Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a great way to get summer’s bounty directly from the farm to your table, but the path to your table isn’t always easy – or profitable – for the farm. “Ask CSA farmers about what challenges them most, and they’re likely to report that distribution and scaling for growth top the list. In fact, distribution costs alone can kill the business,” said Bob Borchardt, owner of Harvest Moon Farms, a Viroqua, Wisc., grower that specializes in organic, heirloom vegetables.
Enter Peapod in its second year of collaboration with Harvest Moon Farms. For 12 weeks through summer and early fall, Peapod customers can order Harvest Moon Local Farm Boxes at peapod.com and have them delivered to their homes or scheduled for easy pickup at Peapod’s Pick-Up locations, currently in Palatine, Deerfield and Lincolnshire with additional sites opening this summer. The Local Farm Box will contain five to seven items of whatever is ready for harvest in a given week plus news, photos and recipes direct from the growers, Borchardt and his wife, Jennifer. Nearly 50 types of certified organic produce will be available throughout the Harvest Moon Farms growing season, including everything from beans, beets and broccoli to kale, Swiss chard and collard greens to Harvest Moon Farms’ famous heirloom tomatoes.
With Peapod in the mix, costs are removed and convenience is added for both the farm and the consumer. For example, Harvest Moon Farms will make one, weekly delivery of CSA boxes to Peapod instead of making multiple runs to many different drop-off points. In addition, because of the collaboration, Peapod funded the farm’s early crop costs for seed and other supplies, which helps Borchardt better manage cash flow and scale for anticipated growth. From the shoppers’ perspective, being able to order CSA boxes at peapod.com means no more expensive farm “shares” to buy up-front, and no getting locked into a weekly commitment – shoppers simply order boxes when they want them. Plus, it adds the convenience of getting CSA-quality produce along with their regular grocery orders.
“This makes perfect sense for Peapod and our customers,” said Tony Stallone, Peapod’s vice president of fresh markets. “It’s convenient for our customers and it is directly aligned with our reputation for delivering the freshest produce in the marketplace. It’s also a perfect extension of our commitment to sustainable agriculture and Peapod’s long-standing relationships with local farmers and local purveyors of all kinds,” he added.