On the farm, most days are relaxing and enjoyable, working at Nature’s pace, not the pace that I would choose for myself. The largest area of frustration for me on the farm is marketing. I must have a mental block or something, but I can’t figure out marketing. Organic chemistry to me was easier to understand than marketing is to understand.
Let me give you an example of the frustration. This weekend we quietly introduced rose veal. (Don’t worry about the product at this point.) We introduced the veal at the farm and three farmer’s markets. Results were highly mixed. At each market we brought roughly equal amounts of veal. Now the results; Ginny brought back three pieces of veal, which means she sold ninety plus percent of the veal she brought to market. On Sunday I did not sell the first piece of veal, which means zero percent sold. What happened?
If you know the answer to what happened, I surely hope you get in touch with me and get the message through my thick skull. For me, math, science, and agriculture is easy, it is finite it is predictable. 2+2 = 4 each and every time there is no deviation it is an absolute. Marketing to me is mushy; this week has nothing to do with next week. How do you predict what will or what will not sell any given week?
Once again I realize that meat has to be something you want or need, maybe for dinner, maybe for a special event. I have to be able to communicate cooking instructions (tough when Ginny does the cooking), usefulness and so much more. It is mind boggling to figure out marketing.
I’m not a total dunce; I realize that booth appearance, signage, personality, product mix, availability are all important, but I unfortunately don’t understand the importance. The part that I can’t overcome is the big white coolers. Produce is clearly displayed on tables and you know what product the farmer has for sale that week. But I have these monstrous white coolers. How do I accurately communicate what is available in the big white boxes? I have to keep meat frozen, and setting up a glass front freezer at the farmer’s market is not feasible.
I do simple things such as keeping the egg cooler in the same location, the same with the beef and pork coolers. I keep the same red table cloth on the table each week; set up the tents the same way each weekend, it is frustration to the maximum.
If this frustration isn’t frustrating enough, I plan to add to the frustration. In October I am contemplating what I want to call a “Fall Farm Festival”, this would be one or two weekends on the farm and would include hayrides, hand milking, maybe apple cider and apple butter making, straw mazes and more. This is a marketing nightmare for this farmer. What do I do?
Step one is to admit that the marketing and planning of this event will require help, lots of help. I definitely need an idea guy, and someone who can get the word out. This event requires skills that I don’t have, and I know it.
The bottom line is that I need help, both physical and educational. If you can let me know your suggestions for improving the booth at the farmers market, I would gladly accept them.