How do preferences work?
To create your custom share, the Harvie software utilizes the product preferences you provide, but how do these preferences work?
- Each individual share starts with your farmer listing the products they expect to have and what quantity. For example, they'll say they expect to have 60 bunches of carrots, 50 heads of cabbage, etc.
- For each share, Harvie will randomize the list of members receiving a share that week. This way no one member is always on the top of the list, and no one member is always on the bottom of the list.
- Harvie then goes through member by member putting the first item in each member's share for the week. Harvie starts at the top of the list of the products as supplied by the farm and looks for products that you have rated as “Include every time it's available!”. If it finds an “every time” item, it is added to your share. If not, it goes back through the list looking for items rated “I like it”. If none are found, it starts at the top of the list again looking for items rated “Sometimes”. Once again, if none are found, it starts at the top again looking for items rated “I'll eat it”. You will never receive items you've marked as “Never include in my share”.
- Harvie goes through the entire list of members putting one item in their share. It then flips the list of members and goes through the process to put a second item in each share. It will skip over the item it previously put in your share and will look for the next “Include every time it's available!” item.
- This process is completed until your share reaches the appropriate target value set by the farm.
What if I like everything? Should I rate everything as “Include every time it's available!”?
It is important to remember that rating everything as “every time” is essentially the same thing as saying “I have no preferences”. If you really love everything equally, then that is fine.
However, we would recommend limiting your “every time” ratings for maybe a half-dozen or so items that you really would like if they are available. Then mark everything else that you are happy to receive as an “I like it” rating. This will make those “every time” items stand out in the algorithm and make it more likely that they will be put into your share before the target value is reached.
Is there anything else that can affect what I get in my share?
Your farmer can mark certain products as “featured” for a single delivery. These are items that the farm may have excess quantity of and hopes to be able to distribute more of them. The Harvie algorithm will attempt to put featured items in your share first with a couple differences from regular items:
- If you have a rating of “Sometimes” or “I Like it”, the algorithm will prioritize that item over non-featured items that you have ranked as “Include every time it's available!”
- If you have a feature item rated as “every time”, the algorithm may put two of this item in your share before adding any other items.
How to set your preferences?
Immediately after checking out for the first time, you will be directed to the Product Preferences page to set your preferences. This page will display a list of all the products that the farm may produce during the year, sorted by department. Next to each item will be five smiley face icons representing the 5 levels of preference from “Include every time it's available!” to “Never include in my share”. Click the appropriate icon next to each item to indicate your preferences.
You can also set your preference for an entire department on this page, using the checkbox next to each department name. If the box is checked, it indicates that you would like to receive products in this department. These products may be added to your box each delivery, if they are available. When you first sign up, every department will be checked, to give you the greatest possible variety in your share. To indicate that you do not want any products from a particular department, uncheck the box. This has the same effect as selecting "Never include" on each of the products in the department: they will never be added to your box, though you may still add them when you customize, if you wish. The department setting will also apply to any new products the farm adds to that department later. For example, if you choose to follow a vegetarian diet, you may choose to uncheck the box for all meat-related departments, to save the time of setting each individual product to "Never include."
When you change your preference on a department, a popup will appear asking whether you would also like to change your preference for all products in that department. If you have already set preferences for some of the products in that department, and you would like to keep those settings, and have the department preference apply only to products you have not explicitly set and new ones added by the farm later, click "No, just the department." To overwrite any individual product preferences you may have set, choose "Yes, set all." This is useful if your dietary needs change after you have already set up your account.
You can also create exceptions to your department preferences by setting the preference on an individual product. For example, if you follow a gluten-free diet, but your farm offers oats that are not processed on shared equipment, you may set the Grain department to "Never" and then set the Oats to "Like it."
Some notes about preferences:
- You can update your preferences at any time. If throughout the season your preferences change, simply log into your Harvie account and click on the “Preferences” tab on your dashboard, or the option in the side-menu. This will bring you back to the preferences page where you can update your preferences by product or department.
- It is not a guarantee that all products listed on the preferences page will be included in shares during any given season. These are just products that the farm has identified as possible items that they will be offering. Product availability depends on the current growing season and weather conditions.
- If your farm has added new products since you last set your preferences, you will see an alert in the "My Tasks" sidebar. Click on this alert to visit the Product Preferences page.
- Any items or departments that you do not set a preference for will be treated as an average or “Sometimes” rating.
- If you have already received an email to customize your share, changes to your preferences will not affect that share. You should swap the products you don't prefer for the current share. Future shares, when generated, will take into account any changes made to your preferences.