OK, so I have to tell you that the best way that I have found to find direction in our business is by listening to our members. I know that Steve Jobs was famous for thinking that you have to “out-think” your customers, but I find it a lot easier to just listen to you. With that preface, let’s jump into a change that we will be implementing here moving forward.
I received a pretty direct email from one of our long time members, Karla. The gist of the email went something like this, “Farmer M., you’re killing me with all of these plastic bags that you keep sending. Is there a better way to send Organic food that is not so detrimental to the environment?”
That really got my gerbil running in his wheel. And to get you up to speed, we have to juggle 4 key factors when we design a pack system. 1) We have to keep the quality of the product as amazing as we can. 2) We have to portion control so that if someone thinks that they are getting 2 lbs of grapefruit, well they get 2 lbs of grapefruit. 3) We have to maximize the efficiencies of our labor. And 4) Well, we want to be super heroes and save the world from any self-inflicted destruction.
So after Karla’s email, we went through every item that we carry and thought about the best way that we could send the food to you while limiting (not eliminating) plastic bag use. The long and short of our audit is that we could probably cut about half of the bags that we use out of the equation.
You will still see things that need protection from the elements in bags. Lettuce, greens, and carrots to name a few. They cannot be trusted outside the humid confines of a plastic bag. Most other items can handle themselves fairly well. But I would still have some bags on hand to put items like broccoli, beets and cauliflower in when they hit your casa.
I really appreciate honest feedback from you guys and it does help forge the direction we take as a group. Additionally, I have thick skin and can take constructive criticism. The worst thing that can happen to us as a business is for someone to get frustrated and then just quit without helping us make things better first. To make a better local/regional food industry, it will take the help of a village to get there.
Next up, let’s look at another way that together we can build a better food industry. For those of you who have been around the farm for a while, you know that I am a firm believer in the power of a symbiotic partnership between a business and customers. Our economic marketplace gets painted with a Zero Sum brush too much. In that there can only be a winner when there is a loser.
I love having a business when we can break down that stigma and try and build a more community based model. I know that the customer can win the same time that the business wins. But it doesn’t happen by accident. And at the root of this business model is transparency and communication.
So let me lay the framework for a new discount plan that we have launched for you. It costs us about $7.50 to take an order, pack it, then deliver it to you. If the order is small, it might shave a few nickles off this amount. And if the order is large, it might add a few nickles to the average. But basically, it costs us the same whether we deliver a large or small order.
And let me be very clear that I want our food to make up the majority of the items in your kitchen. I say that not out of greed, but from the fact that no one will take as much care in sourcing food for you and your family as we do. So when we have the best, I want you to enjoy the best and support our food partnerships as much as you can.
The transparent reality is that a large order (over $100) has a better profit associated with it than does a $50 order. Those are just the facts of economies of scale. So then with those larger orders, there is room in our business model to give some of those profits back to you by way of discounts.
So I would like to introduce you to our Large Order Incentive; for every order of $100 or more you spend on an order, we will take 10% off your bill. There is nothing to sign up for and no hidden commitments. Just add items to your orders as you normally do and when you get to $100 in your shopping cart, the system will automatically give you a 10% discount on the whole order. This is a huge win-win for you and for us.
Enjoy and Thank you for the continued support! Farmer Monte