CSA Gourmet: The biz plan

Often on Fridays I will have brilliant new business ideas. By the next week (if not sooner) they don't look so great and I discard them. One time I decided to build a local house-cleaning business. Another I was going to create a 2-week detox program and sell special herbal teas to go with it. Or I could start a kind of new-media-closet-cleaning business, where we'd take people's unedited video footage (aka boxes and boxes of film, tape, etc.) and turn it into sleek and awesome finished products to show off to friends, family, business prospects or whoever. My tag line would be "turning footage into film."

Meanwhile, here's an idea from last winter. Want it? It's localvore-y.

Glossary: As you probably know, CSA means Community Supported Agriculture. You pay for a share of a farm's produce in advance, then get boxes of the produce all season long. You've supported the farm by investing in their agriculture upfront.

Business idea/title/tagline:

CSA Gourmet: Taking Fresh to the Next Level

Summary of concept: Showcasing seasonal, local foods in ready-to-eat formats. A bit like if there was an "Iron Chef America Battle: Farmer's Market." Besides being interesting and creative, the project serves as public relations for CSA vendors at the Brattleboro Farmer's Market.

To do:

Assemble a list of typical CSA foods available, organizing roughly by season.

Come up with at least one recipe for each food.

Produce that recipe for public purchase, along with a small sheet about the produce item used and the recipe. Include an email address for feedback & recipe sharing.

Provide other flyers on localvorism, local CSAs & signups, other recipes, organic vs. local vs. both.

Interview local farmers about their CSAs: what are typical items, what are recipe recommendations for items.

Arrange rotating pickups with farmers for Weds or Thursdays, so produce will be fresh but can be cleaned and prepared in time for Saturday market.


It's an info booth that sells food. Not a restaurant. The key words are sustainable, local, seasonal. One goal is not to compete with the FM vendors. In fact, it would be like free advertising for them. "Where'd you get this jicama?" "Over there, at Gooseberry Ridge Farm. They're $3 a pound today." Or rather, it's like advertising that PAYS (because the food is purchased from the farmer originally).

Ideas for fare:

For each week, plan 3 items. For example, salad, sandwich (could be hot), other hot thing.

spring: mixed greens with sunflower sprouts. sourdough toasts with fresh chive ricotta & last fall's sauerkraut.

summer: banh mi with carrot-daikon pickles & cilantro. Localvore BLT. Edamame hummus.

fall: mushroom patties with chopped herbs and hot new potatoes. Kale chips. Root chips with rich onion dip. Garlic-ginger chicken skewers.

Aim to have 1 vegan and 1 gluten-free item per week (cd be same item)

Also serve a hot or cold herbal tea, depending on weather/season.

Homemade bread (sourdough) and sauces (vinaigrette, mayo, Real Pickles tartar)


coolers, gas stove, ice tea container with spigot, hot tea carafe, squirt bottles.

Utensils, paper dishes for items, paper cups for sauces, napkins

That's as far as I've gotten. What do you think--would you buy food from a CSA showcase booth? Would it be a good way to raise interest in local produce? Would it even be necessary? Maybe it should be a food truck? Maybe it should be a cook book. Maybe it should be a bunch of blog posts!


ValleyWriter said...

I think it's a great idea! I've often wandered around the farmer's marketing thinking "hmm... what could I make with that?" If your booth were right around the corner - I'd have my answer!

Wendy said...

Sounds like something that could be done over a series of seasons/years. Such as, the first season or two, come up with produce/food ideas and recipes that you test at home and compile into a cookbook. To then sell at the f.m. maybe. Then later, work into the showcase booth idea if you want. You could also include winter market items unless most of them are pottery. (Heh heh) So a year-around seasonal cookbook (to start with at least) would be great.

"Prof. Kitty" said...

Thanks for the thoughts VW & Wendy! A cookbook would definitely be a fun start. Maybe a farmer's market zine would be more DIY-styley! I need to start taking notes next time I'm at the market...