This past Wednesday, 15 of us gathered at the Kilpatrick Family Farm in Granville NY for the first New Farmer Workshop of the summer. This is a quick review of what we learned, plus links to the handout, power point presentation, and a video of the presentation. (I'm just learning the whole video thing, so I missed some of the presentation, it's a little shaky, etc, etc. Let me know if the video is helpful - if so, I'll plan on posting video of the other workshops too!)
Michael and Philip Kilpatrick shared their insights on marketing, and discussed the nitty-gritty of various marketing techniques that they used including: branding with their farm logo, e-newsletter for consistent communication, facebook outreach, twitter-ing, maintaining their website as an information portal, blogging, print ads and press releases.
A quick farm tour began the evening. The Kilpatricks farm 12 acres of diversified vegetables, increasing production through 3,000 sq. ft. of greenhouse space. They are a year-round farm, offering 150 summer CSA shares and 40 shares through the winter. They also attend 4 farmers markets during the summer.
Take home ideas/thoughts/insights:
- Year-round production is a marketing technique that allows them to maintain their customer base 12 months a year. They don't have to re-build customer loyalty at the beginning of the spring growing season.
- They have tackled storage issues with a insulated shipping container bought from the port of New Jersey. This option was less costly than building a stand-alone building, and also movable if needed. A local refrigeration company installed condensers in the unit.
- They specialize in unique products that draw customers to their market stand and CSA program.
Check out the handout. It gives links to resources referred to in the presentation, including Mail Chimp e-newsletter program information, blogging resources, farm website links that are really great, and more.
Here's a link to the powerpoint presentation.
- Basket Weeder - reduced man power needs by one full time person during the summer.
- Harvest Sheet and Farmers Market Sales Records - These can be digital, or photocopied worksheets - just keep track! It will help you track demand, production and profit margins for each product.
- Fred S. Refrigeration, Poultney VT is who set up their cold-storage condensers. They are at
2014 Morse Hollow Road, Poultney, VT 05764. (802) 287-2380.
- They are using a really cool trellising system for their greenhouse tomatoes out of Holland called the Qlipr system.
- All greenhouses from Rimol. They are moving away from using any wood in framing the greenhouse because of rot issues, opting for all aluminum construction (this is expensive, but long-term).