Sunday, March 5, 2023

Futures Contract, Vegetable Edition

Yesterday I did something that I've wanted to do for years, but never felt stable or capable enough to manage: I got a futures contract in unspecified vegetables and berries filling a specified sized container, delivered in 21 installments over as many weeks. 

The marketing people call that a "Community Supported Agriculture Share." 

The difference being, instead of the jargon-heavy contract for a standardized commodity, I handed cash to the farmwife over a handshake, and the details were written on the margins of a flyer advertising last fall's corn maze. 

We both come out the better for the deal - the farmers get stabilized cash flow, up front, with no credit card vendor fee biting their profit margin, and they get a solid estimation of minimum demand for the crops they are planning. Even better from a risk-forecasting point of view, by not specifying the contents of the box beyond "grown on our farm (or the berry farm & vineyard across the road)", if they have a crop failure or an unexpectedly abundant harvest, (or on the demand end, an unexpected run on a particular vegetable / failure to sell a particular vegetable at all,) they can substitute the box composition, and normalize availability between CSA Share buyers and the farmer's market stall.

This isn't necessarily weighted in favor of the market stall, either; I know the early harvest of high-tunnel strawberries are going in the CSA boxes instead of available at the farmer's market... which makes solid sense, in rewarding high-volume customers willing to assume delivery risk first. 

The only reason it took me this long to do this?

I had to find a friend who likes to cook, in order to be willing to split the product with me. I don't actually eat that many vegetables, and wasting good food is a sin. Now that the North Texas Troublemakers have grown so much, I have not one but two friends who are willing to divvy up the box, and if I throw in eggs I get from a neighbor, they're willing to pay for what they want upon delivery. Their cash flow might not be able to handle the up-front cost of a CSA share right now, but they can manage weekly payments of same.  

Besides, they'll not only pay in cash, but in kitchen scraps. Those will go to the neighbor to feed the chickens, which will result in more tasty eggs...

Unfettered capitalism: everyone wins!


  1. I LOVE this situation and support the idea 100%. Now I'm going to ask a local veg farmer down the road if they would consider something like this. Thank you for the idea!

  2. When you have the access and the means to store/devour fresh produce, CSA really is a great thing.

  3. Replies
    1. Tonight! We shall talk! And plot! ...No world domination, though, that's entirely too exhausting.