Flavour Trails 2020 Frequently Asked Questions
What makes Flavour Trails different this year?
‘Not a Flavour Trails weekend, but a Flavour Trails season”’
Imagine a season-long, self-guided Flavour Trail route that invites the public to explore North Saanich country roads and visit farm gates that offer up the best flavours of the region and season. The public can bike, walk, or drive, and decide who and where they will visit. A regularly updated website and mobile application allows them to “virtually tour” the Flavour Trail as they go…watching digital stories of each farm/venue, reading up on each venue’s hours and offerings, deciding on their route.
Farmers and food providers have flexibility in this Reimagined Flavour Trails.
- your opening hours (you can be open every day, or once a month, etc…)
- whether you would to simply offer a farm gate stand, or set addition hours to meet the public/answer questions/offer a demonstration
- what forms of payment you will accept
Why have we changed the format of Flavour Trails this year?
In an effort to keep our community safe from the spread of COVID-19, our usual beloved community “gathering” celebrations–such as the Sidney Street Market– are cancelled for the 2020 summer. As Flavour Trails is already a multi-location event, we have the possibility to explore options that support the mandate of Flavour Trails while maintaining COVID-19 protocols and keeping people safe. The new season long component of the program allows us to spread out the visitation over summer to easily maintain physical distancing.
Who can be a part of this Reimagined Flavour Trails?
Every North Saanich farm, farm gate and/or food producer is invited to participate in this COVID-adaped Flavour trails season to benefit from the promotion and sales opportunity that this program brings. The beauty of this approach is that farms and venues who are not typical Flavour Trail participants have a chance to be part of the promotion!
If I choose to participate as a farmer or food provider, what do I need to do?
Prior to the opening of the season, each participating farm will be invited by the Flavour Trail Coordinators (this year Jen Rashleigh & Steve Duck) to participate in the manner that suits you best. Jen and Steve are available and happy to chat with you and work through how to best set up your farm gate.
How will I set up my farm gate? What if I don’t have a farm gate stand?
If you already have a farm gate stand, you are of course welcome to continue using this. If you don’t yet have a farm stand, the District has a wonderful collection of long, wide planks, which are the former horse stall walls from the Sandown stables. You can make a simple and attractive table by laying these boards across two sawhorses. It is important that these are returned unaltered at the end of the season.
Additionally, each Flavour Trail venue will be lent a Farm Gate kit for the duration of the season:
- a Flavour Trails 10 foot high feather flag with stake,
- a Flavour Trails laminated poster to post on your farm gate stand
We will be arranging a pick up and drop off day for these materials at a central location in North Saanich.
How will the Flavour Trail be promoted?
One fine new feature this year: each participating venue will be featured in their own short “Meet Your Maker” digital profile for the Flavour trails website and social media. To create these videos, Jen and Steve will come to your farm for a 15 minute interview and “show and tell” of what you plan to offer this summer. The filming will happen in June.
In addition to this, we will be working with a website designer to create an interactive “mobile map” so that the public can peruse the Flavour Trail route, see what is open and on offer, and decide on their route.
Finally, we will be promoting the North Saanich Flavour Trails season through social media, radio and newspaper, and postering. Please help us spread the word!
How much does it cost me to participate?
Registration for each venue is $30 for the year. You can pay us with a cheque or etransfer to CRFAIR (contracted by the District of North Saanich to coordinate the Flavour Trail program). Jen and Steve will send you a registration form with the payment and mailing details.
What about COVID concerns?
The BC Ministry of Agriculture sets out very clear safety guidelines for farm gate stands during this time of elevated concern for virus transmission. Here is the excellent document that can serve as your guide (look for the info inside the grey boxes on pages 3 and 4).
Maintaining COVID protocol is an important component of this summer’s program– we do not want the Flavour Trail to pose a risk to anyone– and so we ask that you take this responsibility seriously. The Flavour Trail coordinators will happily work with you to design a system that is COVID safe (for example, physical distancing lineup with 2 metre ground markers, product hygiene, safe bagging, etc)
What about food sampling? As directed by the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) on the BCCDC Farmers’ Market web page, food sampling is not allowed at this time. Markets must discontinue all food sampling activities, including by the glass sales of wine or other alcohols. The provincial literature on farm gates does not explicitly mention food sampling.
How will the public pay for my goods on offer?
How you set up your payment is up to you. Jen and Steve can support you to set up this component of your farm gate in a manner that makes sense to you.
If you are used to only accepting cash, please know that there are some incredible and easy options these days for cashless options. Most people really appreciate the convenience of debit or credit cards, as many people do not carry cash. Cashless systems are absolutely the preferred way to go from a COVID protocol perspective.
One cashless option: a SQUARE Reader (also called contactless card reader). The Square Reader:
- connects wirelessly to your Apple or Android device via Bluetooth LE (no need for a headset jack).
- accepts credit cards, debit tap and chip & PIN.
- accept payments quickly
- allows you to access your funds quickly
- Is encrypted and secure.
Cost to you is $59 to buy the unit (which is then mailed to you). For each transaction, the cost is 2.65% for all major credit cards and 10¢ per Interac chip & PIN or tap. Set up is straightforward: after installing the free Square point-of-sale app, you can take payments anywhere in Canada.
Alternately, etransfer is a great option through your bank, and is free to you. Some farmers set up Autodeposit with their bank in order to bypass the need for a password, which makes the transaction that much easier for both you and the public. Registration for autopayment is straightforward and done through your bank.
How often will I need to communicate with the Flavour Trails team?
This is an important question. The success of the Flavour Trails this summer relies in large part on an up-to-date website, so that Flavour Trailers can know who is open and what is on offer. We want to encourage people to visit the Flavour Trails throughout the summer and so…
We need to make sure that our website is updated each week.
How will this work? Jen will send out an email every Monday (starting in July) to asking for your weekly update: opening hours for the week (if at all), updates on offerings, and if you are planning on anything “special” that we should take extra time to promote.
We will need you to respond to this weekly email by Wednesday 5 pm latest.
Jen will make the website changes and updates on Thursday for public release Friday morning. This gives the public a chance to read through the website and plan their route for the weekend.
If you are closed for several weeks; or only want to participate in August (for example), we will note that and be in contact at the relevant time.
If we do not hear from you in a given week, we will not include you in that week’s Flavour Trail offerings, to avoid the disappointment of a public member showing up to a closed Flavour Trails market stand.
Is there a typical weekend festival component?
Is there a gala dinner?
The gala dinner is an important point of celebration and connection for the Flavour Trails program and the North Saanich community. It is for the moment, on “press pause” until it is deemed safe and appropriate to begin planning the event.
Why is the District of North Saanich committed to supporting the Flavour Trails program?
- Encourage appropriate Local Business Development
- Build a Strong and Vibrant Community
- Promote and educate about the value of agriculture in North Saanich by building points of contact with the food and farming community that contribute to growing public demand for local food.
- Develop an agricultural promotion strategy involving festivals, food promotion campaigns, farm tours, signage, website, branding and awards.
It is additionally important to say that the impacts of COVID-19 are a real potential disruption to our food supply chains, as much of our island’s food comes from off-island. This is a time to celebrate, support and strengthen our local food economy. Flavour Trails can be an important means to achieve this community goal.
What is the Flavour Trails Mandate?
The Flavour Trail program creates community celebrations that enable residents and visitors to experience the quality and creativity of the Capital Region’s harvesters, farmers, fishers, food producers, chefs, vintners, cider makers, brewers and distillers.