News and blog

Welcome to the blog.
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!

Posted 7/18/2017 12:51pm by Tim Livingstone.

What's the first thing you do when you wake up?  Well for me it has been to check my phone and see if the weather forecast has improved.  It is only my 6th year of making hay, but out of the six, I only remember one year that was anywhere close to this difficult to find a good window of opportunity.  We haven't had that much rain but it just keeps coming in small amounts.  This combined with the humid weather, has made hay making a real challenge.

As I said in an interview last week, growing many different crops is our security.  When one crop does not do so well, others do OK so we always have something.

Winter squash is looking really good as are the onions, Celery, Celeriac, and much more.

While I can manually pollinate tomatoes in the greenhouse, squash and melons are two crops that require pollination by bees. Bee populations have been down the last two years so I was some happy to find a bumble bee in a squash flower.  Just a few years ago the field would have been buzzing with them everywhere.  I don't know what is happening but whatever it is, it is a problem much larger than just here on our farm.  We do all we can to keep them healthy and give them the resources they need so I certainly hope the populations rebound.  I'm seeing more mason bees and orchard bees which live locally and can do an effective job as well.  

Posted 6/30/2017 4:18pm by Tim Livingstone.

We are accepting more Veggie Box sign ups again!  If you sign up before Monday night July 3 we can pack you a box for later in the week.

Just click the Sign Up tab of our website or click here to begin the Sign up process.

We are currently full at two of the three locations in Fredericton but still have room at most other locations.

If you have any difficulty signing up, just send us an email.

Thank you for your interest in our boxes and we look forward to adding you to our program.

Tim

Join Nollie as she talks about our box program.

Burger Battle Big Macleod with Bacon

Summer/Fall box program.

Mailing list sign-up




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!