Earth Temple Gardens are breathtakingly beautiful certified organic market gardens in Argenta and Meadow Creek stewarded by Michael Silver. Michael aspires to grow vegetables for four seasons following ecological practices that will sustain and enrich the land for future generations. He is passionate about growing food for his neighbors and strengthening connections in our community. Earth Temple Gardens is certified by both the Kootenay Organic Growers Society and Kootenay Mountain Grown, and his dedication to his community is evidenced in his volunteer service on both organizations’ boards. Michael is also passionate about cultivating veggies that are particularly well suited to our Kootenay climate and preserving the biodiversity of lesser known varieties. At the Kootenay Co-op we are fortunate to enjoy Earth Temple veggies ranging from fresh herbs and multiple lettuces, to purple daikon and root parsley.
Read on to learn more about this great True Local Supplier.
Who is the farmer at Earth Temple Gardens:
Where is your farm located?
I rent land in both in Argenta, where I live, and in Meadow Creek.
What do you grow?
Four Season Vegetables.
How would you describe your farm operation?
Our gardens are a place for me to create and to connect with our community through growing local vegetables that are well suited to our climate. We are committed to producing high quality, nutrient-dense organic vegetables in the most sustainable way possible to nourish our local communities and bring people together at the table. A major emphasis in our food production is on growing varieties of vegetables which are naturally suited to our climate, thereby preserving local diversity while helping to build healthy communities and local food resiliency.
How long have you been farming?
2016 is my fourth year farming as Earth Temple Gardens. Before I started my own farm I apprenticed with amazing Argenta farmers, Vince McIntyre who still farms traditionally with horses, and Gary and Inana at their long vibrant Tipiland Farm market garden.
What motivated you to start?
I have always enjoyed being in gardens and working with plants. For me gardens are a place of inspiration. I also enjoy good food! When I was a child, I enjoyed time spent at the farm of my great uncle, a man who at the young age of 100, continues to be a source of inspiration.
What are some of your greatest joys?
Spending time with my son, being outside, gardening, skiing deep powder snow.
What are some of your greatest challenges?
Spending time in front of a computer doing business stuff. This is the other side of the farm that nobody told me about, but it is also very important.
What is your vision for your farm?
To keep learning, improving, and adapting. To produce ecologically sustainable nutrient dense vegetables in our changing environment – this in and of itself is an ever-changing craft. To allow the farm to be fluid and change where it is called to in all four seasons. And to have lots of fun while it’s all happening!
Why is local food important to you?
To me, local food = Taste, community and creating culture together.
If you could deliver a message directly to Co-op members/customers, what would it be?
Thank you for supporting your local farmers. When you see a different type of local vegetable in the Co-op I encourage you to try it. You will likely find the adventure rewarding, and you will help support local biodiversity and climate adaptation in the process.
One of Earth Temple Garden’s more unique local veggies is their stunning purple daikon.
Daikon is a variety of radish historically grown in Korea and Japan that also thrives in the Kootenay climate. Daikon is very high in Vitamin C and fiber, and is said to have natural decongestant properties. Purple Daikon is great sliced thinly or grated in salads, slaws and sandwiches. Slices of daikon are great in soup, curries and stews; when added close to the end of cooking they retain their crunch and contribute a nice kick. Daikon may also be roasted or steamed like a carrot. The leafy greens are also edible, and may be added to soup, salad, and stir-fry. Find a delicious recipe for Korean Radish Pancakes here, or try this stir-fry recipe, compliments of Michael at Earth Temple Garden:
Purple Daikon Stir fry:
Warm a wok and add coconut oil and bone broth soup stock (vegetarian stock could be substituted). Add your favourite local veggies that are in season. I made mine with rainbow carrots, salad turnips, Tokyo Bakanna (a Japanese open leaf cabbage), and purple daikon. Stirfry the carrots and turnips first, add a pinch of salt to pull out moisture, and a pinch of sugar…good going for all flavours. Add the cabbage and purple daikon toward the end of cooking to retain some crunch. Add a splash of rice vinegar, spinning around in wok to mix with sauce created at the bottom. Serve on a bed of steamed rice with some spicy local kimchi…yum! Local beef, chicken or tofu could also be added. Enjoy!