[Market-farming] More thoughts on marketing

GreenMrkt at aol.com GreenMrkt at aol.com
Wed Feb 9 19:20:17 EST 2005

I am working on it Paul!!!!

     At a recent meeting of a local Farmers Market the market manager asked 
who had 'real' jobs, not off farm work, but 'real' jobs. So here's a market 
manager who doesn't value farming or farmers. No wonder her market did so poorly 
in 2004. The customer won't value us unless we value ourselves. 

     Farmers need to think and act like all the other value based systems out 
there. We need to be both sexy and smart. As I've said before, consumers are 
a very discerning bunch. Look at my signature info and it will tell you what I 
read concerning the food, hospitality, craft and greenhouse industry (each 
month). This info is vital to us so that we can talk to the customers in the 
market language they are using, keep current with trends regarding food, etc. So 
many farmers I've talked to are out of touch with the lives their customer 
base is living. 
     Remember that our customers are not farmers, they are health workers, 
lawyers, teachers, artists, etc. Speak to them about their lives and they will 
connect. You can count on it. Marketing isn't rigged against us, it's an 
opportunity for us to play into a value based system already in place. We don't have 
to reinvent the wheel, the structure exists. We just have to plug into it.   
Beyond the basics, we really don't need anything. Food, clothing, shelter.   
And there we are at the top of the list. We can't lose.

     I worked in a Doctors office in New York and the Doctors had to buy the 
Enquirer every week, because if there was a health related article in that 
weeks issue, then you can be sure that a great percentage of the patients were 
going to ask questions about it, or think that they had whatever malady was 
being described. My point is that we need to go outside of our comfort zone to be 
able to speak to our customers. Just ask you local town hall for the 
demographics of your area, or go online for the info and that will tell you who your 
possible customer base is. And don't forget to ask your customers what they 
think and what they want. 

     This is Farming with a capital F. Food is a precious commodity, most 
folks realize this. Every article I've read on this subject talks about the 
customer being less concerned about price of goods and will buy based on Value. And 
value is a perception based action. The industrial based foods system knows 
this and so should we. What is that our customers value? That's the question 
any person who wants to sell more needs to ask. Big or small. Have heirloom 
tomatoes become valuable to our market customers? You betcha!! These same 
customers were fairly consigned with super market tomatoes until they tried an 
heirloom. They don't know what they want until we share the new things with them. 
That's what I think Ogilvey was talking about. Let's give customers the 
opportunity to experience the wonderful life they can have while eating fresh locally 
grown stuff. They won't know they need it until we grow it for them!

      Maybe we need one of those calendars with Naked folks in it. Naked 
farmers, now that's a marketing plan!! We could include the expected harvest   for 
each area, recipes, etc. Can't believe it hasn't been done! 
Any volunteers???

     A good sign is that folks are really starting to connect with regional 
foods in a big way. There is a big push by the European marketplace to reclaim 
place names for food production (cheddar cheese can only be from Cheddar 
England, Champagne from, well you get the point) So regionalism is an important 
coming trend. And let's not forget AUTHENTICITY. I predict that this will be a 
huge trend in the near future. Eliot Coleman gives a great description of what 
authenticity means to him at his website for Four Season Farm. Folks will be 
connecting with this more and more. And Just like Organic, these new food and 
product identifiers will be important to folks. 


Karen Wallman    
Green Market Farm
710 Daniel Shays Hwy.
New Salem, Massachusetts 01355

TEL: 978-544-7911
FAX: 978-544-7587
EMAIL: greenmrkt at aol.com    
WEB: HarvestAndHome.com(offline until 2005)

Green Market Farm is now a member of:
The Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets (FMFM)
Massachusetts Association of Roadside Stands (MARS)
The Massachusetts Specialty Food Association (MSFA)
North American Farmers Direct Marketing Association (NAFDMA)
Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA)
Community Involved In Sustaining Agriculture (CISA)
Journal and Industry Affiliations
Candy Industry
Food Engineering
Fancy Foods and Culinary Products
Greenhouse Production News
Vegetable Growers News
Meetings and Conventions
Convenience Store News
Natural Foods Merchandiser
Packaging Digest
Modern Baking
Growing for Market
Food Management
New England Food Service
Kitchen And Cook
Food And Wine
Stagnitos New Products Review
Chain Store Age
Food Arts
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