Before interviewing Cornelius (and anyone on the farm, for that matter), I explained what I am doing and why. Cornelius asked me why he always sees me taking photos and all these years why we need so many photos of him. I explained that we like to share with the members of the farm the faces of the people who do all the hard work growing food, and Cornelius brightened and nodded his head and agreed to let me take his photo and ask him some questions.
Many of the Jamaican workers have nicknames or pet names, but Cornelius is just Cornelius, middle name Nathan. He has been coming to Canada through the seasonal agricultural workers program for 9 years, and this is his 7th year at TapRoot Farms. He likes it here because he likes his boss, who he describes as "really friendly, and likes to talk and socialize". At the farm, Cornelius does planting, weeding, and some harvesting. He says he enjoys all parts of the job, because it offers a lot of variety and different things to do every day. His favourite crops to eat are string beans and lettuce.
Back in Jamaica, Cornelius is dedicated to volunteering and helping at his church. He says he is a "church person". Back home in Jamaica he used to farm, but doesn't anymore. He used to grow yams, bananas, and sugarcane. He has a wife of 4 years named Marlene, and three children-- though one passed away. His children are 20 and 26 years old.
Then Cornelius asked me some questions, specifically where I am from. I told him Manitoba, and he said "Winnipeg, Manitoba?" The town I am from is about 2 hours away, I explained. Cornelius went on to tell me that he has a brother who lives in Winnipeg. In his family he has 4 brothers and 8 sisters. He has lost touch with his brother in Winnipeg, but it was neat for us to make that connection! The rest of his family is all over the world, he mentioned England and the US. Thanks for letting us get to know you better, Cornelius!
Welcome to the eighth week of the 2014/2015 TapRoot meat share!
This week your share contains:
1 Whole Chicken from TapRoot Farms
1 2/pack Chicken Breast (with bone) from TapRoot Farms
1 2/pack Pork Chops from TapRoot Farms
1lb Ground Beef from the Rands (TapRoot Farms' neighbour)
Cost breakdown of your share:
1 Whole Chicken @ $4.50/lb, average 3 lbs $13.50
1 2/pack Chicken Breast (with bone) @ $8.00/lb, average 1.4lbs $11.20
1 2/pack Pork Chops @ $6.25/lb $6.25
1lb Ground Beef @ $5.50/lb $5.50
This week you'll be receiving a very summer-friendly, bbq-friendly meat pack (just in time for a few days of rain!). We've got a whole chicken, chicken breast, and pork chops for you from our animals here at TapRoot Farms. We also have some ground beef from our neighbour's pastured beef - perfect for summer hamburgers. We hope you enjoy your share and have lots of opportunities to eat outside on sunny decks over the next couple weeks!
We don't have any new baby animal news for now, but everyone is growing and happily frolicking in pastures, enjoying the summer weather. Here's a photo of our beef cattle happily munching away:
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions about your meat share, feel free to email us at Justine@taprootfarms.ca.
I had to go all the way to the animal barn in Canard to connect with Richard. Richard-- or Babu-- has been working at TapRoot Farms for 7 years. He "does lots of different things, but this year he is just doing animal care": last year, in addition to animal care, he picked corn and peas and lots of other field tasks.
Richard toured me around the animal barn and showed me all the meat rabbits. Richard likes working with the rabbits best because he feels that they need his careful attention the most. Richard says there are roughly around 120 rabbits in the barn right now.
I asked Richard what the most important thing about himself is, and he said "I am a farmer." Back in Jamaica, Richard used to have a coffee farm, and now grows young bananas, and raises goats and chickens. Also, he's not a "sporting" guy and is happiest just working and going home, he tells me. He has six kids between the ages of 5 and 22 years old. He misses his family very much during the 8 months of the year that he is in Canada, and talks to them every day. He says what he misses most is playing with his youngest children, and hearing them say "I love you, Daddy".
Justine has worked on the farm since 2010. I ran into her while using the office at Church Street this week because the power is out at the CSA office. Jocelyn is filling in for Justine's maternity leave and is all trained now, so Justine is currently filling in getting all the extra admin, troubleshooting and office tasks done.
Justine typically works in the wholesale and meat realm at the farm. She says her favourite thing to do at the farm is the busy summer organic wholesale orders, when there's tons of fresh produce coming in and being packed up and going out into the world. Her favourite veggie to eat that we grow here at the farm is the mini cucumbers. Her favourite veggies to grow on the farm are fennel and eggplant.
As well as working at TapRoot, Justine and her husband Nathan keep free range licensed chicken and sheep. Some of Justine & Nathan's pastured chicken and lamb make it into the TapRoot meat shares.
I asked Justine if there was anything else she wanted to add and she said "I really like it here.... That's all I can think of right now-- pregnancy brain!"
Louise-- also known fondly around here as "Weesie"-- hails from Grand Bank, Newfoundland near the Burin Peninsula. She and her husband Gerald travel to Nova Scotia each season for about 5 months to work at TapRoot Farms. Louise's favourite things to do at the farm are bunching green onions and weeding. Her least favourite part is the flies! Her favourite veggie to eat that we grow at the farm is carrots.
In the winters in Newfoundland, she and Gerald enjoy ice fishing and going into the country on their ATV. They have been coming to TapRoot Farms for 9 seasons now, and now bring their dog Brandy (chihuahua lab mix) with them! She says they think it is a nice place to work and they like it.
I asked Louise if there was anything else she wanted to share about herself and she exclaimed "Yes! I'm cute, adorable, and sweet. And friendly!" and Jocelyn chimed in "she likes singing Christmas carols in July!"