What the heck is CSA Sign-Up Day? I asked myself the same question. As it turns out in 2015, Small Farm Central released a report on CSA Memberships for 2014. What they found was more people signed up for a CSA membership on Friday, February 28 than any other day that year. For 2015, they created the first National CSA Sign-up Day, and this year it falls on Friday, February 24th. Since the 24th is this Friday, I thought it would be a good time to talk about the CSA and to ask all of you for some extra support. You can help the farm by writing Yelp reviews, posting on FB, sharing photos on your Instagram, or even a quick Tweet, letting all your friends, family and co-workers know how much you love your Farm.
Last year, when I asked for your help it was amazing how quickly we saw the numbers go up, so I know for a fact what you do works. Shortly after that big push we went through the treatment rounds with Nigel again, making it impossible to stay on top of things and keep the momentum going. But we did learn a few things. Many of the new sign ups loved the produce, but found it too hard to get through it all before items went bad. The obvious solution is to offer two sizes of CSA shares. We have considered many times in the past, but we always had great concerns that we might open a Pandora's Box that we couldn't get out of. There are many issues to address: it makes our operation less stream-lined, it creates more opportunities for mistakes, confusion for the members when picking up shares, etc, and our packaging company doesn't offer asmall box as a standard option. By chance, we recently found an alternate company (more expensive of course!) that does have a size that will work. So we ordered a couple hundred and have been running an experiment with about 10 people over the last few weeks. The feedback has been really great. Folks are happy with the assortment and the amount. The smaller share is perfect for 1 to 2 people to get through in a week. One of the members told us she walks to pick up her box and the new size is much easier to carry on her walk home. I also heard from people who have multiple roommates that our full size share takes up too much space in their shared space refrigerator, so that was a problem.
When we looked at the subscription numbers, we discovered nearly 70% of you get a CSA share every other week. We could make a significant difference to the farm's income just by converting many of you every week folks to a weekly smaller share. You always have the ability to put a share on hold when you need to, so you needn't worry about missing a box if you are out of town.
If all goes well, we will be introducing our new "Box for 2" this week. Connie and Liz are working very hard to get the new share size set up with the software by the end of the week - just in time for CSA Sign-Up Day. I am hoping we will also be able to set it up as an extra, so if you have a party or event, or people coming to stay and you need some extra produce, you can order the smaller share size as an add-on item.
With the Event Season just around the corner it is a great time to commit to the CSA. Strawberry Days, and Tomato Sauce Parties will be here before you know it. So keep those memberships going! Thanks for all your support!