2020 looks different than any of us had planned and we expect at least some of our pickup locations will be impacted by the pandemic. We don’t know quite yet which ones will have to have back up plans, to what extent and for how long we’ll have to adapt. Regardless of how locations will be impacted, we will be working with each of them to provide options to make sure our subscribers can access their veggies and get them safely.
We will be ensuring that each of our locations have a clear plan in place to provide safe, socially distanced pick up options (many of our locations currently operating are already offering adapted pick up and in-store options for their own products). If we have locations that are restricted or limited by the pandemic, we’ll be sorting out new options for those locations to ensure our subscribers can still get their veggies and get them safely.
If we have locations that are no longer accessible because of public health restrictions, we’ll be sorting out new options for those locations to ensure our subscribers can still get their veggies and get them safely. This could include moving subscribers to another pickup location of their choosing or providing a pickup point close to the original location that will be staffed by the RBG team (think fruit truck on the side of the road).
If your location is impacted in this way, you will receive an email explaining the situation and the new options/processes we’ll be putting in place.
The Minister of Agriculture announced in April that farmers’ markets were an essential service and that they would remain open as long as they follow the guidelines put in place by public health. We WILL be at our market stalls this season (beginning in late May) and we have faith that the managers at the markets we attend will be diligent in maintaining public health standards for reducing the spread of COVID-19.
In addition to that, we will have more sanitization structures and processes in place for our staff at our stalls to ensure customer and staff safety.
Our staff are amazing. They are our top priority when it comes to safety on the farm and at markets. We’re adapting all the tasks on the farm to include distancing between staff members and for those tasks where it is impossible to stay 2m apart, we have masks to help prevent the spread of droplets.
Each staff member will have access to hand sanitizer while working in the field and will be briefed on the most effective use of it. When working on the yard at the packhouse or coolers, our staff have access to plumbing and we will have new processes in place that ensure they will be frequently and properly washing their hands.
We’ll also be sanitizing frequently touched surfaces and extending these requirements to our market stalls as well!
Without our crew, we wouldn’t be able to get your veggies out to you so their health and safety are foremost in our minds and practices, especially during this pandemic.
About the CSA Program
If you’ve never tried our CSA before and want to test us out or if you’re just unsure about whether you can commit to 15 weeks, you may purchase a single week CSA and have the opportunity to purchase more weeks once you’ve been convinced of our quality and freshness!
For Smaller size 1 staple item (carrots and potatoes alternated weekly when available) plus 3-4 short season veggies and for Bigger size 2 staple items (carrots and potatoes every week that they’re available) plus 3-4 veggies of whatever is currently in season. The bounty of our season fluctuates from week to week depending on weather and crop ripeness. While the first few weeks of the season may be smaller, we reach our peak for most crops from late July to mid September. Check out our products page to learn more about our peak season.
When you sign up, be sure to choose the location that is most convenient for you. You must pick up your bounty every Thursday. Pick up hours depend upon on your location of choice.
If you know you’ll not be able to pick up your bounty, you’re free to send a friend or family member in your place. Just give us a heads up with their name so we can add them to your order notes as someone who is approved to pick up your bounty. If no one is able to claim your bounty, it will be donated to a local charity by end of business on Thursday by your pick up location. If you know what weeks you’ll be on holiday, consider choosing our week-to-week ordering option. It may be the right choice for you!
If you think your business would be a good fit with our CSA values, we’d love to talk more with you. If you work in a building where you and 29 of your coworkers would like to participate in the CSA, we offer a company drop off service. Provided 30 people sign up to the program, we’ll deliver your veggies right to your office. If your company is interested in this option, give us a shout. We’d love to chat.
Sorry, there are no substitutions. While you may not have loved Brussels sprouts or kale or fennel in the past, we ask that you give our veggies a try. We’ll do our best to give you creative ways to eat veggies you may not have thought of before. If you absolutely and unequivocally don’t like a particular veggie or you have an allergy to one, our recommendation is to gift it to a friend. After all, who doesn’t love free, fresh, local veggies?!
We are well known for our carrots and potatoes and they are our “staple” items. Depending on your chosen CSA bounty size, you will receive one or both of these most weeks. If you do not eat potatoes and/or carrots, you might be better off visiting us at one of our Farmer’s Market booths to purchase the veggies of your choice.
About the Farm
Each year we hire field staff for the spring and summer to take care of your veggies. We’re always on the look out for great people to employ. If you’re not looking for a full summer work commitment, we do have a few opportunities for our community to come check out the farm. We’ll announce these opportunities through our emails, so keep an eye out for them.
While we’d love to be able to have people pop in to visit at any time, our focus on safety and quality requires us to keep visits scheduled. We are a working farm and the safety of our employees and visitors is of the utmost importance to us.
Our U-Pick, honour system, Saskatoon orchard is open from late July to mid August every year and customers coming to pick berries may come to the orchard unannounced at any time during the Saskatoon season.
Part of the risk-reward structure of a CSA means that our CSA partners accept the bad with the good. Weather in Edmonton is fickle and hard to predict. What we can tell you is that in the 50+ years we’ve been farming these fields, we’ve logged an amazing track record when it comes to crop failure. When much of the city is still covered in snow late into the spring, our fields are insulated by the river and our micro climate allows us to plant earlier than most farmers in the area.
When the June rain begins to drown city gardens, our loamy soil and sloped fields allows the water to drain into the North Saskatchewan. When the summer sun is shrivelling all other signs of life, our proximity to the river means we can irrigate life back into our crops. Does each season work out perfectly? No. But Riverbend Gardens has the unique advantage of being heavy on the reward and low on the risk.
We are not an organic farm but we farm sustainable and only use pesticides minimally and cautiously. Last year we used a pesticide called Decis twice only on the crops that attract the white butterfly/moth. It has a post harvest interval of one day but we wait several days before harvesting after using that product and we only choose to do this as a last resort.
We don’t use any herbicides as our weed management system is done entirely by hand. We irrigate from the North Saskatchewan river and we ensure the water is very clean by getting it tested every year.
When it comes to fertilizers, we only use organic matter compost on our fields. Most of what we use in this regard is simply the leftovers of our harvest that don’t keep. We also have an agreement with Northlands where they bring out a few loads of their used straw from the horse pens and we cultivate it into our fields. While the manure in the straw is obviously good for the soil, the organic matter of the straw itself breaks down into important nutrients for our fields.
Since we are a family farm that sells all our produce directly to consumers, we are committed and connected to our customers and want them to eat and be healthy. It is important to us that customers know their farmers and create a relationship with them so you are able to know and trust where your food comes from.
About the Veggies
We want to celebrate our veggies and highlight their best qualities. Each week you’ll receive an email with cooking recommendations and facts. These will be collected on our site so you can find them back later. We’re always looking to try new recipes with our veggies so if you have a way to eat RBG veggies that you just love, we’d love if it you shared your tricks, tips and recipes with us too.
We make sure that the CSA is at least equal value to purchasing at farmer’s market for the 15 week subscription. While the early weeks may be similar to what you’d get at Farmer’s market for the price, at full season, the CSA bounty is often about $5+ better value. That’s like getting a free bag of perfect potatoes or melt in your mouth carrots!