Get veggies delivered weekly

Monday, July 23 2012

This post relates to Nature's Route Farm

By Margaret Patricia Eaton Reprinted with permission from the Moncton Times & Transcript, This Week, July 12, 2012

Local farm offers fresh, nutritious vegetables delivered to Moncton each week.

Can you picture your children actually asking for second helping of carrots and spinach? Can you imagine yourself eating broccoli and cauliflower so fresh and flavorful they don’t need to be drowned in sauce or smothered with butter and salt? Are these scenarios even a remote possibility?

Nutritionists tell us we should be eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, but often eating those vegetables is more of a chore than an enjoyment. Most vegetables, purchased from large suppliers have been in transit for days and are never really fresh. And considering the amount of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides with which they may have been treated, some vegetables may actually be harmful to your health instead of beneficial.

There are solutions to these issues, however as This Week learned when visiting Kent and Ruth Coates at their Nature’s Route Farm.
Although Statistics Canada indicates fewer and fewer young couples are farming, they’ve been making small but steady progress since leaving successful military (naval) careers six years ago and purchasing 90 acres in Point de Bute along Highway 16, with 15 acres currently cultivated. Another 15 acres provides pasture for sheep: 38 ewes, two rams and 50 spring lambs destined for market in October.

They, along with 30 other farmers, are members of the Really Local Harvest Co-op who run the Dieppe Farmers’ Market. They’re also part of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement which means that consumers can arrange to pre-pay for a season’s worth of freshly picked vegetables and have them delivered weekly at competitive prices. “CSAs have a spectrum of how they operate,” Kent explains. “Some will pre-pack panniers and deliver some of each crop they grow, but we do a market-style pick up so people can choose what they want when they come to the parking lot where our truck is parked.” “So while we still identify, as a CSA farm we’re really talking about a weekly vegetable package.’ Ruth says. “People like fne service because they and their children eat better when they have a supply of fresh vegetables instead of relying on fast food choices and some customers say they see significant health benefits”.

Another benefit of pre-purchasing weekly vegetables directly from a CSA business is that customers have an opportunity to meet the farmers and develop a relationship with them. Because trust is an important part of that relationship, the Coates strive for transparency in their production methods.
Although Nature’s Route Farm is not certified organic, Kent and Ruth employ organic farming principles and post details or, their website at Nature’s Route Farm

Potential customers can go there and learn, for example, that vegetable crops are rotated with buckwheat and fall rye. The soil is enriched with K-Mag, a commercial look-alike to a product that certified organic farmers are permitted to use to use, along with 20.5 per cent Solubor to compensate for potassium and boron deficiencies. It’s fertilized with crab meal from Cap-Pelé and sheep manure from their own lambs to provide nitrogen, phosphorous and calcium. They ensure however, that at least four months elapse between the spreading of manure and the harvesting of vegetables.

Pests are managed in an environmentally sustainable and safe way. The Coates do not purchase seeds treated with fungicides and insecticides, and weed by hand or with a hoe so herbicides are not used. Insect netting and row covers are used to protect some crops from insect damage and when necessary organic insecticides such as Entrust 80W for the Colorado Potato bug and BT for broccoli and cabbage are used where netting has not been effective. The website also provides practical tips for the proper cleaning and storage of vegetables and indicates which one store longer and which should be eaten soonest. While these products are so fresh and flavourful, they are delicious eaten raw or lightly steamed, dozens of gourmet recipes are also available on the website to tempt you to eat healthy meals.

For example, you can learn to make spanikopita (using spinach); rapini with pasta and sausage, pac choi (bok choy) with sweet and tangy bed, while for dessert there’s rhubarb cake, muffins, marmalade and a refreshing punch.

Although Nature’s Route Farm began six years ago with a limited crop of potatoes, beans, carrots and lettuce, they have continued to try new crops and produce vegetables requested by customers. Their selection now encompasses over 30 items including broccoli and cauliflower, tomatoes and peppers, spring garlic and green onions, kohlrabi, Swiss chard zucchini, beets, kale and squash.

How you can be part of a Community supported Agricultural project:

Kent and Ruth Coates from Nature’s Route Farms are have been delivering fresh vegetables three times weekly to Sackville and now will extend their service to Moncton, beginning Thursday, July 5 until November 8. You can pick up your order in the parking lot of St. Pat’s Family Centre (across from the Dr. Georges Dumont Hospital) between 4 and 6 p.m. Order forms are downloadable from Nature’s Route Farm. An order for a half-share is priced at $20/week. (A half share provides vegetables for two people, while a full share feeds a family of four for one week.) In Sackville they are available for pick-up at the lot behind the Post Office on Tuesday and Thursday. Their veggies are also available at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings.

Other family owned CSA’s which offer vegetable box delivery program include :

⁃ Ferme Alva Farm (Alain Rousselle and Eva. P Rehak) St-Maurice Ferme Alva Farm

⁃ Windy Hill Farm (Will Pedersen and Alyson Chisholm) McKees Mills Windy Hill Farm

Both of these farms have pick up sites for vegetables boxes in Moncton and Dieppe, sell produce at the Dieppe Market and belong to the Really Local Harvest Co-op.

⁃ La Ferme Pouce Vert / Green Thumb Farm ( Roger and Carmelle Richard) Acadieville Green Thumb Farm
They have pick up sites in Rogersville, St-Ignace and St-Louis and are also members of the Really Local Harvest Co-op.

Photo captions:

In the 30 foot long growing tunnel at Nature’s Route Farms, Kent and Ruth Coates with daughters Jane and Mary show the first carrots and beets of the season. “Our rule of thumb is we do not apply anything on our vegetables we would not want our children exposed to,” their website states.

Community Supportive Agriculture guarantees healthy, fresh, economical and great tasting vegetables weekly and stimulates rural development by offering encouragement to young local farmers through pre-sale of produce. You can pick up your vegetable delivery in Moncton from the Coates family and the Nature’s Route Farm truck at St. Pat’s Family Centre parking lot on Thursdays between 4 and 6 pm, July 5 until November 8.

Credits: M. P. Eaton/ Times & Transcript

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