News and blog
We have had a challenging winter but overall it is working out OK for us. For those who haven't heard, the closure of our largest wholesale account and subsequent losses related to that closure, have forced us to restructure and diversify our markets a bit more.
We now are a weekly vendor at the Cultural Market in Fredericton every Saturday. While this has not helped our work/life balance, it has gone fairly well and we plan to be there every Saturday year round. We are hoping to find a Fredericton person who can help us with the selling so that we can spend some weekends together and with our kids but for now Kirsten and I are alternating Saturdays.
For the spring season, we will serve our Fredericton box customers through the Cultural Market on Saturdays. We will have meats and eggs here each Saturday as well. Aura Whole Foods and True Food Organics also carry a selection of our veggies and meats and are open during the week for those who aren't in town on Saturday.
Nanette's Healthy Pantry in Grand Falls and several stores in Moncton including Codiac Organics, Sequoia on Mountain Road, and Corn Crib will continue to have a selection of our products as well.
Now is also the time to sign up for your summer boxes. You don't need to pay till June 7 but at the very least, please sign up so that we can plan and so you can be assured that your spot will be held. With two other box programs having gone out of business in NB in the last year, it is quite possible we will end up sold out before the season starts.
We have made the decision not to increase our summer box prices even though minimum wage has increased now well over 10% (when you factor all our extra costs linked to the wage) in the last two years and other expenses have increased considerably as well. We are putting plans in place to hire a couple fewer people and increase efficiencies to take up the extra cost so we do not have to pass this extra onto our customers for at least one more year.
We look forward to continuing to serve you all again this summer!
We would like to wish all our customers and friends a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
At our end of season employee dinner we figured that Strawberry Hill farm has directly supported 35 people during it's fifth growing season. You have helped make this possible through your support of a local family farm.
2016 has been an interesting year in many ways. Elton (our oldest son) was able to spend time on organic cattle farms in the beautiful mountains of Switzerland. Nollie started her own herd of cows and chickens. We had a great team working here on the farm and got our crops harvested and field work done earlier than ever.
Sadly two wholesalers who supported small NB farmers both ran into financial trouble which has impacted many farmers in the region, ourselves included. We are thankful for our many other direct customers who together make up the majority of our sales and supported us through these challenges.
We are looking forward to 2017 and assessing whether we can increase our box program while also working on improving other efficiencies on the farm.
We hope you all have a restful and enjoyable Holiday Season and wish you a productive and happy New Year!.
Tim, Kirsten, Elton, Nollie, and Bruce
Good Afternoon %%user-name%%,
We are able to open up a few of our popular bi-weekly and monthly meat box options for a limited time offer. We have also added a third "3 Meat Box combo" to the list. It will only be available for sign up for a few days, so if you are interested, we suggest you sign up right away.
Our Winter Meat boxes will go during the same season as our winter vegetable boxes, starting next week and finishing the first week of March.
If you want to get in on this limited time offer, just click the Sign Up tab and choose the box option you want.
Delivery for the meat boxes is only offered at Codiac Organics in Moncton, and the Canadian Tire on Smythe street or the boxes can be picked up from our farm.
Feel free to call or email if you have any questions.
Good Morning %%user-name%%,
This is the last week of the summer/fall box program and the winter program starts in two weeks. We have had great fall weather and have lots of veggies both in storage and planted in our greenhouses for your winter boxes.
Did you know that your supporting Strawberry Hill Farm through your participation in the box program has directly supported at least 35 people over the summer? Many more have benefitted indirectly as well. We would all like to thank you for your support and wish you a great holiday and winter season.
Last weekend we enjoyed a farm meal for the crew. From right to left - Back row: Elton, Ceasar, Stephen, Phillipe, Danik, Claire. Front Row: Tim, Kirsten, Andrew, Nollie, and Odulio. Whelan, Jorje, Wyatt, and Lori were not able to be there.
Our winter program is over 75% sold but there is still room.... If you have not signed up for winter, you still can by going to the Sign Up tab on our website or clicking this link. http://www.strawberryhillfarm.ca/members/types
Again, thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you again soon.
The Strawberry Hill Farm Team.
Good Evening to all our current and past customers.
Winter Sign Ups are now open and ready for you to sign up. Just go to our website and click the Member Sign Up tab or click here to reserve your box.
Notes for winter Sign Ups:
Timing: Boxes come every two weeks in the winter and we skip an extra week over the holidays. Box size is a little larger in winter because it lasts for two weeks.
Eggs: We are limited in the number of hens we can keep so our eggs typically sell out well before our boxes do. Please sign up for eggs right away if you want them. We are working on a way to limit eggs to returning customers only, but at this point we have no way to prevent new customers from ordering them. In light of this, please sign up for your eggs right away even if you wish to wait until the end of October to pay.
We look forward to sending you veggies this winter!
Good evening Strawberry Hill Farm Members,
This coming Sunday September 18 we are hosting Open Farm Day at our farm. This is a great opportunity to bring your family and friends and see the farm where your veggies are grown.
We plan to offer the following attractions:
Tractor tour of some of the main vegetable fields plus viewing of the cows, baby chicks, baby calves, laying hens and broiler chickens on pasture, pigs in the field, mama pigs picking their own corn and more.
See our warehouse where produce is stored all winter.
Shop at our store including select Farm day specials.
Possibly even the option to try your hand at some pick your own.
If you have never been here, our farm is located at 5424 on route 105 between Grafton and Hartland near Woodstock.
The weather forecast does not look great but we plan to tarp the hay trailer in case it rains.
This is always a fun event and we look forward to seeing whoever can make it out.
Good Evening %%user-name%%,
We are now at the midway point in our summer/fall veggie box season having sent 10 boxes with 10 boxes still to go. It looks like we will have a good supply of veggies going forward so are opening up sign ups again for a short time in case you know of anyone that would like to get in on the last half of the season. Please feel free to pass this email along to anyone who may be interested.
You can go to the sign up page of our website or click here to get there...
For all those who have asked, we plan to open up our winter sign ups in about 3 weeks time.
Thank you for your support and we look forward to a great rest of the season!
We have recently had a couple of comments from people that they cannot use all the veggies in a week.
Did you know that veggies and meat can make an excellent meal even without rice or noodles or grains? I actually find that I feel much better after eating a meal of vegetables and meat or eggs without milk, sugar, and flour.
I've read that the working class people in the time of Queen Victoria lived mostly on a diet of vegetables, whole grains and some meat. If you remove infant mortality which was higher at the time, an adult's life expectancy was the same as ours without all our modern medicines.
In our family, if we have a surplus of vegetables or just crave a veggie meal, we simply put a pot of water on the stove and cut up everything into it. We start with veggies like carrots, salad turnips, and potatoes which require more cooking. We then throw in things like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower with peas and green or yellow beans last which will need the least cooking time. Drain the water and add a little salt with butter if you like. Add a sausage or steak from the grill and this makes a really good meal while using up a lot of veggies.
Stir fries are another great way to use veggies in a very artistic and delicious manner. Stir fries are generally faster too with a meal being ready in under 20 minutes.
If you just can't use them now, many veggies can be lightly steamed and frozen for later use. Beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and peas all freeze really well and will be so good next winter.
Lastly remember that some veggies like cabbage, potatoes, and onions can store for a good long time so you don't have to feel any pressure to use them up within the week.
If you have any questions or just need some ideas, feel free to email us what you have and we will help you with some ideas to use it.
We have a lot of beautiful strawberries. For this first time since growing our own organic berries we are able to send 2 quarts in a full box and one quart of berries in a half box! This heat has really turned the color of the berries and they are delicious.
We have passed the longest day of summer. It is always a little sad when the days start getting shorter again, but the summer has only just begun - that is the good news!
It has been another busy spring season and a few things took a hit with the cold last week, but overall I think we are in better shape at this time than we were last year. We so appreciate a good crew, a nice building to work in, a new to us delivery bus.
We had hoped to keep our old bus another couple of years, but it was condemned by two mechanics due to too much rust under the body. While the new bus was an expense we hoped not to have, the bright side is that it should be much more reliable, is easier on fuel, and can be used to do our Moncton deliveries as well. We plan to have it wrapped with signs like our other bus. The design and printing process takes time so for now it will be white but we hope within a month or so to have it looking really nice.
It has certainly been a busy spring season! Strawberries are just starting to ripen, onions are looking great, and most of our early crops are planted and growing well.
Sadly our old bus had to be retired, so we have had to purchase a new-to-us bus a couple years earlier than we had hoped. It was hard to find a bus that was set up like we need, but we did find one in the US and just today finally finished all the paperwork to register it here in NB.
Weeds are thriving with this rainy weather so we are looking forward to some sun later this week and hope to get on top of the weeds before we start harvesting for boxes next week.
Last week we were busy planting the over 20,000 sweet potato plants which I picked up in the US when I picked up our bus. We have also planted cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale and much more.
We have lots of crops growing and getting ready for boxes. This is good because we have more sign ups than ever before. We are starting the season with 350 weekly boxes and that means a lot of veggies every week!
Every year we learn more and try new things. We have mulched more with straw to help hold down weeds, disease, and keep crops cleaner. We have also started a new hot water seed treatment prior to seeding which so far seems to be helping a lot. Farming on this scale is a lot more involved than just putting a seed into the ground and watching it grow, but we have a good crew and I'm excited to see how this years crops turn out.