Who are We?

We are the Tahsis Community Garden Society. Please email us at tahsiscommunitygardensociety@gmail.com

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Chef Demo and Pizza Make & Bake in our New Cob Oven


On Saturday we invited the whole community to come out and celebrate the Autumn Harvest with us at the Tahsis Community Garden.  We heated up our newly built cob oven as Chef Silvie Keen treated the audience of about 42 people of all ages to some delicious and informative recipe demonstrations.  After everyone enjoyed samples of local blackberry dumplings and green bean tomato salad, we all took turns constructing our individual pizzas to fire up in the oven. 

The lovely meal was rounded out with such favourite pot luck items as caramel apple cake, Roasted sesame kale chips, devoured not ten feet away from where they were grown, Mo's famous pickled beets (which we all learned how to make at last year's canning seminar), and all the communal garden produce (onions, basil, lettuce, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, chard) in a giant vibrant salad.

The pizzas turned out great!  The dough made by Silvie puffed up beautifully and was a great vehicle for all the interesting toppings that everyone brought.  The standard pepperoni is always delicious, but many folks branched out with feta, herbs, zucchini, spinach, sundried tomatoes, and a rare treat, the chantrelles just picked that morning, thank you Roger!

Traci worked tirelessy stoking the fire in between pizza pans, watching that the new door didn't burn, brushing the coals to the side and helping everyone truly enjoy the experience.  Thank you Mike for making a door for our oven!  After chatting to everyone about the benefits of this kind of cooking and seeing a cob oven cook-out for the first time, it really hits home why sharing a meal of comfort food with friends and neighbours is such an important part of our culture.


Andrea passing out samples of the salad Chef Silvie prepared
(watch for the recipe on our blog soon!)


Journalist Bev L. walks behind a new garden wreath on our holly tree.

Catherine enjoying the party
  
Silvie demonstrating a good way to chop fresh herbs. 
Our communal herb garden is quite successful this year in our garden.

Traci talks about the practice of making and using cob ovens.

Some of our delicious meal, enjoyed in perfect weather yet again. 
Notice the lush basil plant in the background, what a clever, elegant "dish" to bring to a pizza party!
Our Tahsis Community Garden Society president, Kim, pleased with her pizza.

Ray and Janet tour the garden.

Em's pizza was one of the first out of the oven.


Sarah poses for a portrait

Vegetables and herbs from our garden for the salad

Now we're getting fancy, roasting our onions and garlic alongside the pizza

Locally harvested blackberries simmering with honey and butter for the dumpling sauce.
(watch for the recipe on our blog soon!)

Silvie's pretty green bean tomato salad.  Most of our garden beds had a row or two of beans this year; yellow. purple or green, broad, scarlet runner, even fava beans all were grown in Tahsis this season. 

Look at these beauties that Roger generously shared! 
   

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Cob Oven Complete!

Many thanks to the people who came out to work today, and thank you Silvie for the amazing lunch!  Sweet and smoky roasted vegetable and brown rice wraps with pesto mayo, smoked salmon arugula pasta salad (so lemony and bright!) and a rich blackberry crumble.  In other words, pretty much the ideal Tahsis meal.  (Can't wait until you open your restaurant, by the way!)

 A huge thank you to everyone who volunteered behind the scenes, helping gather sand and clay, or bringing bricks and supplies from town, lending buckets or the countless other ways that people support us.  And we appreciate our workshop leader Traci, who brings enthusiasm, fresh artistic ideas and a strong back to every project.  Kudos Traci!

Can't wait for our pizza night!
 

And the harvesting continues, G pulled out beets, carrots and green tomatoes today, well done!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saturday Sept 1 Events Part 2 - Chef Demo by Silvie Keen

When you are moving rocks around and mixing up batches of mud with your boots, you are not necessarily expecting an elegant and refreshing cooking lesson that comes with gourmet snacks.  But the lucky people who worked on the cob oven today, along with several members of the community who stopped by got the royal treatment during Chef Silvie Keen's Demonstration featuring a seasonal Tahsis staple, the blackberry.

Layered carrot blackberry salad and blackberry wine gelatin were enjoyed by all.  The crowd of 22 people of all ages lined up for seconds, as a testament to the skill of this enthusiastic chef.  Silvie makes it look easy as she combined fresh simple ingredients to showcase the blackberries that we all love.   Recipes to be posted soon. 

Special thanks go out to the Tahsis Supermarket for it's support, BC Produce Availability Initiative, The Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Tahsis Community Garden Society for hosting this event during the Cob Oven Workshop.



    

Saturday Sept 1 Events Part 1 Cob Oven Building

We started at 9am with just a few of us, and more joined in as the day progressed, and we got our 1st day's work done and the oven is drying and getting ready for the next layers. 

Dave levelled the ground, Packed the earth down solid with Janet's roller, drew our circle and we started moving rocks.  Mortared them in with cement, and then mixed up our first batch of "cob", clay, sub soil, sand, water and straw.  Filled in the gaps, and used up all the rocks.  The little kids got right in there beside the adults with the mud and straw and worked to make it thick and strong.   

Cody, Dave and Tyson went and loaded up another truckload of rocks.  We kept going, filling with sand, subsoil, cob mixture and rocks.  Once the oven was tall enough, we levelled off with sand for a smooth surface to place our firebricks.  After the bricks came a large dome of wet sand, followed by a layer of wet newspaper then clay, then more cob.  Traci will go back to cut out a door and then we will be ready for phase 2 next Saturday at 10 am.

Lots of hard work, getting muddy and mixing up the clay mixture with our broken hoes, feet, hands, rubber boots, sticks and whatever else was useful.  rolling it in the tarp (like a burrito?!?!) was effective too.

We all learned alot about Permaculture and pondered how to cook without wasting resources, energy, and with natural materials.  Building structures from homes to ovens out of mud rocks and clay is an ancient and effective way to come together as a community to improve our health and food security.

Thank you so much Traci for teaching us and walking us through this process and thank you so much to Silvie for organizing it.  Thank you to Tena for supplying us with much needed tea and coffee, and thank you to Catherine for baking cookies.  Silvie brought tasty spicy samosas from Mrs. Sharma at Oceanview Cafe and a giant gorgeous salad for lunch to compliament the lovely chef demo treats and samples. 

A special thank you to the Vancouver Island Health Authority for sponsering this fun and informative event, through the Community Food Action Initiative in Tahsis "Harvesting an Education".  Can't wait to roast vegetables and pizza!