…some answers to common questions we hear at the market.
Is SUNSHINE FARM organic certified?
Answer: No, we were in 2009 but did not renew the following year. This is a political issue. We do not agree with paying governing bodies for doing the environmentally, ecologically and healthy thing while others who are using all kinds of harmful chemicals get rewarded with subsidies.
We grow our products naturally, that is free of artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. The products we do not produce ourselves, are island grown by farmers who use the same practices as we do, exceptions are exotic raw materials, where do not have much insight on how they were grown.
Where does all the fruit for jams, jellies and sweet sauces come from?
Answer: We grow all our berries and tree fruit like plum, pears, apples and quince ourselves on SUNSHINE FARM. 5 acres may not sound like much space but besides all the berry bushes and trees, we are still cutting plenty of lawn. Wild fruit like elderberries, cranberries, some blackberries and some crabapples are harvested in pristine areas that are untouched by farming.
Who makes all the products?
Answer: I do. The production lies entirely in my hands. All 140+++products are made by me, that is storing the boxes of empty bottles, sterilizing them, preparing the ingredients, cooking and processing them, filling the jars, labeling them, storing the full boxes and doing all the cleanup. Thankfully I have well appreciated helpers for the harvest and in the yard.
Where can we get SUNSHINE FARM products?
Answer: You can find us at the Charlottetown Farmers Market on Belvedere Avenue every Saturday from 9am till 2pm year round at the same booth. We are set up permanently. During the summer months we attend other Charlottetown Farmers Markets as well. Please check exact time and location on our website http://www.sunshinefarm.ca/index.html
Our products can also be ordered through our website http://www.sunshinefarm.ca/contacts.html . We mail or ship to anywhere in North America.
We do not have any presence off island at this time.
There was a bit of white on top of my jam/jelly. Is that harmful?
Answer: The white layer you are seeing there is foam residue from processing and not harmful. It is NOT mould. When cooking a jam or jelly, some fruit develop more foam than others and skimming it off is not always 100% successful.
Do I need to refrigerate Chili Lime Hotsauce?
Answer: No. Chili Lime Hotsauce contains sufficient sugar that makes it self-preserving. Combined with the acidic acid from the fresh limes, it develops a honey-like constancy that turns hard in the fridge, just like honey does. Should you hotsauce ever get solid due to cold temperatures, take off the lid and place it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and it will be runny again.
I placed the Flavoured Oil OR Bread Dipping in the fridge and it was all cloudy when I took it out. Is it gone bad?
Answer: The product has not gone bad. When you place oil in the fridge, the molecules slow down and solidify, thus looking cloudy. Keep your Flavoured Oil or Bread Dipping in a dark place like a cupboard. The products will be good for 2-3 months after opening.
Do I need to refrigerate the Pesto you sell?
Answer: No. Our Pesto is made with dry ingredients and our own Basil Oil which acts as a preservative. If you place it in the refrigerator, it will harden and the oil will turn cloudy/whitish. Just keep the jar in dark place like your cupboard.
Do you have a greenhouse so you can still grow fresh basil in January?
Answer: Yes and No. We do have a greenhouse but that is not the place where we grow our basil during the winter months. We just don’t want to heat the greenhouse, which is fairly expensive. We grow our basil inside the house along our south facing windows. At some point we had 42 plants going which also occupied the windows in the bedroom.
…you have a lot of products. That must be a lot of work!
Answer: Rome wasn’t built in one day…I make my products a day at a time but pretty much every day throughout the year. During harvest time, all the raw material goes straight into the freezer. When things are not so busy out in the yard or on a rainy day, things come out of the freezer and more products for the shelves are made.