This year for the meat shares we are raising ducks. You may recall this cute photo from when the ducks first arrived. Some have now grown to full size and are going out in the meat shares this week. Both the entree and the appetizer shares are getting a full duck for roasting.
I actually just ate my first duck last week. It was a package of breasts from an earlier meat share from Martock Glen. I had never cooked duck before, and so had to look it up... It was more like steak than chicken, which was a bit of a surprise (I didn't know what to expect really). Good surprise though... It was thoroughly enjoyed at our house!
The ducks from TapRoot have been raised here since they were mere hours old. Some (lucky ducks) even get to spend their days on a pond, like these in the photo.
We are working this year to keep close track of our cost of production so that we are able to offer you farm fresh meat at a price that makes sense for both of us. We really enjoy having animals on the farm, for the added fertility and biodiversity that they bring, as well as the joy of seeing 6 half-grown piglets grunting as they run towards the fence, hoping you have a treat for them!
Our cost of production for the duck, with a margin included to cover delivery costs, packaging, and handling/storage, as well as cost of feed, the ducks themselves, labour to look after them and feed them, and processing costs comes out to $5.85/lb in your meat share.
We hope that you enjoy the duck in your meat share this week, and look forward to any feedback (including recipes, photos, or first impressions) that you may have. Thanks for being part of our TapRoot meat share, as we work towards our endeavour to supply as much meat as we can from the farm!
The FAQ from last week was "How do vacation weeks work?", so I thought I'd fill you all in.
This year, you pay for 50 weeks of delivery, which means there is one week extra off between Christmas and New Year's (Dec. 28 - Jan 4) as well as a week off of your choice (for fruit, eggs, and veggie shares including staples).
Use this "Vacation Week" (in the Add-ons section, under "Vacation Week" > "One Vacation Week") to tell us when you are going to be missing a week, either for your vacation week, or anytime (Just like a regular add-on, it needs to be ordered the week that you would like it to happen). If you are missing more than 1 consecutive week you will have to "add on" for each week that you will miss.
It is great if you are able to self-serve on this option, but if necessary we can also do it for you.
We have recently started using "organically grown" ties, to help Noggins Corner Farm at the Halifax Seaport Market, Greenwich Farm Market and the Alderney Landing Farmer's Market identify our TapRoot organic produce. The partnership we have with Noggins Farm (Patricia's father owns Noggins, and we do a crop share arrangement, which involves Noggins marketing our produce), is a really amazing thing, and so we are hoping that this may help highlight our organic product and make it easier for you to connect with the TapRoot quality and freshness that you are looking for at the market.
The ties are yellow and have black writing that says "ORGANICALLY GROWN", and have started to appear on our organic chard, kale, lettuce, and other bunched crops. For bagged items, we now have rectangular white stickers with our farm logo, that look like this:
So, we hope this helps you find our farm products at the market, and please visit Noggins Corner Farm for all your fresh food needs. A big thanks to their hardworking crew, from the TapRoot Team!
The other day in our weekly meeting, Patricia, Josh, Jon and I were discussing the need on the farm for a tractor to replace one that the clutch has recently gone on. The discussion was whether we:
(a) keep the tractor and have it fixed, as it has recently had some new parts and it is a nice size for some jobs, at a cost of around $3,000;
(b) look at what the need is, and determine if something else like another gator would better serve us and the tractor could be used for parts as Patricia's father has one the same; or,
(c) Buy another tractor (would be more than $3,000).
Every week as part of our meeting we have a look at the financials of the farm and see where we're at (I'm grateful to Josh and Patricia for this, as I didn't have much or any experience in this part of running a business prior to coming to TapRoot, and they have put a lot of time and work into helping Jon and I understand the business and its financial end of things. I can now navigate income statements, balance sheets, and cash flows and actually make some sense of what is happening from week to week and as a big picture. So, thanks to my wonderful mentors!). Anyhow, we have been noticing that the Paypal budget has slowly moved over the budget of $8,000 and is now sitting at $10,037.35 for the year-to-date.
That would sure buy us a nice new tractor!
However, there's lots to think about with all of this. Of course, ten thousand dollars is a lot of money in Paypal fees (especially in the same moment as facing the expense of having to buy new equipment), but it is obviously a very popular method of payment for our members, as you are using it! Paypal is very easy for us to use and saves us time and money processing credit card payments. In the future, we may look into having a fee associated with using Paypal in our CSA, to help the farm not have to face all of that cost. What do you think?
Post dated cheques are the most cost efficient way for us to get payments for shares. However, if we got a cheque for every $2 bag of carrots sold I imagine that wouldn't be any easier than Paypal. So, payment for add-ons is where things get a bit more complicated. One thing that DOES help is if you can combine your add-on payments into one cheque. One lady sent in a cheque with an enclosed note, where she kept a running total of each add-on she ordered and then a total, for the month. Pretty sure Falicia would die of joy if every member did this!
I don't want to discourage you from using Paypal if that really is what works best for you. It works for us, too. In looking into this, I found out that we get charged as follows for Paypal:
Payments over $12.00 - 2.9% + $0.30
Payments $12.00 and under - 5% +$0.05
(But there's good news: Falicia secured us a lower rate for the payments over $12.00 today, of 2.2%).
So, in the end, I don't know what the answer is, and would love your feedback on this. Do you like being able to use Paypal? Would you not use it if there was a fee attached? How important to your CSA experience is it?
Your Flower Shares will begin arriving at your regular pick up location, beginning the week of July 1st. If your pick up location is self-serve, your flowers will be in a labeled white bucket. Each bouquet (like your vegetable, meat or fruit shares) will be quite similar.
Flowers were seeded near the end of winter and into the spring. Transplants grew in the heated greenhouse, and were later moved to rows outdoors. We also have plans to harvest from perennial gardens and use the varied resources on the farm.
Your shares will be cut the morning of your delivery day, or late Friday evening for Saturday deliveries. Our hope is that your flowers last a very long time. But, like fruit or vegetables, cut flowers have a shelf life. Some last a surprisingly long time in a vase, others wilt more quickly, some notoriously quickly.
Tips for Cut Flowers
Snip a bit off stem bottoms each time you change the water.
Changing the water every couple of days is helpful.
Direct sunlight is not ideal for cut flowers.
Remove any lower leaves or flowers that may rest in water.
Trim, remove, or replace spent flowers from bouquet.
Thank you again to those of you who have purchased a flower share, and to those of you who expressed an interest. We hope that each week is a pleasant surprise. It should be a fun adventure!