News and blog

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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

Posted 6/27/2017 6:32pm by Tim Livingstone.

We still have lots of Strawberries.  I was afraid the rain would damage the fruit and it did damage some, but we still have lots and lots of berries.  Looks like our harvest will be at least double what we have harvested in previous years.

I was talking with someone who works with growers in Quebec today and he said that growers he knows spray their Strawberries 21 times in the season. Conventional Strawberries are at the top of the list of the "Dirty Dozen" for most sprayed fruits.  It makes it even more amazing that we are able to grow berries that do not have any chemical spray or fertilizer used to grow them.  A few have complained about the price, but when you consider the options, I'd like to think the price is very reasonable.  

We encourage you to stop by and stock up on berries for winter since our berry season will probably be over next week.  Our berries start earlier and finish early due to the system we use to grown them.

Happy eating!  Tim

Posted 6/21/2017 9:52am by Tim Livingstone.

Boxes start this week!  

Welcome to our 2017 summer/fall box program.  This letter is to share some important details about the program.  Please read it, and feel free to email us if you have questions.    

Be sure to wash ALL produce before eating.  

Bring your own bags or boxes for taking your produce home, and leave our boxes at the pickup location.  Each box costs about $2.00 when boxes go missing it adds substantial cost which we do not want to have to pass on.  If picking up at a store, please do not ask at the stores for their bags or boxes.   Your returning clean egg cartons and berry boxes also helps keep our costs down.  

You should receive an email reminder the night before pick up, but it is your responsibility to remember to pick up your produce during the specified pickup time.  Please look at this reminder email weekly and take note of any particular details associated with your specific pick up location.  

As much as possible, we donate any boxes not picked up or we donate an equivalent value depending on the perishability of the product.  We encourage having a friend or family member pick it up for you if you are unable to.  

We do our best to make sure all produce is great quality, but occasionally, things do happen and we miss something.  If you do have an issue, we need to know within 24 hours of the pickup, and preferably with a  picture, in order to honor it.  

Lastly we commit to providing you your value over the course of the season. Please remember that some of the early boxes will be light on value, but that value is made up later in the season when more crops are available. 

As always, we love to hear feedback and feel free to rate your boxes so we know how we are doing.  Your weekly reminder email will contain a rate link so you can keep us informed with how you like the boxes.

Thank you for your support.  We look forward to serving you.

Strawberry Hill Farm team.

Posted 6/6/2017 7:03am by Tim Livingstone.

Dear %%user-name%%,

We still have room in our summer/fall box program and would love to have you join our box program again.  This is our last call and then we won't bother you again this season.  

If you have already signed up under another email - Thank you.  If you have not signed up and would like to receive boxes again this season, please sign up soon since the start of the season is only just over two weeks away.  

If you sign up and pay before tomorrow night (June 7) you are still eligible for discounts of 3% to 5% depending on your method of payment.

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

%%renewal-link%%

After an unseasonably cold and wet spring, the weather is finally looking up and crops are growing well.  We are slowly catching up on planting.  

Feel free to spread the word around to friends and neighbors as well since we still have room for more.  If you have any difficulty signing up again, feel free to give our office a call at 506-325-0286.

We look forward to having you back this season.

Your friends at,
Strawberry Hill Farm

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