|First CSA Box of 2019 Season|
We put a lot of thought into the types of questions we ask on our surveys to garner the best information to help us improve in ways that are important to our members. If you were one of the 528 people who took our survey, you may have noticed quite a few questions about our newsletters. We invest a lot of time in creating newsletter content and this is one of our primary means of connecting with members every week during the season. We feel the newsletters are important, and we have had members express this to us in the past as well, but it is hard for us to gauge the value of these types of correspondences without further feedback. Are we hitting the target and giving our members useful information, or are we just shooting in the dark?
What did we find out? Yes, people are reading the newsletters! 98% of our members said they read the "What’s in the Box" newsletter at least half the time, with over 77% reading it every week! Over 66% of our members are regularly reading the "Weed ‘Em and Reap" newsletter as well. We received a lot of positive feedback about our newsletters, and it made us feel like we are indeed doing the right thing with them! Last season, due to feedback from a previous survey, we tried something new and printed two newsletters. There is a lot of information we want to share with you, and a single sheet of paper had been too limiting. Previously, we adopted a blog format in order to provide more information for our members, and put “teaser” articles in our printed newsletters to encourage people to visit our blog for the remainder of the article. We received some feedback from members that this type of printed newsletter was irritating; they wanted the entire article without being directed elsewhere. So, we decided to split the newsletter into two portions. The "What’s in the Box" newsletter would contain the vegetable feature, recipes and the box contents for that week. The "Weed ‘Em and Reap" newsletter would be the place for articles about other important topics including farm updates, news reviews, employee highlights, or whatever other information we feel is important to share with our members. This change means there are two folders with newsletters at your pickup site, one with the "What’s In The Box" newsletter, and one with the "Weed ‘Em and Reap" newsletter. It was clear from our last survey that there are still many people who are unaware of the change we made to the printed newsletters. We are planning to continue to do the two newsletter format this year for those of you who prefer the paper copies; and as always, the information will still be linked in our email communications and posted on our blog as well.
|Hon Tsai Tai & Shiitake Potstickers|
Additional feedback we received for improving our newsletters included providing more vegetable storage information. We were also asked to provide an earlier “best guess” or a "What’s in the Next Box" section to give you an idea of what might be included in the current week’s box as well as the next week’s box. We are currently brainstorming on how we can improve our communications to include more of this valuable information.
|CSA Box from June 2019|
The last batch of questions we ask on our survey were geared towards marketing. We know, as it has been proven time and time again, that our customers are our best source of advertisement and are a wellspring of creative ideas and solutions. By finding out what it is that you value about being part of our CSA program, we can use those values to draw in more like-minded members. By asking what we can do to help you promote your CSA farm, we are able to create resources and promotion materials that reflect what would grab your attention, and thus the attention of the people who share similar values. We have already heard from some members requesting the promotional materials we have available, and we are always happy to oblige! We have several different printed material options available, and we have plenty of pictures and short messages we can send out for our members to post to social media. If any of this sounds like something you would be interested in, please feel free to call or send us an email for more information!
|Garver Feed Mill, photo from garverfeedmill.com|
|Andrea Enjoying the company of some of our CSA members|
at Strawberry Day 2019
There were many other interesting things we found out through our survey, too. We’ve received quite a few requests for videos of all kinds: cooking demos, field work, newsletter recaps, etc. The videos we have made in the past have been fun to do, and broadening our horizons in this form of communication is something we have a great interest in. We are currently brainstorming how to incorporate this into our day as well as what type of content will garner the most interest from our members. As well as videos, we received many suggestions for having a larger social media presence in general. After carefully considering our options, we have decided to continue using Facebook and to start a Harmony Valley Farm Instagram page! Please feel free to follow us on Instagram @harmonyvalleyfarm for more great updates from your farm.
Merchandise was another suggestion that popped up here and there. We do currently have t-shirts available for purchase during our on-farm events, and have been thinking about what other cool things our members might like to see as well (like re-usable tote bags)! My personal favorite suggestion was to create a hot sauce subscription program to supplement our CSA. The Korean Chili Sauce has been a big hit, and it might be fun to try new sauces in the future. We don’t have any immediate plans to pursue this, although it is a really hot idea.
Our website was also a subject we received lots of feedback on. We understand the one we currently have needs improvement, which is why we are working with our friends at Leum Tech to roll out a site that has a fresh look, greater functionality and will work great with mobile devices! Converting our information to the new site takes time, and we are currently prioritizing what needs to be on the site for launch day. Eventually we will have features like online ordering and an integrated blog! Our current recipe and newsletter archives are going to be available much like they are now, and we are looking for ways to make our future newsletters and recipes easier to locate and search as well. Additionally, we will be releasing a new and improved Vegetable Gallery that will include photos, descriptions, storage information, and much more!
As our review of the 2019 End of Season Survey comes to a close, we would like to thank you one more time for the invaluable feedback you have provided. Your support, positive feedback and creative ideas have helped in more ways than a simple newsletter and a “thank you” could ever express. We are truly looking forward to doing an even better job at being your CSA farm next season. See you then!
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