2014 Summer Basket #9

Basket contents: Lettuce, beans, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant or pepper, fresh onions, radicchio, and melon.

Recipe of the week: Ratatouille
This is a recipe I made this week.  Of course I tripled it to feed the hungry farmers

Story of Allis:

It is my turn (Jenna) to write the newsletter so I thought I would tell you the story of how Allis, our newest tractor, came to our farm and went to work in the fields.  Allis is a tractor that I have been looking for even before I moved to the farm.  It is a 1954 Allis Chalmers G (or AC-G) complete with hydraulics.

The allis chalmers G was produced in Alabama between 1948 and 1955 and less than 30,000 were made in total.  I have always been enamored by the unconventional design, with the motor in the back and tools in the front.  Our big tractor Oliver has the motor in the front and the tools in the back.  The Allis is also the most popular tractor to convert to electric on small vegetable farms across North America.  So whenever I had a moment of spare time I would checkall the best sites on the internet for used tractors looking for an old Allis Chalmers G.

In the summer of 2013, I saw an add for a 1954 AC-G about an hour from my farm and even better… it didn’t run!  A prime candidate for converting to electric.  The rest of the farmers here weren’t as convinced that we needed this tractor as I was, so to not miss this opportunity I decided to buy it on my own.  I convinced the seller to sell it to me for $1500, and I think as soon as he agreed to sell it, he was sad to see it leave his farm.

Now I needed to pick it up.  So I hooked up the trailer to our minivan and headed out for a small town about 1 hour straight east of us.  We picked the little AC-G up with a bigger tractor put it on the trailer and strapped it down.  At that point the seller and I talked about tractors for a solid hour and then I decided it was time to head home.  I made it within 15 minutes of the house and then I got pulled over by “controle routier”.  Turns out I didn’t have proper registration on the trailer, so they impounded the trailer, tractor and all.

Luckily for me I have two great farm partners who started to swim through the red tape of the SAAQ to try and it get our trailer and my tractor back to the farm.  About a week later the tractor finally arrived on the farm, but it would take several more months before Heather convinced the SAAQ to let us register the trailer.

The tractor sat next to the greenhouse for almost a year while I thought about the best way to convert it to electric and how I was going to pay for this project.  My dad, however, was convinced that all the pieces of the original motor were there and we should at least try to get the old one to work, before attempting the conversion.  I didn’t disagree.  Luckily, his brother was quite interested in the project, so the two of them jumped in the car and made the 4 day drive from Alberta to our farm.  The next day my Dad and Uncle had that motor in pieces trying to figure out if there was anything seriously wrong.  Everything looked intact. We ordered some new parts and started to put the tractor back together.  I came in near the end, and we redid all the electrical.  Everything was ready, we pulled the level and it started right up.

It hasn’t taken me long to learn how to work with this old tractor in our vegetable garden.  We currently use it for cultivating (weeding) in between our vegetables beds.  Eventually, we should be able to weed in between individual rows of vegetables within the same bed.  It didn’t take long before Allis became part of our team for growing veggies, I don’t know how we did it without her.

Jenna with her Dad and Uncle after the first drive.