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Curtis Millsap is working with Harvie to give his farm’s CSA customers more choices.
Photo provided by Millsap Farms
Curtis Millsap is working with Harvie to give his farm’s CSA customers more choices.

Millsap Farms partners with tech firm

Posted online

Millsap Farms hopes to improve upon its seasonal subscription boxes through a partnership with Pittsburgh-based agricultural technology firm Harvie.

The Harvie online farm-share platform will allow Millsap Farms’ community-supported agriculture customers to customize their boxes of produce delivered to their doors. Harvie also adds recipes and cooking tips for Millsap Farms’ customers, according to a news release.

“In the past, we’ve packed a standard box of food for each member regardless of what they like and what they don’t like, but we know that some people hate beets, or eggplant or arugula, and some people can’t get enough,” Millsap Farms owner Curtis Millsap said in the release. “Harvie allows us to customize each box so we make sure each member gets what they want.”

Through the platform, members of Millsap Farms’ CSA program will be able to set preferences for which vegetables they receive. Starting the week of May 8, farm officials will enter a list of crops that are ready for harvest, according to the release. Harvie’s algorithm then will match customers’ preferences with the available crops.

The release cited a University of California study that found members are exiting farm-share programs because of a lack of choices. Reached this morning via email, Millsap said the CSA’s retention rate has been around 50 percent for several years, dipping a few points in the last two. Millsap Farms has about 120 members in its upcoming May-October CSA.

“In our experience, the biggest reason CSA doesn’t work for some folks is because of the intimidation factor in staring down those fresh, raw vegetables and cooking them into a nourishing home-made meal,” Millsap said in the release. “This recipe and tips feature is aimed to help with that, by providing information specific to the exact contents of member’s boxes.”

Harvie CEO Simon Huntley added the service allows local farms the ability to compete with companies such as Blue Apron and HelloFresh, which each deliver meal kit boxes to doorsteps.

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