Farmers and their Diversified Horticultural Marketing Strategies [DVD]. V. Grubinger. 1999. University of Vermont Extension. Available for purchase at: http://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/Videos/marketvideo.htm (verified 31 Dec 2008).
This is a Farmers and their Diversified Horticultural Marketing Strategies video clip.
Jan and Rob Goranson, Goranson Farm. Dresden, ME.
Hi I’m Jan Goranson and this is my husband Rob Johanson. We’re at Goranson Farm in Dresden, Maine in the mid-coast region of Maine. We are on a farm that I grew up on, about 35 years ago my parents bought it and farmed primarily potatoes. In 1985 I started farming with my father and since then we’ve turned this farm into a diversified vegetable operation.
We have 36 total tillable acres of which 8 acres is now in potatoes, 6 in sweet corn and ten in diversified small crops. We have 12 acres of that is in rotation with cover crops and green manures.
The markets that we currently have are our farm stand and farmers markets, we go to four different farmers markets throughout the summer and we have a few wholesale accounts. The farm stand brings in the bulk of our income, about 48%. The farmers markets bring in about 36% of the farm income and the balance 16% is wholesale. One of the innovations that we’ve brought to the farm has been a community supported agriculture program, which we started some five years ago now; we currently have 175 families in the summer program. Our community supported agriculture program is set up a little different than a traditional one, in that people pay up front, but for paying up-front they get a discount. So they can use that credit at the farm or at any of the locations off the farm where we are selling. Which we’ve tried to make it as easy and as inclusive as possible to try to get as many people, you know, involved and interested in what we’re doing. We also do a winter share program that is set up in the very traditional manner; they come once a month for a box of vegetables, storage vegetables. The retention rate in our CSA has been high, we did make a change a year ago where if people had a credit left on their CSA account with the farm we would roll it toward the next season, but what we changed was that they would have to use everything that they paid for in the spring, that year. And so people in October, November get a postcard from the farm saying, you have this amount left on your account, if you don’t use it by the end of December, it will be gone. And so it encourages people to come in at the end of the year and buy that quart of maple syrup or pick up some extra squash and potatoes for the winter.
The keys to our marketing success are quality, variety and listening to our customers. They give us the feedback that’s required to let us know what they want and how they want it and we’re very attuned to that. One of the things that we’ve found that helps us to pull this all off is that we’ve divided the roles. Jan pretty much takes care of the marketing aspect of the farm and I pretty much take care of the production end of it. Of course we’re always talking about the whole, so there’s a lot of cooperation and discussion that goes on between us.
This video project was funded by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (USDA).
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