“I want a Half Share”, or, Better Yet, a “Crate Mate”

full share harvest crate #3, 8/29/13

 

….So you’d like a Veggie “Half Share”….

 

After 10 years of NOT offering a formal half share,

we’re NOW offering one!

A stand-alone, all-your-own, half share will cost $345.

 

I’ve ruminated on a Half Share offering each and every year. Every other CSA I’ve ever seen offers a stand-alone Half Share. At a premium price.

We’ve successfully steered around it up until last season. Last season, as hard as I steered, we still had 22 stand-alone Half Shares.

The short of the story is this: Due to customer demand, we are offering a stand-alone Half Share now. I have looked at five other CSA’s in our area, and have adopted a similar price premium.

How have we steered around this before?

 

What would I recommend instead?

 

A Crate Mate.

 

A “Crate Mate”?

…Yep…

 

A “Crate Mate”!

 

If you want a half share, contact us directly. No problem. We can work it out…. We will match you with another half share interest at your pick-up site. (Two of “You” will share One Full Share).

 

Or, better yet (and we all want the best), find another interested party to share your crate with you!

 

that’d be a crate mate

 

Sharing a crate works awesome – usually. We feel it makes your CSA experience very shared. Which is great. You can share food, recipes, trials and tribulations, successes with the quirky greens, and the task of pick-up. It’s a great way to start your adventure in CSA. Or continue your adventure if you have just a few eating from your crate.

When you go on vacation, your Crate Mate gets the whole harvest. And vice-versa.

When your kids have soccer games, your crate mate picks up the whole harvest, and you divide it up later at their house.

You give them your least favorites, they give you your most favorites (which are their least favorites!).

We have had successful crate mates year-after-year, some going on 10 years!

We’ve had crate mate splits of full shares in half, in thirds, and even in fourths!

We have not offered a stand-alone half share, in largest part, due to our delivery logistics. A half share crate, using our stacked crate delivery system, requires just as much space as a full crate. In the past, we’ve been packed and stacked to bursting. We just haven’t had room. And we still don’t.

And, honestly, I personally do not see the sense of paying a premium for a half share. I’d much rather see you matched with a suitable Crate Mate.

 

Why are we charging a premium?

 

Last season, with an “informal” 22 half shares (at precisely half the cost of a full share), I gained much experience regarding true, stand-alone half shares.

Logistics became a real issue: With Harvesting, with Deliveries, and with the sheer numbers of individual customers too, honestly. We have kept our prices very reasonable through our “Crate System”. We are like the school lunch ladies of old, as when I was a kid. You either got a tray of food or you didn’t. Period. No individualization, no customization. One tray, One person, One dollar. (Yes, I am that old!).

Half shares do throw a bit of a wrench into all that. Unavoidably.

Stand-alone half shares do tend to get the best deal financially too. You cannot effectively split a head of lettuce, or a kohlrabi, a melon, eggplant, etc, etc, etc. They are most often more than half the weight of a full share. Period. Not much of a way around it, really.

And, half shares have equal access to the Trade Crate/ Grab Crate. A Half Share can be “topped off” just as well as a Full Share. (For a CSA of our scale, most individualization might best be handled with a grab crate/trade crate/ community crate. These have been orange crates, labelled Community Crate which I’ve brought with me to the curbsides, not always, but often. We usually try to bait the crate with some extras, or maybe a few early or late-coming veggies (of which we do not have enough to stock each shareholders crate). CSA shareholders are welcome to Grab from the crate, or Trade with the crate (say trade your tomatoes for the kohlrabi in the crate (go figure)), or just Donate to the crate your least favorite whatever it is. It’s one way for You to individualize Your crate.)

I do hope that I’ve made a clear and fair argument for our change. I do not want to see a mass exodus to stand-alone Half Shares. There has been quite major customer demand though, which I cannot seem to steer around…

 

We do want it to work for you, and for us too

 

Please do be in touch with any comments, questions, concerns.

Thank you!

~Chris Swier

suns & amaranth aug 2013

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