How to Run Your CSA on Local Line
This past year has changed the way a lot of farm businesses operate. With the closure or limited capacity of farms, many customers have turned online to buy local. At Local Line, we support all types of farm businesses, from farmers’ markets to food hubs to CSAs! Our platform allows you to manage all shares, delivery routes, and order information in one place.
Jesse and Meghan operate Milky Way Farm in Woodstock, Ontario. In early 2020, they decided to transition their CSA model from market-style, where customers could select in person what they wanted for that week, to a buy-down model through their Local Line online store.
“The biggest benefit we get from Local Line is streamlined sales through one channel,” explains Jesse. “Both our CSA and retail store are managed through one system. Selling online also saves time compared to a market day as we now only have a two-hour pickup window, instead of spending the entire day at the market. Now, I leave at 8:00 AM and am home by 2:00 PM. Before I used to wake up at 3:30 AM and I wouldn’t get home until 4:00 in the afternoon.”
➡️ Read Jesse and Meghan's success story: How This CSA Increased Their Average Sales After Transitioning to Local Line
Whether operating a 20 member CSA or a 400 member CSA, Local Line has the tools for you!
The store credit feature allows you to keep track of your customers shares across the season. You can simply add credit to a customer account, which they can use to buy products directly from your online store. It is the perfect feature when running a buy-down style CSA! Additionally, customers can easily skip a week, without you having to make any manual adjustments!
Like Jesse and Meghan, Steve from Just Farmin’ CSA was able to transition their CSA model from a market-style pickup, where full share customers can choose eight items weekly, to a buy-down CSA.
“Customers can pick out what they want from our online store week to week and then pay with their share credit,” shares Steve. “This model has allowed us to get a better handle on inventory and understand our customer’s buying habits when compared to the market-style model we had before. We are moving more produce this year than any year before. Having this data allows us to start planning what we need to grow next season.”
No more tracking shares and payments on a spreadsheet! The Local Line online storefront allows customers to order and pay for their shares directly. All this information is easily accessible in your Local Line account.
Furthermore, you can print off a pick list at the end of the week and pack order accordingly. You can be sure that all information on your picklist is accurate, so no more missed orders or order mixups! Having an online storefront can save you tons of time weekly from administration!
The payment options feature allows you to accept all payment types for your CSA—for example, credit card, cash, e-transfer, or SNAP coupons. Having different payment options allows your business to be flexible to all customer needs.
“Payment options allow you to customize the payment methods you accept when customers order. For example, you may want to offer credit card, cash, e-transfer, or SNAP coupons as payment options when customers check out. I appreciated the ability to turn off credit card payments for this short term with payment options—it's the reason I went with Local Line, and it did not disappoint,” shares Corrina from Shared Legacy Farms.
➡️ Read Shared Legacy Farm's success story: How Shared Legacy Farms Sold Out Their 400 Member CSA Using Local Line
Pickup and Delivery Routing
With the rise of food delivery, Local Line allows you to upload delivery and pickup information to your online store. This way, when customers check out, they can simply choose the option that works best for them! Whether you offer home delivery or do a weekly pickup at a few locations, you can update this information accordingly.
We know running a CSA can be a lot of work! We hope to make some of those processes a little easier by offering tools that keep your customers, inventory, orders, shares, and payments in sync. Whether you are just starting with your CSA or have been operating for over 20 years, we’re sure that Local Line will work for you!
The Food Supplier's Guide to Selling Online
37 pages of everything you need to know to market, sell, and grow online! How to calculate delivery costs, best practices for selling to retailers and households, how to onboard new customers, and more.