Announcing Harvie Farms Pittsburgh! Your Local Farms, Customized and Delivered

We are happy to announce Harvie Farms Pittsburgh, a new service that brings together the best local farms in the Pittsburgh area, allows you to customize your farm box before each delivery and then brings the harvest right to your doorstep!


Lettuce growing at one of our farms, Who Cooks for You Farm in New Bethlehem, PA

We know you love local food, but it’s often hard to make it to the farmers market, CSA programs can be inflexible, and the “local” claims of grocery stores are dubious at best.

To make it easier to love local food, we are happy to announce a whole new way to get access to fresh food directly from your local farmers: Harvie Farms Pittsburgh.

In the local farm community here in Pittsburgh and across the country, we recognize that food buying habits are changing.

We are a group of experienced local farmers, distributors, and farm technology folks who want to make it easy for you to get access to the most quality local food for your home kitchen. Think of Harvie Farms Pittsburgh as the ease of online shopping, Amazon, and home delivery meets the unique tastes and freshness of CSAs and farmers markets.

We have been running the successful Harvie platform (we are a Pittsburgh-based technology company) across the US and Canada for the last four years, with over 150 farms using the platform delivering over 500,000 farm boxes to 50,000+ consumers. Now it’s time for us to bring Harvie to our hometown: Pittsburgh!

I’ll tell you more about “us” later. First let’s talk about what we can do for you!

Why Harvie Farms Pittsburgh?

  • We work with multiple farms across the Pittsburgh region so your farm box can include vegetables, fruit, cheese, eggs, bread, meat, milk, and more!
  • Home delivery (or delivery to your office!) to the city of Pittsburgh and near suburbs.
  • Customize your box each week so you get exactly what you want and nothing you don’t.
  • Get your farm box on your schedule! When you are out of town, just pause your box or reschedule it for another week.
  • Built in cooking and recipe tips plus connect with farm share members all over the world (literally!)

So how does it work?

  • Start at the sign up page: https://www.harvie.farm/signup/harvie-farms-pittsburgh
  • Pick a farm box, small ($29), medium ($49), or large ($79) — plus a $6 home delivery fee — which will include a full customizable product selection each week.
  • Choose a frequency of delivery: weekly or bi-weekly and remember you can schedule around your needs.
  • If you want beef or pork, choose a customized butcher box for delivery once per month from Jubilee Hilltop Ranch.
  • Complete contact info and payment info.
  • (Optional) Set product preferences so Harvie knows what you like and what you don’t like and we’ll pre-customize based on your product preferences.
  • Wait for deliveries to start in late May!
  • Our initial run will be for 26 weeks from late May to mid-November.

We are looking for 250 families to join us for this first season to make Harvie Farms Pittsburgh fly!

To encourage you to join us, use the coupon code FIRST250 to get $29 off your seasonal farm box. Sign up here:  https://www.harvie.farm/signup/harvie-farms-pittsburgh

Next I’ll be in touch to tell you about our farmers, who “we” are, and why we are doing this!

If you have any questions, just respond to this email and I’m happy to talk.

-Simon Huntley (CEO, Harvie) & Neil Stauffer (General manager, Harvie Farms Pittsburgh)
412-352-9673
https://www.harvie.farm/signup/harvie-farms-pittsburgh

Changes in the local food market, 2020 edition

First the positive!

I was talking to one farm who was an early adopter of Harvie this Fall and she told me that they are seeing lots of farms going out of business in their local area and due to Harvie, they feel like they can serve this market and plan to double their business in 2020.

That is why we built Harvie!

On the less-positive side, as the Harvie farmer noted, it feels like a lot of farms are going out business or changing business models.

Close to my home, it’s been a dispiriting few months in the local food scene here in Pittsburgh. Our largest local food distributor, Penns Corner Farm Alliance, went out of business and was taken over by a large main-line distribution company. Many local CSAs have gone out of business so we only have a few CSA farms left here. There are a few vibrant farmers markets here, but many of the markets do not have the sales volume to support medium scale farms. Despite the fact that the food scene here as far as restaurants have gotten a lot of positive press, there are very few farms growing at any scale in this metro of over 2 million people. Older farmers who have been stalwart farmers here are aging out and the younger generation is not taking over.

I’m seeing this across the country as well with many farms shutting down, moving to wholesale sales channels, and in general leaving the farm-direct sales like CSA and farmers markets.

I just got an email from the Farmers Market Federation of NY entitled “Reversing the Downward Trend” with the first line, “In recent years, farmers markets have been experiencing a loss of customer base and consequently, farmer sales.”

I can take some solace in the fact that I have been pointing this out since 2015, for example in CSA, We Have a Problem.

But now it feels like what I was predicting has happened. I feel right and sad at the same time!

Consumer buying habits have changed and in local food we have not kept up with the trends.

So is this the end of local food?

As always, yes and no.

I still believe that consumers want to buy from their local farmer. They believe that this food is fresher, healthier, tastier, and better for the environment.

However, we need to find a way to fit into the lives of our customers.

That is what I’ve been working on since 2015 when I started my research on the declining CSA numbers. This research later led to the development of our Harvie platform. I am proud of what we have done at Harvie and I believe that it is a potential future for local food. Our farmers our selling out and many reported having their best year of sales yet in 2019.

I don’t think of Harvie as “CSA software” — it’s not that. We don’t call Harvie a “CSA program”, although many of our farmers refer to their program running through Harvie a “CSA”. It is a business model for a farm that wants to serve the local consumer market in a profitable and scaleable manner. I’ve been asking this question for years: how can we make it as easy to buy from local farms as it is from Amazon Prime? At the same time we still want to keep everything that is special about farms and local food in the model. Harvie is the answer for that.

There is a market out there for farms and local food entrepreneurs who are ready to innovate, but this is a moment where doing nothing is not an option. What worked 5-10 years ago will not continue to work in the future.

We are planning a major new initiative here in Pittsburgh that I would like to tell you about over the next 6-12 months. Maybe I can inspire some of you to come along with me and bring local food to the mainstream in your local markets too!

Are you seeing the same things? What’s going on in your local market? I would love to hear your stories! If I get some interesting responses, I can do a follow up post.

Harvie Farmer-to-Farmer Webinar Series in November

I know you are tired of hearing about Harvie from me, so I have organized a series of webinars featuring four farmers who use Harvie on their farm.

They will spend about 30 minutes talking about how they use Harvie and how it has benefited their farm business. There will be time for Q-and-A following each webinar.

The webinars will occur each Tuesday in November at noon EST / 11 am CST / 10 am MST / 9 am PST.

Here is the schedule:

  • November 5th: Mike from Steel Pony Farm – “How Harvie helped me grow my farm while doing more of what I love”
  • November 12th: Noah from Rora Valley Farm – “How Harvie helps my farm increase financial stability and profitability through selling more product to a highly satisfied membership”
  • November 19th: Robyn at Park Ridge Organics, “How we pack 350 customized farm shares per week”
  • November 26th: Curtis from Millsap Farms, “How Harvie Vanquished ‘The Dread Of The Empty Box’ On Millsap Farm Or “how I learned to stop worrying and love the algorithm…”

You may come to one or all of the webinars in the series.

To kick things off and set the scene, I’ll do a demo of Harvie sign up, the member profile, and run through a whole delivery process tomorrow.

  • Oct 29th Simon Huntley, Harvie Demo

To register, fill out this form:
https://smallfarmcentral.typeform.com/to/aUX6pT

I will send a Zoom video conference link the morning of each event.

-Simon Huntley
CEO, Harvie

Pricing a harvie farm share for profit

“Harvie is not a cost, it is a pricing opportunity.”
-Robyn, Park Ridge Organics

I know a lot of farmers get hung up on the transaction fees for Harvie.

However, Harvie is not a fixed cost like a new tractor or labor. Harvie is a transaction fee that gets passed on to customers in margin.

In other words, Harvie is free for farmers. Members pay for Harvie.

Cost is mostly irrelevant when thinking about whether you want to adopt Harvie.

When you determine that Harvie is the best tool for your farm and for your members based on the functionality and service offerings, then it is a matter of pricing Harvie into your shares. It’s a win for your farm, for the farm’s bottom line, and for your customers!

So, how to price Harvie into your farm share?

There are four main levers to pricing your Harvie farm share:

The per share price that members pay

For a vegetable farm share (although the same principles will apply to any other type of farm share like a meat share), you might have three price points: Small ($18/delivery), Medium ($27/delivery), Large ($40/delivery).

Members have the option of purchasing weekly or every-other-week frequencies.

This determines the gross amount of money that is coming into the farm share program.

The target value of each share

The target value is how Harvie determines how many products should be put in each members share each week, based on the per-product pricing that the farm sets (see lever #4).

By default, this value is the same as the member pays so a $27 share gets a target value of $27.

I suggest that farms adjust the target value a bit lower to cover per delivery costs such as distribution (unless those are covered in lever #3), packaging, and packing labor.

In the spreadsheet example, a $27/delivery share gets a target value of $25.25.

Delivery fees

The cost of transportation and distribution can be covered by a delivery fee. This especially makes sense for home delivery.

In the spreadsheet, I have set the home delivery cost to $10/delivery.

If distribution cost does not get covered by a delivery fee, for example in the case of group pickup locations, distribution cost should be figured in the target value of the share after calculating a “per delivery distribution cost”.

Per product pricing

Per product pricing is where the majority of the action is in this model. This is the retail price of each product that goes into a Harvie delivery. This is the price Harvie will use to determine the contents of each members share, based on each member’s preferences and the harvest estimate, to pre-fill each member’s share.

Image
Setting prices in Harvie’s delivery estimate builder.

The spreadsheet model works back from a cost of production (let’s call that cost of goods sold or C.O.G.S.) to a retail price. The cost of production should include everything required to get the product ready to be packed into shares, including post harvest handling. This should include a fair salary for the farmer too!

On top of the C.O.G.S., we add the percentage costs of Harvie, credit card fees, marketing/administration, and a healthy 20% profit margin.

So on average in our system, farmers have listed potatoes at $2.23, based on this model, the target C.O.G.S is $1.12. Can you produce a pound of potatoes at $1.12? Your C.O.G.S. may be different on your farm so you can adjust this up and down to get your actual retail price that you should list in Harvie in each delivery.

Harvie is open for 2020

I am excited to announce that we are now accepting new farms for Harvie for Fall 2019 and 2020.

To see if Harvie is a fit for you, go to our Harvie For Farmers page and request a free proposal:
https://www.harvie.farm/forfarmers/

After that, we will schedule an Initial Needs Assessment to discuss your current situation and your goals.

We will work to determine if Harvie is a fit for your operation. I genuinely believe in helping local farms succeed, so we only work with farms that we feel like we can help. Whether or not we decide to work together directly, my desire is for your farm to have the tools you need to succeed and grow the local food marketplace.

I encourage you to read this letter I wrote about this year of Harvie and looking towards the future:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/14MaUyRBXf6UGGPtgJn9Rybv_wmYQfjLg/view?usp=sharing

In the coming weeks, I will be sending a video course titled, “How to launch a Harvie farm share program” detailing everything from pricing to distribution, so watch your inbox for those emails.

Happy farming,

-Simon Huntley
Founder and CEO, Harvie

Hiring Harvie Software Product Manager

Harvie (http://harvie.farm) is a Pittsburgh-based company that connects local consumers with local farmers across the U.S., Canada, and Australia who deliver shares of farm fresh products customized to their personal preferences.

Our company was started in 2006 to meet the technology and marketing needs of local farmers across the US, Canada, and internationally and has served 1000’s of farms in the last 13 years. The Harvie platform was introduced in late 2016 to address the changing landscape of food buying and to help farmers grow sales and profit by making local food more accessible through a customer friendly CSA / farm share model. The concept has grown rapidly. In 2019, Harvie will help 100 farmers deliver over 500,000 farm shares with much more growth planned in 2020 and beyond.

Harvie is a small team of 15 smart, dedicated individuals. We are an innovative, fast-moving, and fast-growing company.

We are looking for a software product manager with strong UI/UX skills to take feedback from throughout the company, talk to farmers, and talk to customers to build out our technical roadmap. As with any small team, you will wear many hats and we will expect you to build a product team as we grow.

Responsibilities:

  • Talk to other Harvie team members, farmers, and end-consumers to understand their challenges
  • Integrate feedback from across Harvie to develop technical road map
  • Write detailed specifications that can be handed off to developers
  • Evaluate success of features after they are released
  • Coordinate QA testing of new releases
  • UI/UX experience is a plus
  • In essence, guide product features through their entire creative cycle: ideation, specification, development, release, analysis, and iteration

Important details:

  • Full-time position with some flexibility (40 hours/week)
  • Competitive salary adjusted upward with experience
  • Health benefits, retirement plan, and paid vacation
  • Harvie farm share paid for by the company and delivered to the office by Rivendale Farms!
  • Office on North Shore of Pittsburgh, 10 minute walk from downtown, free parking
  • Relaxed dress code and office environment
  • Equal Opportunity Employer

Requirements

  • Experience generating outstanding results as a Product Manager 
  • A desire to grow the local food market
  • Ability to utilize user insights, data, and statistical analyses to inform decisions
  • An instinct for creating simple and intuitive user experiences
  • Proven ability to learn quickly
  • Demonstrated ability to be resourceful and innovative
  • Experience leading projects and teams
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, Business, Design, Psychology, or a related field

Apply

Send resume and cover letter in PDF format to simon@harvie.farm with subject line “Product at Harvie”.

Home Delivery is the Future of Local Food

This year, I’ve been on a mission to test grocery delivery services to understand the changes that are happening in our market

I am surprised by how much I enjoy Whole Foods’ home delivery service as a busy father of two young children. I simply log-in to the “Prime Now” app during the day, place my order, and have the order show up on my doorstep later that evening in a two-hour window.

The delivery is “free” with a suggested tip for the driver. I always leave a $5 tip.

This is a huge time-saver for me that I can use to spend time with my kids, clean the house, exercise or relax. 

I am not alone. A recent study suggests that 60% of urban shoppers are buying groceries online for home delivery. 

Put it another way: in 10 years, do you expect more people will be buying food online for home delivery or less?

If you answer “more” to that question, you need to start to think about home delivery as part of your farm marketing plan.

We are doing a small pilot of home delivery in Pittsburgh with Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance this season so I’m deep into thinking about how Harvie’s home delivery capabilities can help farms compete in this changing landscape.

We have many tools built into the platform including home delivery areas, up-charges for home delivery, a way collect home delivery instructions from customers, exports for the RoadWarrior app (for delivery route optimization) and more.

Some things to think about:

  • You need to charge for it. I created a spreadsheet to think through cost-per-mile, salary, and density of deliveries to come up with a base cost for home delivery. It depends on many factors, but I can’t see you doing it much less than $7.50/delivery. This cost must be passed on to the consumer in some way.
  • Choose a defined delivery zone, probably in a higher density urban area to start is the best bet.
  • Will you do the delivery or outsource it to another company? Local courier companies or services like Lyft and Uber can make sense.
  • No more pick-up locations for farm share takes away that logistical issue for you and for your customers.
  • It’s much more attractive and convenient for customers and it supercharges your marketing because you don’t have to worry about how close each person is to a drop site as long as they are in the delivery area.
  • Consider going 100% home delivery or this may be a good way to start a farm share program if you have not done one before.
  • Increase your product line from other local producers so you can fill more of the grocery budget for each customer to make the cost of delivery more worthwhile for the member.

My goal with Harvie is to grow the market for local food beyond the true believers who have supported local farms in the past. Home delivery is a part of that puzzle because it removes many of the barriers to joining a farm share program.

I would be happy to discuss the home delivery strategy for your farm in the future. Just reach out when you are ready to discuss!

-Simon Huntley, CEO & Founder, Harvie
simon@harvie.farm

About Harvie Farm Team

Interesting in taking your farm share sales to the next level?

The Harvie Farm Team is a sales team for your farm. The goal is to help you take your farms marketing efforts to the next level by bringing on team members and executing campaigns on your behalf that can assist with promotional activities. There are a couple different ways to participate. Choose one or both!

How it Works

Farm Team Members

Harvie will work with you to find and train “team members” that will act as brand ambassadors on your behalf. This includes

  • Helping craft outreach descriptions for team members
  • Training and marketing materials for team members
  • Monthly call to touch base with team members
  • Monthly reporting for payout
  • Workplace Wellness Farm Share Program

Goal

  • Assist with setting up new pick up locations
  • Community outreach such as helping set up tabling events, postering, handing out literature
  • Blogging
  • Sharing information on social media
  • Set up workplace farm share sites
  • General cheerleader for your farm

Member Acquisition Program

 Harvie will work on your behalf to plan and execute Facebook ad campaigns. This includes

  • Custom ad copy (images and text)
  • Creation and management of the Facebook ad campaign
  • Includes an interactive chat bot, follow up text messaging and email drip campaign.
  • Reporting and analysis

Goal

  • Lead generation
  • Share sales  
  • Specifically targeted geographical areas

Details

Harvie will assess a 10% fee for member acquisition program for the first year and 5% in the second year. This essentially covers our cost to plan and execute the campaign as well as pay for the ads.

Harvie will send you a monthly sales report for all farm team members. The farm will then pay out the 10% commission to the team members on a monthly basis for the first year and 5% for the second year.

Interested in learning about how the farm team can help your farm reach its goals?

Set up a call with our community manager, Stefanie here https://calendly.com/stefaniejo/marketing and please indicate this is a call for farm team!

CSA Day is this Friday!

It is CSA Day this Friday — the perfect time to buy your farm share for the 2019 season!

To celebrate, we are running a contest! The winner will receive $250 towards their CSA / farm share. To enter:

  • Follow harviefarms on Instagram
  • Like this post and tag a friend who might be interested in a CSA / farm share program
  • For extra entries tag your farmer or repost this image or this image on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #CSAday

About CSA and CSA Day

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), or farm share, is a simple concept. A consumer buys a membership with a farm and gets a “share” of products from that farm throughout the growing season.

Since the first CSA farms started in the United States at two farms in Massachusetts in 1986, this model has been wildly successful with many thousands of CSA farms in the United States, Canada, and spreading to the rest of the world.

CSA / farm share is a vital piece of the local food economy because it allows small and medium scale farmers to compete against the traditional food system by guaranteeing a market for their crops.

CSA / farm share is good for consumers too because it is the best way to form a relationship with a local farm and get the freshest, healthiest, and tastiest food into the kitchen.

Whether you care about the viability of local farms, land use, environmental issues like the long distance that food travels in the traditional food system, or you just want to eat well.. you should be in a CSA program.

Here at Harvie we are doing our part too by making CSA programs more customer friendly in the age of Amazon Prime, Blue Apron, and the plethora of other food buying options you have — customizable shares (never want beets, never get them!), low up-front cost payment plans, scheduling around vacations, and recipes for the products you get each week. We want to make it easy, fun and tasty for you to support your local farm!

CSA Day

Five years ago, I ordained the last Friday in February as “National CSA Sign-up Day” (since shortened to CSA Day) because, based on our data, it is the most popular day of the year to sign up for a CSA / farm share. More info at http://csaday.info/.

So this week, if you have not already, join your local farm’s CSA / farm share program and make a promise to your farmer and yourself that you will buy healthy, fresh local food throughout the growing season.

Find Your Farmer

If you do not yet have a farmer, search harvie.farm or csaday.info/directory or reply back to this email with your address and I’ll find a farmer in your area.

Thanks for supporting your local farmer!

FarmFan is shutting down Jan 4th, 2019

Dear FarmFan Customer,

As of January 4th, 2019, we are going to discontinue the FarmFan service.

Thank you for coming on this journey with me and my team. Since we launched in 2014, FarmFan has sent over 2,500,000 text messages to farmer’s market customers.

In five growing seasons, I’m proud of what we accomplished with FarmFan, but it never achieved the critical mass of farms and markets to make it a viable long-term business. It is time for us to say good bye the FarmFan.

We will take some of learning from FarmFan and apply it to our Harvie platform and allow farms to send text message reminders to their members when farm shares are delivered to a site.

In the intervening years, there have been a variety of text message reminding programs that have come on the market for more general use so if you want to keep doing text messages for your market customers, you should be able to find a service to do that.

Creating new products is messy work and some things work and some things don’t. That is the nature of the work I do. After 12 years in this business, that is one hard lesson that I have learned. I’m proud to say that we will keep innovating and working along side you.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Best and thank you!

-Simon Huntley
Founder and CEO, Harvie & FarmFan