Published on March 7, 2014
Customizable CSA shares Michael Kilpatrick Kilpatrick Family Farm
today’s outline • History and overview of the farm • What is CCSA (customizable community supported agriculture) • How our farm does CCSA • Case study 1 (JBG Organics) • Case Study 2 (Wishing Stone Farm) • Questions
KFF’s Mission Provide the best produce possible to our customers at a fair price Provide a good income for the farmer - and good life- we need to love what we do Provide a fair wage to employees
Middle Granville, NY Zone 4b
12-15 acres in vegetables
25-30 Acres in Cover Crop
Land and Soil profile Soil type Crops Acres stays dry, early and late greens, melons, tomatoes, stony 4 Hamlin Silt loam root crops, great for radishes, beets, carrots- no stones 8 Hartland sandy loam class 1,general purpose, no stones 4 Vergennes Silty Clay somewhat heavy, winter squash, brassicas, spinach, beans 5 Hoosick Gravelly sandy Loam Sweet potato heaven... 1 Bernardston-shaly silt loams
8 full time employees, 3 interns
1/3rd acre of Tunnels
3 Summer Markets
2 winter markets
over 30 crops for the Christmas market 9 greens Lettuce Mix Mesclun Mix Spinach baby spinach Arugula Kale Swiss chard braising mix bunched turnips
250 member Freechoice, Year-round CSA
3 acres of mulched crops
5 row system 5 rows for spinach, radish, salad, other small crops (9”) 3 rows beets, carrots, beans (18”) 2 rows broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes (36”) 1 row tomatoes, artichokes (72”) (plasticulture)
Storage #4 Ruby Perfection
FMC carrot and beet harvester
55 tons of Root Storage
Free-choice, Customizable CSA’s (CCSA)
How is CSA changing • CSA Market getting more crowded, more farms • Large players entering the field (full circle, 40,000 members) • Consumers have wide variety of sources for purchasing local/organic produce • The consumer is changing as well as we’re looking to reach a wider audience….
Who is your consumer? Mcdonalds Junkie starting to think about it Health conscious drinks only soda drinks diet or vitamin water drinks straight water kids birthday party is at Burger King owns and may use cookbooks Has only “healthy” cookbooks in the kitchen Eco earth-muffin Tree-hugger Drinks raw milk Drinks raw milk kefir excessively Nourishing traditions is sole cookbook is head of her Weston a Price chapter and soaks nuts nuts drives an SUV is concerned about climate change kids get vitamins thinks local or buys corn from Shops at the organic food is a the conventional farmers market scam road-side stand Questions homebirths and immunizing kids breastfeeds kids buys 2 veggie, 1 has tried a CSA meat, and a raw in the past milk share….
Who is your consumer? Mcdonalds Junkie starting to think about it Health conscious Eco earth-muffin Tree-hugger drinks only soda drinks diet or vitamin water drinks straight water Drinks raw milk Drinks raw milk kefir excessively owns and may use cookbooks Has only “healthy” cookbooks in the kitchen is concerned about climate change kids get vitamins kids birthday party is at Burger King drives an SUV thinks local or buys corn from Shops at the organic food is a the conventional farmers market scam road-side stand Market penetratio is head of her Nourishing n Weston a Price traditions is sole chapter and cookbook with ferments nuts normal Questions homebirths and CSA immunizing kids breastfeeds kids share buys 2 veggie, 1 has tried a CSA meat, and a raw in the past milk share….
Who is your consumer? Mcdonalds Junkie starting to think about it Health conscious Eco earth-muffin Tree-hugger drinks only soda drinks diet or vitamin water drinks straight water Drinks raw milk Drinks raw milk kefir excessively kids birthday party is at Burger King drives an SUV owns and may use cookbooks is concerned about climate change Market Has only Nourishing penetration “healthy” traditions is sole cookbooks in cookbook with the kitchen CCSA Questions share!!!! kids kids get vitamins immunizing thinks local or buys corn from Shops at the organic food is a the conventional farmers market scam road-side stand is head of her Weston a Price chapter and ferments nuts homebirths and breastfeeds kids buys 2 veggie, 1 has tried a CSA meat, and a raw in the past milk share….
Common Barriers to CSA • Too much or too weird food (not everyone likes kohlrabi or black spanish radishes • I don’t like beets, cauliflower, brussel sprouts- picky consumers and their kids • time/date not conducive to ease of pickup. • produce not like the grocery store- bunch/size different
What consumers want ….
Common barriers for farmers • not automating the system…. poor organization will kill you. • There is a higher cost associated with this.. so charge more • having to provide variety all the time. • if share is picked at site(not predetermined) , less sales efficiency (more waste)
Customizable basics- what does this look like? • Customer picks up at a site where they can swap out items in their share for more appealing ones • Customer uses up pre-purchased credit (dollar amount or points) at a farmstand, farmer’s market or other site. • Customer can shop online for the items that they want in their share and a partially or fully customized share is delivered
Customer picks up at FM or site where they pick out their share
Do you include everything? • What about high-value crops such as Greenhouse tomatoes, Strawberries. • For us at Farmers markets those “first fruits” are often big money makers • We have chosen to make those worth more for our CSA (one tomato, limit one pint strawberry, etc) • Have swap bin where if a customer can’s use or doesn’t want an item they can swap it out with another member
Point system • members get 20, 30 or 40 points a week • Can fluctuate during season as the bounty comes in • different number points for produce, eggs, chicken baked goods) • works well for members with dietary restrictions.
Debit card system • using a custom POS (point-of-sale)system to track customer purchases • or a giant filebox with each customer on a 4X6 index card (I would do iPad and google doc) • Credit expires at end of year. Or not.
Sources for cards/readers • square (gift card module coming soon) • chargeanywhere.com (readers) • plasticresource.com • duracard.com http://marcelbrown.comphoto
Web placed, farm filled shares • least waste, shares are harvested/filled after amounts known. • Must have a strong software program in place to make it work smoothly • Ultimate control, you decide what to offer
What program to use? • super small CSA’s may want to do all communication by blog and email. • We have used Google forms or Wofoo for smaller items. • Large CSA’s may want to use Zen cart, a custom software solution, or Small Farm Central’s shopping cart software,.
Setting up a good online store • Allows complete customization (or not) • intuitive for customer as well as farmer • can easily export data to usable pick/pack sheets • beware of % use models (you pay % of sales)
How we do CSA Our CSA is a free-choice share, in which the customer picks most of their share right up off the market table. We usually select 1 item per week the members have to take. We also deliver Boxed (none-customized) shares to business drop sites
Year- Round CSA Sell root crops, onions, squash, frozen foods!!! Helps to have greens keep customers year-round year-round members are best cheerleaders you are on the road during the worst time of the year
Shares we Offer JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUNE JULY AUG SEP SUMMER (26 WINTER (17 wks) wks) FULL YEAR (52 weeks) OCT NOV DEC FALL (9 wks)
2 SIZES OF SHARES FULL (6-9 items) $25 per week -we say will feed a family of 4 MICRO (4-6 items) $17 per week -will feed a couple or vegetarian single
Share types Year-Round Share Summer Share Fall Share Winter/Spring Share Skidmore share
Cancellation Policy A 2-week trial period is offered to confirm the suitability, as we understand a CSA Membership is not for everyone and every situation. We will give a prorated refund during the first or second week of that specific CSA Season (Summer, Fall, Winter or Year-Round). Please allow two to four weeks for your refund. After two pickups refunds will be granted if we have a waiting list and can find a new member to take your place. Thank you for your understanding.
Advantages of freechoice CSA don’t have to have 250 items of 6 + crops per week we reach wider audience and edge over competition still allows us to move extra crop each week We don’t have to have the same items for every pickup/market very busy market stand
Disadvantages of freechoice CSA specialty crops aren’t available for retail (early tomatoes, strawberries) wide variety of crops necessary all the time (harvest inefficiency) Very busy market stand! have to watch quantities
CSA management at KFF Farmer CSA coordinator bookkeeper
Farmer’s responsibilities Strategic meetings with other management to plan upcoming season All production aspects, planning, seeding, harvesting, sending to market Face, or rainmaker of the farm.
Planning the CCSA We grow a wide variety of crops to support our Farmer’s markets and wholesale already We started small with the CCSA and grew it based on feedback every year- 2012 we grew too quickly Some markets just don’t have some crops We spend a lot of time planning…
Planning the CCSA We grow a wide variety of crops to support our Farmer’s markets and wholesale already We started small with the CCSA and grew it based on feedback every year- 2012 we grew too quickly Some markets just don’t have some crops
CSA coordinator responsibilities all member inquiries organizing bulk product sales (tomatoes, cucumbers, etc) CSA software setup and maintenance marketing emails
Bookkeeper responsibilities applying payments helping members setup payment plans tracking expenses/profits of the CSA
Check out information online www.michael-kilpatrick.com/csa-scho Member Agreement CSA handbook 2011, 12, 13 master plans Sample recipe cards CSA calendar CSA surveys
Localvore club card • Bought in the spring with our CSA shares • Usable for anything on the farm eggs, chickens, frozen foods • Customers get 5% off - pay $95 for a $100 card
Other systems we have played with…. • Home delivery, with orders placed through a % CSA service • Mini-store added on- dairy products, eggs, olive oil, etc • Orders delivered to a hospital, with semicustomization through email • Adding frozen vegetables to Shares (Pesto, Frozen or dried tomatoes, eggs when abundant)
Foxy shopping cart with custom back end • 2000 member CSA • 20 farmers markets weekly • Wholesale into a 5 hour radius (17 M) • right now customer can select between 4 different box sizes. And can swap out unwanted items at the farmers market pickup
Customizable CSA at JBG • Software is being built and is completely custom • truck has to be loaded in reverse of how you want to pull shares out • at the start, customer will be able pick several of their items, by summer it will hopefully be completely customizable.
Debit-card CCSA System • Customers buy in winter at decreasing credit levels (get 10% extra January, 8% extra Feb, etc) • Cards are kept at markets in a file box • After card is used at market or farm, credit is subtracted from card • What members have left on Oct 31st goes to help fund food bank.
Takeaways • CCSA can help you reach new customers and increased overall vegetable efficiency (customers throw away less). • CCSA is doable, although there are a lot more decisions to make • CCSA requires efficiencies and figuring mechanics • Invest in software and hardware to make your transition easier.
Thank you!!! Michael Kilpatrick www.michael-kilpatrick.com www.kilpatrickfamilyfarm.com
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