How It Works

Your Happy CSA database is an online service, which means that once you have signed up you can access it from any online computer or device by logging in with your username and password. Once you have logged in for the first time, you will follow a simple procedure to input the information pertinent to your business and customers.

The first thing your database will need is a list of products offered through your CSA. Through the software interface, you can enter the item name and associated price, and assign a photo from the Happy CSA image library. (You can also upload your own photo, if desired.)

At this point, you will be introduced to one of the most valuable and unique features of the Happy CSA system: the option to enable your members to customize their shares preceding each delivery. You’ll decide which of your items (if any) you would like to make “substitutable.” The idea is that members would be able to freely switch out any items marked “substitutable.” If an item is not substitutable, members can still add that item for an additional cost. You also have the option of selling an item by weight, which works great for meats and cheeses.

You have the option to assign a deadline preceding the delivery as you see fit.

This flexibility can come in handy for your CSA. For instance, you may find it useful to make items normally included in your CSA Shares substitutable, while unique items from your farm or from 3rd party producers would not be. The beauty, of course, is that the choice is all yours.

Inputting member information into your Happy CSA account is just as simple as adding items. Add them one at a time as people sign up, or, if you like to enroll members using a spreadsheet, you can export the file to HappyCSA and add many members all at once. You will assign members a username and password that they can change later, as well as assign them to a distribution group.

Typically, a CSA with one delivery a week, has one distribution group which everyone is a part of. If your farm offers more than one distribution per week, you will have more than one distribution group. Dist-groups are great for offering biweekly shares as well. You simply create three dist-groups- one for your full share members and two for your biweekly members (one for each alternating week).

Now that the we’ve covered the initial set up of your Happy CSA database, let’s get into the day to day processes.

The distributions tab is here you will have all the fun. Here is where you create CSA distributions and monitor your members choices. For each distribution, you will assign a year and a week number as well as a “Showtime”, “Cutoff time,” and delivery date. “Showtime” is when the upcoming share is made viewable for all your CSA members. The “Cutoff time” is the deadline by which Members must login and customize their shares before their box becomes an official order for delivery or pick-up. You can make this period as short 24 hours or as long a 6 days, with once-a-week share delivery.

Next you will be taken to a screen where you can select all of the items that will be available for the distribution. Every item you have entered in there as a reminder, so it is great help in determining what you will have ready for harvest. Once everything available has been selected, you will then get to choose which items will be part of the regular “farmer’s choice share”. HappyCSA makes this process easy. Have 100 members, but only 50 beets and 50 carrots? Combine them as one item. This will randomly give either carrots or beets to each of your members.

Once the “farmer’s choice” box is created, your screen will be divided into three sections: Items that are in the box, farm items that are substitutable, but not in the box, and add-ons, which are not substitutable.

On the same screen, you will enter the inventory for all your items. For add-ons and farm items that are not in the “farmer’s choice” box, you will need to enter the total amount available, and for items that are in the “farmers choice” box, you will enter any extras of those item you might have.

Between showtime and cutoff time, you can monitor member activity and gain great insights into your members preferences. Are lots of people swapping out a particular item and inventory is rising? Which items are disappearing really quickly from inventory? You can also increase or reduce inventory as crops perform better or worse than expected.

Once the cutoff time passes, all box customization is done, and its time to print your harvest list. Its a good feeling to have all that member preference info distilled down into one easy document to take to the garden. You’ll also want to prepare your member order sheets and box labels. The box labels display the member name and delivery point, and will also list any add-on items to add before delivery. Items will appear alphabetically on the order sheets.

Sidenote: If you have more than 50 members, we recommend investing a few hundred dollars in a monochrome laser printer. These printers are more reliable and make for fast order printing.

That’s the long and short of the Happy CSA system. Once you have signed up, a more detailed, step-by-step manual will be provided, and we’ll also work with you personally to ensure your initial set-up goes smoothly. Feel free to contact us anytime for more information, or proceed now to our GET STARTED page.