A photo of some of the team and I (second to left) bagging nettles on my very first day at TapRoot.
Hello TapRoot blog readers!
As this week marks one month of being an employee at TapRoot Farms, I thought I'd check in and share my first impressions of the farm, as well as a little bit more about myself.
As some of you know, I joined the TapRoot team in May to shadow Justine and learn the ropes of the wholesale and meat CSA side of the TapRoot business, so that when she has her baby in July, I can seamlessly take over her role. Working at TapRoot is the first time I've worked on a large, working farm, so what an awesome whirlwind of new learning experiences this first month has been! I couldn't be happier about spending my days on the farm, learning the ins and outs of wholesale management and the CSA process.
Before coming to TapRoot, I managed a small farm project in southwest B.C. with my partner Chris. That project was my first hands-on experience with farming and for the most part, everything I learned and did was self-taught. When our lease on the B.C. land was up, Chris and I decided to head east and explore the maritime provinces. We'd never spent any time out here, but we were curious about Nova Scotia, it's community of support for local food initiatives, and the potential for more affordable land. So, six months ago, we packed up our car, along with our two cats and two rabbits, and drove across the country to land in Kentville. One of my first goals upon arrival was to find work for local farmers whose philosophies aligned with my own, so that I could learn from others who had more farming experience than I had myself. TapRoot was the first farm I connected with and I'm thrilled that a position opened up for me!
Stepping into the TapRoot world has been rewarding already. Working for a large farm and seeing how everything comes together every day to get things planted, cared for, harvested, packaged up, and shipped out is pretty darn impressive. Working alongside Justine is fantastic. She's impressively cool, calm and collected when it comes to juggling her workload. Hopefully I can embody that same calmness when she's away on maternity leave!
My favourite things about being at TapRoot so far: building relationships with the rest of the team, seeing the gorgeousness of east coast spring unfold on the farm, and feeling a sense of accomplishment when CSA shares and wholesale orders come together successfully every week. Oh, and of course seeing new produce ready for harvest! Just wait until you get your bok choy in your share this week... amazing!
All in all, a GREAT first month on the farm. I look forward to sharing more with you in the future and hopefully meeting many of you at upcoming CSA member events.
I am learning that no amount of optimism will make the sun shine.
Many of you are patiently awaiting your Flower Shares. Hopefully this update will shed some light on progress so far this year.
The farm's perennials are doing well, although like most things this year, they seem behind. Our tulips were a dud and have caused a re-think on how to guarantee a good harvest in future years.
Thousands of transplants are ready for the ground and the space has been mostly prepared for them. Direct seeding of a few things is also planned for this week.
This year's Flower Share will involve approximately 60 members. Our goal is to send out shares when there are enough flowers to ensure you all receive shares of excellent value and quality. Last year we had fewer members and were able to “scrounge” from the farm to fill the first few weeks with beautiful and varied bouquets. Last year's bouquets were also smaller.
We began cutting and delivering flowers in June of last year. The hope is to do the same this year, although it is difficult to pinpoint a specific week. Things still have a lot of growing to do.
Until then, I will include a short list of some of the things we have prepared for your shares. The list would be too long to include here, but here are a few of our larger flower crops with a few of my favourites thrown in;
Asters, Sweet William, Snapdragons, Strawflowers, Zinnias, Gomphrena, Celosia, Statice, Carthamus, Peruvian Cherries, Ageratum, Carnations, Nigella, Yarrow, Cleome, Amni, Lisianthus (fingers crossed), Flowering Kale, Sunflowers, Glads, Dahlias, Delphinium, Craspedia, Foxglove, Sunflowers, a variety of herbs, woody ornamentals and existing perennials. And of course, numerous varieties of most of the flowers listed here.
If you have any questions about your upcoming flower share, would like to sign up, or have other flower needs throughout the growing season, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Sweet William rows with Jocelyn in background for perspective.
It's Monday at 2:00 pm, and I'm in CSA HQ office answering a backlog of emails from the weekend, came across this gem.... Oh, the delight in members sharing photos of their kids enjoying CSA veggies! This one comes in from Alicia, who says "Fiddleheads: This kids a fan!! Thought it was hilarious! He ate like 10. Then we went out in the woods and looked at them and talked about them, and where they grow etc. good science lesson :)"
Well, here it is may 12, I just came up the stairs from the greenhouse because Jillian informed me the fire was out. Firstly, I cannot believe we are still having to have a fire going in the greenhouse, and secondly: grrrrr!!! But alas, it is going and the plants are toasty warm which is good, as it will be cold yet again tonight.
This has been one of the coolest springs for awhile, we do have things planted but they just sitting there shivering. For example, our cherry orchard needs bees April 30 as full bloom always falls on May 1-3... Well, not this year: Today the blooms finally opened up. That is 10 days late-- wow, that is substantial, even if we do get some real warm days I don t think things will rebound. My educated guess will be most things will be 5-7 days later-- not really a big deal but interesting.
Other than the cold start, it has been an overall enjoyable spring. As I said we do have lots of fresh food planted, we all are just waiting patiently for it to grow. I am getting a little nervous as our root vegetable storage is getting low, hopefully the last of the beets are enjoyed as the new beets are ready for harvesting, which will be beet greens first. Oh, I can't wait... the taste of fresh beet greens is making my mouth water now. This time of year is hard as we try to finish up our last year storage crops with the anticipated taste of summer. Be patient: things are growing in the fields for all to enjoy.
Here is our line up so far: radish, beets, lettuce, salad greens, onions, kale, swiss chard, sweet corn, peas, beans, pac choi, dill, cilantro, and last but not least potatoes.....oh, carrots-- can't forget carrots! And of course the greenhouses are busting out the sides full of goodness. So I hope you all are having a positive experience with your share boxes so far this year. I am signing off as I am off to check the furnance-- again-- grrr, and take a peak around the animal barn to make sure all the animals are safe and happy. Over and out
Thomas is a shy 18 year old whose brilliance and passion shines every time he performs for an audience.
Thomas has been working with Barefeet since he was 11 years old. He was the youngest boy at one of the centreʼs we worked with in Kanyama, but despite being a man of few words he could certainly express himself through movement. One of most fearless and agile acrobats for yearʼs Thomas was theflyer – who was top of the pyramids and the highest in the lifts.
Born and raised in Chibolya Township Lusaka, Thomas always dreamed of being part of something great. He remembers watching older children taking part in acrobatics and at a young age, he begun to emulate them. Financial hardships that he faced at home like inadequate food supply and lack of school fees meant that for a while Thomas was forced to abandon school and got caught up with a group of peers in the area who were a bad influence. With little convincing Thomas started to work with the Barefeet acrobats again and his experiences away from the group enabled him to strive harder and train longer to perfect all the hard acrobatic moves the older boys did.
One of the core team, Thomas was an obvious person to benefit from the experience of seeing other countries and seeing first hand how performances are created across the world. Thomasʼs journey in Barefeet has been a long and impressive one that we want to inspire other children with similar stories, to give some hope, belief and something to work towards. An ex member of the Barefeetʼs Childrenʼs Council, we look forward to watching Thomas share his experience abroad with the other children in Barefeetʼs network.
When he heard he had been chosen to be part of the Brouhaha festival, he screamed with joy and let the words sink in as he broke into an ecstatic dance as only Thomas could.