Thanks for the input fin29. I know it will be stressful, but I can be stressed in town on the job just as easily as out here, diffence is, I'd rather be out here. I plan on starting small so I can stay on top of everything, and I've been planning this for quite a while. I still have a lot of planning to do, but that's what winters for anyway. I've heard a lot about "Sharing the Harvest" I intend on buying it. Thanks again for the input, and I hope if I have any specific questions, you could help me out, much appreciated :worship:fin29 said:I run a small CSA. There are several benefits and drawbacks:
Your seed, tractor rentals, amendments, etc. are paid up front, so the out-of-pocket outlay in the spring is definitely taken care of.
If you have other products to offer as well (I have a catering/home food manufacturing business), you have instant access to a loyal customer base.
Your crop is sold before it's grown, so you don't have to waste time at the farmer's market or running a stand all the time, although those are definite possibilities for bumper crops.
The income from the shares pays for your food, any remainder of the crop that you wholesale or retail, and covers some of your labor, though I shudder to think of the hourly rate I'm earning.
It definitely puts the pressure on what, for most, is an enjoyable hobby before they undertake the CSA model.
Your reputation is beholden to things like weather, insects, etc., which is always on your mind even if you're clear to your shareholders that they are sharing that risk with you.
More of your time is taken up in the garden, which limits the time you probably would ordinarily spend putting up the food for your own family. I find that my personal canning and freezing is way down.
I will probably continue to do it, even though this season was extremely stressful with the late start and lack of sunshine. We thought we might throw in the towel a few times this spring. Harvest is late this year for a lot of things, but the quality's there, so our members are happy. We get $300 for a full share.
Check out the book "Sharing the Harvest" by Elizabeth Henderson and Robin VanEyn. It's a hard-core CSA model with boards, work shares, lease agreements, community equipment purchasing, etc. but you can water it down to make it more managable for you to handle.
jackie c said:Anyway, I've come across a place for women entreprenuers in my area, and they are going to help me create my business plan. So if you're interested, I could share what I learn there with you. So keep in touch, maybe we could find a chat room somewhere on the web. Any ideas?