Farmer to Farmer


If you’ve ever won­dered how to mar­ket your farm goods, here’s some help­ful ad­vice.

A: Ten years ago, we were do­ing four farm­ers mar­kets each week, but we were strug­gling be­cause we had no steady in­come off-sea­son. Around the same time, we be­gan rais­ing turkeys and needed a method of dis­tri­bu­tion for the Thanks­giv­ing birds af­ter farm­ers mar­ket sea­son had ended. And so we de­vel­oped an email list, gath­er­ing names and email ad­dresses at farm­ers mar­kets and fes­ti­vals (this was be­fore we had a web­site).

We de­vel­oped mul­ti­ple Farm Drop lo­ca­tions through­out the area and be­gan ad­ver­tis­ing our off-sea­son prod­ucts through the email list. Us­ing this method, we can serve cus­tomers in a large ge­o­graph­i­cal area (in­clud­ing two states and the Dis­trict of Columbia) over a sin­gle week­end, and are able to net an in­come equiv­a­lent to eight farm­ers mar­kets dur­ing the sum­mer.

There are dif­fer­ent email mar­ket­ing com­pa­nies, such as MailChimp and Con­stant Con­tact, that make us­ing email lists ef­fi­cient and easy. We have used no ad­di­tional ad­ver­tis­ing be­yond word of mouth. We be­lieve our busi­ness is an­chored in our re­la­tion­ship with our cus­tomers, and weekly emails al­low us to de­velop this con­nec­tion.

Brit­tany Jones, along with her hus­band, Trey, took a dream of hav­ing a quiet sanc­tu­ary and turned it into the work­ing Kelby Ranch they now own and run in Texas. They raise every­thing from beef to free-range eggs.

Patti Lou Riker and her hus­band, Bill, started Tall Cot­ton Farm in Afton, Vir­ginia, with four Here­ford-Devon cows. They now farm in Urbanna, Vir­ginia, pro­duc­ing grass-fed beef, plus turkey, pork, chicken and pas­ture-raised eggs.

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