2014 Review and a quick farm update

Tomorrow is our first CSA pick up of the year on the farm. We have two more pick ups this week at the market, but this tomorrow is the big kick off for the CSA season. As I said last week things are looking pretty good. I still don’t know if that arugula and mixed greens will be ready, but we may be able to get some to mix in with some other loose salad mix. It is a little bit of a slow start, but there are lots of good things coming soon.

I have been thinking of ways to make our community supported agriculture farm feel a little more open to you, the community who are supporting it. One way I wanted to do this was offer the working shares that some of you signed up for. I think it will be great to have some CSA members feel more involved in the farm by helping out every week or so. I also would like share how the farm did financially last year so you know just how your financial support gets used. Therefore, this week I am going to go over how much and where we took in revenue and how we spent it.

Just as a side before I go into the numbers, I am sure most of you know that farm is another program/arm of Blandford Nature Center. I am employed and I get paid by the Nature Center. Any money we that the farm comes short of paying for everything is paid by the nature center and anytime the farm makes money it goes into other programs of Blandford. It is hard to get accurate accounts of just how the farm impacts the rest of Blandford, but through our presence at the market, farm camps, school programming, and visitors coming over to check things out it has become an important part of what Blandford does.

Ok, so now we can get into the numbers. We took in just over $73,000 last year, this was our biggest year so far beating out the previous year by $12,000. 55% of our revenue was from the summer and winter CSAs, produce sales at the market took in about 23%, plant sales at market and OKT was 11%, we received about 6% of that as donations to the farm, 2% was wholesale, and the rest was misc income.

Our expenses for the year came in at $71,500 so the farm brought in about $1,500 that went to help balance the rest of Blandford’s budget. It was our first year that we actually took in more than we spend which was great! Of the $71,500, 65% of that went to pay me, Nick, Joel, and a few hours put in on the farm by other staff. 11% went to capital projects like getting our well to finally work (a great story you can ask me about) and a few new implements for the tractor, and the remaining 24% went to pay for annual expenses. Big annual expenses include $2,500 for seeds, $2,300 for greenhouse propane, $1,800 for potting soil, and $1,000 for soil amendments.

For this year, the budget looks fairly similar. However, I expect the percentage expense for labor costs will be going up due to higher minimum wages (which ultimately I am in favor of, more on this next week). Our annual cost percentage will also go up this year. Our income for the year will hopefully be a little more. We are a little off on market sales so far and not all the CSA income has come (you can feel guilt if you have not paid yet) so we have some catching up to do.

In another life I would have been an accountant, but regardless I hope passing on this info to all of you you can get a sense of how the farm is run as a business. The business side of the farm is just as important as growing the food because if we cannot make the numbers work, we cannot grow the food.

Next week I’ll talk a little bit more about one category of our expenses, the one that is used to pay me and everyone else that works on the farm. A local group of CSA farmers took on the depressing project to figured out a farm worker’s average wage based on hours worked. Over the next week try to figure out what the average wage was for the 7 farms participating. I’ll give you a hint, it is a Biblical number.


3 thoughts on “2014 Review and a quick farm update

  1. Hi Aaron,
    Great article! I enjoyed reading about the budget as well.
    We are new to the CSA this year. What time is pickup at the Fulton St. market for Wednseday?
    Thank you. Tracey


  2. Awesome job Aaron! So glad you made the farm sustainable in less than 5 years. You are a true success story. Kudos, kudos.

    Cheer, Annoesjka

    Sent from my iPhone Annoesjka Steinman



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