...Would make TapRoot a very dull place, indeed! Good thing we have lots of things around to inspire us to be silly!
<--Tim shows off a ridiculously large carrot that we found in the rainbow carrots from Swetnam Farms... Seriously, the thing was a club (I say "was" because Josh ate it). We considered entering it in a giant vegetable contest, and then figured that if they send it to us, they probably have EVEN BIGGER carrots in their arsenal. Wow. That's a big carrot!
Justine, with the same carrot, which made the rounds at the farm.--->
(I hope Josh washed it before he ate it!!)
Here's Justine again, with a ridiculously large squash. It was funnier at the time, because it took a while to snap the photo, and her arm was getting tired from hold it. Notice it is twice the size of her head! We were loading the van for the Kingston drop, and this guy spilled out of a box.
I tried to snap a photo Tim and Jon bagging spinach this morning. Tim gave his nicest, best smile, and Jon was less cooperative (notice how Tim looks exactly the same in both photos... And Jon does not!)
Finally... Invariably, if you enter the office after 10 am, you're bound to hear stomachs growling. Falicia is sweet and always offers to share her morning snack (or maybe she feels sorry for me, tummy grumbling so loud beside her!). Anyhow, she had some carrot chips today, and in the middle of eating them, held one up and said: "Look how beautiful this carrot is!!". So, we had to take a picture. It IS beautiful. Or, maybe we are just nerds.
I hope you are nerds, too, and that you will send me your funny photos... Kids holding big squash or turnips, heart-shaped potatoes, carrots intertwined, et cetera. We'll make sure to send along some of our favourites in your boxes, so that you can play the game, too. We'll call it "You Don't See this in the Grocery Store", and we can giggle over our delicious, nutritious, and occasionally-imperfect fresh farm goodies together!
Some notes about receiving your meat share. It will be in a cooler with a number on the side. If you are at a self serve location there will be a number on the list beside your name like #3, or #1. That indicates which cooler your meat share is in. You would then go to that cooler and look through the shares for the one with your name on it. Otherwise the volunteer or Taproot staff member will let you know which cooler to look in. You're frozen add on's will also be in a cooler with the same procedure. Number by your name indicating which cooler to look in.
This week quite a bit of our meat share is coming from Jeff at Longspell Farms in Kingsport. We've been working with Jeff for a few years now and we've been getting most of our whole beef from him (the first time he brought one over I said 'oh your got the cow' and thus I got a lesson in the difference between cow and beef, simply put beef is what we eat, it grazes and is kept for meat purpose. Cows are mature female cattle, kept for dairy or breeding. A cow would be very tough because of it's age.) He brings the beef it over in many boxes, we fill up a few freezers and that gets us through with steaks, roasts, ground, and ribs for a few months. A few weeks ago he called to tell me he was going to make breakfast sausage and did I want him to make enough for our CSA. I said yes, and so that's one of the items this week. It's great for us to have the high quality meat, and great for Jeff and other farmers who we can support with our meat share.
We are growing a lot of the poultry this year. Josh has a license for 1000 free range meat birds and he'll be growing 450 ducks. The first meat birds arrive today, and we'll be sure to post pictures of the cute fluffy little things.
Hello everyone, the CSA starts tomorrow, April 1st and we are all so happy that you have made the decision to make our farm such a big part of your lives in the coming year. This will be the fifth year of TapRoot's CSA, and as with every year of farming, we hope this will be the best yet!
This year will be my first on the farm, as I just started working here in December as the CSA manager. If you have any questions at any point in the season, even now, please feel free to email me. I try really hard to get back to emails as soon as possible. My email address is email@example.com. I have loved every minute of my time at TapRoot so far and I am looking forward to what the growing season brings.
Tim C. is excited to be working with Valarie this year and offering 16-week Flower Shares. We have a few of these shares left and want to keep it small and manageable this year, but if it's successful will hope to continue to offer them. Besides Tim and Valarie loving them, flowers are important for the biodiversity of the farm as well as attracting beneficial insects, not to mention lightening our spirits when we're working hard in the fields!
Justine is glad that we've found two really great apprentices this year to come and work on the farm. She is taking the lead on training and working with Chris and Greta, who have come to us through a new program from ACORN (Atlantic Canada Organic Regional Network) called Grow A Farmer. You'll meet Justine if you have a Tuesday delivery, and we all love her for doing what everyone considers the "craziest" delivery route at the farm!
I think of Jem as the calm "rock" of TapRoot, because when he's away it just makes everything a little bit crazy (he's away right now, how can you tell?!). He helps keep the rest of us calm and tell us when the stars or planets are out of alignment and causing our moods to be off. He also delivers a large proportion of the shares to the city in the TapRoot van, which we all appreciate.
Falicia does the bookkeeping, which is no small undertaking at a place like TapRoot! She is-- hands down-- the most cheerful person I have ever met. She always has a smile and something nice to say, which keeps all the rest of us in good spirits. If you have any financial questions about your account, she will happily help you out at firstname.lastname@example.org
Josh and Jon will manage production at the farm this year, which will be an ongoing battle to stay ahead of the weeds and on schedule for planting and to keep everything watered and nourished and as delicious as possible for your dinner plate. Jon has just returned from the Greenhouse Conference and has an interest in greenhouse crops, so will take the lead on some of that this year. Josh will continue to amaze all of us with how much information he can keep stored in his head without forgetting anything, and how much work he can get done in a day... Not to mention being a Dad, too!
Patricia is kept very busy with managing the big picture of the farm business, as well as being a Councillor and a Mom. She'll continue mentoring me in the role of CSA manager and helping all of us to see the big picture. This is a really important role, because farming is such a busy day-to-day routine that it's easy to get caught up in not seeing the forest for the trees. She'll keep all of us on track with our goals and plans.
A few other people worth mentioning are Betty and Evelyn who bag veggies, cut squash, wash eggs, and do all sort of other tasks around the farm; Tim R. who does anything and everything that needs to be done; Sylvan, Garfield, and Cindy who get orders together at the Canard Farm and help wash veggies for the shares; and the Blue Team who come from L'Arche Homefires (Applewicks) to help pack CSA boxes twice a week.
My list is by no means comprehensive, it's just a current snapshot of who is on the farm and what is happening now or in the plans. In a few weeks, our first crew of Jamaicans will arrive, as well as a crew of folks from Newfoundland. These folks work HARD on our farm all summer and into the fall and many of them have returned year after year after year. They are part of the TapRoot Family, and we couldn't do it without them, so I look forward to meeting them and working with them!
I also really look forward to getting to know each and every one of you shareholders in the coming year together. A year of sharing food and farming is quite the adventure, and I encourage you and your family to interact with the farm as much as you wish. We will have some open farm days where you can come out and see us and share potluck, and we welcome you to come have a walk or say hi if you happen to be in the neighbourhood. A Sunday afternoon stroll around the fields and visiting the animals is a great family activity, and we'd love to see you. If you pick up from the van, all of our delivery drivers are cheerful and happy to chat with members.
Being a shareholder in our farm makes you part of the family!
Looking forward to sharing with you this coming season,
With just 2 days to go, here's something more for the happy wall, a big one!:
I just want to let you know how much my husband and I are enjoying our veggie share. We received it, in part, as a Christmas present last year from my parents-in-law. We couldn't wait for it to start in the spring. We have never been disappointed with the amount of veggies that we get. I though the appetizer size might be too small, but it's great for the two of us. One of my favorite treats was the garlic scapes. My husband never go tto try them because he was working in PEI for the summer, but they are delicious! I look forward to them in our next share. The only vegetable, other than the scapes, that we hadn't tried before, was celeriac root. I've made a soup and the root vegetable pancakes. Both were great. I served the pancakes with mustard pickles I made this summer with the pickling cukes. I have jarred/canned many things this summer, but not enough. I have already run out of tomatoes, both roasted and regular. I have canned peaches, dill pickes, strawberry jam, peach marmalade, salsa and still more mustard pickles. I made a small batch of pear butter with over-ripe pears and it's also gone. There never seems to be enough, so next summer I am hoping to make more. I grew up with grandparents who had a relatively large, private garden. I'm used to fresh seasonal veggies and when they're not, they were processed and canned at their prime. You can't beat that and I am happy to have found some way to do some of this myself. There is even a peach pie in the freezer to make one winter evening especailly summery! We served an incredible 8 vegetabe feast for thanksgiving. I believe that was the first thanksgiving in years (maybe since she got married) that my grandmother did not have to cook the turkey. I have made numerous vegggie slaws, mostly cabbage. The tear drop shapped cabbage made the best cole slaw. It was soft and velvety, if cabbage can even be that way. My husband and I are both terrible with names and can never remember who our pick-up lady is, but she's the sweetest! I'm sure she was sick of me asking, "Are the pickling cukes ready yet?" The add-ons available are a fantastic feature. I have yet to try any of the premade food, but it's the only place we buy honey.