2016 CFCSA Member Survey Summary:

We get a lot of valuable feedback from our members during the season at the weekly pick-ups and through email, but each year we also carry out an end-of-season survey of our members which helps us reflect critically on the past season and think about changes we should implement in the coming year. We greatly appreciate receiving responses from our members who took the time to share their thoughts. Here is a summary of the results.

2016 CFCSA Survey Summary

Of 194 CSA members in 2016, 110 participated in the survey (57%). In 2015, 58% completed the survey, 67% in 2014 and 54% in 2013.

Make-up of Survey Respondents
70% small shares, 26% medium, 4% large shares

49% Kingstown, 23% Chestertown market, 19% Farm, 4.6% Kent Island, 0.9% Middletown and 1.8% Dover

67% full season, 23.9% flex share, 0.9% summer season, and 6.4% fall season

Member Loyalty
Years of participation:
21.8% are new memberships (26.3% in 2015, 24.1% in 2013, 35.8% in 2011)
18.2% are second year members (15.8% in 2015, 18.4% in 2013, 16.8% in 2011)
32.7% have been members for the past 3-5 years (33.3% in 2015, 33.3% in 2013, 35.8% in 2011)
27.3% have been members for greater than 5 years (24.6% in 2015, 24.1% in 2013, 11.6% in 2011)

Plans to return
78.4% plan on returning (88.1% in 2015, 88.2% in 2013, 78.2% in 2011)
2.0% (2) are not returning (7.3% in 2015, 2.4% in 2013, 4.6% in 2011)
19.6% (20) are unsure (4.6% in 2015, 9.4% in 2013, 17.2% in 2011)

In 2016, of the 12 respondents that gave reasons for not returning:

  • 33.3% (4 people) chose "too expensive"
  • 25% (3 people) chose "moving out of the area"
  • 25% (3 people) chose "other" and comments included growing more of their own, time constraints, and a complaint of quality
Members' Interests

In 2016, the top four reasons members chose to participate were "desire for fresh produce" followed closely by "desire for locally grown produce," "desire to support a local farm," and "knowing where and how your food was grown." This was similar ranking to previous years' results.

"Concern for children's health" ranked lowest (39% ranked it as important or extremely important, 34% were neutral and 27% said it was not important) and "desire for less expensive food" was second to last (ranked important or extremely important by 63%, neutral by 30% and not important by 7%).

Children's health was roughly 20-30% across all levels of ranking, as indicated by the comments, this may be closely representative of the number of members with children. (It was similar in previous years.)

18.8% (19) of respondents expressed "interest in volunteering to support the CSA"
Of those interested:

  • 10 respondents have an interest in education and outreach
  • 6 respondents have an interest in fieldwork
  • 2 respondents have an interest in fundraising
  • 10 respondents have an interest in social events

76 people expressed interest in educational activities. Of those interested,
  • 53% are interested in cooking classes (76.1% in 2013, 69% in 2012) 47% are interested in food preservation classes (43.5% in 2013, 48.3% in 2012)
  • 36% are interested in an outdoor movie at the farm
  • 32% are interested in fermentation class
  • 29% are interested in "how does you garden grow? coffee chat at the farm"
  • 29% are interested in an evening farm tour led by an apprentice
Variety and Quality of Crops

The variety was well complimented but overall ratings were lower this year compared to 2015. Variety was rated excellent by 45%, good by 44%, and average by 11% compared to 2015 ratings as excellent by 54%, good by 44%, and average by 3%.)

When we asked if anything produce was of poor quality, 11 people mentioned sweet corn, 6 people mentioned onions were bad inside, 4 people mentioned lettuce (spoiled or wilted fast, caterpillars, or bitter), 3 people mentioned tomatoes (spoiled fast, heirlooms had large cores, cherries were overripe), 2 people mentioned they didn't like the small or very large sweet potatoes.

Overall rating of freshness and quality were rated slightly lower this year than in 2015:
Freshness: 83% rated it excellent, 15% good, 1% average, and 1% poor (2015: 88% rated it excellent, 12% good)
Quality: 74% rated it as excellent, 24% good, 2% average (2015: 75% rated it excellent, 23% good, 3% average)

Challenges and Benefits of Membership

When asked what was most challenging, the majority of responses (24 individuals)cited making it to pick-up. Other comments included deciding what to choose, fitting all of the veggies in refrigerator, eating/using it all, coming up with new recipes, not knowing what to do with some of the produce, and waiting until the next season starts.

When asked what CSA members most enjoyed, the majority cited the produce and eating the food and described it as fresh, excellent food, local, sustainably grown, clean, nutrient dense, good variety, great selection, so many wonderful options, so much goodness, safe, high quality, beautiful, fun to cook with, delicious, tasty, abundant, better tasting and longer lasting. Others comments included finding varieties that aren't available at the store, the length of the season, trying new veggies, getting to choose produce, being inspired to try new recipes, inspired to get creative when cooking meals, having a kitchen that is always stocked with fresh vegetables, eating healthier, the flexibility, convenience, knowing where food is grown and who grows it, meeting and talking with staff/apprentices and described them as excellent people, congenial, friendly, helpful, supporting small, local, sustainable agriculture, feeling connected to the area, visiting the farm, seeing crops growing and the chickens at farm, bringing grandchildren to the farm, socializing at pick-up, CSA member camaraderie, sense of community, feeling of contributing to something important.

For a complete report of the survey results, see below.

  2016 CSA Member Survey Results (pdf version)

Survey results from past seasons:

  2015 CSA Member Survey Results (pdf version)

  2014 CSA Member Survey Results (pdf version)

  2013 CSA Member Survey Results

  2012 CSA Member Survey Results

  2011 CSA Member Survey Results (pdf version)

  2010 CSA Member Survey Results (pdf version)

  2009 CSA Member Survey Results (pdf version)

Colchester Farm | P.O. Box 191 | Georgetown MD 21930 | (at 31285 Georgetown Cemetery Rd)
Updated January 18, 2017