Veggie Lovers Club CSA 2021

Our Veggie Lovers Club CSA Program begins very soon!

Below is some important info about how things work.  Ideally, all of our members and any of their immediate family who are going to be sharing pickup duties will read this so that we are all on the same page and things run smoothly.

VeggieLovers

HOW IT WORKS:
Each week you pick up your bag of farmer-selected veggies and return the reuseable bag from the week before.

The Pickup Location in Brandon is at Stanley Park. Big Blue, our cargo van (covered with veggie decals and our logo) will be parked on 14th Street between Princess Ave. & Lorne Ave. 14th Street is a one-way heading North towards Princess Avenue.

  • Please park safely and come to the van for your bag. We will not distribute bags to “drive bys” as it is dangerous for everyone. If you need assistance bringing your bag to your car let us know!
  • Please be respectful of the neighbourhood, traffic, and other people at the pickup spot. It can get a bit busy at times but we haven’t had any complaints and would like to keep it that way! Try to stick to the West (park) side when possible to leave the residential parking available to those who live there.
  • Every second week, Luna Field Farm shares the Brandon pickup location with us.  You are welcome to visit their online farm store and place an order, and occasionally they have extra eggs available at the pickup location.  Be aware that it is busier at the pickup spot when there are two farms using it, their next delivery dates are June 15, 29, July 6th (& Bi-weekly following that).

Rivers Pickup Location is in the Community Centre (Rink) front parking lot, Wednesdays from 5-7 pm, starting July 7th.

Can I switch locations if Brandon/Rivers doesn’t work for me some week?
Yes! Let me know via email that you want to switch for the week by Monday at noon (same as the deadline for Pre-Orders and skipped weeks).

Week17

But NO, you can’t pickup your bag in Rivers if you miss it Tuesday in Brandon: I don’t want to go there.  If you miss a pickup without notice I may have already donated your bag or mishandled it (ie left it in a hot van while I meet a friend for dinner).  The difference of planning ahead versus not planning is key to us.

Time:
BRANDON 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM on Tuesdays
If you arrive early and we are already there, please wait until we have finished unloading and setting up any orders for pickup and/or the mini-market before approaching the van for your bag (unless you want to help unload!)

The Trade Bin: At the pickup there is an additional bin near the van which is labelled “Trade Bin”. If there is something in your bag that you won’t use we encourage you to trade it for something that you will! The trade bag is self-managed, so do what you think is fair and it should all work out.  It usually begins as a complete weekly bag and selection changes as trades are made.

The Mini-Market at the Pickup: Last year we didn’t do much of this due to capacity. If there is capacity for us to bring a few additional items along to the pickup for sale, then we will!

Pre-Orders: You are able to place an order of additional veggies that you would like to have come with your weekly bag.

**Sorry, you cannot order custom items for your weekly bag or trade items from your weekly bag for veggies from the mini-market at this time. It is immensely more efficient for us to have the bags all the same. If you are working with a dietary restriction, allergy, or intolerance in your household please be in touch and we can do our best to help accommodate you!

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What’s in the Bag?
Our veggie bags contain a wide range of vegetables that we grow on the farm and they change with the seasons. Expect lots of greens in the early bags and more root veggies in the later bags. You will get a good sampling of most of the items we grow, and we try to keep a mixture of staples and variety/unique items. We prioritize our Veggie Lovers’, but sometimes it takes a couple of weeks of growing until there is enough of an item for everyone to receive it.
Each week by Saturday we will post a list on our website blog with a list of what is expected to come in your weekly veggie bag the upcoming Tuesday. The list is an educated guess so sometimes will differ from the actual contents once we harvest on Monday and Tuesday.
We buy in small amounts of produce we don’t grow in sufficient quantity from other growers, mostly Peas & Sweet Corn (from Marcus at Covenant Growers), Tomatoes and cucumbers (from Laryssa at Emerald Earth Farm), and likely some things from Janelle at Mad Dog Produce this year.
We are committed to being 100% transparent about this and will always note the source when applicable.

Our “Bad Apple” Policy: It is never our intention for you to receive sub-par produce in your bag, but occasionally there is a good reason for it (for example, if we have had hail). It will always be explained in the newsletter if this happens. But it can also happen that we miss a critical step of quality control and you end up with something that is not up to par. Please be in touch with us right away if this happens and send a photo if possible as it will help us figure out what happened and correct the error!

The produce you receive in your bag is not graded, which means it will be all sorts of sizes and shapes and not necessarily to the grocery store “standard”. It might not be perfect looking, but it will be delicious! (and if it isn’t, let us know!)

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Don’t Forget! We won’t forget about you, so we encourage you to set appropriate reminders for each delivery to remember to pick up your bag. If you miss a pickup due to forgetting, you will still owe for that delivery: This is because we have done our part getting the produce ready for you and delivered it, and rescheduling pickups is a hassle we’d prefer to avoid. Farm pickups are very time-consuming and inconvenient for us and so are not possible in the summer, especially for missed bags.
If you miss a pickup due to illness or emergency please be in touch with us when you are able to!

WHAT TO DO IF YOU PLAN TO BE AWAY or have to miss a week of pickup with advance notice:
If you are going to be away and you know in advance, let us know by the Monday prior to pickup and you can do any of these options:
(a) Have a friend, family member, or co worker (etc) pick up the bag in your place. We like this one because we get to meet your friends and family, and also it’s the least amount of admin work for us (you don’t even need to let us know!). OR
b) put the skipped week on your account as a $20 credit and then you can use it towards purchases at the mini-market at the pickup or orders with the pre-order form.
c) Use the skipped week towards a double bag in the future

Payments: All members have paid a $20 deposit but some of you will have your first installment payment due at the first pickup.  The info about payment amounts and due dates is available in the Membership Guide.  If you are unsure about what you are owing or what length of program you signed up for please email us at sales@brownsugarproduce.com or ask at the pickup, I always have up-to-date account standings on the pickup list!

If you gave us post-dated cheques dated for the first pickup or before, just a reminder that they will be deposited the first week!

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How we roll at Brown Sugar:
We greatly value doing an exceptional job of what we do, and none of us on the farm team enjoy operating as though we are “putting out fires” all the time.  Vegetable farming  & parenting keeps our lives full and there is never enough time to get all the jobs done.  We are thoughtful about our actions and where we expend our energy.  We do not jive well with disorganized and forgetful people, and so I encourage you to stay present & engaged and communicate with your farmers ahead of time whenever possible.

(In the past there has been little problem with this, and I have successfully & happily had members in the program who missed more pickups than they attended, but since they had excellent communication it was not a problem.  Chances are if you are reading this you are not going to be the problem!)

Communication with the Farm and Farmers

From our hands to yours

We prefer email over any other method of communication and will not accept contact regarding your account over Facebook, Instagram, or (especially!!) text message.  Email allows us to manage one incoming stream of messages, at a scheduled time when we can be most effective. (ie if you call me, I am probably in the field covered with mud and no pen or paper. Email allows me to be efficient about when I check and respond to messages).

Each pickup requires a lot of organization and so the sooner you can let us know, the more easily we can accommodate your request.  It is almost impossible for me to check messages during the pickup, so emailing or texting during the pickup window isn’t a very reliable way to get a message through.  I use my phone to run the debit machine and so all notifications are turned off most of the time.

We do not have good phone reception at the farm and so that is another reason why email is preferred, but if you do prefer to call please leave a voicemail and we will get back to you from the reception spot (thankfully my office is the hot spot on the farm!).

I usually check emails before leaving the pickup spot, but that is not a guarantee that I can accommodate a last minute request.

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Q: Augh, Why so many Rules?!

A: Boundaries are important when the To Do list is always longer than what is possible, and the reward of us setting firm boundaries is that we get to operate a smoothly run business and have a less stressful lifestyle.  We are generally quite easy to get along with, but I appreciate if you can respect our time and processes.  With the efficiency of CSA we can serve tons more customers than we could any other way, thanks to your participation! (eg Delivery to 50 households takes 6+ hours, pickup by 80 members takes 2 hours).  = We couldn’t do this without our customers sharing some of the burden of making it work.  We are grateful for you!


Whoa, that’s a lot of info, that I hope you consumed easily in your excitement for the program to start (and for many of you it’s just a refresher!).  Welcome, and Welcome Back!

If you have a question, chances are others do too, so please don’t hesitate to ask: I hold some space for it at this time of year.  (But that space is easily filled with weeding if you don’t ask questions!)

Thank you for being an important part of our farm and our lives.  When I tend to the veggies in the field, I think about all of you and how much you’ll enjoy the crops we’re growing for you, and that helps me to put extra love in, which I believe makes everything taste better!

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