Late Spring FAQs
First off, thanks for following along on our farming adventures through the pandemic. It’s been quite a season! Every day brings a new challenge (and lots of questions!). Transitioning from a nearly completely wholesale business to a more CSA-supported farm has been rewarding but has posed some unanticipated hurdles, and we hope this post will give you a little glimpse into our daily life and decision making at the farm.
It has been an honor to provide food for you and your families during these challenging times. We are humbled by the responsibility every week and appreciate your trust in us. We love connecting with so many of you online and at our “off the truck” pick-ups. In a time where we are feeling a bit disconnected, it has been a joy and a relief to see your faces weekly and chat briefly through car windows and through messages and texts. Equally important, the Farm Boxes have allowed us to keep our entire team busy. We are working every day (and some weekends!) and are blessed to have continued purpose. Thank you.
In addition to keeping the farm semi-organized, Kikki sorts through your emails, social media messages, and website comments frequently and tries to respond to your notes and comments individually. We’re sure we’ve missed a few messages, and we’ve noticed some themes in your questions, so here is a round-up of your most pressing inquiries.
Can I order a Spicy Box and add broccoli? Can you add a head of bibb lettuce to my Farm Box? Can I just order certain things if I don’t like the box options?
In response to C19, we had to find new packaging and change our packaging protocols (packing for large wholesale orders is an entirely different endeavor than packing small individual orders). We had to transition to a web-based ordering system, accept credit card payments through a new processor, collect sales tax across multiple jurisdictions, and navigate the process between receiving orders online to packing them and ensuring that they make it to the correct pick-up location. Plus, as we discussed here, we also staggered our employee shifts and made other C19-related decisions that further increased the responsibilities we put on our team.
All that to say, in addition to the general stress of this season, we threw A LOT at our team in a really short amount of time. We decided to launch our webstore with boxes, in large part, to make their lives more manageable.
BUT … we are working with our friends at RomeGA Digital to make some webstore upgrades that will make customized orders easier for our team. Better reports, more efficient labels, etc. This week, we’re doing a “soft launch” by offering carrots as an optional order add-on. Stay tuned for more customized ordering options in the near future. (In the meantime, please keep supporting our boxes because they are funding our website upgrades!)
Can I return my cardboard box? Can you re-use my cardboard box? Can you deliver my order without a box?
First, we hear you! We discuss packaging almost every night. It is a large weekly expense for us, and we hate sending so many packing materials out into the World.
Unfortunately, we haven’t devised a way to pack and deliver lettuces and fragile salad greens without boxes. We want for you to enjoy fresh, beautiful salads all week. No one wins if your greens are crushed and wilted.
Before C19, we packaged most of our wholesale orders in reusable totes, which we swapped back and forth with our restaurants and sanitized between use. In light of C19, we have suspended all reusable packaging for the immediate future.
Why? If we take back used packaging at one stop, it’s not fair for our customers later in the day whose fresh veggies would be sitting on the truck with those dirty boxes. (And we can’t individually sanitize returned packaging throughout the day before putting it back on our truck). With all the uncertainty about the virus, we also think it’s unfair to our team (and could create a hazard in our packing space) to bring all those potentially contaminated boxes back to the farm.
Basically, we are trying to make the best decisions possible in a very imperfect situation. Right now, for us, food-safe bags and recyclable cardboard boxes feel like our best and safest option, but we know it’s not ideal. We hope that we are able to return to reusable packing options in the near future. (If you have ideas for better packing solutions, please shoot us a message!)
We encourage you to recycle your cardboard boxes or re-purpose them around your house/yard. (We love using them for weed control around the farm!)
How do I store my veggies? How do I keep salad greens fresh?
The keys to (most!) veggie storage are refrigeration and humidity. Salad greens, broccoli, green garlic, spring onions, roots … all of these veggies like to be kept cool and need a bit of humidity. Humidity can be maintained by simply storing your vegetables in a slightly vented storage container or a plastic bag in the fridge. You do not need to add water to the storage container. You just want to keep the naturally occurring moisture on the veggies and allow a bit of air flow. More on salad green and root storage here.
Looking ahead, we will address tomato, potato, winter squash, and hard neck garlic storage when we get to those seasons. (Don’t store your heirloom maters in the fridge!)
Are your vegetables organic? Do you spray?
We use only organic methods in our garden. We were in the process of applying for our Certified Naturally Grown certification before things went sideways with C19, and we hope to complete that process later this year.
In our greenhouse, we use mostly organic fertilizers and a few small-dose fertilizers that are lab-grade but not certified organic. We never use any fungicides or herbicides. We try to use only exclusion methods (insect screening on our fans and entry points, etc), traps, and beneficial insects (such as ladybugs and wasps) to control pests in the greenhouse. If we do spray, it is only with a certified organic product (such as Pyganic).
We never use genetically modified seeds. All of the seeds we plant are Non-GMO, many of them are heirlooms, and most of them are also certified organic.
Our health is our greatest asset, and we strive to provide you and your families with safe, delicious, and nutrient-dense veggies year-round. We are always working to improve our methods and become more sustainable as we work to further reduce our water usage, regenerate our soil, provide a safe home for our pollinators, and conserve our natural resources while respecting the farm’s dynamic ecosystem.
What veggies are in my box this week? What are you planting for Late-Spring and Summer?
This week, we are offering all of our “regular” salad green varieties plus tons of our delicious, crunchy carrots. In the Farm Boxes, you’ll also find mint, red beets, broccoli or romanesco, more carrots, fennel, and sweet spring onions. (As always, the Farm Box will give you the most variety and most “bang for your buck”).
We will have kohlrabi soon as well as some spring radishes. Our squash and cucumber plants are looking strong, and we hope to start harvesting those in just a few short weeks. We also have cabbages, turnips, and more carrots planned for Late-Spring.
As we transition into summer, you’ll continue to see all of our craveable salad greens on the menu plus blueberries, loads of squash, cucumbers, basil, a variety of peppers, tomatillos, eggplant, beans, okra, and, of course, tomatoes.
Can I find you at a farmers market?
Due to the uncertainty surrounding C19, we will not attend any farmers markets in May. We will reevaluate that decision as we approach June and July.
In the meantime, here are all the places you will find us this month!
Why can’t I order after 7:00PM on Wednesday?
For the first few weeks of farm box sales, we allowed ordering much later in the week. Kikki was up until 3:00AM more than once printing off late orders and making labels and creating packing sheets for our first shift team who arrives at the farm at 6:00AM. It was frantic, stressful, and exhausting, especially as our farm box sales grew.
Cutting off orders at 7:00PM on Wednesday allows us time to print orders, make labels, and create packing sheets and still make it to bed by a (somewhat) reasonable hour. It also allows us a full day on Thursday to harvest and start packing boxes before our first round of deliveries on Friday.
If we harvest more than we need on Thursdays, you’ll see a “Pop Up” shopping opportunity on Thursday afternoon. This is a great opportunity to snag some fresh-picked veggies if you miss the Wednesday evening deadline. We will post all “Pop Ups” online and on our social channels.
What can I do if I still have questions that you haven’t answered?