Can you believe how quickly we're speeding through the year so far? It might be hard to believe, especially since our May weather wasn't all that different from our January weather. But, with it being the beginning of June, we're feeling the crunch of time and the weight of the daylight hours' potential. The beginning of summer brings with it a particular emotion for farmers - I don't know if there's an actual word for it - but it's a mixture of hope and excitement for what's to come, a touch of sorrow over the plans that had to be abandoned, and a little bit of wild energy - just enough to get it all done! The rest of this month marks the final days of the year's first half, which causes us to pause and reflect (an overall healthy habit that we're trying to implement more!) and celebrate our accomplishments.
As the New Year rolled in, so too did The Market and the processing shed construction upgrades. Our team worked throughout the winter to update and expand the processing shed to contain a much larger walk-in cooler (for storing so many more veggies and other goodies!) and enclose the processing area to keep our crew and our volunteers dry and safe from the sun. Our Market area has also had a few upgrades - actual walls, doors, and a ceiling to start! Over the winter and early spring, The Market has transformed from a bare-bones garage space to a beautiful new climate-controlled market with room for so many farm-grown and locally made goodies.
In years past, our markets went from farm stands open just 1 day a week, to farm stands open 2 days a week, to self-serve farm stands open 4 days a week, to now a market that is open 6 days a week as a one-stop shopping experience. You can now peruse all your favorite Woodside Farms produce as well as local eggs, cheeses, breads, jams, pastas, soaps, fully prepared meals, and so much more! Not only can you now shop for just about anything in your own back yard but you can also do so at a discount with our Farm Shares program.
As an amendment to our CSA programs of the past, we've reworked our system to better serve our customers with our Farm Shares. Farm Shares are essentially a buyer's program where you're invited to pre-pay for your produce up-front, in exchange for a discount on all specified market items correlating with the amount you pre-pay. Pre-paying helps the farm better prepare for the growing needs of its community. The best part? There aren't any expiration dates on credits. As long as the Market is open, you can shop!
Another addition to the Woodside Farms landscape is the way we welcome volunteers. In years past we've had volunteers join us only on Friday mornings, usually to help us pack up all our tasty produce, and kept our work share program separate. Volunteers could join us whenever fit their schedules and were thanked with $15 coupons for every 4 complete shifts for which they joined us. Whereas work share members were asked to commit to 4-hour shifts every week for the entirety of the program in exchange for $25 in produce a week. However, this year the two were combined into our new program called Farm Blocks. Those who are interested in joining us can sign up for any shift (both AM and PM shifts are available) that fits their schedule (Monday - Friday) in exchange for $25 worth of Market credit for each shift! You can also check out our Farm Blocks webpage to check out a weekly schedule to know ahead of time the work you're likely to take part in when you get to the farm! Thank you to all the members of our Farm Blocks program who have participated so far. We couldn't turn our to-do lists into to-done lists without them!
Y'all have asked and we've listened. Pre-made meals are available for purchase in the new Market - order ahead of time for a Thursday or Friday pick-up at The Market. The reviews are in and these meals can't be missed! We also have many Gluten-Free options.
Earth day Pop-ups, Art Guild
We kicked off our season of events at The Barn back in April with a farm favorite, Earth Day! This is one of our most beloved annual celebrations and we're so thankful to everyone who came out to celebrate with us. Continuing with our Market Days, we'll be hosting an art show with the Chickahominy Art Guild on Saturday, June 10th, from 10 am-1 pm at The Barn. Come join us to tour Chickahominy Falls model homes, explore miles of walking trails, and shop at our Market while listening to live music. Saturdays have never been more inspired at Chickahominy Falls, where creativity is always homegrown.