Shallot Hill

Shallot Hill | Sophster-Toaster

My husband grew up on a (relatively) small vegetable farm his father named Shallot Hill. My father-in-law maintained the farm while commuting a couple hours a day to teach screen printing and other skills to prisoners. When the prison closed, he went full time with his passion, started the lengthy process to go organic – before it was trendy – and tried to grow the best versions of the most interesting things he could find. He grew purple carrots, blue potatoes, red basil, strangely shaped squashes, and many other things that, growing up in a small town, I had never heard of before… like shallots. He became a trusted source for beautiful and weird local produce at every fancy restaurant in town, but was best known for his incredible garlic.

Every time we visit the farm, we load up on everything that’s in season, but especially garlic and shallots. We must have overdone it at Christmas, because we found a big bag of what my husband expertly and matter-of-factly called “seed garlic” in the basement last weekend. We couldn’t let such beautiful garlic go to waste, so we planted it on the next warm and sunny day.

Shallot Hill | Sophster-Toaster Shallot Hill | Sophster-Toaster Shallot Hill | Sophster-Toaster Shallot Hill | Sophster-Toaster Shallot Hill | Sophster-Toaster

Top Gale’s Vintage Clothing Collection
Jeans Angry Rabbit
Glasses Warby Parker

Shallot Hill | Sophster-Toaster

Photos by me and Matt Harrison.


Greenery | Sophster-Toaster

I’ve been trying to find ways to stay calm, busy and positive at home this week. All the gardening that needs to be done indoors and out during this time of year has been a big help. We’ve got our crab apple tree trimmed and lots of pollinator-friendly wildflower seeds in so we’ll have lots of blooms to look forward to when we make it to the other side of this uncertain time.

We’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day as normally as we can, but this year will be notably different. Instead of inviting friends and family over for a celebration of Irish-Canadian culture, it’s going to be just the two of us. We didn’t get Guinness and couldn’t get veggie stewing “beef” during what we knew would be our last trip out for a while, but the store had lots of lovely root vegetables, and I always keep a supply of barley and mushroom broth on hand, so we’ll be having a new kind of festive Irish stew. I’ve got the Irish flag up outside and we’ll be wearing green while working from home today, but this year we’ll be toasting to the safety of everyone in our community.

Greenery | Sophster-Toaster Greenery | Sophster-Toaster Greenery | Sophster-Toaster Greenery | Sophster-Toaster

Glasses Warby Parker

Greenery | Sophster-Toaster Greenery | Sophster-Toaster

All photos by me.

Interview with the Gardener

This week I sat down with an avid gardener to get the information that a beginner would need to know to get started on a bountiful garden.

Q: At what time of year do we need to start preparing the garden for planting?

A: You can get started once the temperature is consistently above freezing. This time usually comes during the last weeks of April. Continue reading