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Slow Season Action

October 9, 2012

As the harvest winds down, the garden needs cleaning in preparation for the next planting. I have seen how goats and pigs can be effectively used to help clear last summer’s vegetable patch of all vegetation and get the ground churned up and ready for the next planting. I thought it was pretty ingenious that the animals could earn their feed in naturally performing  a task that needed doing.

This past Saturday I attended a Locavore Dinner at  Tyler Creek Farm in Kanawha County. Co-sponsored by the Capitol Conservation District, Aimee Figgett introduced high tunnel planting and harvesting to many of the attendees.  

She invited several other farms as well as agencies to set up booths and share information about the products they sell and provide. Many had activities for the children, including one woman who was selling goats milk soap. With a small microwave oven, the children made glycerin soap, coming back before leaving to pick up one to take home.

~~But the best part of the day was the dinner, made with pork and beef from Twin Maple Farms in Milton, and local produce from the Wild Ramp Market in Huntington. Food is one thing everyone can understand.

This was the second farm even in two weeks that I attended where a substantial effort was made by the farm owner to invite the public to enjoy what farming was all about. In today’s market where many consumers are disconnected with the source of their food, stepping on to a farm is for some the first time they actually see animals on the hoof and begin to connect the dots between what work farmers do and the plastic wrapped items at the grocery store.

These consumers are YOUR customers. However, many do not even know you exist. Now, you can continue doing what you do and not include any change in how you reach out to the public, and you will continue to have the same kind of results….same level of interest in your products and same income from year to year.

Or you could shake things up and invite them in….share your world.

and they will become educated consumers who will understand the value of local food over the packaged stuff at the store. I have heard it again and again from the farmers whose events I attend. Yes, they are a lot of work, but the benefits ALWAYS surprise them in increased and sustained sales.

Marketing is a uncomfortable concept to many people. It may seem boastful to make enough noise that people notice you and all you do. In this economy where the consumer’s spending is hotly contested, why NOT be the place where their money goes? You know you are producing a quality food…..why not sell more?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Allen Arnold permalink
    October 9, 2012 5:55 am

    I thought this article has some excellent insights about marketing and getting the word out to the public.


    • wvfarm2u permalink*
      October 9, 2012 7:34 am

      As I have gotten to know some farmers pretty well it seems that the ones who make an effort to know their customers, a reverse of the “Know Your Farmer” slogan, build relationships that are economically sustaining.

  2. October 9, 2012 7:35 am

    Excellent points….. I bet they’re lots of fun, too. I know how much the kids loved to visit with our baby critters back in the day when we raised sheep and chickens and steers.

    • wvfarm2u permalink*
      October 9, 2012 7:37 am

      And a meal is universal….to explain that everything is local is important. The fact that she also had the high tunnel beginning production let them know there will be fresh veggies all winter!

  3. October 9, 2012 8:12 am

    love the story and the message – about the marketing message!

    • wvfarm2u permalink*
      October 9, 2012 8:31 pm

      As you know, marketing needs to be active so when a newbie has to get active for the first time, it is perhaps easier when there are not so many chores.

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