One Customized Farm Share at a Time
CSA farms, or farms that sell seasonal farm share subscriptions to local consumers, have struggled to attract and retain customers in recent years due to increased competition and changing consumer expectations.
According to Ryan Galt at the University of California in a study of 1,454 current and former farm share / CSA members(1), the top four reasons that members leave are all due to lack of choice in the share.
This season, Farmer Joe's Gardens is introducing a partnership with Harvie, an online farm share platform, to help overcome this limitation and better serve local consumers direct from the farm.
"For 10 years, we've packed a standard box of food for each member regardless of what they like and what they don't like, but we know that some people hate beets and some people can't get enough. We now have the technology that allows us to customize each box, so we make sure each member gets what they want. This model has gotten me excited about selling farm shares again!" -- says Farmer Joe.
Harvie allows each member to set preferences of what products they like and what products they don't. Each week, Farmer Joe's Gardens enters a list of all crops that are ready for harvest, and Harvie's algorithm matches the harvest to each member's preferences to give each member a perfect box for that week's harvest. The member has 24-48 hours to make changes to their box and order extras. Harvie feeds that information back to Farmer Joe's Gardens for packing and delivery.
In addition, we provide cooking tips, recipes, and videos based on the contents of the box so members can be sure they will have lots of information when the question comes up, "What's for dinner?"
"There's no fresher or tastier way to buy food than directly from your local farmer. Harvie facilitates these direct farmer to consumer relationships and helps farms compete as the food marketplace shifts rapidly, exemplified by the success of meal kit delivery services like Blue Apron and the acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon," says Simon Huntley, CEO of Pittsburgh, PA-based Harvie.
Our new model makes our farm fresh produce easy to access and, at the same time, keeps everything that is special about our farm and local food intact. With several pick up locations and now delivery, we hope to strengthen the local community that is committed to eating locally grown fruits and vegetables.
To learn more about our shares, visit www.farmerjoesgardens.com or go to https://www.harvie.farm/signup/farmer-joes-gardens to sign up.
About Farmer Joe's Gardens: Farmer Joe is a fourth-generation farmer raising food and plants for his community. 2020 is the 11th year that Farmer Joe and his wife, Homestead Ida, have offered their weekly Farmer Harvest Program (CSA). As they raise their family, they feel it is their responsibility to utilize good and safe farming practices. Their methods grow and work, keeping the environment in harmony while producing healthy, delicious, nutrient-dense, and diverse plants and produce. Named National Outstanding Young Farmers of America in 2016. Named Connecticut Outstanding Young Farmer in 2015.
About Harvie: Harvie connects you directly with trusted local farms that deliver shares of farm fresh products customized to your personal preferences. Harvie is the result of nearly a decade of working closely with farms to meet their technology needs as well as observation, interviews, and research into the CSA/Farm Share market and the local food system.