We are offering a corn u pick again this summer on Sunday. There are three fields that are all ready to be harvested.
We plan for corn sales and they do not always pan out as we hope. This happened to us last year and again this year. We do have sales this year but just not as many as we planted for. This leads to two things: 1) next year we will plant less and 2) this year we will offer a u-pick.
For now, please join us on Sunday August 26th from 10AM - 2PM in the corn field.
Cost is $2.50 per dozen. I will have the square so you can pay with a credit card if you like. Paypal and etransfer is also okay and of course cash is great.
Please watch our facebook page for details - including the event location (near to 451 Canard Street NS).
Welcome to the 2018 Summer/Fall TapRoot Community Share Agriculture!
CSA deliveries start Monday July 2nd
Please check your invoice or log in to your account to ensure the location and pickup times are what you are planning for.
There are many details for us to cover on our first week together so please stay with me.
After considering the feedback from last year and previous years, this winter we provided some test runs offering members weekly choices within the share offering each week. It hasn't been perfect flow but we are wanting to continue offering the choices, overall we think it is working.
Here is how it works: On a week when you have a choice option, you will notice the share list is posted and one of the items says YOU CHOOSE Turnip or Cabbage. You can sign in on your account and the first heading of add on options, that are located below the list of items in the share will show two options Turnip or Cabbage. You can select which option you would like, but please only select one. IF you don't want to select, or you forget, or just don't have time, we will put either a cabbage or a turnip in your share box.
On the delivery report, it will show if you choose a turnip or a cabbage in the notes section beside your name. Please take a share that has either a turnip or cabbage sticker on it. No sticker means you didn't specify so please take the share without a sticker.
2) Swap Box
At as many locations as we can accommodate we will have a swap box. This swap box will have a few of the items that you can swap (this week turnip and cabbage) You are welcome to swap out anything you like for what is in the box. We started out having this many years ago and we decided to stop many years ago because it was providing people the option of not taking things they don't like and part of the purpose of joining the CSA is to push ourselves to try new recipes or ways of eating vegetables we might not want, for the purpose of eating well in season. It feels like it is time to try again and we can keep you posted on what we are observing. Please don't just swap out a turnip because you hate them, can we work together to find ways to enjoy it??
3) Pick-up - How it works
Our TapRoot van will deliver your CSA share to the pickup location. Your produce arrives in a box. This box is reused as many times as possible before going into the compost. You are invited to take the box home with you and bring it back the following week. OR you can bring along your own bag or box and leave the TapRoot box for us to bring back to the farm. Here is a short demo on how to break down the box so that we can reuse it. Please be careful to not tear the boxes, otherwise we can not reuse.
We strive to arrive on time. Sometimes if the traffic is outrageous for some reason we may be a few minutes late. This is not the norm so if it happens we very much appreciate your understanding. There have been a couple of occasions where we have had to delay a delivery and when this occurs we try to post on social media, email or call as many people as possible.
At the pickup there will be a list. Please mark yourself off this list by telling Steve or whoever is the volunteer/TapRoot crew member there. This list has your name on it, phone number, what your share is and any add on's that you have purchased. If there is anything incorrect about what is on this list when you get to your pickup please let us know as soon as possible. If you are not on the list and you should be, no worries, let us know and we will sort it out. We will have extra boxes for the first week in the event we have errors.
4) TapRoot volunteers
It is really important that everyone understands that the volunteers are providing their space, their time and their kindness. They are not informed of anything happening with the farm or your accounts.They are members themselves who are committed to seeing local food and supporting our farm and their families. They are not paid to host a pickup. For this reason it is very important to us that all members get to their pickups on time and communicate directly with us when it comes to your membership/add on's/alternate arrangement for pickups, etc. Thanks so much for understanding. Thanks so much to our volunteers!
A year of sharing our food on the farm is a long term journey. In order for us to realize a mutually rewarding experience we need to communicate and be open to change. Over the past few years we have learned a lot and we have been working to respond to the requests of members. In our first year we had very few carrots and potatoes. Members let us know that they wanted more of those and also larger volumes of peas and beans. We have worked to increase the offering of those items, while keeping a balance of other new and fresh items. It is a constant balance for us and sometimes because of the season we have more or less of some things. This will, for some of you, take some time to adapt to. Also, our ability to make shifts is a multi year turn around time. So if in August we don't have enough lettuce for example, we will not be able to fix that until the following year. So please provide us with feedback and send it as soon as you think of it. We accept it and appreciate it anytime. If we hear nothing we will hope it means all is well:))
6) Add On's
Throughout the year we have different items that you can order each week that will arrive in addition to your CSA share. To order you log in and select what you would like that is below the list of items that will be in your share. You can then choose to pay with paypal or with cheque or cash.
7) Visiting the farm
We love when members come out to the farm. You do not need to let us know, you can just come and go for a walk any time you like. We will host farm days throughout the year. There will be between 2 and 4 events. It is great to meet everyone and to learn from each other. Please do try to come out and see the farm throughout the year. We have two location 1736 Church Street and 451 Canard Street.
8) How to reach us
We try hard to be very accessible. It does happen sometimes that our inbox gets very full and something is missed. If you haven't heard from us in 3 days this may be the case.
Here are some ways to stay connected:
Farm Office 8 AM - 5 PM, gone for lunch from 12 PM -1PM phone: 902.542.3277
CSA desk email: email@example.com
Patricia email: firstname.lastname@example.org or cel 902 670 3277
Josh email: email@example.com or cel 902 670 4538
9) Send us a family photo
We have a members wall of photos in our work space. We love this and want to keep it updated. Please take a picture and send it along to us in the snail mail 1736 Church Street Port Williams NS B0P 1T0. Please use a permanent marker to indicate who you all are in the photo, and it is okay with us for that to be on the front of the photo so we can see your names and faces together. Please try to do this for us because we so much appreciated seeing your faces each day.
10) Your Account
We use Quickbooks as our accounting program. This is not connected to our website. We will send out monthly statements via email from Quickbooks. We enter everything in both places so you have an accurate TapRoot account you can log in to.
11) Adjusting to the CSA
Over the past few years we have heard from families that there can be some ups and downs to adjusting to a CSA. People who like to have meals all planned out in advance can find it difficult to adjust to the uncertainy of what is in your CSA. To accomodate our various needs, we post a list of what we intend to have included in the share for the following week. This is listed on the website and you can also see it by logging in. It is posted on Fridays.
Often people will find at times that they are challenged to prepare and eat foods that they would not typically choose for themselves. This can be a hard and rewarding at the same time. We want to support you in having positive feelings about your CSA share and membership. There are lots of recipes and ideas on our blog from the past years. In the weekly newsletters we provide suggestions of recipes and/or meal suggestions. If a member has prepared a meal that they wish to share, we invite you to share it with us and we post it onto the blog. You can also do this on facebook. Lately members give ideas to each other on facebook.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by something, please share with us and seek our support in generating ideas or ways to make it more fun. Eating differently doesn't need to be burdensome but exciting and healthy and refreshing. We have heard and can see that it makes a big difference when your whole family is involved and is asked to be a part of the food journey. The kids love to be a part of deciding about recipes and helping to cook the food. Often when they are invited to participate they are inspired to eat all sorts of new things.
One final point on adjusting that we have noticed over time. As consumers items available to us are typically bright, shiny, and appear virtually perfect in everyway. With the CSA your veggies and fruit will be perfectly delicious and nutrious in every way but might not always be perfect looking in every way. Meaning that if you see a blemish on a potato or wire worm damage on a carrot, you can still eat it. Just cut around it and carry on. Also, sometimes you will notice that your CSA veggies have more dirt on them than you are use to at the grocery store. This may be because we just harvested before the truck departed or because we needed to prioritize jobs. We strive to have them all washed for you, but just in case I wanted you to be prepared:)
12) Bad Apple Policy
If you get an item in your share that is not of acceptable quality, please immediately take a picture and email it to us. We will replace the item the following week.
Thank you for being a member of TapRoot Farms. Our past and our future is shaped by our CSA members and we are truly thankful for this.
It is more than food. It is a connection. We grow food. It is a big deal.
Starting July 2 we will be delivering our five different TapRoot CSA shares to 16 locations between Port Williams and Tantallon Nova Scotia. We started farming 14 years ago focusing our energies on non organic vegetable production for the wholesale marketplace. Four years later we started a small organic farm and that is when our CSA started. Back then 50 people joined us to support us in starting our organic farm, believing in the importance of organic agriculture. Back then our youngest Frank was a one year old. Since then we have transitioned nearly all of our land to certified organic production and have worked to grow our CSA membership, which provides as a much more secure income than the volatile wholesale marketplace.
The wholesale marketplace can be fantastic and we have been so fortunate over the years to have success in selling product to the larger retailers, however, it can make or break the farm in a very short period of time. This is one of the reasons why our CSA is so important. Last year for example we had a retailer decide last minute they didn't want the sweet corn we had grown for them. There are no contracts in these arrangements and so we lost a very large sum of money because of it. We work hard to roll with the punches and to adapt.
This year we have experienced a significant drop in both wholesale and CSA members. This has got us asking what is up. At the end of the day, we think that one of our largest challenges is that most of us are looking for ways to cut costs and that generally as a society we don't place value on our food. We don't pay attention to it. We don't consider how far the green pepper has come to arrive on our plate and the implications. If we could find a way for more of our population to engage in this, in a serious action oriented system change kind of way, it would have a significant positive implication for our province/us.
Our farm, TapRoot Farms has had a challenging couple of years on the books. We are working hard to adjust and adapt and make the changes necessary, but truthfully, the future is very uncertain. What we do know for right now is that we have planned and planted for 450 CSA members and the same amount of wholesale sales that we have done in the past. So far we have not reached our goals for CSA membership yet for this year. It is the first time we have experienced this. But we are not alone. From what our farmer friends are experiencing, the sales are down. We need an additional 150 CSA members to maintain our current farm operation.
I am often asked why. Why have people left and to be honest everyone has a different reason. We think it is partially related to having easier options. Participating in the CSA isn't the easiest option and can sometimes be inconvenient. We have a specific pickup time, we don't offer credits if you miss your share pickup, in fact we donate uncollected shares to local food banks. We ask that you get someone to collect your share if you are away on holiday because the effort is still the same here on the farm. We send you vegetables you might not ever choose or that you don't like. We don't (yet) provide meal planning service. And we can't make changes fast. If our members want more beans than lettuce for example, we can only fix that the next time we plant. So we understand it isn't easy or perfect. However, what we do offer you is us.
Josh and I (Patricia) and the farm team have a complete open door and open book policy. We want you to have access to as much as you want. We are honest and transparent with you. Everyone works hard on the farm each day to grow food that we know will be cooked or prepared to feed you, your friends, your loved ones. Josh and I spend many hours deliberating about what is the 'right' thing to do when we are confronted with the many challenges that come from running a business with 37 employees, caring for animals, caring for the land, caring for the water, caring for the community. So truly, we offer you us. We are 45 and 42 years old. We have three great kids: Izaak (16) Lily (12) and Frank (nearly 11). We work with a great group of people each day that come to work from communities surrounding the farm, communities in Newfoundland and communities in Jamaica. We strive to be life long learners ourselves (we self identify as constantly learning) and we provide opportunities for the farm team to engage in new learning. Although it may also be experienced as a possible burden to the farm, we test out new ideas all of the time because we want to provide our CSA members and our community with as many local products as possible. Seed to plate. Seed to shirt. Seed to beer.
Our farm is open to CSA members anytime. You can come for a walk about. You don't need to make an appointment, you can just come and be here. You are invited to walk into the tunnels growing the grape tomatoes, visit the animals, see the chickens in their moving hen house. The farm is here for you! We are the fortunate farmers who get to farm this amazing land and grow food for you.
It is not too late to join up. You can go to our website, review the options, create an account, sign up and next week your food will be available at the shares pickup location, and will be there for you each week for 24 weeks.
I don't know what our future holds, honestly it depends a lot on you. Your choices impact our future. Where ever you shop, everything you choose, impacts someone somewhere.
What you eat is important. Who grows your food? It is a big deal.
It is garlic scapes time. Look for them in your CSA box next week and at local farm markets.
Before we enjoy the garlic bulbs we get to enjoy the flavours of the garlic scapes. The scapes are the flowering part of the garlic. We harvest this part so that all of the energy goes into the bulb. The scapes are very versatile and can be used where you would use bulb garlic (in my opinion for the flavour). I enjoy them as garlic scape pesto, chopped up in salad, sauteed with other vegetables or slow roasted/wilted. Cocotea and Ashley were harvesting the scapes this morning and as I was heading out to check on the pigs, I snapped these pictures.
Here are a few recipes that I have found in a quick search. They all look very delicious and are beautiful looking.
It is best to use the scapes when they are fresh. After a bit of storage time they need a trim on the ends as they get dried out. When I was out in my own garden on Sunday I harvested a few scapes, came in, added some olive oil, spinach and green onions and hand blended them. We had a few left over tomatoes from our friends Marc and Krista at Schurman Family Farm in PEI that we chopped up with some rice noddles and the pesto. Oh yes and I added some butter and cheese at the end.