Hi my name is Ellie Hollabaugh Vranich.
I am a third-generation family member here at my family's fruit and vegetable farm, Hollabaugh Brothers Incorporated.
We are located in Biglerville, Pennsylvania. We've been in operation since 1955, farming on about five hundred acres.
What are the benefits to your operation for a CSA? We just got into starting a CSA program here at the farm this year in 2013.
We were kind of on the fence about it at first but decided that it was something that we really ought to try to incorporate into our marketing mix.
We have a home farm market where we have a pretty large customer base coming from the local and surrounding areas, but we really felt like offering a CSA program was another step in the right direction, educating people about home grown fruits and vegetables. Where it's grown, how it's grown, teaching them how to live sustainably, reducing ecological footprints, and it was a good step for us, from that perspective, as an educational tool. The other benefit we really saw from it and the motive behind starting it, aside from that, was getting people in our doors on a weekly basis, every single week throughout the whole summer and fall, which we saw them purchase other things every week when they were here in addition to their CSA boxes. What are the challenges to a CSA?
Incorporating the CSA program into our our marketing here at the farm was definitely a challenge and just having the the management of it under control.
It's something that I personally really wanted to be involved with just to make sure it went smoothly and as I kinda had visioned in my mind, so I was very involved with it which added another thing to my workload that I may or may not have necessarily had time for, but then just having the infrastructure built in.
I had to have staffing here to prep the boxes every single week. I had to make sure I had the right amount of produce here every single week in time to pack the boxes but not too early so that it was really nice and fresh for the customers.
And we supplied a document every single week of recipes and how to's and storage tips and things like that that we we saw as a benefit to teach them even more about the fruits and vegetables they were getting, but somebody had to prep and plan those things and that took about five hours a week that we have never had to do before. So just kinda planning and budgeting for all of those different components to make a successful program was a challenge, but ended up working out okay.
How did you market your CSA?
We just kind of incorporated the CSA into our regular retail marketing program here at the farm, which includes a mix of word-of-mouth for sure, but more so social media on Facebook and Twitter we promoted it, we have a really active website where we had it posted and had information about it.
We handed out flyers in our retail store and we attend a farmers market locally in Gettysburg and we handed out flyers there and basically just talked it up to to our customers that it was a really great opportunity for them to to learn more about the fruits vegetables we grow. Is there anything else about a CSA that you would like readers of this publication to know?
A CSA program worked really, really well for us here on this farm and it's definitely something I I look to continue doing in the future. We feel really strongly here at the farm about educating people about agriculture and where their food comes from and and this was a really neat way for us to to do that with with a somewhat smaller percentage of our customer base who really does have that care and concern for it.
It doesn't come without its challenges and its time commitments, and I I really look for it to be something that grows for us into into a really important part of our marketing program, but it was definitely a time-consuming effort, but but worthwhile.
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