Farmers in San Diego say they feel pressure to offer additional benefits in their CSAs – to sell different sized produce boxes, to provide various sign-up periods and to allow add-ons and weekly cancellations – all of which require additional time to manage.
During a panel on CSAs at the recent California Small Farm Conference, a question came up: Why are CSAs on the East and West coasts set up so differently from each other – and is it worth it? I was wondering the same thing, after researching the choices in San Diego, and noticing how unlike my experience with and knowledge of Virginia CSAs – where I received bags of turnips when other crops were suffering, and other CSAs doled out bushels of corn during the summer. In San Diego, I receive the same amount of produce in each box, and the contents thus far have be fairly standard.
It seems to boil down to the problem of retention and a difference in the underlying understanding of what a CSA even is.
“The trend in California is people want to choose what they want, and they don’t want what they don’t want,” said Robin Taylor, owner of Suzie’s Farm in Imperial Beach.
Farmers are desperate to attract and retain members to their CSA programs. Continue reading