What’s New

Harshell Fresh and Local Birdseed Hits the Ottawa Farmers’ Market

In our third year of growing, bagging, and selling our fresh and local birdseed, we’ve branched out and can be found each Sunday, at the Ottawa Farmers Market in the Aberdeen Pavilion.

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Come check us out from 10-3 for all your back yard bird feeding needs.  We’ve expanded our product line and you can now purchase the following products from us at the market:

Black Oil Sunflower Seed – 35 lb bag, 20 lb bag, or by the 1 lb package

Mixed Bird Seed  (50% Sunflower & 50% Corn/Wheat/Buckwheat) – 35 lb bag, 20 lb bag, or by the 1 lb package

Suet & Mixed Seed Wreaths, Balls, and Cakes

Corn Cobs – ready to hang in your tree for Blue Jays (and squirrels)

Bird Feeders – made on our farm

We’ve got everything you need to get started or to enhance your love of back yard bird feeding.

Our birdseed is also available at Levi Home Hardware in Almonte and at our farm if you prefer.

See you soon,

Harold & Shelley

Fresh and Local Black Oil Sunflower Seed Coming Soon

Rocky Rapids Farms harvesting our 2020 black oil sunflower seed

We are excited to announce that our 2020 crop of black oil sunflower seed was harvested this morning by Rocky Rapids Farms custom combine service. The crows had helped themselves to a significant percentage of our yield but we are pleased, overall, with quality and quantity.

First load is at Up Above Seeds to be cleaned and bagged and we anticipate we could have seed available for sales by the end of next week.

We have 3 wagons heaped full of seed which will be stored until we need to clean and bag more inventory for sale

Please visit Levi Home Hardware, in Almonte, during regular business hours to purchase seed. They have been fantastic supporters of our fresh and local sunflower seed enterprise. Please support local. You can also purchase at the farm by texting/calling/ or dropping by and hoping to find someone at home. 613-978-4464

This is the seed – close up in wagon before being cleaned and bagged for sale

Thank you for your patience and we look forward to providing you with fresh and local black oil sunflower to feed your pandemic bird feeding needs.

Thanks again for visiting our beautiful sunflower field in July/August and for your continued interest in, and support of, our fresh and local bird seed.

Harold & Shelley

SOLD OUT of BLACK OIL SUNFLOWER SEED!!!!

Thanks to the increased demand for our fresh and local birdseed, created by Pandemic Bird Feeding we are completely sold out of product until the new crop is harvested sometime in November.

It was another busy year at the sunflower field and we hope you enjoyed the opportunity to visit beautiful Mississippi Mills in Lanark County and take your gorgeous photos from outside the field.

Watch for our fresh and local,  new crop sunflower seed once it has been combined, cleaned, and bagged later this fall.

If you hurry you might pick up one of the few remaining bags at Levi Home Hardware in Almonte.  Otherwise, see you soon.

Harold and Shelley

NO TRESPASSING IN SUNFLOWER FIELD!!!!

Please stay out of the sunflower fieldWe are very saddened and frustrated by the lack of respect some of the visitors to the sunflower field have demonstrated in 2020.

The field is private property and there is no permission for anyone to enter the field under any circumstances.

No trespassing on private property means you do not climb over the fence or open the gate to gain access for your perfect photo.

Zero access means zero access.

If you see others in the field, please know that they are being disrespectful at a minimum and absolutely breaking the law by trespassing at maximum.  Please ask them to exit the field and show appreciation and respect for the farmer/land owner.

We have been posting updates so that all can enjoy the beauty of the field but, in return, ask that you capture your awesome photos from outside the fence.

Thanks for your interest and please spread the word.

 

 

Sunflower Show 2020 Starting At Village of Blakeney

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The show is starting and we remind you that you must not enter our field – it is private property.

Please enjoy the beauty from outside the fence and continue to take awesome photos of this annual, spectacular show.

Share your photos with us on Twitter @McPhailShelley and if you appreciate the opportunity to view and photograph our sunflowers, consider a donation to the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada or consider purchasing our birdseed at Levi Home Hardware in Almonte.

Harold and Shelley

First Sunflower Bloom of the Season at Harshell

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We were over to the field to check for blooms last evening and spotted the first one for 2020.  It won’t be long now with peak bloom likely in 7-10 days.

Please note our signage when visiting:

  • Do not enter the field – it is private property  and the sunflowers can be viewed equally well from outside the fence
  • Sunflowers are easily damaged by “touching” and we are depending on the plants to stay healthy and provide us a good yield of sunflower seed to feed our local birds
  • Herbicides are used on the crop, throughout the season to manage weeds, pests, and disease – do not touch the plants
  • take as many photos as you like and be sure to catch the sunset, over the field, some evening – promises to be breath taking

Check it out – 20 acres of pure beauty on Blakeney Road, North of Village of Blakeney and South of Panmure Road.

If you love the sunflowers feel free to  make a donation, in memory of our daughter, to the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.

You can also pick up a bag of our black oil sunflower seed from Levi Home Hardware in Almonte or at our farm on Martin Street North.

Enjoy!

Harold and Shelley

 

2020 Sunflower Location and Update

This year’s sunflower show is coming along nicely.  After struggling with this season’s drought, last weekend’s rain has been good to the crop. With more rain predicted for today and lots of sunshine in the forecast, we are hopeful for a great outcome.

We are about 2 weeks from optimum bloom time and will update this website as we progress toward peak beauty.

A reminder that access to the sunflower field is strictly prohibited at all times.  The field is private property and we ask that you respect that while visiting.  You are welcome to take all the photos you wish, from outside the fenced field.  As well, we are conventional cash crop farmers and remind you that herbicides are in use, in the field, during the season.   The beauty of the sunflowers is not lost on us, but we are managing the crop for the production of bird seed and use best management practices to do so.

We have had many emails/texts/phone calls in recent days, inquiring about the status of the crop and whether we are “open” for visitors this season, during the pandemic.  Visitors are welcome to the location of the sunflower field (stay outside the fence please) and we ask that you respect the physical distancing protocols for outdoor activities.

We have also had requests to support our business, financially, so that this “local attraction” remains viable during challenging times in our industry.  We appreciate the thoughtfulness of those who have recognized that there is a cost to providing this local place of beauty.  If you do wish to show your support for our efforts there are two ways to do so:

  • Consider a donation, to the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada
  • Purchase a bag of Black Oil Sunflower Seed from Levi Home Hardware in Almonte (476 Ottawa Street, Almonte) or from our farm location (text or call before coming to farm 613-978-4464)

Since we are “cash croppers” with up to 9 different crops in our rotation, the sunflowers change location each year.  This year, you will find the sunflower field at this location:

On Blakeney Road (Lanark County Road 17) – North of the Village of Blakeney and South of Panmure Road – if you get close you can’t miss the field.

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and we look forward to a beautiful sunflower show in a couple of weeks.  Keep checking here for updates.

Harold and Shelley

 

Harshell Excited for Another Sunflower Season

Hey there!  It’s been a while.  We’ve taken a little time away from our website as we’ve faced numerous challenges on our farm.

Let’s face it … if your livelihood is dependent on Mother Nature, then you’ve struggled the past few years.  Ever the optimists though, farmers keep slugging away, hoping that next year will be better.  In 2016 we had a terrible drought, followed by a monsoon wet season in 2017, then we had another drought in 2018.  As 2019 hit, it was the worst spring we had ever experienced with wet, cold weather in the spring that delayed planting of our crops by about one month.  Once the rains stopped … well they did just that … they stopped and another drought was upon us.  An early frost in September shut down the crops that never really did get going and then harvest was delayed into late fall (even early January).  All in all, we were glad to kick 2019 to the curb (when we finished in late January).

So here we are in 2020 and we got off to a great start with crops going in about one month ahead of last year and into some great soil conditions … and then the rains stopped … yet again.  Recording less than average rainfall so far this year and less than average heat units (sunshine) means that we are off to a slow start again but we are optimistic that this year will turn out just fine.  It must be a 5 year cycle which means that this is the 5th year and the crops will fill the bins.

Most of you are only here and reading this post, because you love our sunflowers as much as we do.  We are happy to let you know that we have planted 20 acres again this year.  Bird seed sales have been excellent as our friends, neighbours, and loyal customers have stepped up to support local during these difficult pandemic times.  Thank you for your love and support.

The sunflowers were planted on Blakeney Road, between Village of Blakeney and Panmure Road.  We are certain that everyone who uses the OVRT will enjoy the sites when full bloom hits this summer.  This year we tried something a little different.  We planted fall rye in the field last fall and then that crop was cut for cattle feed a couple of weeks ago.  Sunflowers were then no-tilled (no cultivation) into the stubble left from the rye crop.

The sign went up on the field last Saturday so that those who are interested can watch the sunflowers grow and monitor timing of the greatest show on earth … 20 acres of sunflowers reaching for the sky and the sunshine.

Thanks for your continued support of our family farm.  Take a drive and check out our crop signs which label the crops we grow in the fields we own/rent locally.  There is always something to see and learn when you take a drive to Blakeney.

Harold & Shelley

Spectacular Sunflower Fields at Harshell Family Farm Enterprises – Almonte

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, again, at Harshell.  We are super excited to welcome photographers, tourists, neighbours, and passersby to view our 20+ acres of sunflowers on Martin Street North (between Almonte and Blakeney).

Neither late planting, drought, or last week’s torrential rains could zap the beauty of these amazing flowers.  Although not nearly as tall as last year and with significantly smaller heads/flowers, they are a site to behold.  Watch for our fresh and local sunflower seed, which will be harvested, cleaned, and bagged in November from these fields.  Limited 2017 seed leftover and available at the farm or at Levi Home Hardware in Almonte.

Thanks for visiting,

Harold & Shelley

Hashell Enterprises Patiently Waiting for Another Spring on the Farm

It’s hard to believe that another winter, of feeding the birds,  has come and gone (at least we hope it’s finally gone).  This was our 3rd season in the birdseed business and we upped our game this year by joining the Ottawa Farmers Market and selling seed at the Lansdowne location.  We met many passionate bird lovers and grew our customer base exponentially.  It was a great first experience and we will be back in the fall with fresh product.  We do have some inventory left over so if you feed year round, please find our seed at Levi Home Hardware in Almonte during regular business hours, or at our farm near Blakeney.

For now our attention turns to planting our 400 acres of crops and serving our large client base for custom planting and spraying services.  We had a bit of a worker bee this past week to completely overhaul our no-till drill which has planted several thousand acres of grains, forages, and soybeans over the past decade.  As we aren’t fortunate enough to have a large shop with cement floor and hydro, our maintenance takes place outdoors, beside our small shop.  Great weather made the task a little bit more manageable.

We’ve been scouting our fields for winter survival of fall seeded crops and also looking for early weed growth.  It’s too wet for us to plant anything yet but, we are planning to get some pre-plant herbicide application done and some fertilizer broadcast on to fields that are dry enough to carry the equipment.  A few dry days are all that we need to be rolling at full speed.

This year we will have a diverse crop portfolio once again.  Come out for a drive in  a couple of weeks and watch for our signs labelling our fields: clover, hay, rye, malting barley, corn, identity preserved soybeans, buckwheat, and of course, our ever popular sunflowers.

We look forward to a great year in 2018, after drought in 2016 and monsoon rains in 2017.  This is going to be our best year ever as we work hard to produce excellent quality, fresh and local,  products for our customers.

Shelley

Harold still recovering from knee replacement but doing what he can.

Willy the farm dog keeping a close eye on his new best friend (Johnie).

Wes, Amy, and Johnie enjoying the family time while working on repair job.

Mike, Wes, and Harold replacing worn parts on JD 1560 No Till Drill