2020 Growing Season - What YOU Need To Know
Long time no see folks! Wow, what a year it’s been! As I sit here and write this first post of 2020 I’m flooded with all of the things that we accomplished last year. The first being actually launching Root & Sprout as a place to connect with our audience, share our thoughts and ideas, and to have an online platform for you guys to purchase our in-season produce and free-range eggs. Amy and I had met and brainstormed ideas for so long that getting a concept out of our notebooks and out into the public was a real achievement - yay us! Having a photo shoot with our good friend Amy Rabe was a first for us, and her warm energy made us so comfortable. Being featured on the Align and Thrive podcast with Rebecca Anhalt and in the Mint Magazine Westman were definitely some amazing and unforgettable experiences as well. And most importantly, we wouldn't be here if you guys weren't so unbelievably responsive to our blog posts and online shop! We are so thankful to be acknowledged by our community in such positive ways.
Amy and I spent the fall and winter stepping away from all of our Root & Sprout responsibilities to take care of ourselves and some things in our personal lives. This was also a time that we used to reflect on Root & Sprout and figure out what worked, what didn’t and what could be improved on. After a long off-season and a long conversation that included many laughs and many tears, Amy has decided to take some time away from Root & Sprout. Throughout this transition I've felt so thankful that we have such a strong friendship where our needs could be named and we can continue to respect and support each other fully and happily. We are always friends first. So this 2020 season, you’ll be seeing more of me and I’ll do my best to go at this solo for the first time.
Because there’s so much changing around here, I thought I’d do a quick Q & A to answer any questions folks might have about this upcoming season. I’m thrilled to outline some of the things I’ve re-envisioned over the spring so that folks can order all the things they love and have the process be more streamlined for both you and I; win-win!
The Root & Sprout website has been completely updated! Many of the pages on the website like the blog and shop look similar, but you’ll see more stories and descriptions about the farm, me and my family; the farmers! You’ll continue to be able to order and pay for your fresh items online through the website!
The Essentials Subscription
New this year, The Essentials Subscription is an inexpensive monthly subscription where you receive a weekly bag of four to six, in season, veggies; farmer’s choice. Customers pay once for the month and will receive a bag of veggies each week that month (based on 4 weeks per month). Want some side items that aren’t included in your subscription? No problem, just visit the shop on our website during the week and purchase those items separately and we’ll make sure they’re included in your bag on pickup day! More information and guidelines will come later for this subscription as we get closer to the season; stay tuned!
The Fresh Pick
The Fresh Pick is a bag of seven to ten, fresh, in-season produce; farmer’s choice, that’s available for purchase weekly through our website. Unlike The Essentials Subscription, The Fresh Pick will be available weekly and will begin as soon as the growing season allows for enough items. Want some side items that aren't included in your Fresh Pick order? No problem, just add it onto your order and we’ll make sure that it’s in your bag at pickup!
This will include a group of in-season vegetables that come with a specific recipe - remember those salsa packs from last year?! We will definitely be doing more of those!
Perhaps the biggest addition to Root & Sprout is our grass-fed beef. Early this spring we did a friends and family test run to see who would be interested in purchasing grass-fed beef from our farm. We have been really happy with the initial responses we’ve received from our first butchering so this is something you'll see on the website as we have beef available. We make the decision to butcher a cow very seriously and you can read more about that process here. Our beef comes in packages as well as individual cuts while quantities remain.
(Policy about Covid-19 included at the bottom)
Is your produce organic?
Our produce is spray-free but is not certified organic. At this time, we have one field that boarders the short edge of one of our gardens. When it comes to spraying time, we ensure that this field is carefully sprayed so that our garden plants are not sprayed or harmed. In any case, this field is too close to the garden for us to be certified organic. When that field does get sprayed, we make sure that there's a large distance between the garden and the spraying and that the wind is in the opposite direction, blowing away from the garden. If we can, we cover the veggies. As for what we can control IN the garden, know that all of our produce is planted, nurtured and harvested with love. The weeds are hand pulled and we use a combination of our own household compost, rich composted manure from our cattle, and organic fertilizers to make our soil and plants happy. Read more about our garden practices here.
How can I get some of these veggies and grass-fed beef?
We urge you to sign up for our newsletter (you can do this at the bottom of this page)! Subscribing to our newsletter will allow you to pre-order produce and grass-fed beef one day earlier than non-subscribers. Remember, all of our produce, subscriptions and packages are first come first serve. We also encourage folks to follow along on our Instagram page as weekly offerings will be posted to the public (non-subscribers) every Tuesday.
Do you have a CSA?
The short answer is no, however we are introducing a monthly subscription this year - see The Essentials Subscription above for more info. We find our customers enjoy the flexibility we currently offer.
Can I find you at local farmers markets?
No. I haven’t signed up to participate in any farmers markets this season. I work really hard on product photography every week so that you get the best idea of what you’ll be receiving. I post a recent photo in our newsletter and Instagram page each week of what’s available with as much detail about the produce as possible. I’ve also found that the "click and collect" type of pick up is appreciated from those who are heading out to the lake for the weekend and for those who don’t like to fight the crowds at the farmer’s market.
Are your cattle grass-fed?
Yes they are. In the summer our cattle graze in our pastures filled with many varieties of native grasses. In the winter, our cattle are fed pea and oat silage as well as baled hay from the summer.
Is your beef organic?
No. We are not a certified organic farm, therefore, our beef is not organic. We do not spray the pasture land that the cattle graze on and we make every effort to make sure that our cattle get healthy, quality feed that they deserve.
Do you butcher your own beef?
No we don’t. We bring the cow to a local, government inspected butchering facility where it’s processed and packaged on site.
Do you raise your own animals?
Yes we do! We are so proud that we can say that we’ve raised every cow that’s a part of our herd from birth until the time they leave us.
Can I private message you with my order and pay in cash?
No. This season we will ONLY be accepting orders through the website. We ask that you use the website so that we can make better use of our time and keep track of your orders and our inventory in an efficient way. If you're have trouble using the website just let us know and we will be happy to walk you through the process! Due to Covid-19 we will be limiting the use of cash. See more about our Covid-19 policies this season below.
What methods of payment do you accept?
We currently accept credit cards, Visa-debit and PayPal on our website as well as the option to send us an e-transfer.
Where do I pick up my order? I currently sell from my home located in Brandon, MB. My gardens are located on my parents farm about 30 minutes south of Brandon, but I have pickup from my home in the city for easy access. My address is disclosed at checkout, and you'll receive a reminder email from me confirming that your order is ready along with the location on pick up day.
What days and times can I pick up my order?
Pickup days are Friday's from 5:00-7:00 pm.
What if I can't pick up my order or will be away on a pickup day?
Ask a friend or family member to pick up your order for you!
What happens if I forget to pick up my order?
I'll usually do folks the courtesy of sending them a reminder email, but our policy states that order's that aren't picked up get donated to a family in need.
Do you deliver orders?
No. Folks must be able to pick up their orders in Brandon, MB on the pick up day and within the pick up time frame.
How will you practice safety for your customers during Covid-19?
Our current system actually prepared us for Covid-19 so we feel confident going into this season with only a few tweaks.
This season, each person's name will be clearly written on their bagged order and it will be waiting on a table for you to pickup.
We will respectfully limit the amount of people in our garage space pickup if we have a large amount of people that show at the same time.
We will practice physical distancing from our customers and will not exchange hugs or handshakes. If you're able to take your order to you vehicle that's great, if not, let us know and we will help you out by placing it your trunk while you stay in the vehicle.
We often have extra's available for purchase at pickup, this year we plan to have a clear price list available with instructions on how to e-transfer for any additional items you take with you.
We will continue to wash or sanitize our hands before handling any part of your order.
We continue to encourage folks to wash their vegetables when they get them home and before consuming to make sure any germs, dirt or bug friends have been removed.
All beef orders come to you frozen and will be kept bagged with your name in a cooler at pickup.
And of course, if myself or anyone in my family becomes ill, we will notify everyone and cancel orders immediately.
Do you have any other questions? Please comment below and we’ll respond!
I am really looking forward to sharing this growing season with you!