Hello LocalHarvest CSA Farmers!
Spring is making it's way to us and some of you are already selling your CSA shares for 2016. I recently attended the EcoFarm Small Farm Conference in Asilomar, CA and wanted to share with you what other CSA farmers identified to be their main focus for ensuring a successful season.
There is increasing competition for your customers' food dollars, and the key to retaining a loyal following is the assurance that quality is top-notch. Nothing compares to the freshness of getting a CSA box with food picked and packed the day before or day of delivery!
Don't Cave to Demands
CSA members all have different financial situations, it's true, but chasing payments and making different arrangements will use up too much of your valuable time and end up costing you more. Figure out what your costs for doing business are, and choose only 1 or 2 ways to collect payments from your members this season; too much choice and flexibility is not always better.
Also, grow what you like to grow and what works well with your budget and soil. It is always good to take into consideration what the customers like, but ultimately you are the one that knows what makes sense for your business.
Just the Right Amount of Food
Consider "food guilt"- when you have too much beautiful farm fresh food, but just can't get through it all before it goes bad. Make sure your box contains the right amount of food, not too much and not too little. Farmers are generous and might want to throw extras in the box when there is an abundance, but be mindful of this overwhelming your customers.
I hope you found this information to be helpful! I really enjoy talking with CSA farmers and sharing notes.
If you are considering using a CSA management system this season, and you would like to take a tour of CSAware, please contact me at email@example.com. We have exciting news: this spring we are launching a new service to cater to the specific needs of smaller CSA operations. Our new affordable, simplified package has all the tools necessary to help you streamline and improve your business with ease. If you are a CSA farmer who would like to graduate up from using spreadsheets, but do not need all the bells-and-whistles of the full CSAware, this could be for you! Keep your eyes open for more information to come.
As always, if you have questions about your LocalHarvest listing, please contact our Community Coordinator.
With warm regards,
LocalHarvest CSAware Account Manager LocalHarvest.org