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Posted 3/2/2020 1:39pm by Nollie Livingstone.

Here at Strawberry Hill Farm we are always looking for more ways to incorporate our customers needs. We have offered the weekly box subscriptions for 8 years now but this is the first year we are offering the online market too! With both of these options we hope to offer a more suitable service to fit everyone’s needs. We have not been able to find a website that can incorporate both options, so for now, the two services have their own websites but can easily be accessed through each other.

#1. Weekly Vegetable Box Subscriptions (www.strawberryhillfarm.ca)  

We have offered the box program since we started the farm. It is our main source of income because it is steady and promises us another growing season next year.

It was designed for families and couples who love a variety of vegetables and are adventurous with their diets. This program provides a wide variety of summer vegetables and berries, from regulars like carrots, strawberries and watermelon, to odd ones like rapini, ground cherries and bok choy. We grow around 60 different types of vegetables and berries and the boxes offer a taste of all of them! This program will motivates you to eat more veggies and is exciting because there is always something new each week.

The box program is the most cost effective long term. It is also more stable because the boxes get priority of the produce, especially limited items like greens, watermelons, blueberries etc.

The weekly veggie box is simple. Just sign up at the beginning of the season and receive a box of vegetables and berries every week starting in June and running until November, 20 weeks total. Each box has 10 to 15 different types of produce in it and will provide your family with a week worth of vegetables. You can choose a half share, which is designed for two people or a full share which feeds four to six. It is customizable so each week you see what you are going to receive and swap out items you don’t like for ones you do. This program is not a meal kit. It is much fuller and more flexible to your imagination.

Signing up for the program is easy too and can be done anytime between now and June, when the program starts. Signing up early does have benefits because we also offer add-ons, like a meat bag and eggs, which are limited. To sign up, just go onto our website (the link in the title) and click the sign-up tab.

The process is easy and will explain as you go. It is as simple as one sign up and you will get a steady supply of a variety of vegetables and berries all summer long!

Summer Full Box Examples

#2. The Online Market (www.strawberryhillmarket.ca)

The online market is the most recent addition to the farm’s platform of sales. We hope it helps suit the needs of a wider range of customers, especially those who do not subscribe our weekly veggie box program.  

It is a great way for customers who don’t want to commit to a summer program to buy fresh, local and organic produce from our farm. If the box program is too much, or you don’t like the odd vegetables, this is perfect for you! You can get exactly what you want and the amount you want of each thing.  

The online store is just like shopping online anywhere else. Ordering is a one-time thing so there is no commitment. Just make your order once, receive it and then order again when you want more.  

On the website we offer a list of meat, eggs and the vegetables that are in season. We grow around 60 different types of berries and vegetables and a huge variety of those can be found on the store throughout the summer. Starting in June, the inventory will expand as more vegetables ripen, so check regularly!  

As a local farm, the supply does vary. The weekly veggie boxes are the priority because it is the farm's main income and customers have committed weekly. If you want first choice of everything, signing up for the box program is your best option.  

If it is your first time using our online market, it will ask you to create an account and add an address. If you want orders shipped to your office or somewhere other than your house, be sure to put that address in as you sign up.  

After creating an account, you can sign in anytime and shop from the inventory. As you finalize the order, it will give you the dates we deliver and ask whether you want home delivery or to pick-up from a location nearby. It is important not to pay until you receive the finalized invoice as the meat weights vary and the price may change by a dollar or two. Any extra information you need about your order, will be at the top of your invoice. The deadlines for orders are 8:00 AM the day before you want it delivered. This gives us plenty of time to gather it and get it shipped on time. We hope you enjoy this new service!  

We hope you find this information helpful and if you have anymore questions, feel free to email us! strawberryhf@gmail.com

 

Posted 9/23/2019 12:28pm by Tim Livingstone.

We have decided to try using a new web service this winter called Harvie.  Harvie will be collecting your preferences and helping us manage your bi-weekly deliveries.  Harvie will allow you to customize your boxes for each delivery and will help you manage location changes and much more. 

Since not all locations utilize actual boxes, Harvie uses the term "share" where we have used the term "box".  These are interchangeable and mean the same thing.

All the veggies and meats will still be produced and packed by us as before, but Harvie will be managing the sign up process, customization, locations for pickup, etc.

We are also expanding our home or office delivery options for 2019.  For just $6.00 per box per week you can now have your box delivered to your home or office within city limits.  This option will be reviewed by us and our courier (John's Courier Service in Woodstock) and is subject to approval. 

Posted 11/6/2018 2:41pm by Tim Livingstone.

Good Afternoon %%user-name%%,

This is the first pick up week for your winter boxes.  Please refer to the chart below and set or mark your calendars for these pick up weeks. 

We send out email reminders as much as possible, but there can be issues with everyone getting the reminders on time, spam filters, etc. so please also keep track on your own calendars so that you don't miss out on any of your great winter produce!

We look forward to seeing many of you later this week.

Tim & Kirsten

Posted 10/20/2018 4:42am by Tim Livingstone.
Dear %%user-name%%,

There are only two weeks left of our Summer/Fall season.  You can still enjoy delicious local produce even after this season ends by joining our winter program.  

For those picking up prepacked boxes, we have decided to offer more choice in our winter program this year.  When you sign up you will be able to rank all 25 winter vegetables according to your preference.  This will enable us to pack you a custom box with your name on it helping you get more of the vegetables you really like and less of the ones you don't like.  

The bus locations and our farm will continue to be "pack your own" but your vegetable ratings will help us to be sure to have enough of the veggies you like.

Click here to begin your renewal process. Or just copy and paste the link below into your browser:

%%renewal-link%%

We look forward to having you back this season.

Your friends at,
Strawberry Hill Farm
Posted 4/14/2018 7:33am by Tim Livingstone.

I have a doctor friend who introduced me to The Blue Apron in the US several years ago.  I've followed the evolution of the meal plan or meal kit service closely since then.  Should Strawberry Hill offer such a service to our customers?  How can we stay competitive and best serve our customers? 

For those who may not know, a meal kit service is a service where you choose the type of meals you want online then a company packs all the ingredients in a box and ships it to you along with instructions on how to cook the meal.

Here are a few observations I'd like to share with regards to such prepackaged meal plans.  They can be an interesting and a fun experience.  Who doesn't like trying something new and getting a package in the mail?  On the other hand they are quite expensive and historically people try them a few times then stop.  Rarely are they a long term solution. 

When you think about it, the food may be Canadian but it is most likely not from your local region.  I've never been asked to grow food for one and I don't know any local farmers who have.  Most plans do not offer organic, and you don't know who grew the crops or raised the livestock.  In addition the shipping cost is going to be a minimum of $10 and probably much more as in $20 - $30 or more for every box.  Even if you don't see this cost itemized, do you want that much of your weekly grocery bill ending up in freight?  In the end a prepacked meal box is going to have a large percentage of what you pay going to freight, packaging, and portioning while very little will go to the farmer or your local community.

For these reasons we at Strawberry Hill Farm have decided not to try to mimic these plans but rather to continue to offer fresh, local, organic produce at a reasonable price with the addition of weekly preparation videos to accompany each box.  In order to serve our customers better and help you all utilize your veggies, we are planning to offer a brief tutorial video each week through social media and our website that will come the same week you get your box.  In this video, one of us (Kirsten, Nollie, or myself) will explain what is coming in the box that week and how to utilize everything easily and effectively.

We hope that this addition will help you to learn about and eat more fresh vegetables.

So in summary, by all means try out a meal kit or plan and enjoy the experience, but don't expect it to replace your weekly vegetable box or your trip to the market. 

Silicon Valley and Amazon invested heavily in these kinds of direct to your door food services but then almost as quickly the funding dried up as investors realized that while these plans are a cool idea, the customer retention (those who re-order consistently) was exceedingly low.  The long term viability of these programs is questionable due to the high cost of freight, packaging, and the amount of effort involved to get them all portioned out and to your door.

Now on the vegetable box side, the biggest complaint or reason people do not sign up again for a veggie box program is because of waste.  Some people don't know what to do with all the veggies or have weeks when they are too busy to deal with them.  This is the reason we are introducing a weekly veggie video to explain the contents of the box and ways to use the veggies easily and effectively.

Recently we have watched a number of cooking shows.  They are fun to watch but difficult to put into practice because the veggies and meats they use are not typically in our home.  Imagine the fun of getting a box with a tailored video that matches that box.  Both the product and information at the same time!

Remember to sign up for your veggies for this summer.  Go to the Sign Up page of our website or click here to complete your sign up.

We look forward to seeing you again this summer and working together to cook and eat healthy meals.  As always, we welcome your thoughts and feedback.

Happy Spring!

Tim

Posted 10/18/2017 7:04am by Tim Livingstone.

We have had a total crop failure on our fall broccoli crop for the first time in 9 years of growing it commercially.  Plants looked great but the centers were all eaten out.

After researching the issue we've learned it is an insect called the Swede Midge which came over from Europe to Ontario in 2000.  Since then it has been spreading to Quebec, Nova Scotia, and the northeastern US.  

It is a highly destructive pest for most plants in the Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, and Kohlrabi family.  This year it has impacted us primarily in Broccoli, Kohlrabi, and Brussels sprouts where cabbage and cauliflower have been largely unaffected. 

We will have to change the way we grow these crops and use covers for much longer to keep the insects off.  It is also possible that we will have to quit growing Brussels sprouts all together since they take so long to develop that it may not be possible to keep them covered.

A global food system has many advantages but it also carries the risk of pests and diseases moving to new locations where they don't have natural resistance or predators.

The good news is that because we grow so many crops the boxes will still have a good variety and we will get through ok.  Hope everyone is enjoying all the Cauliflower!

Posted 10/9/2017 10:57am by Tim Livingstone.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Strawberry Hill Farm.

Our harvest is coming along well and we have lot of things to be thankful for. 

Here are a few highlights from the year:

  • Our daughter Nollie is studying business management in college this winter.  She is doing well and learning new ideas for website and networking improvements we can make.
  • We had the best organic strawberry crop yet.
  • We grew our first grain crops this summer and they were a success over all.  This will help reduce the cost of grain that we need for our chickens and pigs and provide straw for mulch and bedding for the animals.
  • The dry weather has impacted our pasture growth for the cows, but the vegetable crops have done well in spite of the drought.
  • Financially this year has been significantly better than last year was. 

We'd like to thank all our loyal customers for your support this summer and we look forward to continuing to supply your needs this winter.

 

Posted 9/21/2017 7:38am by Tim Livingstone.
Dear %%user-name%%,

It's that time again! Time to sign up for the Winter 2017 season from Strawberry Hill Farm.

Click here to begin your renewal process. Or just copy and paste the link below into your browser:

%%renewal-link%%

We look forward to having you back this season.

Your friends at,
Strawberry Hill Farm
Posted 8/19/2017 6:09am by Tim Livingstone.

The gardens are doing well in spite of the dry weather and we have a good supply of summer/fall veggies coming!

We are opening sign ups again for those who wish to join the last half of the summer box season.  Just go to our member Sign Up page and sign up from there.

This is your last chance to sign up for the Summer/Fall boxes this year and Sign ups will only be open for a short while.  

Posted 7/24/2017 6:33pm by Tim Livingstone.

Did you ever collect the green and black striped caterpillars as a kid and put them in a jar with milkweed leaves?  We did this almost every summer.  We would then watch each day as they grew and if we were really lucky we'd see them spin into their cocoons.  Over the days we would watch in suspense as the cocoons turned from green to black with orange then one day a beautiful butterfly would emerge.  More often than not this happened at night when we were asleep but occasionally we got to see it struggle out of the cocoon and stretch its wings for the very first time.  We would always let them go again into the wild so they could return to the place of their ancestors in Mexico.  It taught is about one of nature's great mysteries.  

Three of our workers come from Mexico and they carefully leave all the milkweed when weeding so that the Mariposa (Spanish for butterfly) have food to eat.  Today I spotted my first Monarch of the season and captured its picture on a milkweed plant in the broccoli patch! 

Sadly the monarch population almost disappeared all together a few years back but we are happy to see some returning again and hope it makes a full recovery allowing our children and their children after them to continue to experience the magic!

Join Nollie as she talks about our box program.

Burger Battle Big Macleod with Bacon

Summer/Fall box program.

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Old Website

We are in the process of building this new website.  Click here to see our old Strawberry Hill Farm website along with your past order history, blogs, and other information. 

Sign Up for a winter box!