Be careful of the CSA here
By: Michael Cook (Mar 10, 2009)
I had a very mixed experience with the CSA at Cedar Meadow Farms
Some of their products were amazing: Chicken, Beef, Duck Eggs. Pork was a bit average. Sausage ran from excellent to inedible. I haven't tried the Hierloom breed Turkey, and that leads to my poor experience below.
I decided to go 100% local last year, and picked this CSA based on the nice variety and quantity of Poultry it offered: 3 kinds of Chicken, Duck, Pheasant, Quail, rare breed Turkey. The Pheasant, Quail, and Turkey all died or were killed. Or maybe they never had them, one of the farmer's children kept saying "Mom, we never had Pheasants" when I asked about them. I only got 2 kinds of Chicken, and less than half as much as estimated.
I get the idea of a CSA, you share the risks and the rewards. But there was no potential upside here, your best bet is to get what is planned for, you can't enjoy a bountiful harvest.
There was numerous substitutions, but adding it all up we paid considerably more than other options for local meats of equal quality. There were numerous communication and scheduling frustrations that added to the problem. I thought they'd discontinue the CSA, but I just got an email that they're doubling the enrollment!
I would be doubly concerned. Buyer Beware here!
Comments on this Review:
Julia Cronin says: (Sep 25, 2009)
As one of the owners of Cedar Meadow Farm, I can understand the poster's frustration. Last year was our first offering a CSA and we knew it would be a bumpy road. And it was a bumpy road indeed. As a farm that allows our animals to free range, we find that we are occasionally subject the whims of nature. We were plagued by wildlife and the occasional bad luck that hits all farmers. Racoons ate our three week old turkey poults, fisher cats killed three dozen heritage chickens, and our jumbo ringneck pheasants died within a week of arriving (thus the comment that our children made about us never having pheasants - we never told them that they all died). There were several scheduling snafus at the end of the season - much of which was attributed to our poor planning in having the final pick up being during the December Holiday season. We have learned from all of our mistakes and we deeply regret that our customer had a bad experience. With regards to value, we ensure that EVERY one of our customers recieves a total package that has a value of 10% above the retail price of our products. Our pricing is competitive and in line with other locally grown meat producers in SE CT. Yes, substitutions were made, but in the CSA contract, which was signed by the customer, it explicitly states that substitutions can be made at any time at the Farmer's discretion. What is most frustrating about this posting is that the disatisfaction of the customer was never shared with us. It is only through feedback that we can make improvements to our products and services. The 2009 CSA season is already over half-way over and we've had a great year. Step one was limiting the selection of meats we offered, so we wouldn't run into the issue of not delivering what we had intended. Step 2 has been to clarify the pick up dates of the CSA, as well as shifting the months the CSA was offered. So far, so good. We have not had any negative feedback - we hope that if ANY of our customers is unhappy, they let us know in person so we can address it immediately.