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.
Rich Romer, Gourmet Greens. Chester, VT.
Hi my name is Rich Romer, we’re here in Chester, Vermont and I have a little company here we call it Gourmet Greens. We grow soil-grown sprouts, about 800 pounds a week we sell mostly to health food stores and food coops around the northeast, but we do ship anywhere in the country by UPS next-day air. We’re a different animal than most sprout growers because everything we grow, is grown on trays of soil. We fill the trays, basically cafeteria-sized trays, we also use some 10x20 flats. We fill them with soil, then we spread the soaked seed and let them germinate for two or three days and then we separate them to the shelves under the grow lights. And most of our four products mature in eight days. When they’re ready for harvest we bring them off the shelves to the harvest table and cut them with a single edged razor blade into tubs, bring the tubs to a bagging area and package them into 3 ounce bags and 1 pound bags. The four different things we grow are sunflower sprouts, that’s what we grow the most of, over half of what we grow is sunflower and we also grow radish, snow pea greens and fresh wheat grass.
We’ve always been located in a rural area where we didn’t have a big market for our products locally so we have to get them out to a much bigger geographical area. A few years ago we developed a website, someone here in town was making websites. We didn’t even have a computer at that point, but he got something going and the nice thing about marketing on a website is that the orders come in through e-mail and you can deal with them at your convenience you don’t have to run in and answer the phone and all their questions. Some of the website contacts do call you by phone but most of them will deal with e-mail and they give us their credit card and their e-mail and we send the order out. And it’s a way to reach a much larger market; we’ve shipped things to Malaysia at this point. We do get regular e-mail inquiries from Britain and Africa and different people are interested in primarily wheat grass, they don’t have too much interest in the other sprouts, but we want to sell more growing supplies and wheat grass juicers because we can add those things without making a bigger building or getting more employees. And the best thing about having a website is that we have a storefront to the world right now. It’s a very limited product line, but there are enough people looking for what we have to offer so we going to be putting more and more energy into developing our website. With the website we do have a storefront but we don’t actually have people coming to our door. We do spend a lot of time just trying to grow the sprouts to get them out so when we actually have a live body come to our facility, it takes a lot of time to deal with them. And the return on what they might buy is not that great.
One of the keys to our marketing success is that we do have a product that we can grow year round. So it gives us a steady cash flow and we can keep people employed on a longer basis. Growing a good quality product with a good shelf life is the most important thing to having a successful farm business. If you have all the media and promotion and the newspaper articles won't really help in the long run unless you have a good quality product.
This video project was funded by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (USDA).
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