Mackin Creek Farm’s Cathie Allen and Rob Borsato are giving up their much-loved Box a Week program they created to help deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to people in the region.

Mackin Creek Farm’s Cathie Allen and Rob Borsato are giving up their much-loved Box a Week program they created to help deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to people in the region.

Box a Week program winds down

It is the end of an era. Last week Mackin Creek Farm confirmed it is stopping its Box a Week program.

It is the end of an era.

Last week Mackin Creek Farm confirmed it is stopping its Box a Week program.

“We’re going to downsize a bit,” Rob Borsato, who runs Mackin Creek Farm with his partner Cathie Allen, said. “The box program was about a third of our gross income, and the farmer’s market in Quesnel is another player.”

They are also seeking more balance in their lives, he added.

“We’re not retiring yet, but we need to get a handle on things a bit.”

Mackin Creek Farm is located about 45 minutes drive from Williams Lake along the West Fraser Road.

For the last 18 years, close to 100 people had been receiving the boxes during a 16-week delivery period each beginning mid-June.

“We tried to stay fairly close to Williams Lake, to many of the offices and businesses in town, and individual deliveries if they weren’t too far out of town,” Bob Borsato said.

The intent was always to mimic what a person would have in their own vegetable garden, so the boxes changed as the season changed.

“We’d start with early greens — spinaches and lettuces in the spring, moving into summer crops of squashes, carrots and potatoes, and finishing with late season crops, such as parsnips and cabbages,” Borsato said, adding he and his partner Cathie Allen were going to enjoy some leek and potato soup later in the day.

Generally there was at least a dozen things in the weekly boxes, if not more, he added.

Borasto and Allen raise chickens and pigs for limited sale, and every year they attend the Medieval Fair to sell hundreds of pounds of carrots.

“We still have about 6,000 pounds of carrots in the ground, so we’ve been digging all day today,” Borsato said, adding it’s a race to beat the frost, and he’s banking on a few more weeks before the serious cold weather sets in.

He arrived in the Cariboo in the 1970s and it caught his eye.

“I loved the early springs, the dry Douglas fir forests, the warm summers, and the lower winter snowfalls,” he recalled.

In the mid-1980s when he met Allen they had the opportunity to purchase a piece of land and started the farm in 1988. Around the same time, they helped form the Quesnel Farmers’ Market Association and the Cariboo Organic Producers Association.

By the mid-1990s their interest in growing organic produce was stronger than the local farmers’ market demands, so they began exploring marketing options.

“We learned about box programs — often called CSAs — Community Supported Agriculture — through the local Ministry of Agriculture office, and decided to give this a try,” Borsato said. “Essentially, it is a food guild, where members prepay for the entire season, then get a box of vegetables delivered weekly to their doorstep or place of employment.”

They called  it Box-A-Week, and their signature feature was the handmade wooden boxes with the logo branded on them.

“We also included a newsletter with each weekly box,” he said. “It contained recipes featuring produce in the box, and a little bit of chatter about what was happening on the farm at the time, or some food-related discussion.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

As a former reporter and editor at the Tribune, Diana French carries on sharing her ideas through her weekly column. (Photo submitted)
FRENCH CONNECTION: Skating rink welcomed

This lake one will not last long but is still worth it

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.
FOREST INK: New batteries close to industrial level applications

The good news is the hope that this cost should come down each year

Researchers in B.C. say earlier than usual return of bats or dead bats can indicate trouble, such as signs of white-nose syndrome. (Cathy Koot photo)
Public help is essential for monitoring for bat disease

Anyone finding a dead bat is asked to report it to the BC Community Bat Program

Sandi Griffiths is the region’s new district manager of transportation for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
New MOTI district manager takes the wheel in Williams Lake

Sandi Griffiths replaces Todd Hubner who retired recently

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Most Read