Homesteading Forum banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well this is my first year for having a CSA and my last. It just isn't for me. Too much stress worrying about what will I have, is it enough, will people be satisfied etc...etc...
Have always done the farmers market and this year added the CSA, thinking to replace the market next year. But I actually think the market is a better fit for me. If I don't have enough to sell I don't go, simple. I take what I have and people buy it. I get to talk to lots of people which I enjoy.
The CSA I have met some nice people but have also met some pains in ***.
I may join another market closer to home too instead of the CSA.
What do other CSA farmers think, what is your experience? Lisa
 

·
Adventuress--Definition 2
Joined
·
4,174 Posts
I let 60lbs of "no spray but perfect" apricots rot on the ground rather than sell them in front of my commercially zoned home--no restrictions. I'm doing the same with my figs. I doubt I could ever do a CSA--far too much pressure to perform--perfectionists make lousy gardeners I think. I guess this is my simple way of saying do what makes you comfortable and don't let anyone tell you that's wrong. (Someday I hope to be brave enough to sell my crops...not yet.)
 

·
keep it simple and honest
Joined
·
3,810 Posts
Last year, my first year, was dreadful due to the flooding which washed out things or made them rot.
This year there are times when I wish I didn't have it and the anxiety, but the good points are still there.
If you promote the CSA as a partnership where both farmer and eater are taking part in the risk of Mother Nature's wrath, you may not be so anxious. I told them at one point this year that I was keeping track of the products, and if the amount didn't add up to their membership fee, I'd reimburse them for the difference, so now I don't feel so uptight each week. A few have told me that they are more than satisfied.
I also buy in some things. For instance, the birds got all of my blueberries this season, so I have bought some from another local grower. Or, I don't grow sweet corn and get that from another local grower. The people seem to appreciate that the stuff is local and fresh. I tell them when it is conventionally grown, as I grow without pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
Now is not a good time to decide what you will or will not do next season. I'm sure you are learning a lot about scheduling for a CSA this year, and will/would do better another year.
The up front money and the guaranteed market are real positives. Some of the people are real nice, informed and think along the same lines that you do. Next year, just don't take people who are a pain this year, and look for others to replace them, or scale the numbers down so that you aren't so stressed.
Ann
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,891 Posts
This was my first year as a CSA, and my last (I think :shrug: ). I have had rave reviews from my members but I have lost way too much sleep from stressing over all the same things Lisa mentioned, plus I never worked so hard in all my life. I am glad that I tried it but I'd rather just grow for myself and my friends and not have the stress. I love to grow vegetables, but it's one thing to be delighted that the beans look good, and a whole 'nother thing when you are hoping to pick enough for 9 shares, several weeks in a row. I must add that my members have all been wonderful.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,891 Posts
Anniew said "I told them at one point this year that I was keeping track of the products, and if the amount didn't add up to their membership fee, I'd reimburse them for the difference, so now I don't feel so uptight each week."

May I ask how you are determining if the share adds up to the membership fee?
 

·
keep it simple and honest
Joined
·
3,810 Posts
HTD,
Each week I add up the retail value of the items in their bags. At the end, I'll either throw in more things that keep for awhile, like winter squash, potatoes, onions and garlic to bring the total up to the membership fee, and/or give them a partial refund of the difference. I feel better, and it has led some of them to tell me that they are already satisfied with what they are getting.
I think we sometimes expect more from the CSA than the members do. Many are really appreciative of local, fresh, pesticide free produce and aren't so much into putting a dollar value on what they get.
I also buy some things that either I don't grow (corn) or that have failed in the garden (birds got all my blueberries this season). That helps.
This week they are getting potatoes, onions, garlic, beans, either greens or lettuce, and melons and sweet corn that I bought locally, plus some green tomatoes for those who like fried green tomatoes.
Ann
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
950 Posts
you definitely cant be a perfectionist and handle a csa or farming for that matter.
There are to many variables the perfectionist cant control mainly the weather.
You have to be able to educate your customer base that this is an investment they are buying into. Just like the stock market the markets can go up or can go down and crash. Same with a farm. Some years everything just turns out right and you have an over abundance other times things happen like floods droughts bad case of bugs hail storms etcetc. They are investing in the hopes that you can produce clean safe good tasting healthy food for them. They get a share in the profits of this investment.
Pretty simple once you explain the idea to them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,576 Posts
chicky momma said:
Have always done the farmers market and this year added the CSA, thinking to replace the market next year. But I actually think the market is a better fit for me. If I don't have enough to sell I don't go, simple. I take what I have and people buy it. I get to talk to lots of people which I enjoy.
Lisa
Over the years I've read about CSA, talked to some trying it, and it's not for me either. For that matter, farmer's market is a hassle also, bringing in produce to a point for selling off site from the gardenstead. However, it's only one 'thing' to deal with, as opposed to a group that might have a short memory about their 'investment' should you have not such good weather or harvest. No amount of 'explaining' will convince a few people they are taking a risk when really all they expect is organic produce essentially on a guaranteed delivery schedule. The way to go might be contact and sell produce to just a few dedicated chefs, specialty restaurants, resort areas catering to groups and such. They will probably give you top dollar for what you sell, and make it worthwhile. If closeby to you, then probably you have no worry or stress about delivery. Only to grow and prepare top of the crop stuff they expect. A way to try and getting into that market is to allow them some test samples of what you might produce for them. From that, they'll go 'Wanting' and you'll have your market with less stress, more satisfaction, and potentially more profit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
720 Posts
CSA's can work. Ours does.

I think that it should be recognized that each CSA is different. Each operator is different. We use a modular approach, perhaps a little more customized than some, with add-ons. But we are a large family so we have more support than those of you who are in this on your own. We also developed the CSA through the years; it was never the mainstay of the farming. It was added income, so we could work to develop it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,891 Posts
Muskrat said:
CSA's can work. Ours does.

I think that it should be recognized that each CSA is different. Each operator is different. We use a modular approach, perhaps a little more customized than some, with add-ons. But we are a large family so we have more support than those of you who are in this on your own. We also developed the CSA through the years; it was never the mainstay of the farming. It was added income, so we could work to develop it.
Can you please explain what you mean by "modular approach"?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
720 Posts
HilltopDaisy said:
Can you please explain what you mean by "modular approach"?
People aren't the same. We try to put modules together.

We might have a module of those who want bulk quantities for preserving. Rather than a mixed portion, they get a flat of strawberries, a bushel of turkey craw beans, a peck of cucumbers, whatever combination works for the year. By getting a commitment, we can grow particular varieties that might otherwise not be available.

We will have greenhouse tomatoes in April. We will have barrel-raised potatoes at the same time. Both products are more expensive to grow and more labor intensive than field crops. We'll also have green tomatoes for fried green tomatoes or relish, ramps (with eggs), green onions, greens of various kinds, etc. Families tend not to want to pay higher prices, but some people, such as older couples who enjoy cooking, will pay the prices. This might be a spring share module. They would pay premium prices.

Then we'll have the families when the summer season begins. They want green beans, corn, cucumbers, etc. We run a Salad Share simultaneously with the Summer Share for radishes, greens, etc. Herbs go with whatever appears to work, basil with tomatoes, chives with potatoes. We try not to rely on herbs or greens as a major part of the share.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
950 Posts
A CSA or community Supported Agriculture is a farmer or market gardner who grows food for their customers.
There are many types of CSA's out there and many types of ways to do it.
The most common is the farmer charges a fee that the customer pays and in return gets food grown by the farmer.
Some CSA's let the customer pick what they want and they can buy it wholesale from the farmer. And some charge a fee and get a box of food and have no choice.
Like I said lots of different options to choose from.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well have complained about the CSA and customers now have to give equal time to the positive. Got an email today that made my day. One of the people who had seemed to complain alot and not understand growing etc...Wrote to say that she appreciates all I do, that I've done a great job with the bugs, weather, and animals. Even though she said she sometimes grumbles about whats offered. What a nice thing to do! Just when you think you know how someone is they go and do something nice. Lisa
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top