News and blog
Hello St. Croix CSA member %%user-name%%! (PLEASE NOTE IMPORTANT CHANGES IN PICK UP TIMES/DATES)
As you probably know, all of our limited shares are sold out! Thanks to you for making this possible! Now we are doing our final logistics in getting your produce to you in the most fresh and healthy condition possible. After seeing where all the shareholders live, we found that an immediate change in delivery places and times was needed in order to operate the CSA with the best efficiency.
We have moved the harvest and pick-up day for Christiansted from Wednesday to Sunday and the pick-up for Frederiksted from Sunday to Wednesdays. This is necessary so that we can split the harvest needs in half during each week to ensure the best produce possible.
The reasons for the change are the difference in the number of shares going to Christiansted and Frederiksted, and also as a result of the destructive fire at BBC out west, which altered our Sunday sales plans. This change will allow us to harvest from our fields evenly twice a week, and therefore give you the best selections.
Therefore, Frederiksted pickups will start on Wednesday, Feb 22nd and end on Wednesday, May 9th, while Christiansted pick-ups will start on Sunday, Feb 26 and end Monday, May 13th.
St. Croix Winter CSA Final Schedule:
Frederiksted: Wednesdays 3:30 - 5:30pm, at Polly's at the Pier
Christiansted: Sundays 4:00 - 5:30pm, at Miriam's (Hospital Street, on the turn to Gallows Bay coming from downtown)
Please let us know if you need any assistance with this schedule change. Also, if you have not sent in your payment, please do so before Monday Feb 20th to lock in your spot for the season! Memberships not paid by monday will be released to the waiting list.
Thanks or growing with us,
Nate & the amazing Ridge to Reef Farm Crew!
I'm sure some of you are unclear on the meaning of the term "blog". It is a rather fluid term that is a shortened version of "weblog." In my mind, it signifies a webpage that displays content of varying lengths in chronological order and invites readers to interact in the form of comments. Often, blog postings are categorized or tagged by topic so that users can navigate through related blog entries by the tags, such as "farming challenges" or "farmer's market." Blogs take many different forms from personal, public diaries to political commentary to blogs that are published by businesses themselves. This is the most popular form of content generation and information retrieval on the Internet today and the very website you are looking at right now, Small Farm Central, is a blog-style site. If you have heard of the term "Web 2.0", blogs are big part of the Web 2.0 movement.
Your farm should blog because it is an easy and time-effective way for you to get your story out to customers. Repeat customers come to you because of the relationship that they have with you and a blog is a perfect way for you to start and augment the real-world interaction that you have with the customer. Granted it does take some time, energy, and thought to produce effective blog posts that communicate the farm experience, but that post will easily be read 100s or 1000s of times over the life of your blog. That works out to be an extremely time-efficient way to build a consistent and faithful customer base. Customers that read your blog will be more understanding of blemishes or crop shortages because you can explain the exact cause of the problems. This becomes a story that they can take home with their produce and they will feel more connected to the farm and the food if they know some of the challenges that went into growing it.
The complaint I hear the most is that farmers don't have time to be writers as well as producers. Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo dedicates one afternoon every two weeks to writing six blog articles. He then releases one each Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. There are other techniques of course too: get a trusted intern to write an article each week, find a very enthusiastic and involved customer who will volunteer to write a blog article every once and a while, or just commit to posting a short update once each week. There is no right way to write or schedule your blog, but post on a regular schedule and write with passion because passion is infectious.
At this point, if you are considering a farm blog, start reading a few established farm blogs and get some general advice on how to write blogs. I have discussed some aspects of blogging at Small Farm Central in Farm blogging isn't always literature, but this is and What I learned during an interview with Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo. Blogging will be a topic that I come back to over the next few months because I believe it is the core of any modern farm web marketing strategy.
Some farm blogs to get you started:
- Eat Well Farm Blog : recently discussing problems with the Med Fly and how they are certifying their packing shed as Med Fly-free.
- Life of Farm Blog : this blog is sponsored by the Mahindra tractor company. Perhaps the writer got a free tractor for writing the blog?
- Tiny Farm Blog : wonderful photos and at least a post a day.
- Rancho Gordo Blog : this popular blog receives 300-500 unique visitors a day (which is impressive for a farm website) and even helped the author secure a book deal.
Read about the process of writing a blog and more:
- Blogging Your Way Into a Business
- Business Blog Case Study: Stonyfield Farm
- Blogging for your customers versus blogging for your business
- How to Write Great Blog Content : Great advice from the #1 blogger.
Spend the next few weeks reading farm blogs and exploring some of the resources listed above. Then when you think you know enough about blogging to start, you will probably want to go back to Hosting Options to get your blog online. Not coincidentally, the Small Farm Central software contains all the features you need to get your blog (and farm website) up and running within a few days. I know that not very many farms are taking blogging seriously as a marketing tool, but I have a strong feeling that every serious farm will have a blog in five years.