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CSA/SFG New Venture

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CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  Jay Bird on 9/8/2011, 11:07 am

Have ya'll heard of CSA Farming? It is Community Supported Agriculture, It is a trend starting across the US where sunscribers pay a fee and recieve a weekly portion of fresh vegetables.

My newest venture will be CSA/SFG thats doing CSA in a 4' x 12' SFG, the subscriber will be allowed to choose the vegetables planted and get all the harvest out of their own sfg box no sharing and you get the veggies you want. And I do all the work! for a fee!



I know the members of this forum do their own gardening but I have had such an interest in the SFG garden by customers that dont have time or space to do it themselves that I am thinking this will be a great way to earn some extra cash as well as give others the oppurtunity to participate in a sfg garden



Comments??
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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  boffer on 9/8/2011, 12:00 pm

So...they pick the veggies, you do the planting, weeding, and watering. Do you call them when it's time to harvest something?

Please let us know how you figure out a fair market value for your services.

Some people aren't interested in my free veggies because they're not as picture perfect looking as those at the grocery store. Hopefully, you won't have many customers like that.

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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  Jay Bird on 9/8/2011, 1:36 pm

No I would also harvest and have a scheduled pick up day, any veggies not picked up by specified date would be donated to the local food bank in the persons name, fair market value is basically grocery store prices, I used tomatoes as example ie: one sqaure one tomatoe plant = 10 lbs at $2.00 lb = $20 per sq of toms, then fill in the rest of the box with whatever you want do the math ,, I would charge set fee per box regardless of the veggies planted,
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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  Jay Bird on 9/8/2011, 1:44 pm

As far as picture perfect , I have had more oldtimers make the statement quote" now those are field grown veggies, I can tell by looking at them" there is a trend being set that homegrown is the way to go , but there will always be those that complain,,

I actually had a women say we sold her rotten eggs because the shells were green, I tried to educate her that green and blue eggs just come from americauna hens and they are perfectly good, even lower in cholesterol but she wasnt having anything to do with green eggs,,, green eggs and ham, sam I am!



I expect tho that anyone willing to pay upfront for our service based on last years performance of our SFG's will be more than happy to pay total $480 for 48 sq feet of garden harvest that 10 bucks a square, the other key is many of the resort lake people we deal with would like the bragging rights to their friends that they have a CSA/SFG membership to a farm.



We will also be doing shares in grass fed beef (maybe)
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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  squaredeal on 9/8/2011, 4:04 pm

There are quite a few of those CSA's in my area primarily around a major college town and in Indy. I know some of the CSA's sell to local restaurants. A major one in Indy charges $770 for a "full share" plus a delivery fee. Many of them also have eggs and meat. Here's a web site if you are looking for comparative fees.

http://localgrowers.org/CSA.html
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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  Jay Bird on 9/8/2011, 4:10 pm

WOW!! Thanks Squaredeal , thats some really good info and looks like my price is well within line ,, Boffer start a side biz and get paid to build tt's
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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  middlemamma on 9/8/2011, 4:13 pm

I looked into this about a year ago an was taken back by the prices. YOU GO JAY BIRD! It isn't in my budget but there are many who do pay for it. I am sure it will work out for you Jay Bird. Smile
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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  Jay Bird on 9/8/2011, 4:15 pm

I remember the many posts were folks are working out the cost details to build their SFG, the neat part of this plan is that someone else puts up the coin and the grower gets to enjoy the gardening!
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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  sherryeo on 9/8/2011, 8:52 pm

I wish you the best of luck with your venture, Jay Bird. I hope it works out well for you.

I guess I'm just one of those people who has to consider all the angles, though. I tend to be very cautious about getting involved in new ventures. I always have to think about what the worst outcomes could be. What would happen if the plants die? If bugs ruin the veggies? If a storm comes along and ruins the garden near harvest time? If the harvest just isn't what the customer expects and the customer isn't satisfied?

Gardening can be such a fickle thing with so much depending on circumstances beyond our control. I just don't think I would have the confidence to tackle this kind of project (which is probably why I'll never be a financially independent, wealthy person!).
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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  duhh on 9/8/2011, 9:26 pm

Good luck with your CSA. I think it is a great idea, and an inventive one too! We just finished up a 3 mo one with an organic farm here in Az and we loved it. It ran about 20 bucks a week. We are not going to continue, because our garden should be producing again here pretty soon.
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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  Chopper on 9/8/2011, 11:35 pm

Wow. I have heard of CSAs. This sounds like a merge of community garden and CSA. What a great idea. What are you charging?

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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  JustMe on 9/9/2011, 12:14 am

We've done CSAs with an organic vegetable farm, organic apple farm, and DH's co-worker. They all had full and half shares available. Some of the half shares have been every week pick up but you get half the produce of the full share. Others are the same amount as a full share, but the pick up is every other week.

The co-worker started this last year b/c she always has a big garden. I think there are about 5 co-workers who participate and she may have others in it too. We often get together in late winter to meet for dinner/drinks for a planning meeting/social night. She'll try different veggies at people's requests and chime up if she's had good/bad experiences with a particular veggie. So hers is a collective request system - one person asks for a particular veggie, then everyone gets it instead of a box tailored to each individual CSA participant. But really, if it grows in our region, then she'll try it. (She likes it too b/c she gets to try veggies she hasn't tried before.)

She's been able to purchase a potato harvesting machine with the CSA monies.

Communication is important with your subscribers - through e-mail, a blog, website, newsletter. Let 'em know what you're planting, if the weather's been favorable for particular crops, and what your harvesting, etc. My fave has been an e-mail a day before pick up, so we can a) anticipate the box and b) better meal plan.

Even though we have a SFG, we like the CSA b/c she grows things that we're not growing (i.e. potatoes, melons, cabbage) and the volume is greater than our garden.

Don't forget to include the costs of boxes and bags into your planning costs. One CSA had us keep all the boxes until the end of the season. Another had us bring our own containers to transfer the veggies into each week, then we broke down their box.

Good luck.

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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  boffer on 9/9/2011, 12:28 am

@Jay Bird wrote: ,, Boffer start a side biz and get paid to build tt's

Twenty years ago, maybe! These days I'm more inclined to spend time leaning on a tt and shooting the bull!
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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  Chopper on 9/9/2011, 12:29 pm

@sherryeo wrote:What would happen if the plants die? If bugs ruin the veggies? If a storm comes along and ruins the garden near harvest time? If the harvest just isn't what the customer expects and the customer isn't satisfied?

Gardening can be such a fickle thing with so much depending on circumstances beyond our control. I just don't think I would have the confidence to tackle this kind of project (which is probably why I'll never be a financially independent, wealthy person!).

That is actually the point of a CSA. Instead of the farmer taking all the risk, everyone does. You pay what you pay and the rest is somewhat of a crapshoot depending on weather, disease and bugs. Of course if a person gets nothing they will not come back, but with SFG that is hardly likely.

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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  sherryeo on 9/9/2011, 12:55 pm

Thanks, Chopper. I honestly did want to know. I've never been involved in a CSA. So this means that there is no risk to the person who is taking the money and doing the planting, then? The subscribers can't take the money back or sue the person or do anything except maybe decide not to be a "subscriber" again? I may not have much (monetary-wise), but I wouldn't want to jeopardize what I do have - not that I'd ever taken this on as a venture, anyway - just not in my nature. But I wish Jay Bird and anyone else brave enough to try every success.
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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  Chopper on 9/9/2011, 1:31 pm

@sherryeo wrote:Thanks, Chopper. I honestly did want to know. I've never been involved in a CSA. So this means that there is no risk to the person who is taking the money and doing the planting, then? The subscribers can't take the money back or sue the person or do anything except maybe decide not to be a "subscriber" again? I may not have much (monetary-wise), but I wouldn't want to jeopardize what I do have - not that I'd ever taken this on as a venture, anyway - just not in my nature. But I wish Jay Bird and anyone else brave enough to try every success.

Well, I guess if a person wants to sue, they could. LOL. But not likely - too little money involved. Yes, CSAs are a beautiful thing. I read about them about 20 years ago and thought they were a great idea. Essentially you buy a share and that is it. Then as things are harvested you pick up your share. In some CSAs there is a volunteer aspect too, Help with harvest one day a month or whatever, but not in all. It is a real boon to the farmer because one lost crop is not lost money. And a real boon to the consumer who gets straight from the farm fresh produce. The real challenge is keeping up with it all.

But the idea of maintaining an SFG for someone is brilliant and whole new slant on making a little extra while doing what you love.

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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  Jay Bird on 9/9/2011, 3:19 pm

thanks all for the comments and questions, I need to put chopper on my email list for perspective subscribers he does a better job at explanations than I do, I have already printed some flyers to test the water with my existing customers, I will keep ya'll posted
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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  Nicola on 9/10/2011, 1:13 am

I joined my local organic farm's CSA a few years ago. This was before I started SFG'ing, and I was lucky enough to live around the corner from them. I think I had a full share, but I remember they allowed me to split the payments, maybe by quarters. (I think I was working then, not so now; and was probably doing volunteer work for them as well.) Each week we'd get a box/bag of whatever was in season that week: salad greens, tomatoes, herbs, kale, garlic, kohlrabi--other things I'd never grown, some I'd never even tasted.

I just looked at their blog, and saw the following:Our summer shares are $600, for 12 weeks (July 29th through October 15th)
we pick and pack a weeks worth ($50) of fresh, organic produce for …you.
Shares will be distributed during regular market hours: Fri 3-6 & Sat 10-1.

It's a great idea in general, and doing a SFG as a small commercial enterprise makes it even better! Good Luck.
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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  middlemamma on 9/10/2011, 1:37 pm

Psssssssssssst.....(taps on Jay Birds shoulder.....whispers: Chopper is a nice LADY! )

Smile
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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  boffer on 9/11/2011, 2:22 am

Not to mention that she chose to identify herself as a setter, and so she's identified by the the little pink thingie to the left of the 'post' count underneath her avatar and name.

OOPS, JB!!!!! rofl
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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  Goosegirl on 9/11/2011, 8:40 am

@boffer wrote:Not to mention that she chose to identify herself as a setter..



ACK! Took me a minute to get that one, Boffer! It must be too early on a weekend morning!
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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  FarmerValerie on 9/12/2011, 8:43 am

JB, what an awesome venture idea, I wish you all the success you can handle!



I did like the idea of volunteer work Nicola mentioned, having them help you mix the MM and carry heavy bags of stuff from one place to another. I like the grass fed beef too, that's becoming a good market in our area.



Also, I'm greatful that you and yours were not affected by all the fires we've had lately. We had a few pop up in Bowie County, in fact RRAD had one and they are just down the road. There were also some in AR, Ogden had a pretty good sized one. Lot's of lost homes and land.



While I am thinking about it, we are rabbit pricing, for next spring. As I finish my chicken yard (yes, I know coup, yard, then chickens-we do things bass akwards most of the time), and start on the rabbit hutch (this time I'm in charge, I want that done before they arrive) I am keeping my eye out for people who sell rabbits. They were $15 a rabbit this year at Tractor Supply, and I just don't want to pay that much, do you have any idea what they are going for in your area?
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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  Jay Bird on 9/12/2011, 7:54 pm

fv around $8 bucks for young ones, and I could say I just mistyped and left off the s on he but actually i wasnt even paying attention and derived he from chopper ,, sorry dear my bad !! I post pretty fast when I am on line and dont always take the time I should
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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  Jay Bird on 9/12/2011, 7:57 pm

reminds me of the post how did you get your avatar name, remember last year? well I have been the bird since I was knee high to a grasshopper now I work for HAWK constrution and am still a Bird or JayBird if you prefer yada yada
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Re: CSA/SFG New Venture

Post  Jay Bird on 4/17/2012, 9:10 am

Just a short update on the CSA / SFG Venture,

We have leased (5) 4' x 12' boxes and all are planted, the balance of my 20 personal boxes are also planted. We have a obvious visi=ual discrepency between the new boxes and the three year old boxes, the original boxes veggies are outperforming the new boxes hands down, I attributute this to several years of mixing and amending , the new boxes are doing well but just not as good as the others, I did build one new 4 x 12 for myself and put considerably fresher chicken litter in it ( I was out of compost) and planted 48 toms, the growth of the toms is phenominal now I am conserned if we will get good fruit maybe too much nitrogen.

This past weekend I set up as a vendor at the Cypress Basin Master Garden spring festival and Iris expo, I just took canned goods, jellies and pickles to sell, and had set up a display with CSA / SFG flyers and grass fed beef flyers along with Mel new book , the head person of the Master Gardeners Org asked if I would conduct a seminar in May on SFG gardening, Now I am not in any way certified by Mel or anyone else for that matter but I agreed to speak as to my experiance with SFG.

I also had a newspaper guy from East Texas Journal stop by and quiz me, got my picture taken ,, he is gonna come to the house and do a story about SFG gardening using my story ,, he said the interest in SFG and sustainable living is growing by leaps and bounds.
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