with organically grown herb blend: yarrow, peppermint, thyme, marshmallow root, anise hyssop, hyssop, and organic elder flowers.

All Purpose Healing Salve - for dry and chapped skin, healing cuts and scrapes
Made with organic olive oil, organic beeswax, vitamin E oil, organically grown calendula, organic St. Johns wort, organic yarrow, organic comfrey, organic cocoa butter, rosemary essential oil, geranium essential oil.

We will contact you after you purchase your Winter Herb Share.  For Local Customers the pick up for your Winter Herb Share is at Little City Farm (and no shipping costs necessary!).  For other orders, we offer limited shipping of your Winter Herb Share but shipping costs will apply.  Please contact us at info(at) if you have questions regarding shipping.

Monday, November 02, 2015

A Little Bird Told Me Handmade Holiday Sale - coming Sat, Dec 5th at Little City Farm

Mark Your Calendars!

A Little Bird Told Me Handmade Holiday Sale at Little City Farm
Saturday, December 5 from 10 am-2 pm
508 Duke St W, Kitchener

Featuring a fine assortment of local artisans making handmade eco-conscious items from organic and upcycles materials.  You will find organic baked goods & festive treats, handmade chocolates, beeswax candles, wooden serving boards and home goods, jewelry from upcycled bicycle parts, woolen clothing, toys and children's items, and more surprises!

More info here shortly!

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Glorious Goldenrod - Making Goldenrod Tinctures/ Shrubs / Medicinal Sipping Vinegars

Last year I was given a bottle of goldenrod apple cider vinegar from a friend.  It was delicious, healthful and simply prepared.  I used it in salad dressings and as a medicinal tonic diluted in water.  This fall I decided to make my own.

Goldenrod is a detoxifying herb, good for the respiratory system (for coughs and colds), anti-inflammatory, and has many more health benefits.  Contrary to popular belief, most people are actually not allergic to goldenrod but rather to ragweed (which blooms at the same time in similar areas).  Goldenrod has in fact been proven to help alleviate symptoms of such allergies.  It also happens to be prime forage for bees in the fall, so we let plenty of goldenrod flourish around the edges of our yard.

To harvest, I like to pick the goldenrod when the flowers are brilliantly yellow and just opened (or barely opened).  Once the flowers go to see it is too late for harvesting the blooms.  There is usually a small window of a a few days or so when the flowers are perfect.

Making Goldenrod Tincture with Apple Cider Vinegar
1) Fill a clean glass mason jar nearly full with freshly picked brilliantly yellow goldenrod flowers.
2) Then cover completely with apple cider vinegar to about 1 inch above the plant matter.
3) Cap tightly, set on a plate (in case of leakage).  Shake well to distribute plant matter.
4) Let sit at least 6 weeks, or longer, in direct sunlight (kitchen window).  Shake daily.
5) When ready, strain goldenrod out, reserve the liquid.
6) Store in dark glass bottles tightly capped.
7) Use in salad dressings, or other places you would use cider vinegar.  Or take daily as a tonic.

Herbal shrubs (or sipping vinegars are they are sometimes called) are another way to preserve medicinal herbs.  They are really made like a tincture, using apple cider vinegar (or other organic vinegars) but have sugar or honey added.  They are a spicy, hardy, delicious way to preserve the plant's properties - and can be added to spritzers, taken straight up, or mixed into herbal cocktails.  They have been made for more than a century, and are seeing a resurgence in popularity.  What a great way to have your "food and medicine" together.

How to make a herbal shrub?

Goldenrod Shrub (or other herbal shrubs)
1) Follow directions above for making Goldenrod Tincture.
2) After 6-8 weeks, strain out the goldenrod.  Compost the herbs, reserve the vinegar.
3) Now for every 1/2 cup vinegar, add 1 Tbsp raw organic local honey (or organic cane sugar).
4) Shake to combine well.  Store in dark glass bottle.
5) Store in fridge.  Serve with sparkling water, into wine/cocktail, or sip directly (1 Tbsp at a time).

Other amazing herbal shrubs can be made the same way - try fennel, rose petals, ginger root, cayenne & garlic (for winter flu fighting), holy basil, mint, and add infusions of fresh fruit such as strawberries, cherries and blueberries for colour and flavour.

Planting the winter garden!

We are a little late this year with our winter garden - the season just got away on us.  But yesterday we planted up the cold frame grow tunnel with winter hardy greens, and several days earlier the greenhouse bed was filled with new seeds as well.  We hope to have a good harvest of fresh greens from the greenhouse all winter long, and the grow tunnel will give us a head start in late winter with new greens coming up ahead of the rest of the garden.

We are always trying to experiment with stretching the growing season.  In our climate, we need to use hardy greens and vegetables for winter growing but it is definitely possible - not to mention the huge variety that we can provide.  Eliot Coleman suggests over 30 varieties to grow in the winter, as well as innovative planting methods, scheduling ideas and garden designs for winter, in his inspiring book The Winter Harvest Handbook.   There are the usual suspects - kale, chard, spinach, arugula - but then also many other interesting options such as mache, claytonia, cress, tat soi, mizuna, scallions, garlic greens, turnip greens, beet greens, hardy winter lettuces...

Yesterday we started with 3 kinds of spinach including a "winter spinach", wild arugula, mizuna, tat soi, 3 kinds of kale (red, green curly, and lacinato), hardy winter lettuces, beets and turnips for their leafy greens, mustard greens, mesclun mix.  The grow tunnel still has baby chard, kale, spinach, mustard, chives, oregano, red and green lettuces, and arugula already growing, so that is a nice head start.  We'll be keeping regular updates here on the status of the winter greenhouse and winter garden so please continue to read (and grow) this winter with us.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Medicine Pouch - Urban Wild Classes for Kids at LCF

What a perfect fall day, just right for our second outdoor class for kids as part of the Urban Wild series we are hosting this fall at Little City Farm.

For the Urban Wild series we are focusing on traditional skills / hands-on crafts that are inspired by nature - working with leather to make medicine pouches; working with birch bark to make food storage containers; making a dream catcher from dogwood and grapevine; making a bowl by burning and hollowing out a piece of wood; and so forth.  There are still a few spaces in upcoming sessions (the next four Thursday afternoons) so if interested contact us at: info (at)

The kids worked so industriously at their medicine pouches today!  We started with a quick brainstorm of what leather would have traditionally been used for, then what medicine pouches are all about. We soaked up the October sun's rays, while cutting, sewing, hammering/punching, piecing and designing our medicine pouches - each child with their own unique ideas to be incorporated in beautiful finished masterpieces that will hold their special treasures.  My daughter announced she is "never going to take off her pouch"!  The kids were certainly very proud of their creations.

Wild Smoothies! Urban Wild Kids Classes at LCF

We've had a great time with wild edibles lately!  Not only harvesting wild fall edibles for our household (more to come shortly about rosehips and goldenrod) but also hosting classes on the topic. 

For the first time this year we are including classes for children - and wild edibles is one topic that is so much fun to introduce to kids.  Our friend Jackie has been here to facilitate the "kids urban wild" series, and did a nice job of explaining simple methods for properly identifying, safely harvesting, and using wild edibles that are all around us.   The way she introduced the tastes of wild foods to the kids in the workshop was to make "wild smoothies".  First we all talked about the plant and how to identify it, then we walked around the yard collecting samples of the plant (so fun to see kids with little baskets traipsing around the yard picking wild greens), and tasted the leaves raw, then added them in the blender with smoothie ingredients to make delicious healthful wild blends.  The plants we included in our wild smoothies were common plants that are not easily over-harvested because they grow wild everywhere around us: dandelion, wood sorrel, lamb's quarter, and wild lettuce.  These can be added a small handful at a time, to taste (depending on how "green" you like your smoothie).

Wild Green Smoothie Base Recipe
1 banana
1 cup hemp milk (or nut milk of your choice)
1 Tbsp chia seeds or hemp seeds
1-2 Tbsp nut butter (hemp butter, almond butter, etc)
1 handful wild greens (dandelion is the most bitter, wood sorrel is lemon tasting, lamb's quarter like spinach)
3-4 ice cubes

Blend well!  Add more hemp milk to thin drink if it's too thick.  Add more banana if the flavour is too bitter.
Experiment with combinations of wild greens (nettle, fennel, dandelion, wild lettuce, wood sorrel, etc).
You can combine all manner of garden greens (chard, spinach, kale, pea shoots) with the wild greens to soften the bitter flavours.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Autumn Farm Day! Oct 10 with PIE + PIZZA! At Little City Farm from 11-1 pm


Don't forget - just over a week away is our first ever Organic Pie & Pizza Pop Up Shop here at Little City Farm as a way to celebrate the fall harvest season.

We'll have a delicious assortment of freshly baked organic pies for sale (I love pumpkin, but think I'm most excited about the salted caramel apple pies we'll be featuring!), and wood-fired pizza by the slice.  Come on out for pies & pizza, meet friends & neighbours, celebrate the fall harvest with us, and enjoy the last of the warm fall weather in our garden beside the cob oven.

Sat, Oct 10 from 11 am-1 pm
Hope to see you here!

Monday, September 14, 2015

New herbal lipbalms

We're working on a variety of exciting new lipbalms.  These herbal lipbalms start with an infusion of organic herbs into organic oil to use as the base for our herbal healing lipbalms, including red clover, lavender, calendula and thyme.  They are steeped for 4-6 weeks in using a solar infusion method.  Red clover, lavender, calendula and thyme all provide wonderful healing qualities for our lips - healing chapped dry lips, cold sores, and offering soothing qualities.  We believe our lipbalms are especially good because of all the time, love and attention that goes into making them.  Coming this fall to our etsy shop.

Apple season and simple dried apples rings/chips

What an apple year!  When I think of apples right now, the word "abundant" comes to mind.  The harvest from our one old tree has been incredible.  We have made jars and jars and jars of applesauce, eaten apples by the dozens, baked pies, and saved apples for cider (soon to be made).  And I also dried vast piles of apple rings, my favourite, for winter snacking and giving away as holiday gifts.   Note we did not dip the apples in lemon juice, so they are not as white as they would be if you did dip them (this also greatly depends on the variety of apples you are using). 

Making dried apple rings/apple chips:
1) Wash apples.
2) Cut into rings, or use an old-fashioned apple turner to slice and core apples thinly.
3) Dip into lemon juice to avoid browning (optional).
4) Dry using one of the following methods, until apples are leathery and nearly crispy (or if you like crispy apple chips keep drying until you get desired consistency).

a) With a Food Dehydrator
A food dehydrator is a quick method for bulk quantity apple drying (set at 135F for about 12-24 hours).

b) In a Low Oven
Drying apples can also be done in a lowest oven (as low as your oven will go, between 145-200F for about 10-20 hours).  Line baking sheet with parchment paper and fill with single layer of apples. You should keep checking the apples, rotate them, and keep the oven door open for more air circulation.

c) Over a Wood Stove
Suspend apple rings over wood stove - hang apple rings from thin wire, set up a dowel to hang apples on, or suspend a metal drying rack over the stove.  Again watch apples closely to see when they are done.

Going to Seed

We had our annual Seed Saving Workshop here on the weekend.  Our guest facilitator Taarini Chopra from Seeds of Diversity was here to lead the group through all the details to know about saving seeds from the home garden - first of all why to save seeds! Then basic plant botany; distances between varieties to avoid cross-pollination; when to harvest; how to harvest; how to dry (and which seeds dry on the plant); specifically saving lettuce, beans, peas and tomatoes; and lots of interesting hands-on activities like shelling dried beans, and opening soaked fava beans to find the little sprout inside ready to burst out.

There is lots of seed saving information on Seeds of Diversity's website here and below are photos of some of the plants in our garden that have gone to seed - such beautiful and diverse seeds they are (we are very good at letting things go to seed around here - partly unintentional as this time of year is just so busy, and partly intentional as we want to save seeds and let seeds stand for winter food for wildlife.)