Strawberry Hill Farm / Blog / Busy winter months

Busy winter months

Posted on by Tim Livingstone

I had the privilege of going to St. John's last week and being a guest speaker at their organic opportunities conference.  Transportation is a huge factor for them where almost everything comes across the ferry.  The low Canadian dollar is another factor that is raising the price of our food.  In both Newfoundland and New Brunswick, we import over 80% of our food but it does not have to be this way.  Local and organic is in a position to be able to help supply the need and increase our food security all the way around. It was inspiring to see the optimism and energy with so many possibilities even in the North.

We harvested the last of our winter kale this week.  We have never harvested kale this late before and while it does show a few signs of the cold, the quality is still good and we think you will find it delicious. 

I'm often asked (by non-farmers) what we do this time of the year.  Not only are we still shipping lots of vegetables, it is also the time of year when you try to get to everything that you have not been able to do the rest of the year.  For us, in addition to shipping, this includes updating our website, setting prices for 2016, ordering seeds, maintenance and repair, finishing up our 2015 accounting, T4s for last year's employees, planning for 2016, and much more.  This is not to mention that everything just takes longer in the cold. 

Last night the cows managed to pull apart a water line in the barn and a section froze solid.  Today I have to thaw lines and replace the frozen section.  Our new hen chicks arrived last week for our summer flock.  We start a new batch each winter at this time so that they start laying in June just in time for our first summer box delivery.  Keeping them warm in January is a challenge, but they are in a loft in our hen pen which makes it possible to keep them warm enough.  The body heat from the hens keeps the room from getting too cold then heat lights in the loft give the chicks the 34 degrees C they need as chicks.

We are planning for our 2016 season and I hope to give more details in the next update.  It is our intention to try not to raise 2016 prices by much.  By signing up and paying for your veggies ahead, you will be able to lock in at a good price and not have to worry about how the exchange rate will affect the price of your food.

I'm working on a significant website upgrade to allow better integration with phones and handheld devices, content that is easier to navigate, and a better online store experience.  It will also be set up better on the accounting side and in the back end to reduce time for us and provide better and more accurate information.  It is our plan to have this up and ready by mid-February so everyone use the new website when signing up for our spring and summer boxes.  As you can see, we there is still lots to do in winter!


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