Bedford County Direct to Consumer Farm Marketing


Marketing is something of an enigma to me.

I have been really fortunate to have so many great relationships with customers and friends that know how to get the word out.   And as a farmer, I don’t really dwell on the fact that yes, I need to market my farm.   I need to consider it as work that needs to be done.   For so long I thought that if I just throw money at certain organizations, they’ll do the marketing for me.   Well, it’s not that simple.   Some organizations actually require me to give them money all in the name of marketing- not to mention any names, but their initials are PA Dept of AG.   “Simply Delicious,” and ” Buy Local all got their start from farmers giving a certain required and fixed amount per year for the slogans.

Simply Delicious and Buy Local are definitely a good start for a great message.   It’s catchy, and finally catching on.   The problem is this,  where do I buy local?   There is not one single directory that is all inclusive for direct to consumer farms.   The other issue is this, if there were a directory, all inclusive for direct to consumer farms, people still would need to find the information about the directory first, then review the farms on the list.   Not all direct to consumer farms are on the lists either, even if they are free to list.   People need to know about Local Harvest, Locallygrown, and all others who are diligently trying to compose such lists.   Locallygrown and Local Harvest are on a budget too, how can they possibly get the word out about their websites to targeted local consumers?   Search engines produce some results, but not all.

So I look to local organizations.   I become a member of anything that resembles a networking platform, to my dismay.   Not only is it expensive, but I end up doing more work trying to redeem the “wonderful” benefits of becoming a member than I can really stand for.   Remember, I’m a farmer, I didn’t choose to have this profession because I want a desk job.  Very few direct to consumer farms are members of these organizations, probably for the very same reason, too expensive and too much time away from doing what we love.    I’m still left with people not really knowing what I do here.   And so many more not knowing where they can buy local food.

I am interested in pooling together with other direct to consumer farms in the county.   My idea is to get together and launch a Who’s Your Farmer Ad campaign in Bedford to help people identify where they can purchase local farm products.   I would use locally targeted publications and avenues that are sort of  “in your face”  like the local news.

I really think this strategy would close the loop on what has been tried with farm marketing.    By closing the loop, I feel like much has been spent to get people to think about buying local, but aren’t necessarily directed to where to buy local from.   Who’s Your Farmer would help connect our direct to consumer farms with more individuals looking for local food.
Could you help me spread the word?  If there are any questions, or suggestions, I am open and hope to hear from others.   What have your marketing experiences been?