Case Study

New eCommerce Store Helps Tara Firma Farms Double Their Home Delivery Membership

In just three weeks this spring, Tara Firma Farms, a Bay Area farm and CSA known for their pasture-raised meats, doubled their home delivery membership. It was, of course, due to a higher demand for local, reliable, and sustainable food that could be delivered directly to people’s doorsteps while sheltering at home.

But that created a new (good) problem: how to handle that kind of increase in demand. Fortunately, Tara Firma was also in the middle of replacing their CSA management software, a stressful process, CSA and farm manager Isabel Squire said, but one she wouldn’t change.

“We were looking for a software that was going to make our life easier, and what we got is software that’s gonna help us grow,” Squire said.

Before and After GetSwift’s eCommerce + Delivery Platform

An active CSA, which stands for Community-Supported Agriculture, since 2009, Tara Firma practices regenerative agriculture by rotating their cows, pigs, and turkeys to different pastures, and all of the beef is grass-fed, leading to a leaner cut. The farm is also all about education and transparency—before the pandemic hit, they offered free farm tours giving their customers full access to explore the farm. Squire was stuck with old-fashioned CSA software, with limited functionality, better suited for smaller produce-only CSAs. To know how well a certain item was selling, Squire had to download spreadsheets and run her own analysis. When she wanted to offer a discount, she had to go into each of the 450 members’ individual accounts to do it.

As she was looking around for new software, she became amazed at the business insights of GetSwift’s eCommerce and Delivery platform (called Delivery Biz Pro) provided.

“Since we switched to GetSwift, we’ve been able to understand areas where we were losing money before that we just didn’t have visibility of because there wasn’t enough reporting,” Squire said.

For instance, what instantly came to light was the previously unknown realization that Tara Firma wasn’t charging enough for delivery and some delivery routes were not even making money. That led the farm to raise the delivery fee (which hadn’t been raised since her family took over the farm in 2016) and require all new members to get at least one meat share, not just a vegetable share, making the driver routes profitable.

“Overall, the visibility and the control that we have with Delivery Biz Pro, it’s really amazing. I can’t imagine going back,” she added.

Squire also sees a big difference from their newly-designed eCommerce store.“What I think is really nice, the GetSwift platform gives us what actually feels like a really presentable front-end store, which we were lacking in our previous system,” she said.

The new store became an even greater opportunity, as Tara Firma turned their online store into a one-stop-shop for high-end local products like Bella Capra goat cheese, pickles from Golden State Pickle Works, and Black Point Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Meanwhile, the new routing functionality was just as important. With their old software, they couldn’t easily move a route from one night to another or add stops, Squire said. For the first time, Squire and the team can add stops with a click and optimize routes automatically while the drivers, from their apps, can mark items returned or update an invoice from the road, all synced in real-time.

The Value

In addition to the robust control and analytics, Squire likes the value she gets out of GetSwift. What troubled her in the past is, if the farm’s revenue went up, so did their software fees. Instead, with GetSwift, the flat fee is based on your number of customers, not revenue. You can increase your customers and see no increase in fees. When you pass a certain threshold of customers, your fee goes up, but those jumps in price are “very reasonable,” Squire said.

on firm ground

This year, as the demand for local food has soared, the way people are eating, and their needs, have drastically changed too. Every farm, CSA, or food delivery company has had to adjust their operations and offering by, perhaps, creating meal kits, radically changing their menus, or turning into a hub for other local products.
For Tara Firma, it wasn’t so much of a big change in operations as having to do more of what they were already doing—deliver the highest-quality meats to customers—more efficiently. By using GetSwift’s platform, they now have a cloud-based system with seemingly boundless functionality and powerful business insights that puts them on firm ground for growth.

With the old software, there was just no way they could handle a jump from 450 active members receiving deliveries to 1,000 in just three weeks. With GetSwift, Tara Firm can sit comfortably delivering to at least 1,000 members, knowing they are getting amazing value, and seeing up to 100 new signs up every month.