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Providing knowledge and leadership to grow the farm fresh experience.
Volume 24, Number 6
OFFMA’s new facelift
My boys got me an iPod Nano for Mother’s Day. I am a bit technically challenged – I can Google with the best of them but when it comes to iPod’s, Blogging, and Facebook I feel like my grandmother when I used to help her set the time on her VCR! We live in a world of constantly changing technology and today a website is a key marketing tool for any farm. For the past several months OFFMA’s board has been working on a new website! The content was there but it was in need of a face lift. Rhinoplasty is one of the most common types of cosmetic surgery. Small changes to a nose can make a big impact on appearance. For OFFMA we are hoping to draw consumers to an attractive, exciting site as well as provide an excellent resource for our members. The new website was launched simultaneously at Pingle’s Farm, OFFMA’s 2009 Outstanding Farm Market, and the Queen’s Park Farmers’ Market Event on Tuesday, June 16th. I am excited about the new look and the interactive virtual barn for consumers to find a farm near them. In the members section you can navigate through upcoming events, download past studies in our research section, order resource material, view a past newsletter or post a question on our forum - just to name a few. For 6 weeks starting in mid-June and again in the fall, OFFMA has a marketing campaign with the Weather Network and we will be engaging article writers for newspapers and magazines to get the word out – Get Fresh. Visit a Farm!
Inside this issue:
Members News Customer Database Get some photos Local Food Activities in NA Just driving by Petting Zoo Resources Food Safety & Traceability Initiative Upcoming Events
2 3 4 5 6 7 7 8
A great application to send a tweet (one or two sentences of need to know information about your farm) to your tweeps (someone following you on Twitter). People are being inundated with more information and less time to process it all. Twitter is a great way to send a brief action message to your tweeps. Ex. ‘Strawberry season starts today!’ or ‘Now booking campfires for October.’ It is easy to add this application to your website or e-mail signature. You can also become an OFFMA tweep for member updates. Go to www.twitter.com for more information.
Amy Strom OFFMA President
OFFMA’s New Web Site
We have refreshed the OFFMA web site to be more consumer friendly and accessible. It is now positioned to be a gateway to all our members’ web sites and farms. Please take a minute to check the web site and make sure your information is correct and current. You want to be sure that customers can find you.
New Members.... Ceciley Parker Windreach Farm Ashburn, ON Associate Member Rick Wooten London Ice Cream Company London, ON
FOR SALE: Organic Stone Ground -Grains Flours- Cereals Grass Roots Organics products available to farm retailers. We farm organically near Owen Sound, Ontario and mill our grains into various products. We are always looking for new customers to sell our products. grassrootsorganics.ca Contact: Sean McGivern, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519-794-4445 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Ontario grown and processed pickled vegetables from Sunshine Farms. No chemical preservatives or additives. Sunshine Farms labels or use your own label. All Natural line available as well as a line of Certified Organic Pickled products. See them all at www.picklesplease.ca . For info email: email@example.com or phone 519-692-4416. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Large supply of 8 QT FLATS @ 25 CENTS EACH available. Contact-Bert Andrews, Cell: 905-691-2672 Farm: 905-878-5807 or e-mail: farm@AndrewsScenicAcres.com ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ WANTED: new wagon(s) for farm visitors with flip down stairs to unload. Contact: “Maw” Walker at 519-624-0085 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org As a member you can submit a classified ad at any time. It will also appear on line.
Harvest Ontario—2009 copies are being distributed
Harvest Ontario is once again being distributed through Home Hardware stores across the province. Make sure you pick one up soon. Steve Watt, publisher, has done an excellent job of presenting OFFMA members and promoting the agri-tourism industry. As an OFFMA member, you will be featured in the book with special OFFMA icons.
Annual Potluck Social Tuesday, August 18 at Mapleton’s Organic Dairy Moorefield, ON
- try your hand at farmer’s golf - tour the ice cream processing plant - learn more about CSA’s - visit the new educational barn It will be a full day of fun and networking!!
Send your farm stories and happenings to the OFFMA office, we will tweet about them on twitter and let all the followers know what is going on. We also often get reporters phoning the office, if we know what is happening in your fields we can pass that information along.
Get Fresh. Ask me how. T-shirts Re-order
If you didn’t get a chance to get your supply of these colourful t-shirts, make sure you order NOW. Marigold yellow only, Front: Get Fresh. Ask me how Back: Get Fresh. Visit a farm. www.ontariofarmfresh.com $10 for short sleeved. Call the OFFMA office and let them know what sizes you are looking for.
Do you have a customer database…and are you using it to add value, build relationships and grow your business?
This article first appeared in Donald Cooper’s newsletter but is very relevant for farm marketers. For more information about Donald, go to donaldcooper.com
The internet is an incredible gift…you just have to use it. Whatever the size of your business, creating a complete and current customer database and then using it regularly and proactively to inform, add value, stay in touch with customers and prospects, is probably worth hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars on your bottom line, over time. And, when you go to sell your business some day, you’ll probably get twice as much for it, because you’ll have a healthier bottom line and a proven, reachable and loyal clientele to sell to the new owners, along with the “bricks and mortar”. In the past two weeks we’ve received three E-newsletters from businesses that took the trouble to add us to their database and then to create extraordinary offerings that would be of interest to us…and we immediately did business with two of them. And the very neat thing is that it cost them virtually nothing to reach us and to sell to us. The third business that sent us an ENewsletter, the one that we didn’t immediately do business with, is our favorite Garden Center. The ground is still frozen in our cottage garden, but they sure got us thinking and dreaming about planting. Here’s part of the uplifting and helpful information that they sent along to their database of gardening enthusiasts… TRENDWATCH: Color Trends for 2009 “HOPE” is the official color of 2009. Yellow is the color of hope, warmth, radiant optimism, and positive energy. Yellow is the color of the sun…it uplifts and energizes us. Michelle Obama's inauguration dress designer calls it lemongrass. Whatever you call it, yellow in all shades from honey to lemon to sweet orange-yellow is hot this year. Look for yellow to show up on items everywhere from home accents, to patio furniture to the brilliant “going bananas” daylilies. You may or may not be a gardener…it doesn’t matter. I am, and it gets my juices going.
The point here is that you should be constantly building an electronic customer database and regularly and proactively using it to inform, excite and sell to people who already know you and love you. Of course, you have to get people’s permission to send them stuff, but if you’re worth your salt and genuinely committed to helping people, they will want you in their lives. The people who installed air conditioning in our cottage last Spring should have sent all of their customers an E-Bulletin last Fall reminding us how to shut the system down and protect the compressor over the Winter. At the same time they could have told us about their Annual Furnace Maintenance service package that would improve fuel efficiency, comfort and safety….but they didn’t. Now that Spring is here, they should have sent us another E-Bulletin reminding us how to reactivate the air conditioning, change the furnace filters and reset the humidifier and heat exchanger. And, they could remind us that if we don’t have all of those wonderful air management gizmos, now would be a good time to look into it…but they didn’t. They missed opportunity to add value, nurture relationships and increase sales. Here’s the simple, magic formula for successful E-Marketing…“Communicate regularly, inform a lot, help a lot, uplift a lot…and while you’re at it…sell a little.” It’s easily done. I’m sitting in a beautiful hotel room in Barcelona, Spain writing this and in a few days it will go out to you and thousands of other clients and fans around the world…and some of you will rebook me. How neat is that? So, what are you going to do, starting practically immediately, to use this wonderful gift of the internet and simple database technology to create customer “ownership”, grow your business and improve your bottom line?
A reminder from Jane Eckert—Don’t forget your camera!
Jane Eckert is a marketing professional with a lifetime of farm experience and a passion to help farms, ranches, and tourism professionals learn more about agritourism, and how to make their business profitable.
It's a new season! You have been working on getting everything perfect for your customers. I know you are extremely busy, but I want to give you a brief reminder--TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS NOW of people enjoying your farm. Most farms are always short of good photographs for their websites and brochures. I know you don't have the time to do this yourself, so find a friend who is good with a camera or hire some-
one. Often the photographer at your local newspaper is available for hire on weekends. Whatever you have to do, find someone that has the time to take photo's of people enjoying themselves picking berries, riding the wagon, finding a pumpkin in the patch or shopping in your market - just do it. If you don't want to take photos of your customers, then ask friends and "stage" the photo's while your farm is decorated and the fall mums are in bloom. You need to capture smiling faces to use on your future brochures, e-newsletters and website. Be sure that you tell your hired photographer exactly the type of photo's that you want - close-ups, smiling faces, etc. As a matter of fact, it doesn't hurt to give them a list of the exact places and situations that you would like them to take. You should always ask for a release from anyone in the photos. You may want to look at a sample photo release form that will accommodate multiple group pictures. Go to http:// www.eckertagrimarketing.com/pdf/ photo-release.pdf to see what I have put together. Good photographs truly do make a difference on your website and brochures. Take the time now to make sure you get good supply of photos this year!
Looking for pictures of Farm Fresh Fun
Once you’ve got that perfect shot, share it with OFFMA and get your farm photo on the OFFMA web site. OFFMA’s new web site is more consumer friendly and acts as a portal for the virtual farm fresh experience. If you have pictures of your farm that we can use on the web site please e-mail them to the OFFMA office. The pictures need to be a minimum of 200 dpi and 5’x7’ in size.
Lynn Ogryzlo has a weakness for good food. A second generation Canadian born Italian, Lynn’s culinary passion led
her into the seductive world of food and wine. She worked with Inniskillin Wines for the first 10 years before branching out on her own as a food columnist. Over the next decade Lynn created more than 1,400 recipes, mostly dedicated to the seasons of Niagara and its food. She was trained as a sommelier, added wine columnist to her credits and introduced her readers to international destinations through their food and drink. Most recently she has published Niagara Cooks, a cookbook highlighting Niagara farmers and Niagara fare. Lynn travels across North America to collect material so she can write food stories. She has generously agreed to share some of the examples of local food activities that she has discovered in her travels so that they may inspire you as well.
Seattle, Washington: the mayor has launched the
second annual Farm Fresh Family Challenge. He picks a few families willing to buy most of its fresh food from farmers markets between June and November and to write a weekly blog during that time and to be willing to occasionally host a local chef in their home kitchen to share shopping and cooking tips. In the Kawartha Lakes, Ontario Mark Trealout was about to lose his farm when he got the idea of selling his produce along with his neighbours at some Toronto’s farmers’ market. Four years later, he has two refrigerated trucks, two employees, and a delivery system in place to get fresh produce efficiently to the customers. In Stratford, Ontario high school teacher Paul Finkelstein started a cafeteria of foods the students grew or sourced locally. The cafeteria makes healthy meals and goes head to head with the schools foodservice supplier. Each year they make a profit of approximately $25,000.
The funds raised go towards annual school trips. Finkelstein now has his own tv show called ‘Fink’ on the Food Network channel.
Charlottetown, PEI has opened four new shops selling local produce. The new shops won’t be a solution to the farming crisis, but could help the bottom line of the farmers. Prince Edward County’s, Taste of The County is
an event and culinary map. It draws 8,000 visitors to the town of Picton for 4-weekends every summer. They have a well organized wine and local food program that the municipality not only supports, but funds.
Devon, England’s money with the image of the town is used for all local purchases. Over 70 businesses now operate with the towns’ own currency which creates a visual impact of the importance of keeping our dollars circulating in our local economy.
Just driving by
By Dorene Collins, Marketing and Customer Service Program Lead with OMAFRA
In an earlier article I shared some of the key research findings from OFFMA’s On Farm Marketing in Ontario -2009 Report including how visitors learned about farm markets. The significance of ‘road signs’ or ‘driving by and looked interesting’ emphasizes the power of curb appeal. With recent attention on ‘staycations” this summer, and OFFMA research showing that 47% of visitors travel between 11 to 30 minutes from home to visit a farm market, 2009 could prove to be a banner year. OFFMA’s consultant, Bob Cobbledick with years of expertise in the area of direct farm marketing stated, “. . . the easiest customer you will ever get is the one driving by – so make your market look as inviting as possible.” Having the opportunity to visit farm markets across North America, these are some things that help to increase curb appeal on your farm: 1. Well maintained grounds – well trimmed with colourful and large gardens. 2. Pick-Your-Own Fields visible from the road to show your business in operation (seeing people in the fields can entice visitors). 3. Well maintained buildings - up to date paint on buildings and trim – well kept historic buildings including barns, outbuildings and farm houses help convey the often sought after rural lifestyle. 4. Welcoming signs that tell your story in just a few seconds (make sure you adhere to local municipal and provincial sign bylaws and legislation).
5. Colourful seasonal displays. E.g.
Pumpkins are a great example due to their size and brilliant colour. While ‘Word of Mouth’ tops how consumers learn about direct farm marketing operations (39%), those who stated they “… live here” followed second at 20%. With the majority of visitors travelling 10 to 30 minutes by private vehicle to get to a direct farm marketing operation, what marketing efforts do you have in place to encourage those who “live here or near” to become loyal and repeat customers? If you charge admission, do you offer a season pass? Do you have loyalty cards for products in your farm market/store? How do you keep those that live near you aware of changing products and events as the season progresses? Lastly, the OFFMA study revealed from an “experience” perspective reasons why customers visit the farm: “Fun experience for the family; Kids love it; Tradition/I always come here”. If customers are using words like Fun, Family, Kids and Tradition to describe reasons for visiting a farm – make sure you are providing events, activities and services that meet these experience based needs to keep them coming back!
Helpful resources: Visit the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) - Business Management Unit website at: http:// www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/busdev/ agbusdev.html Subscribe to our OMAFRA Agricultural Business Update Newsletter at: http:// www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/busdev/ news/index.html#agbus
Petting Zoos in Ontario—new resources
Petting zoos offer a wonderful opportunity for children to see animals up close, interact with them and learn about them. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are small but real risks associated with close contact with animals. Zoonotic infections – those that can be passed from animals to people – include potentially serious infections such as Salmonella and E. coli. As a result of past outbreaks associated with petting zoos, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has developed various resource materials for petting zoo owners/operators and teachers/caregivers and parents of young children. These tools will help ensure everyone can have fun and be safe at the same time. Go to http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/program/pubhealth/petzoo/petzoo.html to access these resources. Well worth the effort!
The Food Safety and Traceability Initiative (FSTI)
This funding, part of Growing Forward, will help facilities adopt food safety and traceability practices. These practices help producers and processors respond to market demands for safe food and improve product tracking. FSTI provides 75% reimbursement of eligible expenses up to a maximum of $20,000 to: implement written food safety programs implement a working traceability system assist in the purchase and installation of equipment that improves food safety or traceability train staff to increase the adoption of food safety and traceability Go to http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/food/foodsafety/grants/fsti.htm
Two OFFMA Board members have already attended these meetings and felt they were very informative. Feedback was that the paperwork for this program has been kept to a minimum. Find a workshop in your area and sign up today!!
Contact Rick Wooten at London Ice Cream, 519-495-7218 for more information.
July 11-14 Aug. 11-12 OFA Short Course (Association of Floriculture Professionals) Columbus, Ohio. Contact: 614-487-1117 or visit www.ofa.org North American Strawberry Growers Association 2009 Summer Tour, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana & Wisconsin. Go to www.nasga.org for addi tional information. Annual Potluck at Mapleton’s Organic Dairy, Moorefield , ON Contact: Cathy Bartolic, 905-841-9278 Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, Woodstock, ON Visit www.outdoorfarmshow.com for additional information. OFFMA’s Bus Tour to Eastern Ontario & Quebec Contact: Cathy Bartolic, 905-841-9278
Ontario Farm Fresh
Cathy Bartolic, Executive Director 2002 Vandorf Rd. Aurora, ON L4G 7B9 Phone: 905-841-9278 Fax: 905-726-3369 E-mail: email@example.com www.ontariofarmfresh.com 2009-10 OFFMA Board of Directors Amy Strom, President Strom’s Farm Jesse Lauzon, Vice President Springridge Mark Saunders, Past President Saunders Farm Paul Brooks, Brooks Farms Jay Howell, Brantview Apples & Cider Anne Just, Kurtz Orchards Marg Land, Annex Publishing (Associate Member) Colleen Pingle, Pingle’s Farm Market Geri Rounds, Rounds Ranch Steve Smith, Smith’s Apples Dorene Collins, OMAFRA (Advisor to the Board)
Aug. 18 Sept 15-17 Nov 8-11
A new perspective on stress
A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked 'How heavy is this glass of water?' Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g. The lecturer replied, 'The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.' He continued, 'And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on.' 'As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden.' 'So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can.' So, my friend, put down anything that may be a burden to you right now. Don't pick it up again until after you've rested a while.
When you love the work you do and the people you do it with, you matter. When you are so gracious and generous and aware that you think of other people before yourself, you matter. When you leave the world a better place than you found it, you matter. When you continue to raise the bar on what you do and how you do it, you matter. When you teach and forgive and teach more before you rush to judge and demean, you matter. When you touch the people in your life through your actions (and your words), you matter. When kids grow up wanting to be you, you matter. When you see the world as it is, but insist on making it more like it could be, you matter. When you inspire a Nobel prize winner or a slum dweller, you matter. When the room brightens when you walk in, you matter. And when the legacy you leave behind lasts for hours, days or a lifetime, you matter. -from Seth Godin’s blog
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