CSA Q&A - The Swallowtail Farm Card

We are giving our Community Supported Agriculture program a dramatic evolutionary shift. We are hoping to meet the changing needs of our customers in the best way we can imagine, and the Farm Card model seems to be the most convenient and flexible CSA situation that we have found in looking high and low across the country at other CSA farms. We want things to work both for you and for the farm. A debit-based system, which is incentivized for maximal member benefits, seems a perfect solution to many of the challenges that CSA programs including our own currently face. We want our customers to all receive what they pay for, and with the Swallowtail Farm Card, we believe our existing customers will both have the selection of fresh and biodynamically-grown produce and flowers and dairy many of you have likely enjoyed already, plus the flexibility to apply your CSA credit toward any of our offerings, thereby allowing us to meet your needs on demand. And for ourselves, the logistical challenges of maintaining a varied and diverse CSA offering will be greatly simplified. We should be able to tailor our production toward the things that are purchased most, and thereby strive to meet demand even more than before.

Here are some questions and answers we anticipate in our transition from our traditional system to the Swallowtail Farm Card. Please do not hesitate to write or call us with any questions not covered below.

1) When can I sign up for the Swallowtail Farm Card?
A: Enrollment is open now! Sign up today at www.swallowtailcsa.com. Enrollment will close for the season on October 12, 2019. At that point, only CSA cardholders will be eligible for adding value to their cards with the 10% bonus credit. Enrollment is limited to 250 total cardholders.

2) What is the benefit of signing up during Earlybird enrollment, and when does it end?
A: Earlybird enrollment will end July 1. If you sign up before July 1, you will receive 12% bonus credit, versus 10% afterward. This 12% applies only to the amount that you place on your card in your initial enrollment.

3) Is there a way to receive a free Farm Dinner ticket this season?
A: Yes! Exclusively for existing CSA members, if you sign up for any amount $1000 and above during Earlybird enrollment (before July 1), you will receive One (1) complimentary Farm Dinner ticket, for use at the dinner of your choice for the upcoming season. All of our upcoming Farm Dinner dates are posted on our website. We will issue you a voucher via email prior to the season that you can use to secure your ticket.

4) When will I receive my new Swallowtail Farm Card?
A: You will receive your Farm Card prior to October 1, in time for you to use it for our entire season. We will deliver all cards in person, to ensure that you receive and sign for your card and balance. We will organize a couple of opportunities to distribute all of the cards to our members during the month of September.

5) What can I use my Swallowtail Farm Card to purchase from the farm?
A: You may use your Farm Card to purchase ANY of our offerings, including the following: Farm Dinners, vegetables, flowers, herbs and fruit, pastured eggs, our famous yogurt and milk, Farm Festival admission and on-farm purchases, farm swag, including t-shirts, hats, reusable bags, and more. You may use it at our markets, at the farm, and for online orders.

6) Is there an expiration date for my Farm Card balance? What happens if I have a remaining balance at the end of the season?
A: Your Farm Card balance is good for our entire upcoming season, ending June 6, 2020. As with any CSA program, you may not carry your balance forward from one season to the next. We will be issuing reminders beginning a couple of months prior to the season's end to encourage you to use your balance as a courtesy so you can make the most of your investment in the farm. We feel confident that because you will be able to use your balance for ANY of our offerings, it will not be difficult to make full use of it.

7) Will Swallowtail continue to serve Thornebrook Village?
A: Yes, we will continue to come to Thornebrook. We value our current CSA members immensely, and know there would be many of you who would be disappointed if we stopped our service to that location. That said, we will be changing the setup to reflect a market situation, and likely will seek to attract more customers to make purchases there through signage and advertisement. We will also encourage folks to pre-order some of our specialty items (especially milk and flowers, for example) online prior to the Thornebrook market each week in order to ensure that we bring all that you desire.

8) Is there an installment option for payments toward the Farm Card?
A: There will no longer be an installment plan option offered. We feel that the minimum buy-in amount of $500 ($550 credit, or $560 with Earlybird signup) presents an affordable option for anyone seeking the benefits of our CSA. That said, we will strive to accommodate anyone who wishes to participate in our CSA, so please let us know if we need to work out an agreement with you.

9) What happens if I use up my entire balance? Can I reload my card with more credit?
A: Yes, as a cardholder, you will be able to reload your card at any time during the season, in $100 increments, for any amount up to $2000. You will still receive 10% bonus credit for any reload amount, throughout the season. Non-cardholders will not be able to enroll once the season begins, so this benefit will apply only to our CSA membership.

10) Will you still come to the Haile Farmers Market and the Union Street Farmers Market, and Thornebrook Village every week during the season (36 weeks)?
A: Yes, we will still come to all of these locations every week, except for Christmas and Thanksgiving Day. We will let you know via email if our schedule changes in any way during the season.

11) How much credit should I load my card up with?
A: This is a tricky question, but here are a series of examples to help you determine which tier is right for you:

If you were to make a purchase of $1000 during Earlybird enrollment, you will receive $1120 credit on your card. You can spend it in the following ways:

1) Veggies at market - $40 is the approximate value of a CSA share bag from previous seasons. If you were to come to market 28 times and pick up an equivalent assortment of veggies, you would spend your $1120 balance.

2) Flowers and veggies - A bouquet at market is $15. If you came to market 20 times during the season (about half of our market season)  and spent $40 on veggies and brought home a bouquet each time, you would spend your $1120 balance.

3) Eggs and veggies - Our eggs are currently $7 a dozen. If you came to the market 28 times, spent $33 on veggies, and brought home a dozen eggs and each time, you would spend your $1120 balance.

4) Dairy, flowers and veggies - Our cream-top yogurt is $8. If you came to market 18 times, spent $40 on veggies, and brought home yogurt and flowers each market, you would spend your $1120 balance.

5) Farm Dinners and veggies - Farm Dinner tickets are $100. If you came to 2 dinners during the season and brought a friend, partner, or spouse each time, and came to market 18 times and spent $40 on veggies, you would spend your $1120 balance.

6) Festivals, Farm Dinners and veggies - Festival admission is $20. If you brought a friend, partner or spouse to both festivals and 2 dinners during the season, and came to market 16 times and spent $40 on veggies, you would spend your $1120 balance.

7) The full monty - If you came to both Festivals with a friend, brought that friend to 2 Farm Dinners, came to 15 markets and spent $15 on veggies, and brought home eggs, yogurt and flowers each time, you would spend your $1120 balance. Wowza! Math!

A simple scenario:
Make a $500 purchase. Receive $560 credit. Come to the market 28 times and spend $20 each time. Voila!

12) Is the Swallowtail Farm Card transferable (can I give it to someone else)?
A: Yes, the card is transferable. We will not restrict use to the purchaser. Please advise us if you give or sell your card to someone else, so that we can keep record of who the primary cardholder is.

13) Can I share a card purchase with another household?
A: If you share your CSA with another household, we can split the balance and apply it to (2) cards upon request. We will charge $3 for the extra card.

13) Are there refunds?
A: No, Swallowtail Farm Cards are non-refundable. We will not cash out card balances.

14) What happens if I lose my card?
A: We will issue your first card free of charge, and will have record of your balance as you use it. If you lose your card, we will issue a replacement with the proper balance. Replacement cards are $3.

Please do not hesitate to call or write if you have any questions left unanswered by the magna carta above. With love and thanks,

The Farmers at Swallowtail