The past two weeks we've been working on a project with the awesome folks at Flowercart. Since the CSA goes year-round, it's really nice to have some of those spring vegetables for the winter shares. Unfortunately, here at the farm we are all too busy harvesting, planting, delivering, seeding, packing, washing, weeding, et cetera to be able to wash, chop, and bag 550 lbs of rhubarb! So, Dawna at Flowercart and her team have done the task for us!
When factoring in all of the costs for the project-- including the 6+ months in storage at Webster's Farms' big freezers, Flowercart' services, a lot more running around than expected, and the cost for the rhubarb itself-- will make the value of the end product about $4.00 per bag in your shares. Not bad for 1 lb of Valley rhubarb, frozen at the peak of it's flavour and abundance!
How do you feel about rhubarb, or frozen items in your shares in general? Does it help break up the root-vegetable-winter-blues?
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!
Today was an exciting day. Upon entering the sprout room to mist my mushroom bags I realized they have started pinning. Both bags are starting to produce mushrooms. It will be three weeks on Thursday since I inoculated the bags, at which time they should be ready to harvest.
A CSA is a very unique way to get food into your house, and even with as many members as we have, and as many CSAs as there are in the province with their members, too, it is still considered an "alternative" food system, and not the way the majority of people get their food. Being part of a CSA is a lot different than going to the grocery store. It means that occasionally you have to come to terms with trying something you wouldn't normally buy. Sometimes you'll eat a lot of one type of vegetable for a period of time because it's in season (and if it's something you don't prefer, all the tougher to do!). Sometimes, you just plain don't like something and can't use it. Unfortunately, that is inevitable and we can't (and don't pretend to try to) please everybody with every item every week.
We all do it- pawn it off on a neighbour or friend or family member, compost it, or the worst sin... forget about it in the back of the fridge until it no longer resembles a vegetable. I just wanted to let you know that this is OK, and you don't need to feel like you failed as a CSA member. I feed any greens that I don't like (*dandelion*) to my rabbits and I planted my sunchokes instead of eating them (although, as a solution to not liking them, I suppose that's not the greatest, as I am really just creating more!) So, of course the boxes will not be perfect for every single person at every single moment. We try to provide a good mix that most will enjoy, and also try to get you things that come into We welcome your feedback, and want to share in all parts of the process, including supporting you when you struggle... whether it's a recipe, or in this case, just telling you that you are not a failure if you don't eat everything in your box every time!
This ramble of mine was inspired by a very nice email I received today re: Patricia's post about Too Many Potatoes. I appreciate the perspective... What do you think?
Hi - I'm weighing in on the Week 12 post - I do NOT think bad thoughts when I get too many potatoes. I do NOT think bad thoughts about anything in the box - okay - perhaps some disappointment when I see a pale little cabbage quivering in the corner - looking like last year's orphan - but that thought is quickly eclipsed by how wonderful it is to be part of this growing challenging thing called a farm.
Lots of us folks have our own gardens. Some of us, I'm sure, follow up picking up our box on Saturday with going to the market. Some things in the box might never see the bottom of a pot - I for one will not spend too much time scraping Jerusalem artichokes (or as a friend once called them - Jerusalem architects - and he was of the latter ilk) because I'm not that hot on them and so don't want to labour over them much. My choice! I am a fully autonomous human who knew what I was getting into. I don't feel bullied by vegetables - just lucky I have the opportunity to share in a farm's ups and downs, winters and summers, plagues and aplenty!