We need to make a big change in our delivery system for 2015 and we are asking for your input on a very short survey.
We Need to Change Our Delivery System
We need to make a big change in our delivery system for 2015 and we are asking for your input with a very short survey. We want to change the pickup times at most of our sites to later in the day. We have put a lot of consideration into this change, and feel it is for the best both for the farm and for the majority of our shareholders. It may adversely impact our shareholders who like to or need to pick up their boxes early. Conversely, it will benefit our shareholders who pick up later in the day, because the vegetables will not have been sitting at the site so long.
Why Change the Pickup Hours?
There are many reasons why our former system for deliveries is inconvenient/unsustainable:
1) It’s really challenging to find drivers and assistants to go out in the middle of the night. The driver might sleep through his/her alarm; an assistant might sleep through his/her alarm. It’s quite unsettling for us at the farm who are responsible for deliveries to be wondering through the night, when we need to be sleeping, if the driver will show up and if the assistants will show up. Then, once the truck is on the road, to have to deal with other delivery problems that might occur before 6 a.m.
2) Ordinances in several municipalities do not allow deliveries until 8 a.m. Some of our deliveries have been out of compliance with these ordinances.
3) Early deliveries often wake up the site host’s neighbors, creating friction within the community.
4) Some hosts will not allow early deliveries, so it’s very challenging to create a route that complies with the various preferences of hosts for delivery times.
5) Vegetables and fruit should not sit at a site all day. Early deliveries benefit the shareholders who pick up their cool vegetables and fruit early, but are not fair to the people who can only pick up later in the day. A long pickup window means that the boxes will sit at the site much longer for those who pick up later. For some shareholders, with the former system, the long pickup window means that they might have been picking up their vegetables and fruit more than 12 hrs after they were delivered to the site, which greatly compromises the freshness of the vegetables and fruit.
6) Our delivery truck is tired; it is wearing out, and it is undersized for hauling the amount of vegetables and fruit that we currently provide to our shareholders. Outsourcing our deliveries to Chicago Messenger Service allows us to make more deliveries in a shorter timeframe, since at least two Chicago Messenger Service trucks will be delivering at the same time.
7) Narrowing the pickup window to 5 hours means that it will be easier to monitor the sites. I want to eventually have greeters/facilitators to staff the sites during pickup hours; it’s much easier to make this happen in a five hour window than a 12 hour window.
Weather in 2015 and its Impact on Vegetables and Fruit Quality at the Sites
What’s the weather going to be like in 2015? We don’t know. Summer temperatures in the last two years have been quite mild, so boxes have not been subjected to blistering heat. In 2012, we had many 100+ degree days that degraded our vegetables and fruit that awaited late afternoon/evening pickup. If the pickup window had been 5 hours rather than 12 hours or so in 2012, the quality of our vegetables and the fruit would overall have remained much higher.
How did early Deliveries Come About?
When I was touring with the film The Real Dirt on Farmer John several years back, Lee started driving for the farm. He wanted to make most of the deliveries before morning rush hour, so he started going out earlier and earlier; eventually he and his assistants were leaving the farm at midnight. When former growing manager Bob told me about this development, I said “that will not end well. Lee might reliably do the routes on this early schedule, but the next driver probably won’t. And now some shareholders will realize they can pick up their vegetables before work, and they’ll get used to that, and we’ll have a whole delivery system that some shareholders will count on that is not sustainable.”
No to SWAT Teams
Lee described to me an early morning encounter with a SWAT team. Apparently, they were alerted to a vehicle in the area making suspicious deliveries. They ran down the alley towards our truck…I believe their guns were drawn. Lee subdued them with offers of fresh, organic vegetables.
We’d rather not deal with SWAT teams; farming’s challenging enough.
We are a Farm First
One of my sayings is “we are a farm, not a trucking company.” I have wanted to outsource deliveries for years, but because we had our exuberant driver Lee, who seemed to enjoy doing the deliveries, I never pursued this outsourcing. Once Lee retired abruptly in the middle of last season, I was immediately faced with immense difficulties getting our boxes to the sites in a timely and orderly way, so it’s time for a change. We want to have a company deliver our boxes that is in the business of making deliveries. Our mission at Angelic Organics is raising the best vegetables and herbs possible for you; we want to pay our utmost attention to growing crops, not to trucking them.
Who will be making these Deliveries?
Van drivers from Chicago Messenger Service will be making the deliveries. They have been in business since 1964.
Proposed New Pickup Times
Weekday pickup hours: from 3 pm to 8 pm
Saturday Pickup Hours: from 1 pm to 6 pm
(There might be some variation in ending hours, depending on host preferences.)
Let us know by Tuesday, May 12.
Please fill out this very short survey to let us know the impact on you of the proposed new delivery schedule.
We will finalize the delivery hours once we have evaluated shareholder feedback from the survey. We’ll let you know the official pickup times soon.
Thanks for your consideration of this important development.
Share confirmations, with all your share instructions and details, will be made in early June, with deliveries starting shortly thereafter.
The crops look wonderful this spring!