[Market-farming] CSA start-up

Fellenz fellenz at fltg.net
Mon Nov 26 20:11:19 EST 2007

First off, I don't know that CSAs, Farmers Markets and Roadside Stands 
are mutually exclusive, I used to sell through all three and for the 
last two seasons have had both CSAs and a roadside stand along with PYO 
and restaurant sales.  . 

I look at it as a cascade for ensuring complete distribution of my 
produce.  When I did all three, for any item that was in tight supply 
the CSA got first dibs, then the Farmers Markets and finally the 
roadside stand.  For items in good supply, I put just a little more than 
I thought I could sell into each. 

But, to answer the question why a CSA rather than farmers markets or 
roadside stands:

 >  I don't have to worry about rain on market day anymore.  With the 
open air farmers markets we used to sell at, our sales dollars were much 
lower on rainy days.  WIth the CSA, everything is already sold, so the 
weather doesn't negatively impact my sales.

 > Cash flow - with the CSA my cash flow is better matched to my 
seasonal expenses.   I start collecting money in March, just a few 
months after ordering seeds and supplies, rather than waiting until the 
first market at the end of May or in early June to get the first sales 
dollar.  This year with one of my CSAs, the sponsoring church has 
already started collecting deposits, so I will have some seed money from 
the CSA in January when I start ordering seed. 


Bill Shoemaker wrote:
> I've found this thread interesting. It sounds like some believe the CSA 
> model is more demanding on the grower than the roadside stand or farmers 
> market model. In my area, long-established growers almost exclusively 
> operate their own stands. There are some newer growers who use the CSA model 
> or attend farmer's markets. I'd like to hear feedback on why you would use 
> the CSA model rather than farmer's markets or roadside stands. Thanks for 
> any responses.
> Bill Shoemaker, Sr Research Specialist, Food Crops
> University of Illinois - St Charles Horticulture Research Center
> www.nres.uiuc.edu/faculty/directory/shoemaker_wh.html

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