Being part of a CSA was a very new idea to me when I started at Taproot Farms in 2011 and to be honest, I really had no idea what to do with all of the food that we received.
Now, two and half years later my family and I have found a system that works well for us. I thought I would share a few of the things that have made being part of the CSA very enjoyable, other than getting lots of yummy veggies each week.
The big thing with us (my fiance, Nathan and I) is planning. This was not a concept I really associated with food and meal prep. Now our weekly routine involves looking online on Sunday to see what is going to be in the shares. You would think working on the farm we may get the upper hand and more time to prepare for what is coming in the following weeks share but honestly, I really enjoy being part of the CSA and look online just like every other member to see what is coming in the shares. At this time I also search through the add ons and see what is available just in case something jumps out at me that I would like to order.
After I know what is coming in the shares, I take a look in the fridge, pantry and freezer to evaluate what we already have in the house that will work with the veggies to create meals for the following week. Once I have done this I start to formulate a meal plan.
A few things I take into consideration when making our weekly meal plan is:
When we will get out share (farm team members usually pick up their shares on Thursday at the farm)
If there are any events taking place this week which will involve having guests to our house for a meal or us going somewhere else for a meal (one less meal to plan)
How long some veggies are going to last. If they do not keep a long time such as sprouts I should plan to use them up within the week they are received but something like onions will keep until the following week for use as well as be used within the present week
Once I have seven suppers planned (Monday to Sunday) I plan a couple larger lunches such as a stew or chili that I can take with me to work for a couple days. I actually do not plan each meal for certain nights as I am sure would work better for some families. With us sometimes we are not in the mood to have a certain meal so we leave that part a little less planned. We know that certain meals need to happen before Thursday and certain meals can happen after share pick up.
Another thing that has really helped us get the most out of our share, as I know some days you just do not feel like chopping up all of those veggies or peeling that turnip, we do as much prep work as we can Thursday night when the share comes into our kitchen. Doing it all in one evening can seem like a lot but I already know it needs to get done and I usually do a lot of it while I cook supper. By now we already have our meals planned so I know how I need the veggies prepared.
Here are a few examples of how I stored my veggies from last week. Some veggies, such as onions and potatoes, are just put in a bowl on my counter because I know that I will use them within a week or two . I also keep an eye on these things to make sure they do not start to spoil. If they do, I make sure we make a meal that will use them up.
If you have any helpful tips that has made being part of the CSA a more enjoyable experience please let us know.
Over the last couple months I have received a few emails in regards to payments and online financial things. So I thought I would share the answers with everyone so that most of the answers are available whenever members need them.
1. I am sure this comes as no surprise but there are sometimes glitches between the accounting software and HarvestHand (the online program). I am going to apologize for that right now and assure you that I probably just missed recording something in both places so please just email and ask me to look into it (firstname.lastname@example.org)
2. If you would like to pay online (via Paypal) you can start by selecting "Make Payment" once you have signed into your Taproot account.
3. Once you have select "Make Payment" you will be taken to a screen that lists your outstanding invoices. Here you can either select which invoices you would like to pay or you can enter an amount in the text box provided. You can then be directed to the Paypal website when you can sign into your Paypal account if you have one, set up a Paypal account if you would like one or continue as a Guest without a Paypal account.
4. When selecting which invoices you would like to pay, if you would like to see what the invoices are for, you can hold your cursor over the ? beside the invoice. A pop up will show you the details of the invoice. Please see picture below.
5. Statements sent from our accounting program have the total amount due on your account until the end of your shares regardless of which payment schedule you have selected.
6 When you sign onto your Taproot account, only the invoices that have come due (anything up until the present day) all depending on the payment schedule you selected. If you selected monthly payments, each month a new invoice will come due as of the 1st of that month. If you selected to pay in installments, the invoices will come due as outlined on your order confirmation email.
7. If you ever have any questions about your account, payments, invoices, or anything related to your Taproot finances please do not hesitate to email me (Falicia) at email@example.com I would much rather receive an email than have any one not understanding something. Other Taproot staff are not aware of your financial information so it is best just to contact the office directly.
I hope you all had a fun and safe Halloween. As I am sure everyone at Taproot Farms could tell you, I truly love holidays; even the ones that are not really classed as holidays, such as Halloween.
The farm is slowly starting to decline in staff members as the harvesting progressing, though the office is as busy as ever. There are so many conferences and training sessions lately. The next large conference is the ACORN conference in late November taking place in New Brunswick. Last year I was not able to attend and to be honest I figured other Taproot staff would benefit far more than I would from a gathering of farmers and sharing of farm knowledge, but this year there are actually sessions about efficient office work and record keeping. Everyone at Taproot is working together to make sure we all get to take part in this great experience; even I get to go! I am very excited to be part of it as this will enable me to be better at my job; always room for improvement.
I have always really enjoyed working at Taproot Farms. I have been part of the Taproot team for two years now (wow!). Over the past couple months we have all been working on a new business plan for the farm. This whole process has made me realize that I want to be part of Taproot Farm for quite a while. It was so nice to be able to, as a group, look into the future and see what we want Taproot Farms to look like.
Here's to another five great years and hopefully many more after that.
Have a wonderful day and try to stay toasty in this frosty weather!
Teri has mentioned to me a couple times about writing a blog post for the newsletter so here it goes.
For those of you who don't know, I'm usually the one behind the financial response emails or the quarterly statements. I've been with Taproot Farms for almost 2 years now and those two years have flown by faster than I can believe. In those two years record keeping responsibilities have shifted and systems have changed.
Just a few notes on the financial/payment topic.
I appreciate some of you switching to email transfers; they are working out great. For those of you who are using PayPal, cheque or cash; that works out great too.
In September I will be sending out quarterly statements. These statements are generated by our accounting software, Quickbooks, which is not connected to your online accounts in anyway other than Teri or myself entering data manually so if there are differences please do not be alarm. I am trying my best to make sure everything is as accurate as possible but there are things that do not get recorded correctly despite my/our best efforts.
While on the subject of things not being recorded properly, if you do notice something on your account that does not seem correct you are always more than welcome to email your questions/concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org I am in the office Monday to Friday 8am to noon so please be patient with me as it may take me a day to respond but I will get back to as soon as possible
While I'm noting things, things on the farm this year have just been beautiful. I am sure they always have been but this year I have vowed to truly slow down and enjoy everything it has to offer. Even my walks in from the drive way are refreshing. I get to look at the tunnels and the flowers, and I get to hear the pigs snorting away in the field. I think I have really just begun to realize how blessed I am to be part of such an amazing operation right here at home. We love to see people out on the farm so please come out an enjoy this beautiful slice of Annapolis Valley.
Hello everyone! It was brought to my attention that some of you may be having a hard time using up all of your cucumbers. A member sent me these links on how to FREEZE your cucumbers. I have never heard of this or tried it but I'm going to have to now. I thought some of you may find these links helpful. I am going to try the first one this weekend. Thanks so much for sending these links.