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Monday, November 10, 2008

Winter CSA; Week 1

The first installment of the CSA went very well. All the shares were picked up and I ended up putting far more food into the shares than I had planned on because we have a lot of stuff coming in that has a fairly short shelf life and needs to be used. And who better to use the food than the CSA members.

I realized this week that I made an error in planning this CSA. Past CSA's have been weekly affairs and I have created shares and charged accordingly. But this winter CSA is bi-monthly which means the shares should be twice as big as what I am used to putting together (though the shares for the first week are close to a 2 week share) and I should have charged the members twice as much as I did. So what is likely to happen is I am going to dole out big shares (except in January when I expect winter to come in and shut the fresh greens growing down for several weeks) and the members are going to be very happy and I am going to rip off the farm by selling food at too huge a discount. This is what I get for throwing the CSA together so quickly-I did not think out all the minute details. Ah, c'est la vie.

This is not all bad. We are getting additional income from the CSA that we would not have gotten otherwise and low cost with lots of food should make all the members happy campers and thus loyal customers and repeat CSA members. And this is making me think hard about the details of a main season CSA

So what did the Boulder Belt Eco-Farm CSA members get this week?

They got:

2 pints of strawberries
3 leeks
4 peppers
1/2 pound baby heirloom lettuces
1 pound Napa cabbage
1 small bag of either tarragon, thyme or dill
3 heads of heirloom garlic
1 bunch Easter egg radish
1 charantais melon
1 pound turnip greens
2 pound keiffer pears
2 pound Dr Matthews apples
1 pound yellow onions

Which is worth $45 if I were to sell the stuff at the store or farmer's market. Great deal for the CSA members but not a great deal for Boulder Belt Eco-Farm if Boulder Belt Eco-Farm wants to be economically sustainable (and we do, otherwise we go out of the farming biz, sell the farm and get jobs as Wal-Mart greeters or fast food "cooks". Okay it probably would not be that bad). Now all that said, the winter CSA and it's huge shares will not shut down the farm. But if I were to continue to do this for into the spring summer and fall we could end up in financial difficulty.

I have learned in the 15 years of selling what we grow is underpricing one's harvest is a sure fire way to put yourself out of business (as can overpricing. Setting prices is an art and a science)


kq said...

I am not very sensible when it comes to math, but I sure do know superb tasting food. I was really pleased to pick up two bags of goodies at the farm on Saturday. Who knew that I could eat totally delish L O C A L strawberries in November in SW Ohio? Thanks Lucy and Eugene for keeping me well fed and well connected. MUCH appreciated.

Bishops Homegrown said...

Glad to hear your winter CSA is going well buddy. I know what you mean about undercharging for produce though all too well, I am notorius at times for doing the same thing, both with last years offerings to the CSA and also sometimes at the farmers market, though I have promised myself in 2009 I will be much more vigilant!