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Why Roots and Shoots? Part II

Updated: Mar 12


In this newsletter:


  • Why Roots and Shoots? Part 2 - Keeping the team local!

  • Other news: Farm cats need rehousing

  • Team Introductions

  • Available in the Farm store this week

  • Weekly farm fun fact




Above: three customized winter CSA boxes



Part II - Keeping your food dollars local - our commitment to providing sustainable career opportunities


Last week Jess and Robin presented at EcoFarm Day about how Roots and Shoots has built a year-round perennial team of highly experienced farm workers. The reaction from those in attendance was very enthusiastic, and reflective of just how hard it is to accomplish this on a small farm in Canada. And we think it makes a big difference in the lives of our customers as well! Creating real careers in farming has massive benefits for the entire community, our local economy, and our food system in general. Take it from our Store Manager, Kat:


There are few options for year round employment in sustainable agriculture. I spent many years working for 5 to 8 months on a farm and then moving back to the city over the winter in search of part-time work until the new farm season meant more work in my chosen field. I was doubting my career choice, which also had me working five days a week in the sun. I was thinking: how long can I sustain this? Working year round while balancing field work and indoor work, and physical labour with the social interactions in the farm store all contribute to reasserting my career choice. Living in the country side full time in my own apartment is also a welcome relief after previously moving around every season. I am grateful for the stability and for being able to live and work in such a beautiful rural place."



Kat and Jess packing winter CSA boxes

Tim and Jess harvesting in greenhouse #3 for our winter CSA

The hard truth is that labour represents 60-70% of the cost of producing vegetables. Keeping your hard-earned money in your own neighbourhood means more opportunity for local businesses, and more employment opportunities (maybe for your kids or even yourself!). It means we're building the knowledge and infrastructure to feed ourselves. That's food security!


By signing up for our Winter CSA and by shopping at our farm store, you access tasty local organic vegetables while directly supporting the local economy and creating sustainable career opportunities for farmworkers. The money also circulates within the community instead of having to bring in produce from abroad. We also love supporting our wider community by stocking local products in our farm store and our online store for CSA members, including local meat from Northern Seeds and Ferme Lebel.



Chard and Kale from the winter greenhouse

We are proud to have a team of amazing people who make such valuable contributions to our community and feel very lucky to be able to do work that we love while providing our community with fresh, local organic vegetables. If you are not yet familiar with our team here is a little introduction!



Tim

Tim, our powerhouse field manager has been working at Roots and Shoots for eight years. He wears many hats and frankly we don't know where we would be without him. In addition to crop planning and managing the execution of planting and harvesting, Tim is very effective with problem solving and troubleshooting. He is also a great baker and we love when he brings cookies to our ritual coffee breaks. If you're enjoying our winter sprouts or any of our mixed greens, there is a good chance it was Tim's hands that harvested them!



Lys

Lys started with us last spring and has stayed on part-time this winter. We are lucky to have such an avid connoisseur of wild plants and medicinals on board our team. Lys is the best in-house tea brewer and can often be found foraging around the farm. One person's undesirable weeds are another gold! Asides from being a plant library, Lys works primarily in our greenhouses tending to our tender greens in the winter and our hot crops (tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc.) in the summer.



Matt

Matt has been working with us for five years both in the fields, packshed and on the road. It is thanks to him that our vegetables ever make it to our customers off the farm. In the colder months, he spends a lot of time washing our root vegetables in the barrel washer. Believe me, it is a cold and wet place to be so if you see him, thank him for those clean carrots and root veggies! Matt is also our best in-house DJ and keeps the good tunes going in the packshed. He is actually a professional DJ so you can hire him to fill your life with good music too! He is also a great baker.




Kat

After 10 years of working in sustainable agriculture, she is going into her third year here at Roots and Shoots. She started as a field worker and has since taken on running and developing the farm store and our social media presence. She loves meeting new people and getting to know our customers so come on over and say hi! She is always looking for inspiring recipe ideas from you. While she claims not to be much of a baker herself, she will on occasion bring her signature maple sesame cookies to coffee break.




Kielan

Our mostly behind the scenes greenhouse manager Kielan makes sure our greenhouses are functioning properly and growing the food we supply to our lovely customers. He has worked here since the early days back when the farm was in Manotick Station. He rarely joins us for our morning caffeine ritual, but it is always a joyous occasion when he does. He is also a professional ultimate frisbee champion so he is really quite the cool person!



Colleen

With over 40 years of farming under her belt from Australia to BC to Quebec, Colleen carries a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the challenges and the tricks of the trade. After decades in the fields, she is now our head chef and also supports us in many other aspects of the farm including with our events and our wreath making workshops. It is thanks to her that we offer transformed foods in the farm store and online to our CSA members and believe me her recipes are something special. If you haven't had the chance to try her famous roasted salsa, chilero or her soups, come on over to the farm store or join us on a volunteer day and benefit from her homemade lunches. We are very lucky to have such a skilled cook amongst our team!




Robin and Jess

And of course, there is Robin and Jess without whom none of this would be possible. Asides from raising two littles and running a four season farm, their creativity and ability to troubleshoot never ceases to impress. It has been amazing having employers who are enthusiastic about supporting our ideas and who love brainstorming and working together to develop efficient and pleasant systems to work with. If you haven't had the chance to see Jess's incredible paintings, fret not! They will so be available for purchase in the farm store as greeting cards and prints. Oh and Jess would hands-down win the award for most frequent and humble coffee break baker.




We also have recurring seasonal staff so here is a shoutout to Anna, Lily, Theo, Ryan, Ginger, Aline, Christine and everyone else who contributes to keeping the farm up and going! Another shoutout to all the other wonderful people we have had the chance to work with over the years! And thank you to our wonderful CSA host Tina who has been such an incredible volunteer!



Ryan, Ginger, Theo,

Lily, Anna, team shot


Tina, Christine, Aline


Shoutout to our previous farm workers and all their amazing work!



Other news: Farm cats need rehousing

We have three farm kittens who need to be re-homed. Their mother showed up at the farm pregnant. We would like to keep them but we need to protect our local birds and so we are looking to re-home them. Let us know if you or someone you know is looking to adopt a cat!





Available in the Farm store this week:

New offering:

Fresh organic sourdough bread from our Rupert neighbour Devon on Thursdays and Saturdays! Saturdays he brings specialty loaves such as potato poppy seed and orange/cranberry.


Greens:

  • Bok Choy

  • Spinach

  • Arugula (limited quantity)

  • Salad mix

  • Microgreens

*popular these days so come early on Saturday or during the week if you want to ensure a supply! The plants are growing faster now so hang tight...


Roots:

  • Beets

  • Carrots

  • Parsnip

  • Garlic

  • Onions

  • Potatoes

  • Daikon radish

  • Watermelon radish

  • Rutabaga

  • Celeriac

Herbs:

  • Cilantro

  • Dill

  • Parsley Curly and Flat

Other Veggies:

  • Kale

  • Chard

  • Classic cabbage

Squash

  • Autumn Frost butternut (butternut flavour with a more pumpkin like texture)

  • Testukabuto (low moisture content; rich notes of hazelnut and browned butter.)

  • Pie Pita Pumkin (great for pies/deserts and the seeds are especially tasty!)


Farm-made preserves *more to come in thenew year:

  • Salsa

  • Sauerkraut

  • Chilero

  • Spicy squash relish

  • Lacto-fermented pickles

  • Farm Sriracha

  • Frozen soups:

    • Colleen's Farm Borsht

    • Ryans's curried carrot soup




Weekly Farm Fun Fact:

Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and lettuce are growing in the seedling room! We started planting them a few weeks ago. It's hard to believe these tiny vulnerable plants will soon turn our greenhouses into unruly jungles! Tomatoes and cucumbers coming to you early June!


Jess grafting our tomato seedlings


Keeping in touch

Farmstore winter hours:


  • Thursdays 11h-5h

  • Fridays 11h-5h

  • Saturdays 10h-3h



*Check us out on Facebook and instagram to get a daily glimpse of the Roots and Shoots Farm life.



Happy early spring to all!



-The Roots and Shoots Farm Team

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