We came up with a new program we call the Farm Share, and we rolled it out for the first time in 2014.
It worked pretty well.
So, we're going to do it again.
The Rettland Farm Share 2015 is Open for Business!
Here's how it works:
The Buy In Phase:
Like any CSA, we have to start with the buy in, the price you pay for membership in the farm share.
Unlike most CSAs, however, you decide the price you pay for this one.That's right, no set CSA fee. You pay what you can based on your budget and food needs.
What we offer you in return for your commitment to the farm for the year is a little "thank you" in the form of a bonus on top of your investment.
For amounts up to $499, we will add 5% to the amount of your investment. For amounts of $500 and up we will add 10% to the amount of your investment. And for amounts over $1000, we'll simultaneously be impressed and humbled by your dedication to Rettland Farm, we'll give you the 10% bonus, and we'll throw in your choice of a Rettland Farm ballcap or T-Shirt. For amounts over $2000, after we get over being gobsmacked by your awesomeness, we'll give you all of the other bonuses, plus a loaf of sourdough bread, made from our own organic wheat flour, baked by yours truly, and delivered, still warm, to your door. (Heck, we'll even make you some butter to go along with it!)
You can make your investment anytime between now and May 1, 2015. You can pay it all at once, or make installments as often as you like. The schedule is entirely up to you, but the Buy-In phase closes May 1, 2015, and no funds will be accepted after that date.
We can also gladly accept credit cards for your Share. However we will have to pass along a small 3% fee for that service.
Once you have paid your fees, we will issue you a Share Card, which will be modeled after a savings account passbook. The amount on the Share Card will be equal to your dollar investment plus your bonus, whatever that may be. At that point all you need to do is to wait for May 2.
Because beginning May 2, we begin the Share phase.
The Share PhaseAfter May 2, and until your Share Card balance reaches $0, you are entitled to begin collecting your Farm Share, in the form of ANY of the products that we produce and have available for sale at that time. No set quantities. No fixed items. No mandatory pick up schedule.
What’s Available This Year?
You probably know we produce pastured broiler chickens while the grass is green. You can take some of them as your share, starting around May 1.
And we also raise pigs that ultimately make some pretty tasty pork, from chops to bacon to hams to all manner of sausages. You can claim some of that for your share too.
We also play around with some organic grains, and we grind them into flour sometimes. Or sometimes we sell the grains whole. So now grains and flour can be part of your share too, if you're so inclined.
Eggs. Yes, the next generation of farmers here are starting up an egg business, and have their birds brooding in our living room as we speak, so look for some pretty special eggs to join the show this year.
Look for some lamb late in the summer. We’ll have that too.We’re also making arrangements to bring in other staple items like beef, and maybe some produce, from other farmers. These products will always be clearly marked with the name of the folks that produce it—we’re going to carry them because they are awesome products that we eat ourselves, and also to broaden your selection when you visit the Larder.
In short, you can take ANY Rettland Farm product that we have available throughout the season, in ANY quantity that you'd like to have it in. The idea here is to make your Farm Share more customized to your needs and tastes, and not try to cram everyone into the same mold.
The Point of Sale
The main point of sale, where you will be able to collect your Farm Share will be the Larder at Rettland Farm, at 2776 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, PA. At a minimum, The Larder will be open Saturdays, and we are considering Friday evening hours as well. And access to The Larder is always available by appointment.(For our Members in Baltimore, I am willing to put together a Buyer's Club program for you, with deliveries to Charm City throughout the year. We just need to get a group of the Rettland Farm Faithful together so we can make that trip!)
At the point of sale, you will simply select the products that you'd like to buy just like you would do at any farmers' market, and then present them to our Team member at the point of sale along with your Share Card. The retail price of your purchases will be added up, and the total will be deducted from your remaining balance on the Share Card.
You'll repeat this process until your balance reaches $0, at which point you are still welcome to shop with us. You'll just use other forms of payment besides your Share Card.
In addition to the cash bonus on the Share Card, you'll also receive a few extra perks for being part of the Farm Share.
To give you the best selection of our available products each week, Share members will be allowed early access to the Larder each day it is open. So if the Larder's posted hours have it opening at 12 noon for the general public, it will be open at 10 am for Share members.
Share members will also receive early bird tips about special products that we have available in limited quantities, such as holiday hams or Thanksgiving turkeys, before we announce their availability to the general public.
Finally, we'll give each member one insulated reuseable tote bage that you can use to safely carry your goodies home from your visits to the Larder.
The Fine Print
Please understand that while we're trying maximize your freedom of choice, we're still a relatively small farm, and sometimes our inventories of certain products are low. It's important to know that this is still a CSA of sorts, and by no means a mega supermarket with seemingly endless supplies of everything.
There will be days that we don't have what you want. But we will always have something awesome for you to eat. CSAs are meant to challenge your thinking when it comes to food, and make you step outside your comfort zone when it comes to cooking. So if we don't have bacon on the shelf when you visit, rest assured that we'll have it next week or the week after, and these pork minute steaks will be amazing on your plate until then.
Plan to take 6-8 months to exhaust your share. That is certainly the intention, to allow you to experience as much of the farm's seasonality as possible. If you try to collect your full share in the blink of an eye early in the season, you're going to miss out on some great stuff later in the season. And make things really stressful for us.
How to Join:
Simply send me an email. firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Farm Share” in the subject line. Let me know that you're interested, the approximate dollar amount you'd like to invest, and what payment schedule you're thinking about, if any. I'll take it from there.
(And if you're from the Baltimore area, please let me know that too. We'll see what we can do about putting together a Buyer's Club there. Be forewarned though: I may ask you to help!)Thanks to you all for your continued support. Here’s to a great 2015!