Sunday, January 22, 2012

Winter Markets

The winter markets are better than ever, so it's a great time of the year to reacquaint yourself with the farmers market or come out for the first time! Fresh produce is definitely not as plentiful, but there are a bevy of great storage crops and farmers there that would appreciate your support! Evergreen Brickworks Farmers Market is turning out to be a great one happening every Saturday morning. Come eat, have coffee or hot chocolate, go skating and enjoy many other activities during your shopping experience. This past Saturday the market celebrated Chinese New Year with music and entertainment! I have a feeling, knowing these organizers like I do, more events like this are to follow in the coming weeks! Stay warm, enjoy winter and visit a farmers market soon! If you slip by our tables you will be sure to find Russian Blue Potatoes, Red Gold Potatoes, Buttery Fingerlings,  Leeks, Celeriac, Garlic,  huge Cabbages, tubs of frozen Sweet, Sweet Corn, Perogies, Cabbage Rolls and coming soon fresh Sauerkraut! See you there.....

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Farm's Affordable Facelift!

It is due time to update and get a little fresher around here!  Over the next few months at the markets and online we are getting a facelift!  Our much loved original farm website created in 2004 is being retired and a new one will be taking it's place. Gone will be our also much loved generic logo as well and replaced by an exciting new one, which will essentially become our 'brand'. I am pleased to share a taste right now of our new image:

The new logo itself though simple represents our farm quite well.  I tend to think of water drops, irrigation, movement, growth, change, corn stalks, cabbage, even brussel spouts when I look at it. Plus it's hard to miss all those various 'S's within it!
For other farmer's wishing to brand themselves or brush up their image, I have advice to share: Especially to all you FarmStart farmers that I am SO PROUD of  for getting your certification for organic production! A huge congratulations! You do not have to get fancy.  You do not have to spend a ton of money to do it.  I think the main catalyst is pride and the basic want and need to showcase yourself and really get out there and do the best you can to compete with the big boys. We are a small family farm, a micro farm if you will.  We have debt and a mortgage like the rest of them. Finding funds or even having a budget to spend on this type of thing is very, very hard to come by.  We know that well.  Please note that websites are very affordable these days to set up and implement yourself. A free Blog can do it all and then some! A more custom website can be created by a number of folks now a days for a reasonable rate.  There are so many crappy businesses out there with generic, laughable websites. Be proud of your little farm and show it off!!  What you do is soo important!  Get your farm on Facebook, Twitter (most especially), get LinkedIn, do Flickr too! Free, free, free and can broaden your customer base big time. Make the time to post, blog, link to important things.  Lots of you have mobile phones now, use them to update your customers about the farm's progress. This is the big one:  A huge asset you may be overlooking are your customers!  You might be pleasantly surprised to find out that one of them own an awesome Design and Communication company. These folks may be inclined to help you out big time at little or no cost or even have you pay in 'vegetables'. You'd be surprised at how much respect you get from these people you feed on a weekly basis and how they almost feel inclined to help you succeed. After all, a full stomach is a happy stomach!  From cops, lawyers, judges, doctors, psychiatrists, chefs etc, you can be sure at market you are catering to some interesting folks while you feed them and their families!  You may be very surprised to find out what customer 'Bob' does for a living one day! Food has this powerful way of creating a kinship between folks.  Especially during a time when more families than ever are looking to support local and organic. Ben and I are very fortunate to have folks such as these in our lives that help us with the business of farming among other things.  It would not be possible without them. Looking back over the years it is also such a great feeling to know how many customers have turned into friends as well. And well, after all, we are busy in the fields are we not?  We can't possibly find the time (and never mind the money) to do everything! ;)