Oxnard, Calif.-based Deardorff Family Farms plans to launch a community supported agriculture program in August where Ventura County residents can sign up for weekly subscriptions of organic produce.
Dubbed Fresh Picks by Deardorff Organics, it will be the grower-packer-shipper"s first foray into selling directly to consumers and stems from Tom Deardorff and other family members wanting to be more involved with the community, said Christine Smith, marketing assistant.
"We hope to be successful, but we also just want to connect with the community and share more directly, since we do mostly wholesale," she said.
The grower-packer-shipper also will team with Whole Foods on its Whole Kids Foundation to support local school gardens, salad bars and teacher nutrition education.
Initially, the Fresh Picks program will offer consumers one sized box that contains nine to 12 organic produce items for $25 per week, Smith said.
The contents will vary, based on the season. In addition to items produced under the Deardorff Organics label, Smith said they"ll also include items they don"t grow, such as citrus and avocados, from other local organic growers.
The box size and the number of produce items are just a few of the recommendations from Farmigo, computer software designed for CSAs.
Smith said she learned of the program, which also has templates for websites and e-newsletters, from Andrea Chavez, CSA director for Talley Farms, Arroyo Grande, who has been using it.
"Before I found this Farmigo, I was wondering if I was going to have to create a website from scratch," Smith said.
Consumers will be able to sign up for the produce through a link on Deardorff Family Farm"s website, www.deardorfffamilyfarms.com, or through the Fresh Picks website that will launch shortly, Smith said.
The new site will have more of a blog feel and will also feature recipes, stories and photos.
When consumers do sign up, they choose a location where they"ll pick up their box.
One of those sites will be the new Whole Foods, scheduled to open June 19 in Oxnard.
Smith said Deardorff Family Farms has a good working relationship with Whole Foods and will be one of its featured producers at the new store.
Whole Foods just completed filming a short video with the family promoting their local operation as well as their new direct-to-consumer efforts.
"They"ve been really very accommodating and helpful and involved with us," Smith said. "We"re working with each other, not against each other."