Frequently Asked Questions

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When will I start getting vegetables?

The 20 weeks of “every-day” vegetables will begin about a month after egg pickup starts on the first full week of May, weather dependent–probably early June. I don’t give a specific week for a start date on purpose, because Mother Nature can be fickle.  Vegetables don’t reliably start to grow until the temperatures stay above 10 degrees–otherwise vegetable starts just sulk in the ground, or seeds barely break through the soil and then stop, and become slug bait.  I’ve learned not to push the seeding too early, despite my eagerness to “GET GOING.”  Besides, with 20 weeks of vegetables, we don’t want to quit the season too early, and miss all those tomatoes!

Which vegetables can I expect?

You will receive three to five vegetables in your weekly share, and you can always purchase more on Pick-up Day.

Because you receive 3-5 vegetables weekly, you will get at least two varieties of “every-day” veggies to eat during the week, such as salads, broccoli, beans or tomatoes. In addition, you might get a batch of carrots or onions, for example, which can be held over for a couple weeks, and used more sparingly in other dishes. And of course, other vegetables will be available for separate purchase on Pick-up Day.

Time table of veggies available, based on 2012 – 2015 harvests
May broccoli, salad greens, chard, rhubarb, radishes, kale
June broccoli, kale, chard, salad greens, radishes, raspberries;  peas if we’re lucky
July peas, salad greens, broccoli, kale, chard, garlic, basil; beans if we’re lucky
August peas, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, zucchini, chard, beans, tomatoes, tomatillo, cucumbers, beans, basil, apples, pears, potatoes, carrots, garlic, peppers, onions, raspberries, leek, tomatoes if we’re lucky
September beans, broccoli, tomatoes, summer squashes, cucumber, pumpkins, winter squashes, kale, beets, chard, apples, carrots, garlic, peppers, onions, leek, potatoes
October tomatoes, cucumber, kale, broccoli, chard, peas, pumpkins, carrots, salad greens, onions, potatoes, leek

Why only 3-5 vegetables weekly in this FarmShare (CSA)?  Other CSAs offer 8 or more.

True!  But customers tell us they get “too many vegetables” in other FarmShares.  They can’t finish them all, don’t know how to cook them, or want something that BC doesn’t grow (can you say ‘okra’?).  So this FarmShare (CSA) has fewer but basic, “every-day” vegetables, plus eggs and meat–and includes flowers, because everyone deserves a little beauty in their lives.

Besides, you can shop for more at the farm–bring cash, because more vegetables will be for sale on Pickup Day.  We’ll let you know via email what’s available so you have an idea before you arrive.

People tell us they want to buy exotic or out-of-season items at their grocery store visit.  The Island Shire FarmShare provides 3 ta 5 in-season vegetables weekly–you supplement with exotics or off-season in your regular grocery shopping.

How much vegetables will I get in my share?

My goal is to give you $13.50 of organically-grown vegetable value each week. By weight, beans are heavier than salads, but salads are worth more.  You’ll have enough for 3-5 hefty vegetable dishes–a big salad, a large bowl of green beans, or broccoli to serve four.  And of course, what’s in season.

Why is payment due by March 15?

Yes, please don’t wait to join! A farmer needs lead time to plant crops and start raising animals. I base my plan on the number of shareholders who’ve committed to the farm. I need to order broiler chicks and raise them, which takes about 7-8 weeks. I also have to plant the crops that you want to eat, with not too much oversupply that would go to waste.  It’s a bit of a juggling act–I try to be very careful with my limited acreage.

What is the Half-Share?

Some singles tell us that even our basic “no weird stuff” vegetable share is too much, so we’re offering half the amount of each vegetable (yes, I weigh everything), a half-dozen eggs weekly, one stew bird, and a broiler every other month.  This might mean you get 4 ounces of peas or lettuce, so think carefully.  ALTERNATIVELY you can get a full bucket every other week, which might be easier for you.  You can pay in four installments with post-dated cheques of $80 each, or via Paypal.  You can order additional broilers separately, if you want a chicken every month.
Oh, and one full bouquet of flowers too!  Can’t forget the beauty in our lives!

What is this new Vegetarian Option?

Some folks don’t eat meat.  We’re offering the Vegetarian option so they can too be Choice Customers and get eggs all winter if they like.  The option is the same vegetables as everyone else gets, but 50% more by weight or volume, plus 14 weeks of an additional garlic bulb, starting mid-July.  And of course the weekly dozen eggs.

What is this new Additional Garlic Option?  Won’t I get any garlic?

Yes you will: garlic is a normal part of the FarmShare, and is typically ready in July.  During mid-summer, so many vegetables are available; one garlic bulb uses a lot of value in your weekly share, so I’m judicious in including it, so you don’t lack for vegetable variety. Feedback indicates that a few “stinking rose” shareholders use TONS of garlic every week, and wanted a way to get more.  Violà, the Garlic Option.  The Option is a weekly or bi-weekly additional bulb worth $3.00 at the farmer’s market (a very nice big bulb) which I’m offering for $2.50 to my shareholders.  Our garlic is mainly soft-neck, which means it has excellent keeping qualities, lasting 6 or more months.

What is an EMT payment?  Is it secure?

Electronic Mail Transfer (EMT) is a newer way to pay, or transfer, funds between bank accounts of private individuals.  No account information is shared.  The Payer logs into her online banking, finds the INTERAC link (often under Transfer Funds), follows the prompts, and inputs the Payee’s email address, plus a question and one-word answer (pre-arranged) that only those two will know.  The Payee gets an email alert which directs him to answer a couple questions, and then separately logs into his online banking, and follows the prompts to deposit the funds into the correct account.  Only the banks know the account numbers on both sides.  INTERAC in Canada costs the Payer $1.50 per transaction.  It works amazingly well.

Are you Certified Organic?

We call our farm Naturally Grown.  No synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides.  Our fertilizer is well-aged poop–no kidding–from our hens, pigs, the neighbour’s horses, and Island Farms dairy cows, plus seaweed and occasional minerals.  Top Shelf is our feed provider.  We also employ green manure over-seeding, which gets turned under in the spring.  We chose not to pursue organic certification because costs are very high for small farms and require intensive record-keeping.  We would rather farm–vacuum the flea beetles off the kale, or put down layers of cardboard to discourage weeds.  And yes, sometimes we lose crops or livestock because we won’t spray or medicate constantly.  We’re local, and we farm sustainably.  So you will see weeds on our farm, because weeds bring nutrients up from far below (even those rotten thistles), and because we won’t spray Roundup.

Can I have two or more dozen eggs in my FarmShare, rather than just one?

Ah, there’s theegg in grass rub.  The BC government limits the number of laying hens a small farm may keep, thus the amount of land used for hens (1/4 acre), and consequently, any small farmer MUST farm at least 1-3/4 acres with something else.

At Island Shire, the ‘something else’ is vegetables, flowers, broilers, and pigs.  So by joining this FarmShare, you support this farm by buying a share in everything else, not only in the rare stuff. Our FarmShare memberships are limited to the “low-season” of egg-laying, and therefore very precious.  We also must keep eggs at the farm gate, to continue to get more customers; if a dozen happens to be there, you can purchase it separately. So the eggs are the choke point, the ‘in-demand, rare’ product.

And you can always buy a second share!  Then you’d have a broiler for each month of the year, and more vegetables each week.

But I’m an avid gardener, and I grow my own garden with lots of veggies!  How can I become a Choice Customer?

Since you need eggs but not vegetables, and still want to support a local farm, the Avid Gardener option doubles up on the broiler chickens.  This means 12 chickens, purchased in the same way as the other shareholders.  Call me to talk about this–it’s a special arrangement that’s just a little more complicated, and I need lead time to order more baby chicks.  You can get two birds a month, or we can parcel them out during the entire year.

Can I substitute one of my FarmShare vegetables for another from the farmstand?

Sorry, no.  You’re sharing in the bounty or crop losses of the farm, and everyone’s share is calibrated based on what’s growing best that week.

How has Mother Nature treated you in the past?

2015’s dry early spring affected the germination of some cool weather crops, and the weight of garlic bulbs all over the valley.  The tomatoes loved the weather though, and we had a bumper crop of peppers!   And the fruit trees!!  Wow!  Never have the pears been more prolific! 2014 was great for the raspberries, tomatoes, and brassicas, although the peppers were disappointing. 2013 was a fantabulous bean year, and the tomatoes were more prolific than ever, with significantly less blossom-end rot than the year before (more seaweed helps).  I couldn’t keep up with demand for broccoli or snow peas–must plant much more!–and kale was a real star. The new potato patch suffered a bit from wireworm influx; the squashes did great; the deer ate all the corn plants to nubbins.  2012’s late spring delayed everyone’s crops by about three weeks, but that year too was a wonderful harvest year.

What if I don’t pick up my share on time?Alarm Clock icon Jelly Beam

Eek! You risk forfeiting that week’s share!

1) Vegetables will be sold the next day, to avoid wasting that food and farmer’s effort. BUMMER!

2) Eggs have a longer shelf life than vegetables, so I will save those for you til Friday at 5 pm; after that, they will be sold, and you have forfeited that dozen.

3) Frozen birds will be kept in the farm deepfreeze, and you’ll need to make special arrangements to pick it up before the next butcher date, because then there will be no room in the deepfreeze, and the birds will be sold or given to a food bank, and you will have forfeited your bird.

There will be no “make-up” portions given or records kept–respect your commitment, your food and your farmer’s work.

Besides, all these foodstuffs are so tasty–you really don’t want to be late !

Why “Shire?” What’s a “shire?”

Yeah, OK, I’m a book nerd.  Have you ever seen Lord of the Rings? I loved The Hobbit, always wanted a round door.  Made a round gate instead.  Hobbits have round doors, and they live in the Shire, sort of like a county.  But I’m not short like hobbits, so I must be an Entwife, because I like farming.  The Husband likes trees, so he is the Ent.  Ya gotta read the books…..

What does CSA stand for?

Community Supported Agriculture, wherein folks go in with the farmer to together take on the risks and rewards of small diversified farming. The concept has been around for over a decade, of people directly supporting the small family farm–joining in the weather’s up and downs, knowing precisely where their food is coming from, and how the land, the plants and the animals are cared for.  I call my CSA a FarmShare, because that seems to make sense to more people.  The Omnivore’s Delight is still indeed a CSA, if that’s what you’re looking for.  When you join, you truly are a shareholder in the farm for that season.

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