Policy Regarding Weekly Request Forms

I am drafting this policy in response to certain emails we are receiving in regards to the order forms we send out each week. Starting this season, we have had to make pretty drastic modifications to operate while following safety guidelines.  This includes departing from our self serve, market style, “you pick” model toward a custom pre-pack, curbside pickup and home delivery one. One thing we didn’t want to compromise was giving our members the ability to choose. This benefit is at the core of our CSA Program. However, from the get go we realized how challenging this would be. Pairing the wants of our tables with the reality from our fields is no simple task. Many offerings on our lists are predictions based on previous seasons and forecasts from our growers. There are so many factors outside of our control that impact farming. Primarily these are weather related, but they can also be cultural ones. This week a polar vortex will wreak havoc on the entire eastern seaboard; an unseasonably cool and cloudy spring has stunted vegetable production by about three weeks; while labor shortages on large commercial farms are driving up market prices and impacting our local farm economy. That’s just this week.

Taking this into account I would like to clarify things in regards to our Order Forms which I am renaming Request Forms.  They should be considered more of a wish list than a menu order. Typically CSA’s are based on what the farm has available and ready for harvest. Most CSA models don’t offer selection but rather a weekly share which consists of whatever they are growing that is in season. Since we work with multiple farms in addition to our own and operate roadside stands where we can sell the surplus, we have a larger selection and more flexibility to let our customers choose. However balancing between members requests and the supply from the farms  is very complicated.

We will try our best to accommodate all requests but ask for patience and understanding if you don’t get every item you want. When we experience shortages we will need to substitute items. If we don’t receive orders by 10am two days prior to pickup (when labels are printed) for any reason we are unable to process them and will pack farmers’ choice.  Requests that come in after this time interrupt work flow and prevent us from focusing on more pressing tasks at hand. If you receive substitutes or Farmers’ Choice, which is based on the most popular choices of that week, this does not entitle you to extra items the following week. However if we left something out and shorted your share, or packed something which spoiled, we definitely want to hear from you and make it right. Let us know in advance so we can bring with us to your next pickup or delivery. We hope to bring some extra products to the CSA Pickups as well, so if you are dissatisfied with your selection, we may be able to swap something out for you, so it doesn’t hurt to ask.
I hope this clarifies things. We realize our system for receiving a Sign Up Genius and Google Form every week is not ideal nor exactly state of the art. Perhaps we can improve upon this throughout the season. In the spirit of farming it was more of a reactionary response dealing with the matter at hand with the resources available. We do look forward to getting back to our original business model some day and back to being more flexible and accommodating. Perhaps we will be able to streamline our pre-pack and delivery as well and offer them more widely. Until then we ask for our members support, patience and understanding.
John Norman



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