Week 16: end of the season update

This week is the last veggie pick-up of the Local Food Box program. It is also the one and only season update we sent throughout this whole season, shame on us!… We are writing to cover a few logistical items concerning this last week, give box members a season overview of successes and challenges and share how we hope to improve the box program in the future.

Thank you for participating in the 2013 season, your commitment means a lot to us. As always, any feedback on your experience with the Local Food Box is greatly appreciated. We hope you will be joining us again next year and we will be in touch about registration for the 2014 season in the new year.


For this last veggie box, members can expect some delicata squash, garlic, tomatoes, lettuce heads, beets or carrots, pac choi or baby kale and more. Box members who skipped a veggie week (meaning you gave us advance notice and we did not harvest your box once. A missed box does not count as a skip box)will be receiving one extra $25 box containing mostly storage crops.

Virginie harvesting the delicata squash

Virginie harvesting the delicata squash

Season overview

2013 was another good partnership year for the Local Food Box. We would like to thank our meat producers,  Stillmeadow Farm and Parry Bay Sheep Farm, as well as our egg producers, Winter Creek Farm, Ridge View Farms and SRS Farm, for their participation in the program.  We would also like to thank the Cook Street Village Activity Centre and the Vic West Community Centre for hosting the box drop-offs. In our view both new locations were conveniently located and provided adequate parking space.

At Wind Whipped Farm, a big highlight of the 2013 season has been our visitors. Between family members, National Farmers Union friends and colleagues, close friends and helpers, we’ve benefitted from great company and ongoing support. A brand new BCS walking tractor and its various attachments (a flail mower, power harrow and bed shaper) revolutionized (no less!) field preparation and cultivation. Our new greenhouse was erected in the spring; it is a joy to work in this productive space currently occupied by tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.

Bringing the plastic over the greenhouse arches.

Alex bringing the plastic over the greenhouse arches.

Trellised greenhouse cucumbers in mid-July

Trellised greenhouse cucumbers in mid-July

For the most part the box program went pretty smoothly this year.  The only small challenges were having irregular pick-up numbers (too many at Cook Street, not enough at Vic West) and having members register for the program but then not follow through on their commitment (including dropping out half way though the season).  A few of those who picked up meat boxes mentioned that some meats were not labeled clearly enough for them to know what type of meat they received, this is something we will be looking at improving for next year.

This year brought new challenges to Wind Whipped Farm.  Erecting our new greenhouse was a much more labour intensive process than expected and we never had the time to rebuild, on a different location, our older greenhouse. This meant we had to give up on cultivating eggplants and more sweet peppers. Virtually all sugar snap peas and shallots failed, a sad mystery we will no doubt investigate in the winter months. Using our new BCS tractor in a space not designed for its size has been the source of some frustration. Finally, we completely dropped the ball on social media communication. We failed to write a single season update in large part because, well, we had a big spring and we were tired. Between writing about growing veggies and growing veggies, we figured box members would prefer we focus on producing food.

The brand new (and beloved) BCS walking tractor

The brand new (and much beloved) BCS walking tractor in the spring

Looking ahead: 2014

In 2014 we hope to improve Local Food Box communication, both social media and in-person. We intend to write at least one blog post per month to provide recipe ideas and a general season update. We also want to organize some kind of a pot-luck/farm tour during the summer months so we can all get to know each other better by enjoying good food and the beautiful Metchosin farmscape.

At Wind Whipped Farm we will spend the next few weeks modifying the layout of our garden as well as erecting a second greenhouse in which we plan to seed extra early sugar snap peas in the spring. At the end of October we will be driving east to attend the National Farmers Union 44th convention as well as the Food Secure Canada assembly. For the winter, Virginie will be in Québec finishing up her thesis and Alex will be working as an ecoguardian/lighthouse keeper at Race Rocks Ecological Reserve. We will be back at the farm getting our hands dirty at the beginning of april. We look forward to see you this week and we wish you a great fall and winter!

IWind Whipped Farm's buckwheat green manure in August.

Wind Whipped Farm’s buckwheat green manure in August.

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