Friday, July 20, 2012

CSA Member Feedback Survery - Results!

We are now a third of the way into the season and have just completed our first member feedback survey.  We are very happy with how many members participated and we have received a lot of good input from it.  I will try my best to summarize here:
  • About 2/3 of our members have never been a member of a CSA before--which we think is fantastic.
  • About 90% of respondents said they are overall very satisfied or mostly satisfied.  
  • The results for the volume, value, variety, quality, and portions of the produce were all nearly identical to that.
  • 93% of respondents said it is important to them that our farms are organic
  • People are most interested in cheese and meat options to add to their shares, also honey, grains, additional fruit, and mushrooms.
  • 83% of respondents are interested in attending the Garlic Harvest!
  • Our average member so far has tried 4 new kinds of produce they have never had before.
  • 99% of our members say that the CSA has inspired them to cook/prepare new things.
  • A little more than half of respondents said being a part of the CSA has changed their mind about at least 1 kind of produce.
  • Kale is by far the top item people changed their minds about, with collard greens in second, and beets, garlic scapes, cabbage and fennel trailing behind.
  • The most popular items people said they enjoyed are (in order): kale, summer squash, tomatoes, lettuces, beans, garlic scapes, basil, squash blossoms, beets.
  • There is less consensus on the items people do not enjoy, but the top items (in order) are: kale, fennel, collards, beets, lettuces, rhubarb.
  • It is clear many of our members are new to CSA's, since at least half the items people suggested we grow next year are not yet in season and almost all of them will be included in the coming months.  By far the top suggestion that we can grow in the future is berries.
  • The top items people are looking forward to are (in order): tomatoes, winter squash, peppers, corn, melons, potatoes.
  • 93% of respondents said the CSA experience so far has been what they expected it to be, about 2/3 of those who said it was not, said so because it's better than they expected, the other 1/3 were unhappy with the experience.
  • Almost everybody is very happy with how the shares are distributed; they like their pick-up locations, using the reusable bags, and how the shares are packed.  
  • There were a lot of different suggestions of things we could do to make the experience better, but the most common were to include more info on what's going on at the farms, include more fruit in the shares, get the newsletters out earlier, and have a higher volume of produce in the shares.
Here is a brief run-through our assessment of the responses:

Overall, we are very satisfied with how many members participated and how much great input they have provided.  We are glad to see that we have so many first-time members, and have the opportunity to really help connect them to local, seasonal food.  Though we are glad most people are satisfied or very satisfied, we would like every member to be very satisfied.  As with many of the other questions though, we expect that if members are mostly satisfied so far, they will only be more satisfied as the season goes on.  We will definitely consider adding meat and cheese options to add to the shares next year.  We are very glad so many people are interested in the garlic harvest.  We are very glad so many people are learning to cook/prepare new things, trying new things, and changing their minds about certain items as a result of being part of the CSA.  

We grow a lot of kale, so we are glad it's so popular, but also recognize it is the most un-popular as well (also the top item people changed their minds about).  It seems like many people said they didn't enjoy it because we have included a lot of it so far--but we don't expect to do that again; so hopefully more people will change their minds about it and it will grow in popularity.  There is a difficult balancing act in that most of the items appeared in both lists, but we will try our best to include more of the popular items, and when we include items that are less popular--we will try to include more recipes and suggestions to help attempt to change people's minds about them.  

We have several growers who have put in berry patches, but unfortunately it takes several seasons for them to produce.  I'm not sure when they will begin, but certainly not this season.  We also grow a pretty large amount of strawberries, but because of the unusually early season, could only include them the first week.  Luckily, the same early season has brought us our first melons this week (about a month early!), and we expect to include a lot more fruit throughout the remainder of the season.  We are planning on including lots of all of the most popular items people said they are looking forward to, so that's good.  As well, we have been about 12% under-budget so far, so the shares will be a bit more full, and certainly will have more variety throughout the summer and into the fall.  

We also plan on including letters from the growers and having more updates to our web site/blog about what's happening on the farms.  In addition, members will be able to visit the farms at the Garlic Harvest and the melon party we will be having.

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