Welcome and CSA details for our first week

Community Share Agriculture - Together we are making a difference!

902.670.3277 or 902.542.3277

www.taprootfarms.ca

Welcome New and Returning Members,

We are excited to begin a new year with you. The greenhouse is full of seedlings that have been started. They remind us each day of the exciting journey  we are starting together on the farm, the journey of another season of growing food for our families.

Pick-up - How it works

Next week the first week of pickups/drop offs begin. Our TapRoot van will deliver your CSA share to the pickup location. Your produce arrives in a box. This box is reused as many times as possible before going into the compost. You are invited to take the box home with you and bring it back the following week. OR you can bring along your own bag or box and leave the TapRoot box for us to bring back to the farm. Here is a short demo on how to break down the box so that we can reuse it.

We strive to arrive on time. Sometimes if the traffic is outrageous for some reason we may be a few minutes late. This is not the norm so if it happens we very much appreciate your understanding. There have been a couple of occasions where we have had to delay a delivery and when this occurs we try to email or call as many people as possible.

At the pickup there will be a list. Please mark yourself off this list by telling Justine or Jem or Valarie or Lorrie or whoever is the volunteer/TapRoot crew member there. This list has your name on it, phone number, what your share is and any add on's that you have purchased. If there is anything incorrect about what is on this list when you get to your pickup please let us know as soon as possible. If you are not on the list and you should be, no worries, let us know and we will sort it out. We will have extra boxes for the first week in the event we have errors.

TapRoot volunteers

It is really important that everyone understands that the volunteers are providing their space, their time and their kindness. They are not informed of anything happening with the farm or your accounts any more than you are. They are members themselves who are committed to seeing local food and supporting our farm and their families. They are not paid to host a pickup. For this reason it is very important to us that all members get to their pickups on time and communicate directly with Falicia or myself when it comes to your membership/add on's/alternate arrangement for pickups, etc. Thanks so much for understanding. Thanks so much to our volunteers!

Vacation Time

We have decided after talking it over with members and ourselves here that for 2012/13 we will offer two weeks of vacation that will provide either a credit on your account or a double up at a delivery. If you wish to pause for two weeks, please email us the dates you will be missing and we will either give you a credit that you can use OR you can ask to have the shares delivered either the week before or after your time away. We are hoping this will help to accomodate holidays. We will see how this goes this year.

Feedback

A year of sharing our food on the farm is a long term journey. In order for us to realize a mutually rewarding experience we need to communicate and be open to change. Over the past few years we have learned a lot and we have been working to respond to the requests of members. In our first year we had very few carrots and potatoes. Members let us know that they wanted more of those and also larger volumes of peas and beans. We have worked to increase the offering of those items, while keeping a balance of other new and fresh items. It is a constant balance for us and sometimes because of the season we have more or less of some things. This will, for some of you, take some time to adapt to. Also, our ability to make shifts is a multi year turn around time. So if in August we don't have enough celery for example, we will not be able to fix that until the following year.  So please provide us with feedback and send it as soon as you think of it. We accept it and appreciate it anytime. If we hear nothing we will hope it means all is well:))

Add On's

Throughout the year we have different items that you can order each week that will arrive in addition to your CSA share. Please send us along suggestions for items that you would like to see added as an add on. Right we now we have maple syrup, honey, floor, cook books, t-shirts, etc listed. During the summer will have more items like flowers, tomatoes, peppers, dill pickle kits, etc. In order to order you just log in and select what you would like that is below the list of items that will be in your share. You can then choose to pay with paypal or with cheque or cash.

Visiting the farm

We love when members come out to the farm. You do not need to let us know, you can just come and go for a walk any time you like. I will be posting dates where you can join us for dinner as a way for us to get to know each other better. Watch for these dates coming soon. We will also host farm days throughout the year. There will be between 2 and 4 events. It is great to meet everyone and to learn from each other. Please do try to come out and see the farm throughout the year. Coming to weed for an hour or two never hurts either - you can just arrive and we can find a place to put you to work:))

How to reach us

We try hard to be very accessible. It does happen sometimes that my (Patricia) inbox gets very full and something is missed. If you haven't heard from us in 3 days this may be the case. Here are some ways to stay connected: Our webpage with blog, our facebook page TapRoot Farms, twitter (that gets all facebook and blog posts pushed to it, our emails info@taprootfarms.ca get Falicia first, patricia@taprootfarms.ca gets me, josh@taprootfarms.ca gets Josh. Or by phone 902.542.3277 is the house/farm, 902.670.3277 is my cel phone, 902.670.4538 is Josh's cel phone.

Send us a family photo

We have a members wall of photos in our work space. We love this and want to keep it updated. Please take a picture and send it along to us in the snail mail 1736 Church Street Port Williams NS B0P 1T0. Please use a permanent marker to indicate who you all are in the photo, and it is okay with us for that to be on the front of the photo so we can see your names and faces together.  Please try to do this for us because we so much appreciated seeing your faces each day.

Your Account

We use Quickbooks as our accounting program. This is not connected to our website. You are able to make payments on paypal but will not be able to see your balance because it is not connected to the website. We will send out monthly statements via email. We haven't done this monthly in the past but with so many people paying monthly now we will send them out and if you are paying quarterly then just disregard it. It is for information purposes and not meant to be a nag on you. For the past three years we haven't done this and last year with paypal there were quite a few people who were surprised of their balance so I think it will be good to do. Your feedback, once again is appreciated.

CSA Closing membership

This year we have taken the leap to offer 52 weeks as our only offering. Thank you for your year long commitment to the farm. We will be closing registration the last day of April. Please share with your firends and neighbours between now and then. We are looking to increase our membership a bit more if possible by the end of April.  We will have a waiting list so that in the event that a member moves or is unable to continue then the space can be filled.

Adjusting to the CSA

Over the past few years we have heard from families that there can be some ups and downs to adjusting to a CSA. People who like to have meals all planned out in advance can find it difficult to adjust to the uncertainy of what is in your CSA. To accomodate our various needs, we post a list of what we intend to have included in the share for the following week. This is listed on the website and you can also see it by loging in.

Often people will find at times that they are challenged to prepare and eat foods that they would not typically choose for themselves. This can be a hard and rewarding at the same time. We want to support you in having positive feelings about your CSA share and membership. There are lots of recipes and ideas on our blog from the past three years. In the weekly newsletters I provide suggestions of recipes and/or meal suggestions. If a member has prepared a meal that they wish to share, we invite you to share it with us and we post it onto the blog. You can also do this on facebook. Lately members give ideas to each other on facebook.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by something, please share with us and seek our support in generating ideas or ways to make it more fun. Eating differently doesn't need to be burdensome but exciting and healthy and refreshing. We have heard and can see that it makes a big difference when your whole family is involved and is asked to be a part of the food journey. The kids love to be a part of deciding about recipes and helping to cook the food. Often when they are invited to participate they are inspired to eat all sorts of new things. 

One final point on adjusting that we have noticed over time. As consumers  items available to us are typically bright, shiny, and appear virtually perfect in everyway. With the CSA your veggies and fruit will be perfectly delicious and nutrious in every way but might not always be perfect looking in every way. Meaning that if you see a blemish on a potato or wire worm damage on a carrot, you can still eat it. Just cut around it and carry on. Also, sometimes you will notice that your CSA veggies have more dirt on them than you are use to at the grocery store. This may be because we just harvested before the truck departed or it may be because our wash station was broken down or because we needed to prioritize jobs. We strive to have them all washed for you, but just in case I wanted you to be prepared:)

Everything else

I may have missed some things. We try hard to keep the emails to once per week. If I realize I have forgotten something important then I will send out another to everyone. The pickup locations and times are all listed on the website and are outlined on the email invoice/confirmation that was sent to you after you registered. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us. On the webpage there is a list of the TapRoot Team if you are interested in seeing the faces who are bringing your food each week.

The TapRoot Van driver plan: Monday - Justine, Tuesday - Justine, Wednesday - Jem and unknown for home delivery at this moment, Thursday- Jem, Saturday - Patricia and one or two children

See you soon and welcome to the farm!

Patricia