Farmer Marketing

Simple, inventive ways to increase the value of farm fresh products through direct marketing, internet marketing, and creativity.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Benefits Of Buying Locally Grown Food At A Farmers Market

Supermarkets are packed with busy shoppers and giant, squeaky carts that push you aside to get what they want.  Skip the supermarket to shop local for these great reasons. Give something back while getting lots in return.

Organically Grown

Locally grown foods are much more likely to be grown organically. What does this mean for you? It means that the food is grown with far less poisons and pesticides that go into your body through ingestion. You can live a healthier, fuller, longer life by buying and eating organic produce and grains.

Support The Local Economy

When you shop local, much of that money you spend stays within the economy, whereas when you shop at a chain store with its headquarters elsewhere, much of that money goes somewhere else. Support your local economy to support your family, your community, your friends, and your own life.

When your economy is doing well this raises property prices, which makes your property of higher worth. This means that people have to pay more to live there, and thus you tend to have less crime and more good. Schools in good neighborhoods have better programs and better teachers because they offer more compensation. You can have less crime by having a better economy, so shop local to keep it strong.

Try New Products

When you shop among all kinds of items thrown together in the same venue, you are forced to see the possibilities. This is a great thing! Maybe you have never tried kale or other kinds of vegetables, but have seen it listed among the ingredients in recipes you have browsed. Now is your chance to try new things. Sample whipped honey or homemade breads or salsas.

Friendly, Personalized Service

Get advice from sellers about their products. Learn about how things are grown, and get a sample of interesting, new foods rather than having to guess about the growing conditions of questionable products. When you shop at a farmer’s market, you make friends who see again and again. You meet the food makers and see their goods in their raw form, before a packaging process hides them from what they truly are. You get real food from real people.

It’s Fun!

Grocery shopping can become much more fun than bothersome when you shop at a farmer’s market. For example, the Vail Farmers' Market in Colorado is known to have some of best corn on the cob vendors. Turn your chores into a fair. Bring the kids, talk to community members, and try new things to add a little spice to each week. In Vail you can even try out the Teva mountain games for added fun. You’ll be sure to get a kick out of the festivities, which often include live music, and find new family food favorites. 


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Branding Tips for Farmers

As a farmer, you may wonder how to get out of the commodity business and start selling your product directo to consumers. Whether it's through farmers' markets, roadside stands or delivery, the moment you start selling your product you start building a brand, and every small business owner faces many of the same hurdles.  The first and most critical of these hurdles is name recognition.  Any small business owner needs to get their name out to the public and raise awareness of their brand.  As you start to build your small business, keep these small business branding tips in mind.

Tip #1:  Name and Logo

It is important to have a company name that is easy to remember and a company logo that is easily recognized.  Neither of these things is as important as getting your name and logo out there however.  You probably don't have the budget to spend thousands of dollars to have professionals test and select the ideal name and logo for your business, but using a creative agency can be well worth the investment since you'll be using this logo for years.

Tip #2:  Website Publicity

We live in a digital age where potential clients will use the internet to check up on your business and your references.  If your business does not have a professional website, or if it is not up to date, then customers may be driven away.  Keep your website current to reflect the business your company does.

Tip #3:  Maintain a Blog

Keeping up with a blog will allow your business an opportunity to provide quality content on a regular schedule.  The public is always looking for informed professionals instead of amateurs who appear to just be getting into the business.  A blog offers your company and your clients a venue to have a two-way conversation about your products and services.

While a blog is a terrific way to keep your audience aware of developments within your company, it is just one of many tools and should be utilized.  You do not want to limit your online presence to running your blog when that is just one site.  A network of websites, blogs, and social media venues will maximize your influence and draw more users into your business.

Tip #4:  Always Follow Through

Another of the small business branding tips we have to offer is to always follow through on your promises.  While a good review can get lost, a bad one will spread like wildfire.  If you promise to render a service, provide an estimate, or allow a customer to test a product, it must be followed through on quickly or else your small business will gain a reputation for being unreliable and erratic.

Tip #5:  Do What You Do Exceptionally Well

This may seem obvious, but it is one of the most critical small business branding tips that you can take.  Many small businesses try to do everything.  If your company provides a service, make absolutely certain that you are the best provider of that service in your market.  Your potential clients are looking for a company that will provide them with an exceptional product at a fair price.  By trying to do everything for everyone you will end up creating an atmosphere in which your company becomes known for being mediocre in many things but great at no one thing.

I know many farmers will be intimidated by the concept of having a website and updating a blog. It's easier than ever with tools like WordPress or Blogger, so don't be afraid. Just jump in and start swimming.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Is your farm a safe workplace? Tips from the industrial sector

**This guest post was provided by, providers of 10 and 30-hour online OSHA safety courses**

Think about it. Every day countless numbers of folk get up, get ready, and go to work – day shift, swing shift, graveyard shift, long hours or short, hard work or easy, we work. It is only reasonable that we should expect to work in a safe place. What is not reasonable is that we should expect ‘someone else’ to make and keep our workplace safe for us without effort on our part as well.

The idea is to make a united effort to secure safe conditions in our workplaces so that we do not have to earn our daily bread under threat. Certainly there are big issues – quality building construction, secure electrical systems, wide, clear corridors, up to date, safe to use equipment and facilities – that we cannot take care of individually. But there are literally thousands of smaller things that we can take of as individuals or small groups. We just need to take time to see them.

For example, the builders of the buildings made sure to have ample exit routes on every floor. Are those exit corridors blocked, perhaps by excess inventory temporarily stored down a long hallway, or the walkway itself being cordoned off while waiting to be painted? Those workers affected by such obstructions can petition management to store inventory in the basement, perhaps, or ask that hallways be painted on weekends when no workers are in the building. Small things. Safer workplace.

A large industrial center may use high-pressure hoses to clean the floors at the end of the day. Is the stream of water sufficient to knock someone off his feet? Perhaps using reducers on the hose to cut the flow somewhat would be a good idea. And how about when the hoses are turned off until tomorrow; are they left lying on the floor, or are they stored on a hose reel? One person can make that workplace safer for everyone, in just minutes.

Is there a nearby supply of replacement light bulbs at your workplace? Is there a first aid kit within reach, and do you know where it is? Are electrical cords plugged into nearby outlets instead of snaking halfway around the room? Can you get to the fire extinguishers? Can you use them? Are there safe stepstools to reach supplies in the office storeroom? You get the point. Small things again. Safer workplace.

OSHA was made law in 1971; although its history has been politically tumultuous, its creation has ushered in an abiding movement toward safer, more secure working conditions for every working man and woman in these fifty states. This is a good thing. But there has been an unintended side effect: we no longer remember the horrendous number of workplace fatalities before OSHA, and our entire generation has grown up with no idea that they can be maimed, or even killed, in the course of their daily work. Such disregard surely breeds carelessness. Ask an OSHA Inspector.

It follows that the greatest workplace safety tip for every working person may well be simply becoming aware of our surroundings. If we are aware, we put ourselves in position to do something to change our workplace surroundings as necessary. We begin to ‘think safely’.

Take your eyes away from this printed text and think for just a moment: if you are at work right now, are you working in a safe place? Cupboard doors closed, doormats have skid-protection backing, stairways have handrails? If you work around machinery, are there machine guards in place, lockout/tagout systems in use, safety rails around scaffold platforms? Are hardhats, safety goggles, protective masks, and protective footgear in common use?

A quality workplace will have supervisors and other management personnel who support safety. You will not have to be adversarial in your approach to improving safety; on the contrary, your efforts and insights will be sought for, perhaps even rewarded. Safety programs and incentives abound, stepchildren of OSHA and incubators for thousands of safety improvements in individual workplaces in every corner of the country. So – do your part, be aware of your surroundings, and take pride in making your contributions to a safer workplace. Then enjoy your day at work: you’ve earned it!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Container Gardens – Small and Easy

The past 100 years have seen a drastic change in the way people live and how they work. Gone are the days where most people lived on farms and everyone had a backyard garden. Today a majority of people live in cookie-cutter tract homes with microscopic yards (if they have a yard at all.) Do you live in one of these situations where you just don’t have the space for a garden? Maybe you don’t feel like you have the time. No matter what your situation this post can help you enjoy home-grown fresh produce.

What is a container garden?

Simply put, a container garden involves growing vegetables in a pot, barrel, or other above-ground container. Hanging baskets, whiskey barrels, terra cotta pots, old water troughs or last year’s flower pots all can be turned into beautiful miniature vegetable beds.

Benefits of Container Gardens

The first and most obvious benefit is the space you save. If you don’t have room for a traditional garden in the ground you can simply put a few containers along the fence or on the back patio to grow delicious veggies yourself. Second, container gardens are much easier to maintain. You likely started with a weed-free potting soil, so gone are the countless hours of weeding. Also, watering involves less time because it’s as simple as watering your house plants. Lastly, containers are mobile. If you live in a temperate climate where there’s a couple of frosty nights in the early fall, but the weather is pretty good for another month, all you have to do is pull the containers into the garage and keep your luscious plants alive for weeks longer than your neighbor’s garden.

Caring for Container Gardens

Since you’re putting your garden in a container your plants will be pulling both water and nutrients from a much smaller area. This brings up two major points to follow for container gardening success. First, when the weather gets really hot and your plants are really putting out the fruit you will need to ensure they get enough water. This may mean watering more than once a day. Can’t be there multiple times each day? Consider a drip irrigation system like this. Second, you need to keep the fertilize coming regularly. For tomatoes that are setting fruit this means weekly. For mixed pots I recommend a time release fertilizer such as Osmocote (you’ll find this type of fertilizer at any good nursery.)

Don’t forget that most veggies (peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, etc.) need lots of sunlight, so south and west facing exposures are your best bet for lighting. If you’re going to use a hanging basket, make sure it hangs low enough to get sunlight and that your hook is sturdy enough to handle the plant, fruit, and all the water your soil can hold. For a tomato hanging basket this can very realistically be over 15 lbs.

Best Wishes

I’ve written often about the benefits of locally grown produce and it doesn’t get more local than your own garden. I wish you luck with your gardens and please feel free to email me if you have any questions as you start your container gardens this year. Send emails to farmermarketing “at”

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Marketing Farm Products

I admit I haven't written in about a year and a half, but I thought this might help everyone find my past posts. I've listed them from oldest to newest:

The Fitness of American Agriculture

Why Organic Produce?

"Certified" Organic vs. The True Intent of Organic Produce

Selling Organic Produce, Selling Crafts, Heck, Selling Anything

Lessons from an Idaho Farmers' Market

The Oxymoron of Pricing

Farmers' Market Diversity

Organic Vegetable Gardening

Free Publicity

Product Selection vs. Profit Pools

Benefit Selling

Your purpose as a salesperson

Making the Sale, Closing the Deal

The Importance of Publicity in Marketing

Direct Marketing via the Internet

Heirloom Tomatoes

Internet Revenue for Farmers

Organic Farming More Profitable

Government Regulations Part I

Government Regulations Part II

Feel free to drop me a note (farmermarketing "at" gmail dot com) and Good Luck!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Government Regulations Part II

So we continue to have issues with the state about selling our tomatoes by the pound. Let me give you the situation from which this arose.

New Location

The market relocated from a parking lot on a main street to a larger and more accomodating parking lot in Old Town. This move was debated highly, but made because of many factors. Some vendors weren't happy of course and have been attempting to start another market in another part of town. I only mention this because the heavy hand of the Weights and Measures people didn't come down until they received "complaints" about the way things were being sold. Mind you we have been selling tomatoes this way for four years and thousands of people have NOT complained. So as you can see the timing is somewhat suspicious.


Right now the only way to deal with this regulation is to sell tomatoes by weight. That is not what I would like to do as Part I below mentions, but it has to do for now. The only possibility I can think of for next year is to get an amendment passed in the state legislature that will amend the current statute to exempt farmer's markets from regulation. This will require some time and connections, but I think it can be pulled off. However, do any of you readers out there know how you write something like that?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Government Regulations: Part I

Recently I have had a situation arise with government regulations that has really upset me. I hope that I can get some feedback from you, the readers, on how you have handled this in your situation.

How We Sell Tomatoes

About four years ago we changed the way that we sold tomatoes. We found that having a certified scale was difficult for two reasons. One, weighing every customer's tomatoes took a lot of time and led to a long line of people. Two, because the scale was being transported so often it often had to be reinspected so that the calibration was correct. Add in the additional expense of a certified scale and the yearly fee to keep it certified and we decided to find a better way of selling tomatoes.

The idea we developed was to sell our tomatoes on a "Fill the Pot" basis. We had two sizes of flower pots, one of which could be filled for $1 and the larger pot for $2. Customers hadn't used this system before, so we had a learning curve when we first started doing it. However, "Fill the Pot" became very successful for the following reasons:

1.)"Fill the Pot" was unique. We were the only vendor selling tomatoes that way and people remembered us for it.

2.)Customers were able to select exactly the tomatoes they wanted; size, color, ripeness, etc. This meant customers got exactly what they wanted.

3.)"Fill the Pot" was much faster and turned into somewhat of a game for our customers. They would pick tomatoes that were just the right size in order to fit more in the pot and get a better deal. They also learned to stack them up a little (which we were okay with) to get more. It was a fantastic system that worked for us and for the customer.

The "Problem"

Evidently our method violated a state statute regarding the sale of commodities. This past Saturday we had a government inspector come and demand we change. I'll explain the situation in my next post, but I hope to get some comments from you readers on how your state regulates farmer's markets and/or how you would handle this situation.