ABOUT THE MARKET
(NOTE: If you're looking for info on where we deliver please see the "Tips & FAQs" page.)
ABOUT THIS MARKET: The Will's Eden Farm-To-Door Market is technically a type of CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture. (The idea behind CSA's is for local farms to be supported by city and suburban communities who in turn receive top quality, locally sourced, produce and farm goods that wouldn't otherwise be conveniently accessible to them.) We were members of a popular CSA, ourselves, when we lived in Tucker, GA. It opened up a whole new world of food for us...but there were a few things we found frustrating about CSA's, too. So we're taking a leap of faith and eliminating those frustrations from our own market. Here's how we're going to be different:
1.) NO MEMBERSHIP FEES: The most traditional CSA format is one in which you have to pay up front for a full year of food deliveries. If the crops were stricken by blight or drought, your money would not be reimbursed despite receiving very little in return for it. On the other hand, if it was a banner year for crops, you'd receive much more than you paid for! The idea was that you, the consumer, were sharing in both the losses and the gains of that farm---you were part of their team, win or lose. It's a beautiful idea, really. Farming is veritable labyrinth of potentially devastating losses that are completely out of the farmer's control, and if consumers had to share in that burden they'd surely learn to be more appreciative and less wasteful! But the reality is, not everyone can afford to pay up front for that much food, and even fewer people can afford to not receive as much as they paid for. So over the last 15-20 years more and more CSA's have stepped away from that approach. Most charge some sort of membership fee instead, both to help offset their own inevitable losses and to give customers a sense of investment in the success of the farm. (I think many of them also hope that once someone has paid to be a member, they won't want to waste that investment so they'll be more likely to keep ordering.) I'll be honest, this was a hard one for us. We could REALLY use the added income of a membership fee, no matter how small. Farming is really expensive, especially in the first few years when you're getting everything established. But when we were customers, we didn't like the idea of feeling locked in by a seemingly arbitrary membership. And there were times when our budget could just barely handle helping the farm out by ordering from them, but we couldn't place orders because we didn't have funds to also pay the annual fee that was due. So....at this time we aren't charging membership fees. Please help us keep our service fee-free by ordering as often as you possibly can, and encouraging your friends and neighbors to do the same!!
2.) YOU CHOOSE WHAT YOU'LL RECEIVE: Another major aspect of traditional CSA's was that the customer had zero input into what the farm grew and sent to them. Most CSA's these days have modified that by having several types of "farm boxes" you can pick from (such as a box with only fruit, only veggies, or some of everything)---you pick the type of box, the farm picks what specifically goes in it. Many of CSA's now also allow you to choose "add on" items to purchase along with your farm box, and some even allow you to skip the box and only purchase add on items, but usually you then have to pay an added fee. As farmers, we can definitely see the benefit of being the ones who decide what people will receive---it would ensure that the produce we have the most of gets sold, whether people actually want it or not!! But as consumers, we weren't always so thrilled with that system. We were really committed to supporting the farm we were buying from, and we wanted to purchase from them every week. But there's only so many ways to use mixed root veggies and Swiss chard! Week after week, the boxes contained at least one or two veggies that we already had plenty of or just plain didn't like. I mean, don't get me wrong, there were some benefits to that system, too. Namely, it forced us to try a lot of new foods, and many of those foods are now staples in our diet. But in the end, we didn't have money to be spending on food we never intended to eat, nor could we afford to keep paying the "add on fee" just to get what we actually wanted. And we suspect other people have felt the same way about their CSA experiences. So we're going to try a system that no one else seems to be doing (as far as we've been able to tell): We're letting you, our customers, have full control over what you order. If you want ten pounds of kale, then by golly it's yours. But if you only want a dozen eggs and an order of caramel popcorn, that's okay too! We may eventually create optional "farm boxes" for people who find it easier to just order a predetermined box rather than taking time to look at all the choices. But we won't charge people fees if they prefer to do their own shopping.
3.) WE HAVE AN UPFRONT DELIVERY FEE: If you've used other CSA's before, you may not be expecting a delivery fee. They all charge one, trust me. But it's usually hidden in the price of their goods. How do I know this? Because no CSA could survive if it received no reimbursement for the price of delivery, especially since most of us have to drive for several hours to reach our delivery locations. The profit margins are just too tight. We debated simply upping our prices and calling the delivery free, because that sure would sound more appealing! But as customers we would've preferred a more upfront approach, so that's what we went with. Home delivery is $5 a person. If you only need one or two small items, I know that fee will sting, We're sorry about that. Truly. We spent several days trying to work out the lowest we could possibly charge, and I'm afraid this is where it needs to be. IF YOU LIVE NEARBY AND JUST WANT TO PICK YOUR ITEMS UP HERE AT OUR FARM, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text 404) 219-3650. We have a coupon code for you to enter which will deduct the full amount of the automatic delivery fee!
4.) OUR PRICES: We try very hard to keep our prices competitive. And as a family who has spent many years surviving barely above the federal poverty line, we want to keep our prices as reasonable as possible so a wide range of people can order from us. That being said, we're also trying to support other small local farms and operations like our own, so when we offer their goods to you we pay them much more than traditional wholesale prices. Competing with prices at places like Sprouts and Walmart is quite difficult when you're paying as much as ten times the wholesale price they pay. If our prices ever strike you as being too high, rest assured it's NOT because we're making a tremendous profit on it. We rarely even achieve the classic 50% mark-up rate, more often settling for anywhere from 25-35%. On the other hand, unlike those chain stores we're helping other small farms to survive by paying them sustainable wholesale prices. That means YOUR purchase contributes to the survival of not one, but two local food enterprises! In this day and age, when the traditional family farm is either getting swallowed up by corporate agriculture or simply dying altogether, that contribution is more important than ever!!