Happy New Year!!
What a great way to start the year off by investing in your community, a cleaner environment, working farms, and most importantly, your health! We really appreciate all the feedback we received regarding the partial shares…especially the comments. As CSA members, you are a big part of what makes this system work, so your thoughts and preferences are important to us. After reading all the comments, we have decided to give everybody everything that want! We will be keeping both the Full and Partial share boxes for those who enjoy them, while also offering “Bear Bucks” to those folks who want more flexibility with their schedule and share contents.
CSA Signup If you are interested in a Full or Partial share, you can follow this link, or go to our website homepage anytime at twobearfarm.com and click on the red box that says “CSA Signup Here”. If you are signing up before March 15th, you will receive an early-bird discount if you enter the Promo code provided on the signup page. Please be sure to carefully read the member agreement before checking out. From our perspective, the most important part of that list is encouraging you to read your weekly newsletter before picking up your share so that you are in the know.
Bear Bucks New this season, we are offering prepaid “Bear Bucks” that allow you to receive the same discount as you would signing up for a CSA, while providing a bit more flexibility. Rather than use a physical “swipe card”, which requires one to remember to bring their card, we have decided to simply create a credit for you on our market software. This is meant to be an alternative to partial shares, so if you follow this link, or go to our website, you will notice it is for the same amount ($350). By signing up for Bear Bucks early, we achieve the same benefit as a CSA….as a farm we get access to capital early in the season, and can better plan our production, while you get to invest in our farm and receive a discount for doing so (you get a starting balance of $380 for the price of $350). Once the season starts, you will go to farmer’s market, but instead of getting in line for a CSA share, you will shop directly from our Farmer’s Market stand. You can select whichever items you want, in any quantity you want, or you can skip weeks completely if you are out of town. Upon reaching the checkout, you will provide us with your name, and we will apply your purchase to your Bear Bucks account balance. Easy! You can use these Bear Bucks at any Farmer’s Market, as well as our year-end Stock Up Sale, with the goal of using all of them by the end of the season. There will not be a rollover of year-end balances into next season, nor are there refunds for unspent balances at year end, so your goal is to use them up over the course of the season. One important note: when you click on the signup, it will take you to Square, and there will be 5 options ($2, $3, $4, $380, and custom). This is confusing, but Square will not let us get rid of them….you want to select the option for $380. At this point, we are not allowing custom amounts.
Q1: Is there any difference between buying Bear Bucks versus simply shopping at our farmer’s market with cash/check credit card?
A1: The shopping experience will be exactly the same. However, Bear Bucks allow you to invest and be a part of the farm family (if that’s important to you), and because you buy Bear Bucks in the beginning of the year, you receive a discount for your support ($380 value for a $350 investment).
Q2: What if I buy Bear Bucks and don’t use them all? Can I get a refund?
A2: Short answer…no. We are treating Bear Bucks much like a CSA share, in that we are planning our production around them, and you are committing to spending that full value on our farm’s produce. If you are concerned about not using the entire $380 in a season, then we would recommend simply shopping at the farm stand and paying with cash/check/credit card.
Q3: Where can I use my Bear Bucks?
A3: You can use Bear Bucks at the Whitefish, Kalispell, and Columbia Falls farmer’s markets, as well as at the year-end Stock Up Sale at Two Bear Farm. If you are a member in Glacier, or part of the On-Farm CSA pickup, the Bear Bucks option won’t work for you, unless you are willing to travel to the aforementioned markets.
Q4: I went to purchase my share and add-ons like last season, and I don’t see the add-ons anywhere?
A4: It’s true….something had to give. While we know folks loved the add-ons, it turned out to be a source of many errors last season on our part, and added a degree of complexity and stress that didn’t make sense given the small number. So, for 2019 we are not offering extra add-ons.
OK! I think this should work! While it might seem strange that in trying to simplify things (getting rid of partial shares), we actually made things more complicated (kept partial shares and added Bear Bucks), in reality I think this will actually make for a better experience for both farmer and customer. You will get more options to better fit your needs, and we will see a reduction in partial shares while also being better able to target the shares to those who like that option.
Both CSA shares and Bear Bucks are available for purchase starting this morning (January 1st, 2019) on our website twobearfarm.com