TC Farm Weekly Produce and Dairy Delivery

A quick peek at what's coming in 2021

Posted on Nov 28, 2020 by Jack McCann
Tags: Newsletter member news

Read more about our TC Farm Produce and Dairy plan for 2021 below.

Or, if you're ready to register, you can jump straight to our signup page.


Finally a TC Farm Weekly Delivery

As 2020 comes to a close, we wanted to give you a sneak peek into what we are planning for 2021. We've been doing some work behind-the-scenes and have new plans for produce and dairy in 2021.


The What

Produce Memberships

The new produce membership we're building will be an optional upgrade.

Meaning members who prefer everything stays the same will continue to enjoy the best food in the region exactly as it has been.

But: the new produce option will be pretty great.


Some highlights of the new offering:

  • Weekly deliveries for organic fruit and veggies
  • Pasture raised milk and butter (also delivered weekly)
  • Free home delivery for all TC Farm products on a weekly basis for most active produce members (some ex burbs may have a small fee)
  • Different options for single person and large households (not one-size-fits all!)


We're not quite ready to launch it just yet. Expect to hear more soon. Think: weeks not months.

Watch your messages! Look for the registration message with more details soon.


Like all CSAs, there will be a limited number of shares.

When we open this up to members, it will be first come, first serve. TC Farm members will receive the registration link before it is sent to the public: if you are not a TC Farm member yet, join as a meat member today!


Questions?

We're sure you have dozens of questions, please post them in the comments below.

We look forward to answering any individual questions after our official produce launch.


Please leave any questions, comments and suggestions at the bottom of the page below.



The Why

An Organic Produce Share like no other

Unfortunately, very few of our original farming friends are still farming. This is especially true for veggie farmers.

Over several years we've been discussing how to solve that problem. We have the very best food and the best members who support a fair value for quality and stewardship. Sadly, the lifestyle and economics of CSAs / Farmers markets are just not sustainable.

This is true even from an agronomic perspective.

A traditional CSA requires each individual farmer to grow 40 or 50 varieties of crops on their land. The harvest for all of these is different, the care required is different too. Almost nobody has land that is ideally suited for potatoes and broccoli since they thrive best in opposite soil types.

With our member's monthly support, current TC Farmers are able to focus on the care of their animals and improve our standards every year.

For produce, we are going to take the same approach. As a group, we are more effective AND raise higher quality food. If one farm's land isn't ideal for potatoes, we're not going to have them raise mediocre potatoes when other farms might be ideally suited for the crop!

Fruit?

Yup. Organic fruit!

We're building a weekly delivery that is more useful than traditional CSAs, that means seasonal organic fruit year round as well!

And TC Farm Milk !

Milking cows is hard. Making it work at a high quality is harder still.

We will need your support and commitment to build the dairy option we dream of.

Look for details soon, but with your support, we plan to offer a weekly milk and butter delivery that you'll love!

Ready to reserve your spot?

Register for produce here

Register your dairy preferences here

Please leave us any comments, questions or ideas in the section below.

We don't have more details to share today, but we'll be in touch soon!


It would be super helpful to hear your thoughts as we finalize our plans.


Please leave any questions, comments and suggestions at the bottom of the page below.

Questions? Comments? Ideas?


Comments (29)

  1. Dianne Heaney:
    Nov 29, 2020 at 08:36 PM

    I am very excited to hear of these new options! I’d love to get milk, berries and cheese (tried one option for my December delivery) from TC Farms. For sure things I would order - blueberries, raspberries, milk and a variety of cheese. I so appreciate the great salad greens I get monthly. As far as veggies - not having the best idea for options of vegetables grown in MN I will just say in a perfect world I would love to be able to purchase broccoli, Brussels sprouts and asparagus from TC Farms. Thanks for all the effort in figuring this out.

  2. Rose Price:
    Nov 29, 2020 at 08:36 PM

    Hi, will the milk be from grass-fed cows, organic and not pasteurized and A2 (from Guernsey, jersey, Limousin breeds)
    Thank you,
    Rose Price

  3. Jack:
    Nov 29, 2020 at 08:52 PM

    Rose - We are finalizing what we are going to be able to do with the milk. Honestly, some of it will come down to the number of members who subscribe. I'll explain more in the next post on why that is, but we're trying to build a milk option that isn't available right now, so we really need the support from enough members to make it viable for the farmers.

    That being said, the current plan is to be A2, pasture-raised, and transition and certified organic feed.

    I am not sure grass-fed is realistic in our climate for several reasons that I can explain later. Our goal for the healthiest animals and milk, best environmental stewardship and animal welfare. Sometimes as idealistic as I am, there isn't always a 'best' that balances all of the goals perfectly. Check out my article about barley beef and some of the pros and cons of 100% grass-fed. Even though the vast majority of our beef is the 100% grass fed option, there are extra stresses on the cattle for grass fed if they are milking, especially if we want year-round milk.
    https://tc.farm/blog/2019/08/22/barley-finished-beef/

    The one thing you can be sure of is that we're focused on what we think will be the best food even if we need to think outside of the box a bit !

  4. Laura:
    Nov 29, 2020 at 09:23 PM

    Very interested in all of it. Fruit veggie milk. But we are a household of 2. So we would need small quantity options for weekly or the ability to be a member but order every other week. Most CSAs are too large for us. Please have options for smaller households!

  5. Jack McCann:
    Nov 29, 2020 at 09:30 PM

    Laura - Thanks!

    Yes, the plan is to make an option that will work better for smaller households. The 'medium' box will be geared towards 1-3 people. If one person, they better love to cook, but I think two people cooking a fair amount will be fine.

    Part of our goal is to make a delivery that is more 'normal' ... in that it matches what real people actually want to eat, not what a single farm has to grow and stick in a box.

    The addition of some fruit will make it more viable to have a share for a 1-3 person household because you don't have to get $30 of lettuce and radish every week in the spring!

    As a group, we can just be more efficient and make it more viable for different size households than individuals are able to do.

    Keep the questions coming!

  6. Karen:
    Nov 29, 2020 at 10:28 PM

    Looking forward to hearing more. Organic product conveniently delivered sounds fantastic! I am loving the big bag of greens every month.

  7. Diane Hamilton:
    Nov 29, 2020 at 11:35 PM

    Really excited about this and can’t wait to learn more details.

  8. Jennifer Her:
    Nov 30, 2020 at 08:28 AM

    Super excited to hear more details. For me, local, sustainable and responsible top the list. The more of that you can offer, the more I'll look to you for my grocery items!

  9. Denise Piotrowski:
    Nov 30, 2020 at 09:03 AM

    I am also very excited at the prospect of sustainably grown local produce and dairy delivered to my house! We also have a smaller household so the typical CSA didn't really appeal to me. I am curious if you have considered including any goat dairy in the options. Goats are very sustainable!

  10. Jack McCann:
    Nov 30, 2020 at 09:57 AM

    We don't have any current plans for goat dairy; however, one of our original partner farms has always wanted to milk sheep and has been growing out a flock (that's where a lot of our lamb comes from). Our hope is to use that sheep milk in a custom cheese within a couple of years.

    Dairy is really a lot of work and a big process to get setup and requires a commitment from a lot of people to make it happen - that's why it has taken us so long to move that forward. We finally think we have enough members to pull it off!

  11. Donna Jensen:
    Dec 02, 2020 at 08:31 AM

    I too am excited for locally grown and sustainable! It’s just my husband and I. I am diabetic and manage it thru what I eat so for the most part fruit is not an option. I’m focused on low carb vegetables so the extent to which I can get these will determine if this is an option for us. I also have a dairy sensitivity so butter would be our main dairy purchase. Thank you so much for all you do!

  12. Laura Parcells:
    Dec 08, 2020 at 11:55 AM

    I am assuming we will be able to select 1 or 2% milk, not just whole milk? Dietary restrictions prevent whole milk for us.

    And assuming we can get unsalted butter which is what I use for baking.

  13. Laura Parcells:
    Dec 08, 2020 at 11:58 AM

    Just registered for produce. Questions:

    Can only skip 3 deliveries.. what days will you be delivering? Summer cabin season, we leave Thursday mornings, return either Sunday or Monday. Every other week... We have gotten mostly wednesdays, but some thursdays which are easy to plan around once a month, but weekly...not so much.

    Your egg choices has a minimum of 0 or 1 per week. We would use 2/month on average, so not sure. Maybe 3/month if baking. Trying to be honest here. I picked 1 but if everyone in my situation did, you would have too much.

    Will it be possible to skip produce and just get a dozen eggs or milk one week? And not be considered a skipped delivery? Or will there be a minimum delivery size. With only 2 people we don't eat that much. But love all your food, so willing to at least start out and try this. Ideally an every other week option would be PERFECT for us to keep things fresh. Consider this for small family/small appetites?

  14. Michelle Fahey:
    Dec 08, 2020 at 05:32 PM

    We are also 2 person household and need a small box or every other week delivery - we live in Le Sueur so I was wondering if I could get it delivered to work (In St Louis Par) or I could pick it up on my way home at same delivery place as our monthly meat delivery?

    AND have a cabin which we would like a Tuesday or Wednesday delivery

    I’m excited to support and eat more from TC Farms

  15. Jack McCann:
    Dec 08, 2020 at 07:53 PM

    Michelle-
    Thanks for the questions!

    1) Yes, you can have the delivery to a place of work, no problem. Just keep your customer address current to where you want the delivery to go to.

    2) We are not sure exactly the day of the week we would deliver, but probably a Wed - Friday as a window. We may have some flexibility depending on how many members join.

    3) Our intention is to have a program that works for single-person households without having them drown in veggies like a typical CSA would.

    We are envisioning a more balanced share than a typical CSA with more 'useful' food. To us, that means more items that are easier to use and include a reasonable portion as fruit. As such, we anticipate the smaller portion would work for a 1-2 person household which cooks on a semi-regular basis (but not every night) or up to two kids if they aren't eating quite as much.

    Right now we have a few skips built into the season for anyone to skip for any reason.

    We may add some additional flexibilities into the program based on feedback with the idea of making it even easier for smaller households or other requests.

  16. Jack McCann:
    Dec 08, 2020 at 08:05 PM

    Laura -

    1) Dairy selection - The dairy selection will be based on member requests. We will try to minimize the number of items to keep it simple, but clearly, one size doesn't fit all families (we've learned that over the last ten years!). My assumption for butter was unsalted, that's my preference too, but if we had requests for both, we'd be able to make that work too. I specifically didn't list milk fat options on the form because that'd just turn into too many choices at this stage. However, Organic Valley, being a farmer cooperative, seemed very excited about our group and with the opportunity to serve our members!

    2) See my comment above about sizing, timing and delivery. We will probably have some flexibility, but again, it will really depend on the members as to what we're able to build as a group -- so exciting!

    I am sure we will have a solid solution for smaller households and/or those who do not cook as frequently as others... I have several additional ideas, but I really want to get further down our logistical plans before we rolled out specifics (some options really just depend on the total number of members who help in the inaugural season!)

    Thanks for the support!!

  17. Jack McCann:
    Dec 08, 2020 at 08:14 PM

    Laura-

    Sorry - forgot to respond about the eggs -- Thx for clarifying. Good to know that some people who say 1 doz per week really mean one dozen Most* weeks.

    At this stage, we are just trying to get a rough idea. We won't be able to expand our egg production too much again until August. IF we knew right now if our current plans are going to be insufficient, we could look at ways to expand further and prevent additional delays for our members.

    For what it is worth, many chick breeds are already sold out through the entire 2021 season. We've already reserved the majority of our broilers and all of our planned laying hens (!).

    Having a monthly commitment from our members is what makes this possible, I can't imaging trying to do this without all of you!

  18. Denise & Joel Mack:
    Dec 12, 2020 at 07:52 PM

    We love the idea of receiving fresh organic produce weekly! We tend to shop monthly for groceries, but wind up needing to make runs for fresh produce or plan around frozen. Our issue with produce CSAs has been not not knowing what will be included/ inability to plan meals accordingly, but it sounds like you intend to have specific selections - which is great. Organic heirloom tomatoes is our biggest request. We also enjoy fresh organic cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, asparagus, potatoes & other root veggies (radishes, red onion, carrots, sweet potatoes)... Are you considering organic herbs also? We're fans of cilantro, rosemary and basil in particular. We'd also enjoy things like spinach and other microgreens if they are available. Of course we'd enjoy any berries. Thank you for your dedication and everything you do!

  19. Denise & Joel Mack:
    Dec 12, 2020 at 07:54 PM

    Also meant to say that we love Organic Valley!!! We don't drink milk, but we enjoy their butter, cream, half & half, + shredded cheeses.

  20. Jack McCann:
    Dec 12, 2020 at 08:04 PM

    Denise & Joel - Thanks for the comments!

    You are correct, we plan to be a bit more 'usable' for the default delivery. This means that especially in the early season, we will still bring in some organic produce from out of state to avoid the box being full of only raddish and salad greens. Later in the season, we should be nearly all local and then in the winter transition back into more from out of state (but the winter produce being local where possible).

    Honestly, the biggest thing we need right now is to get everyone registered or at least reserving a spot if the deposit is too much to make all at once right now. Then we will be able to get our farms ordering seeds and start our early access program.

    Your list of items sounds right up our alley, with the addition of some fruits to balance out the package. Id' add in some sweet peppers as part of the staple diet in our household too.

    Look for options for more adventurous foods too. Once we get the deliveries started, we will work towards more customization options too.

    We still have several things to announce that we're pretty excited about, stay tuned!

  21. David Noding:
    Dec 19, 2020 at 08:16 PM

    Hi I was wondering how the fruit & vegetable delivery will you be required to get the fruit with the veggies? My main interest is definitely the Veggies (Root, Cruciferous, Greens) I have a list of all the ones I'd love to see,
    Onions (all kinds white, yellow, red, green, leeks, shallots, etc)
    Carrots (Orange long stalks)
    Garlic
    Ginger
    Rutabaga
    White Daikon radish
    Horseradish
    Baby broccoli
    Cauliflower (White & other colors)
    Red Cabbage
    Brussel Sprouts
    Green beans
    Bok Choy
    Celery
    Golden Beet

    I am so excited about this! I also wanted to ask a little about dairy, Will the butter be Raw or pasteurized? If fruit has to be included I will lend them to family & others who are not familiar with local options.

    Although I would not get them weekly (like the others listed) I think nightshade vegetables will do you guys good too (tomato) I would get tomato's once every couple months & attempt to make a pizza sauce with it! With your guys crust, cheese, pepperoni.. heck even better if you guys had a pre made pizza sauce that would sell.
    people are always looking for healthier ways to eat pizza :)
    My favorite fruits would be the BERRIES

    I am very stoked, can't wait for updates on this!
    Attempting to sign up for CSA before wasn't this easy and convenient.
    -David


  22. Jack / Betsy:
    Dec 20, 2020 at 01:19 AM

    David-

    Thanks for the great suggestions and excitement!

    On the pizza -- yes, we've been working towards a sauce and also a 'take and bake' option for the pizza -- stay tuned.

    For the customization of the produce share, we are currently asking for everyone to help us build the program by committing to a blended share. That being said, as I mentioned in the comments above, we have plans to transition into a more flexible option as soon as possible. Hopefully, with our early access starting in January, we will have customization options in full swing by summer.

    In regards to milk, everything we do at TC Farm is fully inspected and legal. Unfortunately, it is still not legal to distribute raw milk, so all of our options will be pasteurized. It seems like half the comments we've received are looking for raw and half wanted to make sure it was pasteurized. We've got several plans for dairy in the works, we just need to register enough support to start some of our plans.

  23. Sally:
    Dec 26, 2020 at 12:04 PM

    I would be very excited about A2 milk. While it's fairly easy to find it ultra-pasturized, and I would be fine with it unpasteurized, having it with simple pasturization, makes it so much more use-able. The ultrapasurization kills any culture you might want to add. Most of my milk goes to make yogurt, so that is why it matters to me. :-)

  24. Rebecca & Joel Back:
    Dec 29, 2020 at 09:44 PM

    Love the produce idea!
    We are a family of four and cook heavily with:
    Onions
    Potatoes
    Tomatoes
    Bell peppers
    Cucumbers
    Corn
    Green beans
    Carrots

    Other spring and summer veggies are always welcome! Smaller bags of greens would be great too!
    Another idea of you end up with bumper crops of some items is to offer those that you can't move fast enough as bulk purchases for those who might want to can/freeze or make a large batch of salsa or something like that :)

  25. Colleen Manganiello:
    Dec 30, 2020 at 04:39 PM

    Questions about the produce share: If I signed up for it and then after trying it decided that it's just not working for me and don't want to do it anymore, is that something that I can cancel at anytime? Also will we know what's in each share ahead of time? And I see that you have to fill in the eggs per week but what if I don't want eggs every week but rather just keep it monthly or as needed like I do now? Is that something I could still do? If I put "0" for the weekly amount on the produce sign up form, will I still have my monthly eggs? Sorry if I'm asking any questions you might have already answered. Thanks.

  26. Sam:
    Dec 30, 2020 at 08:52 PM

    Hello! I can’t stand the abundance of plastic in food packaging but I love the idea of getting more sustainable / local produce and dairy. Do you use plastic or paper packaging for produce, eggs and dairy? Or perhaps something returnable? I don’t think I could stomach getting a plastic container every week so I had to ask!

  27. Jack McCann:
    Dec 30, 2020 at 09:18 PM

    Sam -

    Thanks for asking! I totally agree about the plastic and we do everything we can to minimize waste.

    You might like the blog posts I wrote about ways to reduce plastic and disposable paper in everyday use (click on the blog menu and choose 'tools' to see one of the articles ... and search our blog for 'cloth' to find another).

    When it comes to packaging, reusing is always best:

    We use the paper egg cartons and encourage members to return any clean egg cartons which have been opened and stacked for reuse. (search our blog for 'carton' to read more).

    We ask that our coolers are returned for re-use as well.

    For produce, the type of packaging will vary. Some will be plastic, but we will use paper products when it an option. Reuse of product packaging on produce isn't really allowed due to the fact that some produce items are not cooked and there is a risk of contamination. We do plan to reuse the external containers and ask for those to be returned.

    For milk, we currently will plan to use the regular paper type containers for now. However, there are several plans up in the air for milk that might allow a more sustainable option in the future. The more members who register for milk, the more options we will have.

    Below is a broader answer which you didn't really ask about -- but I am also very concerned about waste in the food industry... 10 years ago we were concerned consumers and started our own hobby farm because of those concerns and more.

    Over that time I've been shocked to see how much waste there is in a normal distributor/retail type food system. We consumers see the plastic waste that goes home with us from the grocery. However, the waste in the back room or at distribution centers is hidden from us. The number of trucks and deliveries the grocery stores each day... it is crazy. I've come to realize the most impactful way to reduce plastic or other waste is to purchase products as direct as possible.

    For example, if you go to a grocery store or butcher shop, they are typically buying their meat in primals and breaking it down for the customers into smaller cuts at the store. Those primals come in HEAVY plastic to keep the bigger cuts from going bad through all the distribution steps required just to get it to the store. The pallets they come on are again wrapped in plastic. Stores get TONS of small partial pallets in every day and that plastic all gets thrown out.

    We try to minimize any of that type of plastic and since we aren't restocking 'shelves' every day, we don't need as many trucks or small partial pallets covered in -- but we of course still need the final packaging so the items can actually get to a consumer -- THAT packaging itself needs to be minimized as much as possible.

    We are often asked to use butcher 'paper', but that 'paper' is lined with plastic. That makes it not recyclable and worse it wrecks other recyclables if someone tries to recycle it unknowingly. Furthermore, that packaging requires a lot more material and doesn't keep the meat as well -- so it also results in food waste or lower quality.

    Most of the plastic in our process is actually recyclable if returned to a 'grocery bag' type recycling drop off point. We are hoping to move to all compostable plastic once we are able, I've had some promising conversations this year about being able to do that in the semi-near future. -- the technology isn't quite there yet, but we think it will be soon.

    Anyhow - that's a long rant about waste, but hopefully, you know we're on the same page and will be doing whatever we can to continually reduce and reuse where possible.

  28. Jack McCann:
    Dec 30, 2020 at 09:30 PM

    Colleen -- Thanks for asking all these questions. I'll see what I can do to answer them here:

    I can cancel at anytime?
    We are asking members to commit to a full season for this first year so that we can get the produce group off the ground. In exchange, members who are pre-registering early (i.e. now) will receive free home delivery every week for this season. We do allow for 3 skips and of course, want to be flexible, but we're hoping TC Farm members can commit to our produce farmers just like a normal veggie CSA (only our mixed CSA will be easier to use).

    If that feels like too much, I understand. Many people have experienced CSAs where there is just WAY too much of one item at a time to really use all the food. We do NOT plan on offering that kind of package.

    That being said, we might be offering some first come- first serve boxes that would be a la carte, but they would not include the home delivery or be something one could count on since we would only plan on having a limited quantity of those.

    will we know what's in each share ahead of time?
    Yes.

    We also plan to include some great recipes and add-on options like meal kits and some other fun things we haven't announced yet.

    what if I don't want eggs every week?
    Eggs will be something you can remove each week just like now -- produce members will just have the option to receive eggs weekly, but if you reserved 2 doz eggs a week, you can always skip the eggs. In reality, we are going to have a hard time raising enough eggs until about August or September 2021 (so best to reserve what you want and stock up now!).

    If I put "0" for the weekly amount on the produce sign up form, will I still have my monthly eggs?
    Yes, you will. If you currently have 2 doz eggs once a month and put in 0 weekly eggs on the form, you'll still have your 2 doz eggs. If you decided you wanted one doz a week, you could enter 1 doz in the form and we would REPLACE your 2 doz monthly eggs with 1 doz weekly. But you would be able to skip any of those weeks you wanted.

    We anticipate having our software updated by spring which will allow members to manage things like the egg reservations and frequency online.

    Hope that helps? Thanks for the questions and support!

  29. Kori Carlson:
    Jan 05, 2021 at 12:54 PM

    I think you address this above, but our family's biggest concern with a CSA is the types of veggies we are getting. Our kids LOVE most of the staples (broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, etc.) but a CSA gets hard when we need easy meals and fresh foods that won't go to waste (because only one or two of use will eat them or we don't know how to cook most of what we get). I can't keep enough of those basics in the fridge or freezer and would love to support local with less waste.


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