Strawberry Hill Farm / Blog / Plants are growing - Spring is coming!

Plants are growing - Spring is coming!

Posted on by Tim Livingstone

It finally feels like spring is on the way.  We have lots of things started in the greenhouse as you can see in this photo.  Things are looking good for this year and we have more land than ever available to us to grow lots of veggies.  It also appears that the strawberries overwintered well so we look forward to a much better strawberry crop using our new system.

Our sign ups are down compared to the same time last year.  We are not sure if this is due to the discouragement people feel from the hard winter, or if they are still trying to catch up on those extra heat bills. Is it because we had to raise our prices slightly due to our costs going up including the higher minimum wage?  We know many in our province are affected by the reduction of jobs in Alberta.  Perhaps this is having an impact on our sign ups.  Maybe people are simply waiting until the snow goes and they feel the spring coming....

Here is a little video that I hope will help lift people's spirits with pictures of summer.

Whatever the reason, we need to know who is planning to sign up again this year because if we have fewer customers, we need to plant fewer crops so nothing goes to waste.  On the other hand, if we cut back and then people want to join later, there may not be enough crops to go around.  We are asking everyone who would like to join our summer program to sign up soon so we can plan effectively.  You do not have to pay until June, but we do ask that you sign up.  If you don't want to sign up again, we would really appreciate hearing a few words about why so we can look at ways to improve our service and meet the needs of our customers in the best way possible.

As I mentioned above, we are dealing with cost increases from all angles including increased minimum wage.  We do not like to raise prices, so our primary focus this year is on how to produce the vegetables more efficiently and save everywhere we can.  At the same time, we have had to increase prices a little and hope that all our customers will understand and continue to support fresh, local, organic, food. 

Onions are some of the first green transplants.  They take a lot of work but they can store all winter making them a good crop for both summer and winter boxes.  They don't compete well with weeds though, so we spent many hours weeding last year and still the weeds got ahead of us.  We plan to use a biodegradable mulch or plastic film this year to help cut labour costs and improve the quality overall.  This is just one of the many ways we are working to improve our systems and reduce expenses.

We are excited to see things coming together for a great season.  We thank our many customers for their past support and look forward to seeing you again this year. 


1 Response to Plants are growing - Spring is coming!

  1. John and Susan Larlee replied on :

    Hey Tim and Kirsten,

    Susan just made some Brussels sprouts that she put- down from last fall. They were a beautiful presentation on the dinner plate, and so tasty. Freezing is a way to enjoy our organic vegetables all year long.

    Your exit survey of previous customers is very pragmatic. Just wondering what the lower energy costs will have on your bottom line. Certainly don't want to lose market share over a price increase.

    I know you have greater overhead as you have added a key person to your production, as you look forward to expansion. Your thoughts.......

    Your loyal customers,

    Susan and John

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