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CSA News for 2018 from Orchard Country Produce

Posted 11/30/2017 5:21pm by Gregg Keckler.

Please Read this  if you have not yet signed up for a CSA with us for 2018

A CSA is such a diverse and different experience with each farm.  This diversity is the beauty of it, but it can also be the scary part - what kind of produce will I get? How much? Will these folks come through each week? Will I really use it? and What quality will I get?

Expectations vs. Reality

This email will hopefully bring some clarity.  Orchard Country Produce has been doing a CSA since 2007.  We have changed our own plans since the early years.  We expanded our share sizes; We added delivery services to homes and businesses; We also added online store offerings and egg/flower shares.  We also created different payment options, payment plans and "pay as you go" options.

Sometime during the last several years, we have begun to notice a change in the average CSA subscriber and wasn't for the good.  We were not as happy with folks and we were not excited about making boxes or deliveries knowing that by the time we checked the email there would be problems and complaints.

We were attempting to provide good quality items - understandably, with 300+ boxes we were also making errors or overlooking bad quality.  (When we pick and pack 100+ boxes on Monday for Tuesday deliveries with some of the boxes not being delivered until Tuesday afternoon and folks not actually unpacking the boxes until later, the quality is compromised 

 greatly.

We began two years ago to eliminate stops that did not have a minimum number.  We also began eliminating folks who were chronically dissatisfied with the CSA.

Then we sat down and analyzed the bottom line.

- making deliveries cost truck/gas money, not counting parking tickets throughout the District.

- personal shares were losing us money - box fees, loss of boxes, credit card fees, the cost in time to wash, pack fruit and produce for shares that cost the customer $13/week was not sustainable.

- the costs of maintaining an online store and online credit card processing was costing us in website expenses and upgrading time that was non-farm productive.

This year we are going to a model which is exactly opposite of what our website host is trying to encourage.  This model is the antithesis of what all innovative technology experts suggest will grow your CSA.

All the CSA news articles are suggesting that in order to compete with Pea Pod, Blue Apron, home delivery services, CSA farms should offer smaller share options, online payments and more options, options, options.  We are doing just the opposite.

We are streamlining our CSA, eliminating options, deliveries and online credit card sales.

The New Plan

We are offering only one size.

 - the share is similar to our half share in size.  If you would like a full share just order two shares. 

  - the share will have more items - not more volume/item. 

 - the share will have better quality and variety. 

  - the share will be customized - in other words - if we are loaded with raspberries for Thursday's boxes, they will get raspberries.  If we are flush with cantaloupes for Saturday's boxes, they will get cantaloupe. If the men picked lima beans on Monday, Tuesday's boxes will get lima beans.

 - the shares will not be a total surprise, but we will not be sending an entire list of box contents on Mondays.

- the share sessions have changed.  There will be two 12 week session. 

 - the share sign up windows for 2018 are earlier than ever before.  Truthfully, we need money in January and February, not just sign ups.  We are not taking online payments, but if you want to pay with a credit card, you can still go to National Geographic Society or St Luke's in Alexandria in December, January and February and use your card.  (We are going to charge 4% for this option.)  You can always give us or send us a check with no additional fee.

 - the share payment plan for 2018. We are not unfeeling toward those who would prefer to pay with timed payments.  So we are offering a payment plan.  Sign up in December, January or February with the discounted rate and make an initial payment of $300.  We will bill you in four equal monthly payments. 

Our CSA vs. the TRENDS

We know that all of these changes fly in the face of current trends.  We believe these changes will keep us closer to the earth and to our original intent. 

1. This farm caters to the earth, the sky, the seed and God who watches over all.  We hope that you will join us for the CSA in 2018.  We cannot cater to you, but you can join in the rewards of the labor and the tender loving care that we invest in our soil and our farm.

2. We at Orchard Country Produce personally want to grow and deliver our products to a few families within our market range.  We promise you honesty and fairness as well as quality and variety within our abilities.

 

We do not expect the changes we are making to grow our CSA bigger or make us more money, but the changes will give us the CSA members who trust us and enjoy the anticipation of fresh farm products and the knowledge that they are supporting a truly local, small, hands-on farm.

Sign up is simple

Send a check with total payment or partial payment to:

Orchard Country Produce

1410 Goodyear Rd.

Gardners, PA 17324

Include your name, email address, pick up location and share option.

We will acknowledge receipt of all checks via email.

Costs

CSA 2018

Session 1

June 4 - August 25

Fruits and vegetables delivered weekly at one of our stands or Senate Square or Gangplank Marina

Cost - $324 if paid in January or February, 2018

Cost - $360 if paid in March and April, 2018

Cost - $384 - after April 30th

add $60 for one dozen eggs/wk  or $30 for 1/2 dozen eggs/week

Session 2 

August 27 - November 17

Fruits and Vegetables delivered weekly at one of our stands or Senate Square or Gangplank Marina

Cost -$324  if paid in January and February, 2018  

Cost - $360 if paid in March or April, 2018

Cost - $384 if paid after April 30th

add $60 for one dozen eggs/wk  or $30 for 1/2 dozen eggs/week

Full Year  - Only available at this price until February 28

June 4 - November 17 

Cost- $638 for fruits and vegetables

Cost - $758 for Fruits and vegetables  plus one dozen eggs

Cost - $698 for fruits and vegetables  plus 1/2 dozen eggs

 

Pick up locations

Gangplank Marina - for residents only - Tuesdays

Senate Square - for residents - Tuesdays

St Luke's Episcopal Church on Fort Hunt Rd, Alexandria, VA - Saturdays

Fairfax Community Market on Page Ave, Fairfax, VA - Saturdays

Westminster Farmer's market in Westminster , MD - Saturdays

East Columbia Library on Cradle Rock Way, Columbia, MD - Thursdays

Belle View Condos in Alexandria, VA - Thursdays

National Geographic Society on 16th St, DC - Tuesdays

Woodlake Towers in Falls Church, VA - Tuesdays

River Towers in Alexandria, VA - Tuesdays

DOT New Jersey Ave SE - Tuesdays- This location is guaranteed