I'm rooting for change
Welcome to Crimson.
Crimson blossomed from my desire to create change in our food system. I saw that it was possible for us to change the way we grow and consume food and felt that the key to this change was within our communities, in our own gardens. I believe I can use Crimson as a platform to do this through the passing on of my skills and knowledge to you. You could say it's my kale of duty!
- Sarah Kruk
My intentions are simple, increase the fertility and biodiversity of your garden, and keep toxins out of your environment and your body. I do this by designing gardens that promote nutrient cycling, natural resource utilization, and beneficial species interactions. This way, I can use as few inputs as possible and limit disturbance to your soil. If I do have to add anything to your garden, it will always be safe for you and your family. That's a promise!
Learn how I do this...
It all began in the kitchen.
I've spent my entire life working withinin the food system. I dedicated my teens and 20's to cooking professionally. At the age of 23, I received my Red Seal Chef certification, and carried on to be the chef of several locally owned restaurants, and even had my own catering business. There were many pros and cons to being a chef. My creativity could flow, there was always tasty food around, and I was part of a team, a family. On the other hand, the hours were long, the job was extremely demanding, and it was
always a struggle to find quality ingredients that you felt proud to use. I remedied the latter by growing as much food as I could for myself and the places I worked in. Over time, I began to realize that the garden was my true happy place, and that the kitchen was just an outlet for my creativity. Even though I was a gifted chef and my life was tied to the kitchen, I wanted out. I had a desire to learn again, to change the way I viewed food, to understand how food was grown and produced. That's when I quit everything to start a degree at UBC in Applied Biology, with a Food and Environment Major. I can't lie, it was a terribly hard transition and I was truly a fish out of water (or a cob without a kernel). Eventually, I settled in and was able to take the decades of cooking and growing experience I had and connect scientific theory to it. I formed strong passions and principles around food and land and, before I knew it, I was graduating. After four years of studies, I had grown the sweetest, juiciest kernels on my cob and was ready to share the wealth of skills and knowledge I had developed with the world! At last, Crimson was developed.
A member of the legume family that is an excellent choice for a garden cover crop. This wonderful species has a symbiotic relationship with Rhizobia bacteria that allows it to fix nitrogen in the soil so it's available for plant use. Not only that, it improves soil tilth and structure, suppresses weeds, minimizes erosion, and its beautiful blooms attract tons of beneficial insects, especially bees.
I envision Crimson as a place where community gathers to learn, grow, eat, and have fun. A few acres of land that is booming with life and diversity, where plants and animals are integrated and their lifecycles support one another. I see an annual garden surrounded by a food forest with fruit and nut trees, berries, herbs, and other supporting plants. There are animals with different niches beneficially cycling through the system, living their best lives, and bee hives buzzing, birds chirping and wildlife finding refuge. People are laughing, kids are playing, and local artisans, craftspersons, and growers are sharing their passions with the community. I want Crimson to be a place filled with learning opportunities, ones that people can take with them and utilize in their own lives, in their own gardens. And, needless to say, I would always be there to help you grow, in more ways than one.
THE FUTURE OF CRIMSON
Thing's I'm really digging.
I am your classic West Coaster, I've got lots of love for our mountains and oceans, and explore them often. Of course, I love food and the Vancouver food scene, so many great restaurants to try. I adore farmers markets, and cute little local shops. And, I love animals. I visit dog parks even though I don't have a pup. I do have Miss Daisy though, my senior kitty, she's a real gem. Some other not-so-common things that I am currently really in to are highlighted below, check them out!
Over the last year, I have become really interested in permaculture, and I am finally in the midst of getting my Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC)! Geoff Lawton, my teacher, simply defines permaculture as "an ethical design science, that mimics nature to supply all our human needs whilst benefiting the environment." Sounds right up my alley, doesn't it? I think so, and the plan is to practice permaculture principles in every garden I grow, including yours, and eventually offer PDC courses too. Gaia's Garden, by Toby Hemenway, is new to my collection and is turning out to be a great read. He provides a home-scale perspective on permaculture that is worth checking out.
My family will have a laugh at this one because when I was kid I use to pick every speck of mushroom out of my meals. Then as a chef, I learned how to make them work for me and now, they don't just work, they make the dish. These chanterelles that I foraged for really helped with that - wow, they were delicious! I plan to forage on, while also learning how to grow other varieties, indoors and out! Tradd Cotter's book, Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycor-mediation, should give me a leg up on that. How great would it be to establish mushroom patches for my clients, or even use them to clean up contaminated soil?
Fermentation is one of the oldest (and tastiest) preservation techniques out there. I just got my hands on the book below by Sandor Ellix Katz, The Art of Fermentation. The dude knows his stuff, so I am eager to dive in and test out his methods. I also just purchased a 10 litre crock from Humble House, a small family owned company from down south, plus, I found my Grandpa's huge 10 quart open-air crock. Looks like I better get fermenting! I just got a ton of cabbage, so maybe I'll start with sauerkraut or kimchi!
CHOCOLATE & MINT
Yes, you read that right! And, I know, I know, mint and chocolate are a classic combo, but I personally just fell in love. For whatever reason, the partnership comes to mind most days right now. Before you say "but Sarah, chocolate isn't local", I'll just proudly admit that my heart aches for this foreign delight and always will. That's why, when I buy chocolate, I get the good stuff. I look for companies that are ethical and use few ingredients. Zazubean is my favorite right now, they have a mint and cocoa nibs bar that you must try! I also make it a habit to visit every cocoa farm I can when I'm travelling, that way I support farmers directly and get to taste dozens of chocolate blends - breakfast anyone? I got the cocoa beans in the photo below from Lydgate Farms in Kauai. If you ever make it to Kauai, you must visit!