Farm Shares and Full Choices
While most of the blog posts I do are not “business related” in the aspect of what we’re selling or doing, I think most people realize that farms, like other businesses, need to show a profit more often than not. Failure to do so means ceasing to exist.
We’ve mentioned farm shares, and some likely balk to look at the prices, but aren’t aware of the choices included either! Many are familiar with the CSA model – Community Supported Agriculture – where you pay a set fee for a season, and split the amount grown. This may be a bounty or – depending on production – not so much, but one of the most common things I hear is “I don’t like/don’t know how to use <whatever>”.
So it’s a solution to offer choices, which is where our farm shares vary from a CSA. You still pay a set fee, but perhaps you don’t like peppers, but do want meats. Perhaps you want preferred entrance into clinics or events, perhaps you’re looking at a variety of things and not sure what to choose.
And perhaps that’s overwhelming! Choices are awesome, but can be paralyzing. What if you don’t use it all in one year? We thought of that! Occasionally I’ll be addressing these things, and they’ll be in the category of “SlowMoneyFarm Options” so that if desired, you can look at just those topics.
For those who have looked at our offers, there is a lot to consider. Rabbit, duck, goose, turkey, lamb, pork, veggies, fruits or nuts (longer term!), gift items, craft things, clinics and classes – any of these things can be used in the food share. If you buy, for example, a $1,000 share you might go for 5 rabbits, a half a pig, eggs, a turkey for Thanksgiving and 10 ducks. Someone else might choose a 3 day retreat, produce and Christmas gifts while a third person uses their share to get a lamb, pet foods and a memorial tree for a loved one. All get their choices, all help the farm and no one *has* to choose the same thing. Simply put, you spend up to that $1,000 limit. For this reason, we have smaller and larger shares available. The sale of shares allow for maximum choices – we know what we need to raise.
It tells us, in no uncertain terms, what we need to do for the year. If no one wants ducks, we’ll raise just enough for ourselves. If 40 people want pork, we know we’ll need to get pigs in the pens. We grow what there is demand for. If we have extra, farm share folks get first dibs on it – for example, if we have a bumper month for eggs, perhaps you want to add on eggs even though you didn’t have it down initially. If not, we go to the open market, which takes more time and marketing effort than knowing where we need to be when. That allows us to spend more time weeding, cleaning out shelters, fixing fences and other tasks that may be neverending!
We have packages and other items also, but the farm shares were designed for our top customers who want choices and perhaps are interested in stocking up on food they know where and how it was raised. It’s also a way to cover project costs up front, be that expenses on pigs or land or the pasture that needs fenced.
We’re open to questions. And you’ll find when you buy a farm share from us we have questions! How many are you serving? What concerns do you have about food? Are you interested in meats or other things? Do you have dietary restrictions? We don’t ask these things to be nosy, but to help you make the most of your farm share dollar and to help us answer questions or concerns – to be clear about what we do and why.
Yes, we’re planning for 2014. Let’s talk!