Summer Box Overview
**Starts in June (exactly which week depends on Spring Weather)
**Ends after 22 boxes (early November, then winter box starts)
**Sign-up between Feb and May (late and mid-season signups are often accommodated)
**Delivery every week on Thursday
between Noon and 6 (usually done before 4pm).
**Large box base is $13-$17 to which you add selections from the online shop each week
**Small box base is $9-13 to which you add selections from the online shop each week
**Payment: Full Box Subscribers pay $300 upon sign-up. Pay-As-You-Go Customers pay $50 towards their first boxes on registration, and then pay-as-you-go.
Dresden Farm Pickup is free
Depot Delivery $1.25/box
Home Delivery $5.00/box
Tell all your friends!
Winter Box Overview
**Starts in November (9-Nov-17 for this season)
**Ends a bit before summer box starts (usually after about 15 bi-weekly boxes, probably last box 24-May-18 this year)
**Sign-up usually between Sep and November (late and mid-season signups are often accommodated)
**Delivery every 2nd week on Thursday
between Noon and 6 (usually all delivered between noon and 3pm).
**Large box 2017 estimated total is $450
**Small box 2017 estimated total is $350
First Installment is estimated half the total and paid before the 1st box.
2nd (Final) Installment is calculated and invoiced after the last box.
Dresden Farm Pickup is free
Depot Delivery $1/box (increase to $1.25 in 2018)
Home Delivery $4.50/box (increase to $5 in 2018)
Tell all your friends!
Local Businesses that serve as depots for our program:
80 William Street South, Chatham 45 Talbot Street West, Blenheim 504 James Street, Wallaceburg
- For Full Box Subscribers (pay upfront and sign up for the season) you will be able to skip boxes for weeks in which you are out of town (no longer a limit on box skips).
- Pay-as-you-go Box Customers will be able to order a box whenever they like, but will have second choice from the online store (their chance to place orders starts 24hrs after the full subscribers.
- SUBSTITUTIONS: We reserve the right to make reasonable substitutions or else reduce your order if at packing time physical inventories do not match the projection upon which the orders were received. Invoice adjustment would be made accordingly, if necessary. This disclaimer is because our online offerings will be made in part based upon forward harvest projections.
- PAYMENTS: Payment by cheque in the mail, cash at the farm, debit machine on the farm and e-transfer will be accepted. NEW Option starting May 2018: payment online through your account login by visa or payal will be possible.
- What is a full subscriber?
A full subscriber commits to the full season (summer season June-Nov or winter season Nov-May, or both) and pays an upfront first installment by e-transfer, cash or cheque (think of it as a tab on the season). Full season first installment in 2018 is $300, due by 31-Mar or upon sign-up. Full subscribers get "first dibs" on each week's harvest (they can place orders on inventory 24 hrs early compared with other members. The commitment of full subscribers allows us to plan for the season's production by giving us a projection of the market demand, and it provides positive cash flow which is essential to our farm. Thank-you so much to our full subscribers!
- River Bell Market Garden is certified organic. See our website for information on our certifying body and certificate. Humble Bee is in transition, and will be certified organic in 2018.
- When will my box be delivered?
The boxes are packed in the morning and delivered between the hours of 1pm and 6 p.m on Thursday.
- All Depot Options:
Wallaceburg – James Street Eatery. You may request a neighbourhood delivery in Wallaceburg, and if there is one closer to your location we can see about accommodating you. You might also want to volunteer your house as a neighbourhood depot and we will see if there are others for whom it would be convenient.
Chatham – The Dutch Market at their new location at 80 William Street. The Dutch Market includes some of our vegetables in their grocery section: especially carrots, kale, tomatoes and cucumbers.
Other Communities: We have had Blenheim (The Life By Design Centre, 45 Talbot St), Ridgetown and Port Lambton depots at customers' homes in 2016. We hope to do so again, if there are enough customers again in each town. New depot possibilities, if we have enough customers located there, could be Tilbury, Thamesville, Sarnia, Oil City and Petrolia. Ask about the possibility of having a neighbourhood depot in their community and get your neighbours on board to make it possible for us! Special delivery premiums may apply to some new depots.
- Do I have to be at home to accept my box for a home delivery?
You need not be at home for us to deliver your Organic Box. We will leave the Box wherever you indicate in your delivery instructions (ie. garage, porch, front step, shed, balcony, with a neighbour, lobby, etc). In the summer months, please select a location out of direct sunlight and rain. Remember to leave out your empty box for collection. Other re-useable packaging (pint baskets etc) returned to us can also be left for return.
- Can I pick up my Organic Box in Dresden?
Certainly, you may also pick up your Organic Box from the farm. We are located at 559 Sydenham Street, Dresden Ontario, and are available for pick-up on Thursday from noon to 9pm, or Friday through Saturday between 10 am and 7 pm. We also have pickup locations in Chatham and Wallaceburg. There is no delivery premium if you pickup at the farm.
- How is my Organic Box delivered?
We deliver your fruits and vegetables in a sturdy plastic tote. At each delivery, we collect your empty box and replace it with another one full of fresh organic produce.
- What about empty box returns?
For depot or farm pickup bring your empty box with you on the next pickup, and make an exchange of new stocked box for empty. For home delivery, leave your empty at the place where we leave your bins, and we make the exchange.
- Do I have to clean my box?
Please make sure you box is clean. We now use a light garbage bag as a liner, so that the bins stay much cleaner. If for some reason your box becomes dirty, do a quick wipe with a wet cloth might be all that is required, then air dry or with a dry towel. This is important because the box will sit for a week at the depot, normally, before we get it and any organic matter left in the boxes will spoil and stink, which is not good for our depot hosts. At River Bell we check all bins and wash as required prior to re-use.
- What if I forget to leave last week's empty box at my front door?
This is not a problem. We will still leave your full Organic Box for you and can collect the two empty boxes at your next delivery date. Just try not to make this a habit, because if too many forget and skip a week too often, we will quickly run short of totes for a delivery day.
- What if I forget a pickup on Thursday, or cannot make it until a day or two later?
The longer your box waits for you, the less fresh it will be, but it is possible to pick up your box a day or two late if necessary. On the farm, we are able to keep the orphan boxes in our cooler after Thursday, so they have a better chance. At the depots this is not usually possible so you will usually be losing some of your more perishable items. Please be as prompt as you can with the depots, because the spoiling vegetables do little to enhance their atmosphere, sometimes, plus the boxes eventually are perceived as clutter. To mitigate this burden to the depots, it is policy now that after Saturday the boxes must be considered forfeit, and are cleaned out. Especially in the summer boxes, little of value is left after 3 warm days.
- What if I live in an apartment building?
We will do our best to deliver your box to an apartment. However, we require delivery instructions that will instruct our driver on what to do if you are not home. Apartment deliveries, without delivery instructions or access inside the building, will be brought back to our farm for customer pick up. Boxes left in vestibules at the customers request, will not be replaced if stolen. If you would like to discuss your specific delivery circumstances please call our office to make arrangements at 519-683-2052 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- What if I'm on vacation or need to skip delivery for a week or two?
You may skip a week or weeks - we have removed all limits on skips but of course we prefer you access our delicious healthy veggies on a regular basis. A skipped week just means you don't order online for that week, and when you are back you just get back into your weekly online ordering habit. As an alternative, you could share your box when you are on holidays with a friend, neighbour or relative – just have them use your login (or onlin order for them) and direct them to pick it up in from your regular location (the drop spot or your 'doorstep') on the weeks you are away.
- Can I give an Organic Box membership as a gift?
What a good idea! Glad you brought it up. A box subscription is a terrific way to make sure your kids, your grandkids or your elderly parents are getting the best food possible every week during the season. Think of people you know who are too busy or pre-occupied with other things to make those trips to farmers market for the good stuff, but who could make good use of fresh local food.
- Will there be a Winter Box?
Yes. Details will go out in September most likely. Space is offered first to current summer subscribers and previous winter subscribers, then to the waiting list.
- What if I don't want certain vegetables or fruits?
If they are a part of your base box (large or small) you must take them. Any box ordered must include at least one box base. Beyond the base, you have full choice to pick what you like and leave what you don't.
- How do I store my organic produce?
Your River Bell box will be coming to you fresher than the grocery store stuff, so you should be able to keep it well for a longer period.
* Your drop spot should be as cool as possible and out of the sun, and do your best to limit the amount of time before it is safe in the fridge. For pickup from the depot, do your very best to pick it up Thursday afternoon or evening, and not wait for Friday or Saturday. If necessary, have a friend pick it up and refrigerated it for you if you are not available on the delivery day.
* For most things, cold is key to extending its shelf life. A nice cold fridge set to no warmer than 4 degrees will help all your organic fruits and veggies last longer.
* Many things will do better in bags or the crisper to keep the fridge from drying them out.
* Greens and other things may need hydration and will perk right up if given a cold water bath in the fridge.
* Exceptions: tomatoes, garlic and sweet potatoes (like bananas) need a cool but not cold temperature – countertop or cool pantry will be fine.
We often include storage and cooking tips in our weekly box reminder emails (these go out the day before the box delivery).
- What if I'm not happy with something in my Organic Box?
Please do not hesitate to send an email to us – email@example.com. Your problem might be something we are unaware of, and worse; it might be a problem that others are having with their box. Feedback from members about the quality of the produce assists us in preparing better and better boxes for everyone. Please keep in mind, however, that organic fruit and vegetables by their very nature are generally not uniform in shape and colour. Our priorities are taste, nutrition and freshness before uniformity and appearance. Fresh produce also requires refrigeration to keep from spoiling quickly.
- Where is the food in the box from?
Everything is from River Bell with a few exceptions:
*Certified Organic Sweet potatoes in the fall and especially in the winter box come from Paul Watson. Paul's operation is in Tupperville, a few miles from our farm, and is certified organic.
*Certified organic potatoes and apples we purchase from Pfennings in New Hamburg pfenningsorganics.ca. Pfennings is an Ontario leader in organic vegetable production, processing and distribution.
*Certified organic blueberries we purchase from Blueberry Hill Farm in Rodney. You should make a trip out there if you like to pick your own - their berries are unbelievably good (and abundant on the bushes!).