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Shundahai Farm

2011 CSA Customer Survey Results



Each year we do an anonymous Member satisfaction survey.  This helps us understand what we should change for future years and get a realistic view of how people feel about the CSA.

Here are links to specific questions / topics:

Overall CSA Results

2011 Full Share Box Veggie Requests

Customer Comments About Specific Veggies

Customer Comments About Share Size

Customer Comments About Satisfaction

Customer Comments About Debit versus Box

Customer Comparisons with Other CSAs

Financial / Physical Recommendations

Day and Time Preferences

Overall CSA Results

People were asked to rate their overall satisfaction using the following scale:

        Very Unsatisfied, Unsatisfied, So-so, Satisfied, Very Satisfied


We broke the results down based on what method they chose and the share option.


    Satisfaction Interested 2012 Percent
    < Satisfied Satisfied Very Satisfied
Overall 0% (0) 12% (8) 88% (59) 96% (71) 67%
Debit Option Full shares 0% (0) 0% (0) 100% (21) 100% (24) 59%
Half shares 0% (0) 8% (1) 92% (11) 92% (11) 63%
Box Option Full shares 0% (0) 15% (3) 85% (17) 100% (21) 84%
Half shares 0% (0) 29% (4) 71% (10)
88% (15)
One person said No because it was too far a drive, another said maybe.  

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Customer Comment About Share Size

For the various share options, we asked the question, "How well did this suit your needs?"  The responses are broken down based on the share size and option:


Full Share Debit




very well

Very happy with veggie selection

Very well!

very well

very well

Great. I thought I'd freeze more but we ate a lot!

Perfect! (maybe +1/4 shares if at least 1 share ordered?)


I'll need a bigger share next year.

A bit too much food

very well

I split it with someone since this is my 1st CSA - will do my own next year as it made portions to small for us.
It was perfect!


Very well

Half Share Debit

worked well with our needs

I think next year a full share will be better, ran out of funds
I liked having a reliable option to supplement our garden and the chance to have vegetables that I have not been successful with or that are new or that I didn't have a steady supply.

Needed full share

Great. We are just 2. When we had more at our table we could often buy more.
Too short. I'll need a Full one next year.


Full Share Box

Very well.

Worked for us as family of 4

Very well

Very well - on occasion we didn't get to eat all - but we did pretty well

Very well. We could have used more, but we're planning a garden next year it should suit our needs nicely then.

Very well!

great - sometimes light for family of four

Worked very well

Some weeks 1/2 share would have been enough, other weeks could have used 1.5 shares

Very well. Sometimes I picked up a few things at the farmers market, but probably not enough to justify 1.5 shares

We have had a wonderful experience this year!

fits well


Good - we shared with another couple

Fine. There are 2 adults in our household and we could have eaten a full + half.

most weeks it was great, but we eat a lot of produce and ran out some weeks :)

Half Share Box

The first half of season was fine.

Good overall - some weeks light, some heavy

Just about right

I'm going to sign up for full share next year


We got 1/2 share off your description, but found we could've often used more

worked well

We will likely need a bigger share next year.

Perfectly! Just the right amount per week.


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Customer Comments About Satisfaction

For the various share options, we asked the questions,

    "For members who were with us in 2010, what did we do better and/or worse in 2011?"

    "For members new in 2011, how was your experience relative to expectations? "

The responses are broken down based on the share size and option:


Full Share Debit

The only thing I liked better in 2010 was there were less folks coming for vegetables and more time to visit! I liked the family/friendship feel of it all. It was still like that mostly though and totally understandable that it would change a little as you grew bigger. Having your own business is so hard sometimes. You are still doing great though! I feel so blessed to be a part of what you are doing!! Better parking, and cute signs.

Thought it was great!

I loved being able to stop in for a potluck meal and more insight, don't know if that was available {previous} year. I appreciate the personal {time} and openness you bring, your time with members. I continue to be grateful for what your very hardwork does for my whole family - education, health, connection, chance to do less damage.

Wonderful, though I didn't know what to expect!

It seemed that there were more choices in veggies than 2010

No change! Always great :)

Once again I was fully satisfied with everything. I do feel like there was a bit more variety this year which was great.

We were very happy both years. Liked having the obvious table of "extras" to choose from.

Same / better

Quality of produce was superb!

I think you do a great job. I can't think of anything that needs improvement.

You guys are so on top of things!


loved the eggs and red peppers


fantastic, beautiful produce

Nice variety, beautiful, and delicious quality

Nothing to say except all was a very good and healthy experience. Veggies were always tasty and fresh.

This is new for me, and I love it. I have never eaten such outstanding veggies for so long!

Nothing was worse, and all of veggies were beautiful and delicious!

One change I remember is your policy on late arrivers; I liked your clarity aout how you would handle situations.

You did amazingly well if you consider the weather we had.

Exceeded expectations. Quality of veggies was excellent as was variety. Loved getting to know you. Flexibility was appreciated when needed.

Half Share Debit

Did not have any expectations, but was very satisfied with the CSA

The quality of vegetables exceeded expectations. Your knowledge and abilities to cope with the growing season variations is impressive.

Just seemed a greater array of veggies

This year seemed like there was more available, maybe partly due to weather conditions - so it was better!


Yes, it was as expected.

Better. There was more selection, and more opportunity to buy more. Great having green beans.

You are always great


Full Share Box

Met and even exceeded expectations

Better than expected

It was wonderful to get a mystery box each week! Keeps the cooking exciting and creative! Wonderful quality!!!

About as we expected - very nice to have the food - and it definitely met our expectations

Better than expected - Easy, Delicious, Extremely well-organized and all communications were succinct, friendly and helpful.

better - great

New 2011 = this far exceeded my expectations. I loved trying new veggies

met / exceeded expectations

Great! Vegetables were wonderful and I enjoyed meeting your family!

We have enjoyed being a part of the CSA.

Quality of produce very good. Quantity and variety below expectations (except for the cukes!!)

We loved the box option, the swap table and the free stuff.

Much higher than expected. Very pleased

Good. Enjoyed the fresh food very much.

The produce seems more varied, which I like

Everything seemed great again. Hopefully things when smoother for you.


The CSA has been wonderful for us. We love the quality of vegetables and the eggs were a nice bonus

I think each year the farm gets better and better. Loved the variety of vegetables.

Half Share Box

Very good food

Good but I expected a little higher volume of weekly portions. The swap and free veggies were a nice bonus.

We needed to supplement - the lettuce was great - arugula great! Other substantial veggies were missing.

Good value, not as convenient as I hoped (i.e. limited pickup times) - maybe offer pickups on either Tues or Thurs?

I found the CSA to be convenient, fun, welcoming, delicious, and felt good telling others about it!


Great - very happy



Better than expected. Produce was clean, fresh, yummy tasting!

met and exceeded; could've used more veges sometimes, but usually it met our expectations

similar to expectations

Exceeded expectations!

Satisfied, but I find I need (want) more veggies than 1/2 share so I will probably swithc to debit

The addition of boxes was good. Varying box contents a little more on a weekly basis could improve it.

It met my expectations. I am impressed with the way the vegetables were presented (clean). There are some veggies I would receive in my box, but I recognize I only had 1/2 share. I think we will increase our share next year and choose the debit option. I also liked the length of the CSA.

My experience surpassed my expectations


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Debit versus Box

We asked the few customers who had Debit and Box  to comment on what they liked better.  Here are their responses:

box easier for me (less decision making!)

I prefer box option over debit. I like surprises.

I prefer the box version.

We liked not having to choose produce before pickup


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Customer Comparisons with Other CSAs

We asked the customers to compare with other CSAs they may have been in:

        "For people that have been in other CSAs, what do we do better / worse?"

Full Share Debit

I'm a virgin! Shundahai is my first!
schedule ending at 6 is a little tight for us

Half Share Debit

The vegetables were extraordinarily clean and attractive. I appreciate your integrated management moving the chickens around, etc.
Very organized, very clean, very dependable, a lot of variety, very NICE!!
You grow more of what we like and your harvests are good and clean.
no others

Full Share Box

Better convience and quality of vegs.
Much better, more, better - quality items. Much more personable (and that makes a big difference)
We get less food here than in other CSAs. Shundahai washes the veggies better than in other CSAs.

Half Share Box

You are very organized and take pride in the harvest which made the experience nice. Suggestion - offer a little more variety :)

Friends who belong to other CSAs have an abundance of produce this time of year - when our supply has diminished over the season. Very disappointing since we had to supplement variety and volume either at the grocery store or another market - farmers or stand.

Definitely better

Produce is excellent. You care about establishing a connection with your members.

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2011 Full Share Box Veggie Requests

These are the responses from the Box Members that had a full share. We asked what veggies they wanted more and less of.

  1 2 3 4 5   overall no. of  
  never less same more weekly   ranking responses our comments
tomato 0% 0% 18% 59% 24%   4.1 17 More tomatoes it is!
broccoli 0% 0% 25% 75% 0%   3.8 16 We struggled with insects in 2011 and will not have much more until we obtain a solution.
Lettuces 0% 0% 59% 18% 24%   3.6 17 Okay, most weeks you'll get lettuce
Lettuces - spicy 0% 16% 37% 16% 32%   3.6 19
Peas, snap 0% 6% 35% 59% 0%   3.5 17 Okay, more will be coming!
peppers 0% 0% 53% 41% 6%   3.5 17 Okay, more will be coming!
cauliflower 0% 6% 38% 56% 0%   3.5 16 We struggled with insects in 2011 and will not have much more until we obtain a solution.
spinach 0% 0% 50% 50% 0%   3.5 18 Okay, more will be coming!
garlic 5% 5% 40% 40% 10%   3.5 20 Okay, more will be coming!
potatoes 6% 6% 35% 47% 6%   3.4 17 Major rodent issues, hopefully they won't eat half our crop in 2012.
celery 0% 13% 38% 50% 0%   3.4 16 From discussions with other farmers, celery is extremely difficult to grow here.  We won't be trying to grow celery anymore...
peas, shell 0% 13% 38% 50% 0%   3.4 16 We'll be growing more snap peas, but will likely not grow shell peas.
beans 0% 18% 29% 53% 0%   3.4 17 Okay, more will be coming!
eggplant 0% 6% 53% 41% 0%   3.4 17 Okay, more will be coming!
cilantro 12% 6% 35% 35% 12%   3.3 17  
onions 6% 6% 44% 44% 0%   3.3 18 Okay, more will be coming!
tomato, cherry 0% 33% 28% 17% 22%   3.3 18 Hmmm, about the same?
squash, winter 0% 0% 75% 25% 0%   3.3 16 A little more…
bok choy 0% 12% 53% 35% 0%   3.2 17 A little more…
dill 12% 0% 47% 35% 6%   3.2 17 A little more…
cabbage 6% 6% 63% 25% 0%   3.1 16 A little more…
cukes, slicers 6% 12% 59% 18% 6%   3.1 17 Same
kale 6% 18% 41% 35% 0%   3.1 17 Same
arugula 0% 17% 61% 22% 0%   3.1 18 Same
carrots 0% 22% 50% 28% 0%   3.1 18 Same
watermelon 17% 0% 50% 33% 0%   3.0 18 Same
celeriac 13% 13% 44% 31% 0%   2.9 16 Same
rutabaga 7% 7% 71% 14% 0%   2.9 14 Same
cukes, pickler 0% 28% 61% 6% 6%   2.9 18 A little less…
chard 11% 17% 56% 11% 6%   2.8 18 A little less…
parsley 6% 19% 63% 13% 0%   2.8 16 A little less…
winter turnips 6% 19% 63% 13% 0%   2.8 16 A little less…
beets 11% 32% 26% 32% 0%   2.8 19 less
radishes 0% 44% 44% 6% 6%   2.7 18 less
turnips, salad 12% 24% 47% 18% 0%   2.7 17 less

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Customer Requests for Specific Veggies

Customer Request Our Response
beans, string We will have them available earlier and in greater quantity
beans, string - less Most people (box) asked for more, so we'll need to respond to that...
beets, less Almost half the box folks agree
Broccoli (3) We are trying!!! Having problems with insects though
Cabbage We are trying!!! Having problems with insects though
Cauliflower (2) We are trying!!! Having problems with insects though
celeriac A celeriac lover!
celeriac - was bitter, didn't care for it Surprisingly, many box method people asked for more (I am as surprised as you!)
celery From discussions with other farmers, celery is extremely difficult to grow here.  We won't be trying to grow celery anymore...
Corn People would fall over at the price we would need to charge for corn.  This is a crop that machinery greatly decreases the cost of production, machinery we could never justify the expense for on our small acreage.
Eggs sooner We will have some, although we won't expand this greatly because of the high price of grain (it is actually unprofitable for us, even at $6 a dozen) and our limited land space.  Our chickens are put on fresh ground everyday and we only want to apply the manure our land needs.
fennel We will consider this
flowers We have, but there was very little demand.
Garlic, less

Most people (box) asked for more, so we'll need to respond to that...

herbs mixed We will consider this
herbs, more We will consider this
kohlrabi We don't think there is enough demand, interest.
leeks We will consider this
Mushrooms We have a few for ourselves.  We want to expand this, but we keep putting it off. 
Okra We will!
Onions, less Most people (box) asked for more, so we'll need to respond to that...
parsnips We will consider this
potatoes (more) Major rodent issues, hopefully they won't eat half our crop in 2012.
potatoes, less We think most customers want many more.
Radicchio We will consider this
Romaine Lettuce Heads

We use to, but most people preferred the bagged lettuces

Salad, Great that no parsley in salad mix We will keep it as is!
sugar pumpkins We do grow Kabocha squash.  Regular pumpkins require a lot of land for a product that does not get much return
tomatoes, heirlooms limited shelf life Yes, but the flavor is exceptional.
tomatoes, more field We will!
watermelon - kind of mealy texture, try diff. variety? We will try different varieties, as you know, we are still learning how to grow good melons.

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Financial / Physical Recommendations

On the questionnaire, we told our customers we were having a tough time, financially and physically.  We then solicited ideas.


Many customers had similar ideas, these are summarized in the table below.

Uconn/EO 20% 1/5th of the respondents recommended we try to get students from E.O. Smith or Uconn.  We have tried both, and have not had good results.
Member Help    43%   Almost half of the Members recommended soliciting help, from them.  We will try this more in 2012, for certain farm activities such as onion and garlic harvesting, preparation and planting.
Charge More    16% We will do this for certain crops.
Expand 9% We are...
Teach 5% Someday, we need to gain a bit more experience.
Fees 5% Our society is definitely inundated with "Fees", but we like to be very straightforward with our customers on our pricing and feel this is might change the dynamics.
Don't Wash 5% It would save us time, but we feel people have come to expect the quality that is guaranteed when you spend the time to go through the veggies as we do.
We also had a number of other recommendations, which are listed below (CSA Member, Response):
Eliminate 2 or 3 veggies that require high level of labor.  Try for "early" tomatoes.  
We are going to do both of those recommendations!
Would it be more economical to only have the box option?
Probably, but many customers really want to be able to make the choices, so…
Charge for activities, hay rides, picking pumpkins, apples, corn maze, farm tours, pickling lessons, blueberry fest.  
We feel "free" events should be a part of the CSA, but if we should try to come up with other events possible open to others..
Another CSA has their members pick high labor items like cherry tomatoes.
We may do a little pick your own in 2012 and then think about expanding that in future years.
offer other things, i.e. eggs, herb plants
Unfortunately eggs, with hens properly cared for - we move the coops everyday - are a financial loser even at $6/doz (high grain costs for small orders).  In spite of this, we will have some eggs for sale.  We are looking at other crops.
Self-service pickup would save you 10hrs/week?
It is true, but then we would likely lose our best asset, Raluca talking to customers each week.
Sell cans!  Sell cans to Coventry's Market!
We are dabbling in canned foods, it is a possibility!
Sell surplus at Willi Food Coop?
We do, but it is a small percentage of sales and the wholesale prices are not so good.
If you're finding a particular item too physically demanding to continue next year, we'll understand.
Thank you, we'll definitely consider it.
Maybe try retailing other goods such as bread, milk, cheese.  
We like only selling what we grow, we thought of having other vendors come though.
wouldn't mind picking up on just one day
We will be expanding the CSA basically to the limit of what we think we can handle per day.
Roadside stand with honor box payment.
We have been talking about this…
Side table with items to buy during CSA pickup
I think we will do this, we are afraid of giving the impression to Box Members that we are limiting the amount in their "box" in order to extract more sales.
Sell to restaurants, Grants? Fundraising?, Volunteer or work for seconds
All, but the fundraising, we are thinking about, thank you.
I would love to volunteer in some way (summer off - teacher)
We are trying to figure out how to incorporate the help of our members.
Have the option to purchase "seconds" / "imperfect" produce, if there is any harvested extra, at a discounted price (that sounds like time you don't have that would be spent on a smaller return for your business though).  
We will have bulk "seconds" for sale in 2012, such as tomatoes, to CSA Members.
While at a restaurant I was wondering if Shundahai would be suited to sell to restaurants, or would that not help you?
We are looking into restaurants this winter to see the feasibillty.
How about a prepay option for spinach?  We'd love to buy 2 bags per week as long as you have it.  We would gladly pay ahead of time for 2 bags, that way you wouldn't have to deal with money each week.
So far this winter we have been decimated by rodent damage.  For 2012-13 winter, we will likely forego winter production, sorry!
Restaurants, Coop, Highland Park Market
We do sell to the coop, but it is a small percentage of sales and the wholesale prices are not so good.
Sell to local value added producers - sell at a discount the extras
One difficulty is the time, if we have extra produce in August, it is difficult to find the time to look for a sales outlet.
Coventry Farmers Market - much better than Storrs
It is true, but Coventry is very hard to get into (and the farmers are less than thrilled with how it is run).
Volunteers - Set regular volunteer time and project if hands are needed.  Use the website / newsletter to brief volunteers and cut demonstration times.
We will try more volunteer projects - for example garlic/onion harvest and winter storage preparation.
Allow CSA members to purchase extra produce at pick-ups.  This may already be possible, but it isn't clear.
This will be made clear in 2012.
Season extension for greens, tomatoes, etc.
The tomatoes should be earlier in 2012, our greens have been pushed as far as we can without using heated tunnels.
Look into high value items - chickens, honey, or rent space
We'd sell live chickens, but the butchering is not for us.  Honey, with the state of the nations honeybee populations, is next to impossible to do without massive chemicals.  We are trying to be much smarter about our crops, those that are not profitable will either need to go or we'll need to raise the price.
If raising capital is an issue look into for donations.  Consider selling 2 year shares to select CSA members to raise capital or ask for additional donations
Thank you, capital is not an issue, unless we wanted to become a huge farm, which we don't.  We need to figure out how this can work without the benefits of economies of scale.
See if mentorship/support opportunities are available from the State (CT Farmlink, etc).
So far, we've had little luck with apprentices, but we should keep trying.
Drop half share boxes if they're a problem in the cost structure.
We will do, thank you.


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Day and Time Preferences

We asked people to let us know their preferences for days and times.

To space out the harvest, we chose to due Monday and Thursday.  We knew we had to extend the hours, and based on this we will stay open later, until 3-7 instead of 3-6.


Days Time
M T W H F 2-3 3-4 4-5 5-6 6-7
16% 18% 15% 42% 8% 5% 20% 22% 36% 18%


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