Welcome to our winter veggie box program! I finally got a picture of our full crew for 2019 at our season's end celebration dinner. All the veggies are safely stowed in their various climate controlled outbuildings, so we can focus on packing up our winter boxes now. Note that there's a continue reading button at the end of this text. This spot (and continuation) are my main ways to communicate with you throughout the season. Today I'll introduce our crew, go through the customization e-mail, and remind you what goes where once you unpack your box!
Left to right we've got Heather, Kelly, Steph, Valerie, Adriana, Marina, and Rebekah. We're a mix of full and part-time, season and full year... and together we make all the magic happen here at Fiddlehead :)
We're excited to pack up your first boxes for the winter - and they're off to a snowy start of a season! Since we've got so many good things in storage, you've got the opportunity to customize your share each month. Some of you will be familiar with "Harvie" from the summer, but please peek through for a quick reminder! Some folks are happy with whatever their box is, just like last year. I recommend to those who don't want to bother with swapping... at least set your preferences so the boxes auto-fill with your favourites.
Time to customize: Each month you'll get a time to customize e-mail (that's this one) which shows you what we're planning on packing for you. As the e-mail says, we fill the box based on your preferences. So the easiest way to make sure you're excited about your box contents is to set your preferences - there's a handy set of faces to summarize your feelings about each veggie we have in stock. Note that you can change these as we go through the season. Yes, the list includes our summer veggies too - because many of you are with us both seasons it's easier to just keep all the preferences in one place rather than separate summer and winter.
Once you get your time to customize e-mail, we've pre-filled the box for you - but there's a handy little swap items yellow button below your box contents to link back to Harvie. If you click it, you'll see a list of everything we were going to pack for you, and a drop down menu beside each item with a list of other available items you could swap it for. So say you're not feeling like golden beets, you can click the drop down menu and select red beets instead. As you swap each item, there's a summary on the left. Sometimes an additional charge is listed at the bottom because if you swap a lower value item for a higher value item Harvie will just add the extra to your monthly payment. I recommend watching it as you swap away, because some items will be lower, some higher, and it often just balances out. Once you're happy with your swaps (and any additional charges), be sure to hit Save. You can pop back in anytime before the cut-off time shown at the top of the page (or on your e-mail) if you change your mind. I'm going to try to give you Fri-Sat-Sun to edit your boxes, cut off-time will be Mondays 7:30am for boxes that go out on Wed/Thurs. You'll always get this e-mail when editing opens to remind you to check your box.
The next step is extras, your chance to top up your box if you're interested in a little more this month. You'll see any veggies there that are available, as well as a few bonus items from our neighbours. Jubilee Farm keeps bees on our property (that makes it veggie honey!), collects maple syrup at their parents', and grows and freshly mills flour on their farm. They follow deep organic farming practices, and I've always got a bag of their flour on the go in my freezer. We've also got some goodies from our friends at Pyramid Ferments, we've grown them napa cabbage for their kimchi supplies this winter! These products from friends will never automatically be filled into your baskets - you signed up for veggies ;) Since they're staples in our house and can be hard to find we thought we'd offer them to you as extras.
The cancel and reschedule button is designed for summer weekly baskets. Our winter boxes are monthly despite the default text often saying weekly. While you can swap a basket between locations if you happen to be near two stops that are on alternate two weeks... that would leave you trying to eat a month's veggies in two weeks. I don't recommend re-arranging your dates or locations! We're happy to delivery to a neighbour (just let us know) or you can send a friend to collect your box at a pick-up location. We know, life happens, and we always want you to get your veggies. Message firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any last minute pick-up issues, or my cell is (613) 970-5034.
At the very bottom of that e-mail you'll find some veggie tips and recipes. Just scroll down past all the pictures of veggies you could swap or grab as extras... it's worth it ;)
That's the long intro to your customization e-mail I'm afraid, but trust me it's worth learning to use the new system! You'll notice that we have Lewa Farm Garlic in your shares - we weren't able to harvest any here so we decided to try bringing some lovely organic heads in from a friend since it's such a winter staple. To be transparent, I labelled it as "Lewa Farm Garlic" since it's not grown here. Thanks to the swap function, you can always swap it out if you feel like it. We've got a full crop planted safe under this blanket of snow for next year, so not to worry we'll get some from our fields next year!
Once you get your box, almost everything tucks into the fridge. Here's a quick guide to where to put things:
Sweet Potatoes - on the counter in the plastic bag (they like heat and humidity, they're tropical tubers after all!)
Squashes - on the counter
Onions and Garlic - While often fine on the counter, I've had them safe in the fridge and I recommend you do the same. They sprout if you change the temperature from low to high ;)
Root veggies, greens and potatoes - These are all in our fridge. They all like it cool (2-5C) and generally humid. You'll see the carrot and Brussels bags have little holes along the side. The trick to storing is keeping things humid enough (like in a plastic bag) so they don't go soft by drying out, BUT with a little air circulation so they don't go mouldy either. It's not as tricky as it sounds, I promise. In my fridge I just throw them all in a plastic bag and leave the bag loosely folded over top. That way each time I'm rummaging to find something, they get to breath and stay happier.
I'll tour you around our facilities so you can see how we do it all, watch your inbox for one of my newsletters coming late next week,