Let it be known that I am now beginning registrations for 2011 weekly produce boxes. Not to worry, I haven’t given up on 2010! There are still lots of vegetables coming your way for another couple weeks. But for the sake of keeping the momentum going, let’s start thinking ahead. A huge benefit of CSA is that farmers can earn a steady income year-round. This has incredible, tangible advantages to both the farmer and the farm’s health.
Earning CSA income early in the fall means there is no need to rush through tasks such as compost application and soil preparation in between shifts at the grocery store. It means more time to spend on websites, member relations, planning, record keeping and continuing education. It means growing vegetables later into the fall, and starting earlier in the spring. It means a decrease in the need to purchase expensive credit, which in turn means a bigger budget for farm operations. It means a farmer dedicated to the land 12 months of the year, physically and mentally capable of responding to its needs.
To prove just how much of a difference early payment makes to me and to the farm, I am offering early bird discounts for members who pay their deposits before November 1st and December 1st, 2010. You can pay the total all at once, or you can pay the remaining balance anytime, and in any number of payments, as long as the total amount is received before March 1st, 2011.
Although the system stays basically the same, there are a few notable differences this year. First of all, I will be selling fewer weekly boxes. I feel this will increase the quality of the weekly produce box. It will be easier to give everyone larger portions of a larger selection of produce. Among other things, I want to offer a more consistent supply of salad greens, a larger variety of hardy greens, and good solid portions of vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, beans and broccoli.
Selling fewer prepaid boxes will also allow me to start a little earlier and end a little later. The 2011 weekly food box is now extended to 20 weeks, and the biweekly box is extended to 10 weeks. I feel this is just the beginning, and I hope to keep stretching the vegetable production season with the use of cold houses, row cover and mini-tunnels.
Another major change is the price schedule. A farm is healthiest when treated as a long-term, self-sustainable organism. It requires a staggering amount of work and money to get the whole thing going, but once momentum is established, the production systems function efficiently and generously. In order to show my gratitude to those who have stood by me during the exploration phase of this project, I have introduced a sliding scale in the weekly box price. The scale offers a discount to members who return year after year and offer the farm their dedication and their support. Thank you!
The last change I want to mention is a new delivery fee. Maintaining central pickup locations around town, and getting the food there, is a very involved process. It requires attentive administration, as well as the vehicles and infrastructure capable of moving large amounts of produce in a safe, timely and efficient manner. There continues to be no charge for pickups at the farm, but those who pickup at our other locations will be charged the equivalent of $2 per week.
*Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for you copy of our 2011 Registration Package.