It has been a week of frustrations, some time it happens like that, the good and the bad they can come in waves. The ongoing battle with our flame weeding machine has left me feeling like giving up.
It refuses to cooperate and work, it always needs a sizeable investment of time and energy and TLC to get it over the line, and at this moment it would seem, not enough of either has been applied. So, the vegetable beds that are waiting for flame burning prior to carrot and parsnips seeding will need to wait a little longer and as Murphy’s law would have it the conditions for sowing are near perfect but it seems patience is called for.
I should know too that having rushed sowings in years gone by that nothing good every comes of that, so maybe just maybe there is a reason for this ongoing yearly standoff between man and machine.
There have been other behind the scenes exasperations too, ones less tangible but no less impactful some big news we were really excited to share must now be put on hold. Further frustration is the growing realisation that we need to address our financial precariousness or face stark consequences.
We are now finally seeing what our business and farm look like after the extreme turbulence of the last three years. Financially it has become more and more difficult to avoid hard decisions, earlier this year we had to let a key senior member of our team go as we could no longer afford to keep them on.
As it has become obvious that all costs have gone up and our hands are tied when it comes to pricing (we are constrained by supermarket prices) It has become an increasingly fraught affair to know where to look to make the sums add up.
Last year we reduced our delivery charge to make it one flat charge of €4.50, prior to this on some routes we were charging €6.95. We moved from our then courier provider to a new provider that meant we paid a little less, but this courier company went bust at the start of this year, leaving us in a dire situation (and we do not want to follow them down this path).
Since then, we have switched back and have a very robust and excellent delivery network now, consisting of a mix of our own delivery drivers, our delivery partner in Dublin who continues to provide an excellent service and of course our courier partners, who too, have upped their game which means our boxes get to you our customers in great condition. But understandably they all have also upped their prices.
We have also invested in new sustainable packaging, and in new machinery to give a better experience to you, our customers.
We have seen costs of our labour force increase over the last two years, the cost of transport increase, the costs of electricity, of packaging, and of course food, carrots prices have trebled compared to 6 weeks ago. On our farm too every cost has increased, so, what to do?
We have worked out that our shortfall (between what we take in and what it costs us) in delivery alone each week is circa €4,000 to get our boxes to your doors. We have been absorbing this for the last year, but unfortunately this has meant that each month we are currently losing money. I have been scratching my head and trying to figure out inventive ways to avoid a price increase but no matter which way I look at it, the numbers do not work out.
Thus, we have reluctantly concluded that in addition to internal cost savings we have no choice but to increase our delivery charge. Our charge will increase by €1 from €4.50 to €5.50 effective from the 05th of May, we will receive €.81 (after we pay the VAT element to the government) extra for each delivery. (our FREE delivery over €100 will remain the same) I know this comes at a time when most are struggling and again, I can only extend my regret at having to make this change, but I hope you can understand our reasons and see your way to continue to support us.
And now that that is out in the open it’s back to more worldly frustrations, after all the flame weeder will not fix itself!
PS As many of you liked the free apple offer last week, we are running a further offer for the week ahead this week for green apples, simply enter the code 1APPLES70 when you spend over €70 and get a twinpack of lovely organic apples (on sale for €6.09) FREE. Also remember delivery is still FREE when you spend over €100