[Market-farming] Direct Marketing Food Ring Ideas

Joyce Paski elderberrywine4u at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 1 20:10:48 EST 2006

I could sure use some ideas from you guys!  I belong to a fledgling food ring currently called Price Direct. There are about 25 of us small producers widely located from Taylor County in the South to where I am in Iron County to the North.  A few of us participate in the Phillips Farmers Market, and we were able to use some of the grant money to print a producer directory that was put in the local paper last spring. All of us are seasonal producers and at least two people are better organized businesswise than the rest of us.  We all do something a bit different from each other.  For example, I currently grow heirlooms and emphasize seed saving.  Some of us have individual listings on www.savorwisconsin.com.  The Ag Extension was able to get a grant to get us going, but the grant money will be running out and we are going to meet later this winter to discuss how we can keep going. I have thought and thought, but I really can't think of anything except trying to hook up
 somehow with the Department of Tourism, which, unfortunately, appears to be dumping agriculture and emphasizing recreational sports.  I could tell from my limited experience (this was my first year) at the Farmers Market and at an Open House I was invited to set my stand up at, that there is real desire for local produce and that people are interested in where producers are located.  That is to say, people are still not aware that we are out there.  I have given away almost all of the Price Direct brochures I have and expect to have to go to Phillips to get more as people come to my farm to buy my pie pumpkins.  (I have a sign by the driveway.)  There are a lot of people that just cruise around looking for off-beat places to stop and spend a buck.  I just know we can tap into this, but I don't know how.  Any ideas?  After we meet, I'll do an update to let you know what we decided.  All suggestions are very much appreciated!
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