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Tomato Mountain Newsletter - Week 34 | Fall Week 4

Posted 10/18/2017 9:02pm by Business Manager.
 10/16/2017 CSA NEWSLETTER
Whats in the box?! 
We’re in the middle of a week of mild, picture perfect fall weather. After a couple inches of rain last weekend, all this sunshine and these warm temperatures are putting the frosting on the cake for our fall field crops. Carrots, beets, and radishes are sizing up nicely, and our last broccoli planting is just starting to “head up”. It’ll cool down next week, hopefully frost/freeze a few times, and make everything taste great. There’s nothing like cool weather to finish off fall crops for the best quality and flavor.
We’ve starting planting winter spinach in the hoops, where tomatoes have been lingering nicely with the warm weather. This is easily the latest we’ve ever had tomatoes in the box. We’re onto a new trend here. We’ve been able to grow enough fall hoop crops in fewer hoops so that we can allow a few tomato hoops to persist longer. Part of that is weather dependent, and where climate change is nice. Instead of complaining about the state of things, best to adapt to it and go with we’ve got. Kind of like the lemon and lemonade analogy. Warmer weather means a longer tomato season and a bigger and better winter spinach season. The downside is a bit too much rain and sometimes wicked hot summers, but we’re getting better at dealing with all of it. Except for the pepper crop. Even there, we’ll improve next year and put most peppers in hoops, because we’ve gotten better at growing tomatoes too, and don’t need as many hoops of/for them either. We’ll have earlier, later, and more peppers next year- can’t wait.
Thanks to everyone who responded to our newsletter last week. Between that and my driving route, delivering CSA boxes last Wednesday night (doing it again tonight, filling in until we find a new driver), I have to say I’m impressed and hopeful from “both sides of the fence”. On my driving route, I was amazed at how many people had coolers out for produce (make sure they’re big enough, please :)), or had their old boxes out for me to pick up. And I was impressed at the the organization of the people working for me who had all delivery route sheets, boxes, add ons, and everything else in order and ready to go for me. Tight and professional - felt good.
As far as the comments we got from CSA customers per the newsletter last week, we’re feeling very good about the direction we’re going, and the significant changes we’re about to make. We’ve been talking with the company that facilitates/hosts our CSA signup/payments/information, Small Farm Central. They are aware as anyone of the difficulties CSA’s have faced the last few years, and have been working to make changes that address the biggest problems and current opportunities for CSA’s. Curtis, you seemed like a genius with your super insightful comments in your response to the last newsletter. Your ideas were basically a laundry list of changes that we, in conjunction with Small Farm, are excited to be implementing with their new platform starting next year.
The changes you can expect in our CSA program, starting with the winter share next year, include more choice in several ways. This choice will be implemented with streamlined, efficient, and functional ways to make these choices. Small Farm Central is revamping their information/communication/website platform to accommodate and support these substantial changes. You’ll have the option to customize your boxes, choose things you don’t like (which you simply won’t get) and add extra of items you love, login and place holds on weeks you’ll be away, and our new favorite, adding things to your box. There will be an every other week options for items like eggs and cheese, and easier ways to pay and sign up. For us, many administrative tasks will be easier or eliminated, and there will be some attractive customer acquisition tools that will hopefully get us a bunch of new, good, dedicated, long term CSA customers.
We’re not there yet. It’’s easy to get excited about something new and potentially promising. We still have lots of work to do. These new services/platform will cost us $15,000 to $20,000 more than we’re currently paying for Small Farm’s services. The good news is that the most it costs us, the more customers we will have earned (we pay them a percentage of sales). We’ve not raised our prices in may years, and were thinking of doing it anyway. A modest price increase that simply keeps up with inflation will pay for this service, which in turn gives us the best opportunity we can find to increase sales, customer satisfaction and retention. We’ll keep you posted...

Photo(s) added: September 17th, 2018

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Photo(s) added: September 10th, 2018

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Photo(s) added: , Another New PhotoSeptember 3rd, 2018

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