Marketing is the hard part! Or Don’t plant a seed until you have a market!!! Paul’s first rule of profitable farming
Your marketing strategy will determine… <ul><li>What you are going to grow </li></ul><ul><li>How much you are going to grow </li></ul><ul><li>And when you are going to seed it </li></ul>
High Tunnels lend themselves to many types of marketing: Direct Marketing such as Farm Stands, Farmers Markets, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and Restaurants as well as Wholesale and Produce Auctions.
Direct Marketing Allows farmers a way to capture a larger share of the consumer dollar And from a consumers point-of-view, purchasing from a local farm not only renews their lost relationship to the food they eat, but also helps the local economy and helps preserve family farms. Remember, we’re riding the crest of a huge new movement, all about buying local foods!
Successful Direct Marketing Approaches Things to consider when developing a marketing strategy Farm goals (primary income, secondary income, lifestyle?) Short term goals ( They should be simple, then build on success) Your personality (sometimes I think this should go first!) Financial resources Farm infrastructure Realistic appraisal of your market
In order to establish the scale of your operation you need to take stock of your resources. They include: Your physical condition and experience (expertise) Land, infrastructure, equipment, financial status Labor force (if necessary) Market size and location Transportation and cooling We believe in starting small and expanding as we gain knowledge and market share.
The feeling you get at the first farmers markets in mid-April when your booth is chock full of a variety of beautiful produce from your high tunnels is hard to describe.
And those early morning jitters waiting for the customers to show up…
Seem to evaporate as our booth fills with customers .
Quick! Go restock. I’m sure we have more in the truck!! (Actually, she’s thinking “We have 11 different varieties of lettuce out on the table and you want a different one?!?!?!”)
And as spring turns into summer we keep the customers coming back with an ever increasing and changing selection.
Set your produce apart… Custom tags work well and look terrific!
But as the market comes to a close at the end of October, we look for other ways to sell our fall and winter produce. Where did all the customers go?
We tried mailing a flyer once a month to our customers with a minimum of success
and then we tried calling our customers, only to find out that phoning had it’s own list of problems.
And you prayed that a teenager didn’t answer the phone!
Soon we learned that email is a great way to market your produce!
Advantages of using email to market your farm products <ul><li>you can reach a lot of people with the stroke of a key </li></ul><ul><li>you can define markets using different distribution lists, such as “A” or “B” groups, or Tuesday delivery vs. Saturday delivery </li></ul><ul><li>you can present a lot of information in an easy to read format, even including pictures & recipes </li></ul><ul><li>you can provide additional information using links to other websites </li></ul><ul><li>And probably the most important </li></ul><ul><li>your customer reads it at their convenience and can respond (within stated terms) at their convenience, rather than yours </li></ul>
Sample Email Hi! The following is what we will have for delivery on Saturday, December 15th. If you want to place an order, please email us by midnight on Thursday evening. Delivery will be made between 8 AM and 11 AM on Saturday morning. If you are not going to be home but would like a delivery, please leave an insulated cooler in a protected area and we'll leave your produce there. Please note that there is a $7.50 minimum order and there will be a $2.50 delivery fee added to all orders. Our next delivery will be on Saturday, December 22nd . Mesclun - This is a mixture of baby lettuce and mixed baby greens, washed and spun-dried. First cutting, premium quality! 1/2 pound bag is $4.50 or 1-pound packaged in 1/2 pound bags is $9.00 Spicy Baby Greens Mix - For those of you who prefer a bit of "zip" in your mesclun, add a bag of our spicy baby greens mix to our mesclun. It's our special blend of colorful, pungent, spicy greens. 1/4 pound bag is $3.00 Spinach - succulent, mouth-watering young leaves, just bursting with flavor $4.50 per 1/2 pound bag These leaves are washed and spun dried. Braising Mix - A blend of flavorful greens, great for adding to a stir-fry. $4.50 per 1/2 pound bag. Arugula - Very young and tender, peppery green. Try it with a balsamic vinaigrette with garlic and add a few walnuts for crunch. $2.50 per bunch (about 2 ounces)
Swiss Chard - young, beautiful colored stems and bright green leaves. $3.00 Here's a wonderful recipe for Swiss Chard from one of our friends: It's pretty simple really. I start by chopping the greens into pieces. I like to cut the stems in larger pieces so they hold up a little better during cooking and still have a little bite to them when they are done. I heat some olive oil in a skillet, maybe two tablespoons at the most, just enough to thinly cover the bottom of the pan, toss in the chard, salt and pepper, give it a good toss to get the leaves nice and coated with oil put a lid on and let it start to cook down. When it's about half way done I put in 3 or 4 cloves of garlic that I've sliced really thin. I cook that for a few minutes then add about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and probably about 1/4 cup of red wine and then cook it uncovered until most of the liquid has evaporated. It turns out fantastic every time. We can't get enough. I've even gotten a couple people who say they don't like spinach to try it, and love it. Collards - large, blue-green leaves, mild flavored (limited supply) $3.00 per bunch Kale - A mix of both White & Red Russian - leaves just bursting with sweetness and flavor! $3.00 per bunch Carrots – A bunch of mouth watering, sweet as candy but good for you, died and gone to heaven flavor that can’t be beat! $4.00 Pak Choi - white-stemmed, dark-green leaves, great taste! Wonderful in a stir-fry, or fabulous on a fresh veggie platter! And new this fall...Red Choi! Dark maroon leaves with green undersides. $2.00 each Tatsoi - beautiful dark green, spoon shaped leaves on light green stems. Very mild tasting, good for you. Eat it steamed over rice, or another great addition to a stir-fry. $2.00 each Napa cabbage - really, really crunchy and full of flavor - $3.00 each Thank you! Paul & Alison Wiediger
Paul and Alison, We would like to place the following order for Saturday, December 8. Mesclun- 1/2 lbs. $4.50, Head of Romaine 1 $2.00, Green Cabbage 1 $2.00, Eggs 1 doz. $4.00, Frozen Chicken 1 (4lbs.) $16.00, Delivery $2.50, Total $31.00 This is our first order, so we are providing the following information; Gary and Sharon, Dxxxxxx 679 Mxxxxx Way, BG.KY 42101 Directions: Follow Hwy 231 (Morgantown Rd.) out of Bowling Green. Approximately ### miles after crossing the Natcher Parkway, turn right on Hwy #### . Go to the top of the hill and turn left. We live about half way down ??????? Way on the left. Since there may not be anyone home, we will be leaving a large cooler behind a Pontiac Lemans in the driveway with an envelope enclosing the payment. We look forward to your delivery. If you do not have any particular item, please refund or credit us for the next time. Thank you, Sharon and Gary. Then our customers begin to respond sending us emails such as the following:
Once we’ve received all of our orders, we determine the most efficient delivery route, and enter our customer‘s orders on a spread sheet.
Produce Order Form 1 Pam 2 1 1 1 1 2 1 3 4 1 2.50 62.00 2 Sarah 2 1 1 1 1 1 2 3 1 1 2.50 46.00 1/8/2011 Box # Customers ITEMS QTY PRICE Mesclun 1/2 pound 4.50 Spinach 1/2 pound 4.50 Green Leaf lettuce 2.00 Red Leaf lettuce 2.00 Green Romaine 2.00 Red Romaine 2.00 Buttercrunch - grn 2.00 Buttercrunch - Red 2.00 DeerTongue lettuce 2.00 Curly kale 2.50 Russian kale 2.50 Tuscan kale . 2.50 Swiss Chard 2.50 Collards 2.50 Salad turnips 3.00 Radishes 2.50 Carrots 3.50 New Red Potatoes 4.00 Tatsoi 3.00 Napa Cabbage 3.00 Eggs 4.00/doz Delivery 2.50 Total
Hey Zach! Your order total comes to $38.25 We ’ ll drop it off mid to late morning, somewhere between 10:00 and 11 AM. If you aren’t going to be home, or don’t want to be disturbed, just leave a cooler out on your porch along with your check and we’ll drop it off there. Thanks! Paul & Alison The day before delivery we email our customers with a total of their order and an approximate time for when we’ll be delivering. This helps to remind our customers that they have placed an order with us and we will be delivering tomorrow, and it really speeds up the process because the customers know how much they owe and many have a check already made out or leave cash in an envelope.
From: coyote tiffany [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Saturday, November 06, 2010 12:15 PM To: [email_address] Subject: RE: ANF all natural produce & artisanal bread available for on-farm pick up, Sat Nov 6 th I wanted to let you know that the veggies are wonderful! (I know you already know this!) We really enjoyed a nice salad last night and my husband complimented the sweetness and crisp of the lettuce. But my favorite part about your produce is hearing Levi say with such sincerity, "Oh, thank you Mama. I love their broccoli!" when I ripped off a hunk for him to munch on while we drove home from your farm. Thanks again for providing such tasty and healthy produce and for allowing us to buy it from you. Tiffany And although it’s rewarding being paid for our products, emails like this are the frosting on the cake!