What percentage of people shop at the farmers market?

A key point we make at FarmFreshWeb.Com is that most of the people who go to the farmers market go only a few times a year.  Which means that the best opportunity to increase business at the market is by turning occasional visitors into regulars. 

But this raises and interesting point: exactly how many people visit the farmers market? 

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of data to answer this question, but here are three surveys worth looking at to approximate the answer.

First, there’s a survey done by the WW Kellogg foundation in 2012.  While we don’t really believe the results, it’s worth noting that 70% of the respondents said that they had shopped at a farmers market in the past year.  And reinforcing our point, only 14% said that the farmers market was their regular source of fruits and vegetables.  We doubt the 70% number, but the 14% number suggests that about 20% of the folks who have gone at least once are regular shoppers, and that seems reasonable. 

Next, there’s a survey by Packaged Facts in 2016 that says that about 12% of Americans shop at farmers markets.  Sadly, the actual question they asked is not available, so it’s hard to know if this is estimating whether these are regular shoppers or folks who just visited.  Based on our research, 12% seems very low.

Finally, there’s the survey we did 2 years ago, based only on folks in southern states. There, we found about 50% of people said they’d been to the farmers market at least once in the past year.  And of those folks, about 16% could be described as “regular” – going at least once every other month. 

There’s one other way we could come at this number. The USDA’s Survey of Agriculture says that farmers at farmers markets sold about $711MM of food in 2015. If that’s correct and most of that occurred during the “regular” season, we could divide that money by 25 weeks to come up with an “average” (really not much better than a guess) of $28MM per week. Using an average purchase amount of $15, comes up with less than 2 million weekly shoppers, which is less than 1% of total US adults. 

So here’s the bottom line: the number of people who visit farmers markets every so often GREATLY outnumbers the regulars – probably by 5 or 6 to 1. But the good news is that perhaps as many as half the population knows about the farmers market and has visited at least once.  And that’s a good place to start. 

Press Release template

In just a few months, thousands of farmers markets will be opening throughout the US, offering fresh vegetables, greens, meats and more. But before they do, they’ll want to tell the world when they’re opening by sending out a press release.  

To help them do that, we’re offering a free template to create a customized press release. To use it, market managers and others just go to http://bit.ly/Market_Open_PRTemplate and make or download a copy, then fill out the areas set up for customizing. Detailed instructions are provided.

The press release template is just the first of many free marketing resources that FarmFreshWeb.Com will be offering to market managers.  Next up: a collection of templates for market flyers. All resources will be listed on the web at http://www.farmfreshweb.com/resources.  Market managers are also encouraged to make suggestions of other resources that would help them with their jobs.

Your Best Marketing Strategy

Give us about 5 minutes and we’ll give you a marketing strategy that (a) won’t cost you any money, (b) won’t take much of your time and (c) you can implement right away.

This strategy is so powerful, you may already be using it and not even realize it. In fact, if you’re already doing good business at the farmers market, you probably are using it. 

But like any good strategy, once you understand it, you’re in a better position to use it more frequently and effectively. (And yes, we can help with that.)  

To explain this strategy, we’ve created a little video that breaks the idea out in detail. You’ll find the video both a little surprising and totally convincing. 

It will be on our YouTube Channel very soon (http://bit.ly/FFW-YouTube-Channel), but you can also go to it directly: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cqnFDN0cQu.

What’s your marketing strategy?

Hungarian-Quebecois Vegetable Goulash

I went to Quebec for a family trip 2 weeks ago and picked up a few cookbooks. This recipe is adapted from “Made in Quebec”, which gets wonderful vegetables from nearby Ile D’Oleans. I think it’s perfect for what’s in farmers markets this week. Don’t worry if you’re missing or want to omit some of the veggies (e.g. mushrooms). And feel free to experiment with substituting eggplant, summer squash or even butternut squash (added with the potatoes) for some of the vegetables.

Serves: 8

Ingredients

      1. Oil (sunflower, canola, or whatever). 4 tbps (divided 2 and 2)
      2. Onions, 3 medium, chopped (divided, 2 and 1)
      3. Garlic – 6 cloves, minced, pressed or crushed (divided, 5 and 1)
      4. Water – 1 cup
      5. Red-skinned potatoes, 10, peeled and cubed (I would not hesitate to substitute new potatoes or pretty much any firm ones)
      6. Roma or plum tomatoes, 4, chopped (or 1-2 cups of any good chopped tomatoes)
      7. Green or long beans – 1 cup, cut in one-inch pieces
      8. Bell peppers, 5, chopped (use any colors you like) (divided 3 and 2)
      9. Mushrooms – 8 ounces, sliced
      10. Hungarian paprika, 2 tbps plus 1 tsp, divided (feel free to use whatever paprika you have)
      11. Salt – to taste (1 tsp, more or less)
      12. Pepper – preferably fresh ground
      13. Tofu, firm, 1 lb, wiped dry or even drained, then cubed
      14. Flat leaf parsely (for garnish)
      15. Sour cream (optional)

Preparation

    1. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat.
    2. Saute’ 2 of the onions until golden, 3-5 minutes or more.
    3. Add water and potatoes and boil gently for 10-15 minutes, until softened.
    4. Add tomatoes, green beans, 3 of the bell peppers and mushrooms.
    5. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often  for about 5 minutes or until vegetables and mushrooms are softened.
    6. Add 5 cloves of the garlic, 2 tbsp paprika, salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.
    7. Stir in sour cream.
    8. Take off or greatly reduce heat, and keep warm.
    9. Heat the other 2 tbsp of oil in a large heavy saucepan.
    10. Saute’ the remaining 1 onion and 1 garlic clove over medium heat until golden, 3-5 minutes or more.
    11. Add tofu and cook, stirring frequently, until tofu is crisp and golden on edges.
    12. Add 1 tsp paprika and cook another 5 minutes or so.
    13. Add remaining 2 peppers and cook another 5 minutes or until peppers are tender.
    14. Ladle the vegetable mixture into warmed bowls and top with the tofu mixture.
    15. Garnish generously with parsley and serve.

Riffing on this Recipe

If you want to experiment, think of the ratios of this recipe this way:

For the goulash you have:

  • 2 cups of onions (also consider leeks, scallions, or shallots) and 4-5 tbsp of garlic.
  • 10 waxy potatoes.  That’s about 2-3 pounds of a starchy vegetable.  You probably want to use vegetables that will keep some shape in the cooking.  If you want to use carrots, I would use them here.
  • 1-2 cups of tomatoes.  I’d use tomatoes, but not worry about the specific type.
  • 4 cups of mixed vegetables (or 5, if you’re not using mushrooms). Mixing colors would be fun. Green, red, yellow, orange are all options.
  • 1-2 cups of mushrooms, or eggplant if you don’t like mushrooms.  Or increase the tofu (below).
  • Oil
  • 1 cup of water
  • Paprika, salt and pepper (or try a mild chili power)

So the general approach is this: saute the onions until golden, add the water and starchy vegetables and cook until they’re softened, but not tender (they’re going to cook another 10 minutes or so). Add the tomatoes and the other vegetables and cook until those are softened.  Then add the garlic and spices to taste and cook another 5+ minutes till things are as tender as you want them. Stir in sour cream (or yogurt or kefir, etc.) and keep warm.

For the tofu, you have

  • 1 lb firm tofu (but you could try tempeh, seitan, canned chickpeas or mushrooms)
  • 1 cup onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 cups of chopped vegetables
  • paprika (also, mild chili powder)
  • Oil
  • parsley

Here, saute the onions and garlic together in the oil, then cook the “tofu” until it’s crispy or at least cooked through (depending on what you choose).  Add the paprika and cook a little longer, then add the vegetables.  If you switched the tofu for a vegetable, you could even mix in a scrambled egg and cook until stiff to add some protein.

I think I would top this with some warmed sour cream or yogurt before adding the parsley.

Bon apetit.

 

 

Why Apps Should Be a Key Part of Your Farmers Market Marketing

More than 90% of your customer’s online time is on a phone or tablet. Apps can help you get a larger part of that time and get more attention for your market and your products. 

Apps are where it’s at

Regardless of whether you work with us or someone else – and there are over 100 apps related to farmers markets, with more coming – we want you to understand how important this technology can be to building your business.  

Frankly, it took me a while to appreciate this.

You see, I’m “seasoned marketing executive” who’s worked

 

at some very big companies and started a few of my own. But I’m also 61 years old and used to working on PCs. 

I’m also a big believer in marketing data. And when I looked at the research, it was overwhelming. More than 70% of web usage is on phones and that’s tiny compared to the amount of time people spend using mobile apps. 

So I had to change my thinking.

Apps live on the Phone

The first thing you can do with an app that you can't do with social media, is take up residence on the customer's phone. 

See the first icon in the second row? With one click, your customer can be immediately taken to your market and your postings. Which means that accessing farmers market information is much easier - literally one click away.

And even if they never actually click on the icon, we can get them to open the app, which is what the next point is all about...

App notifications demand attention

The next thing apps let you is actually ask for attention. 

Notifications show up on the customer's phone - even when it's not being used - and will often be announced with a tone. And clicking on them opens the app automatically.

Research shows that 90% of notifications get read and that most people never turn them off.

A simple reminder that the market is open is a great way to get more people to market.

Apps get on the phone's calendar!

In the next few weeks, our app will be able to ask your customer if they want to put the farmers market on their calendar (Apple and Google calendars only.) Which means that not only will customers get a reminder before the market, they'll see one every time they open their calendar. 

And that's for every week of the market season. 

We'll even ask them if they want a calendar reminder. And, yes, two reminders are better than one.

Apps can link to where you want to send your customers

Every message you post enables customers to interact with you in the ways that YOU choose. 

The options we've built so far: links to our website and yours to see what's on offer and pre-order, a link for sharing to friends, etc., and links to contact you by email, phone or text. 

We can turn any of these on or off or add new ones if you like.

Think of it as a Facebook feed that helps customers actually buy from you. 

The point of this post was to convince you that you need to use apps as part of your marketing strategy.

There are a number of options and companies available to help you with apps, and we’ll talk about those in a future email. But we think you should work with us. And we’ll close with these three reasons:

  1. Free to you and free to your customers (we’re going to pay for this with an advertising model);
  2. Easy to use. We’ll set you up and even automate your posting.
  3. A labor of love. We’re providing this service to help local farmers sell local food and local artisans sell local products. Which means we’re committed to helping make you successful.

Using scarcity to grow your business

Strawberries

Strawberry season is over in North Carolina and the recent heavy rains left some customers (like me) frustrated at how quickly growers at the farmers market had run out.  Which got me wondering how a farmer might use scarcity to help boost their profits.

An obvious answer is to increase prices. If you’re selling out of something at $4 a pint, why not increase the price to $4.25 or $4.50?  If you keep selling our at the higher price, why not try $5?

I know that many growers hate to raise prices. They don’t want their customers complaining about the cost increase.  But if you’re selling out consistently, that’s a clear signal that people are willing to pay more than what you’re charging. And for many farmers, getting a good price is critical to staying in business.

If you’re not willing to raise your price, there are other tactics you can try.  For example, you can offer a bundle of something popular (e.g. strawberries) with something that’s harder to sell (turnips, anyone?)  Or offer to take reservations from your “regular” customers first so they know that their loyalty pays.

Since strawberry season is over, you’ll need another big hit.  The first week of tomatoes or corn might be a good start. Or blueberries. Whatever sells out for you.

The key is to use the advantage you’ve got, even if you have to wait till next year’s strawberry crop.

 

Training Video Now Available for FarmFreshWeb Farmer’s App

Now that we have a smartphone app that lets farmers easily update their listings on FarmFreshWeb.Com,  we’re going to renew our push recruiting vendors and markets to join our program.

To see how easy the FarmFreshWeb Farmers app is, click here for a video demonstration:  http://bit.ly/FarmFreshWebFamersAppDemo.

The app is now available for both Apple and Android phones and makes updating your product listing fast and easy.  Just look for FFW or FFW Farmers on iTunes or the Google Play store.

If you have any issues, give us a call at 866-315-FARM (866-315-3276) or send an email to info@farmfreshweb.com.  And don’t be afraid to ask for help.  If you’re having an issue or are confused, chances are someone else is as well.

And let us know if you have any suggestions to improve the app.  We think it’s great, but there’s always room for improvement!

Our New Farmer’s App – Ready for You

One of the things that’s been holding us back from recruiting more farmers and other farmers market vendors has the been the inventory and data entry process.  It was too complicated and time-consuming for most normal people to use.

But that’s all fixed now.

Our new app is now available for both Apple and Android phones and makes updating your product listing fast and easy.

On one tab – the one you’ll use most of the time – you can update the quantity, name and price of items just by changing the information and clicking the “Update” button.  One another, you can add full details and even add a product.  You can also take a picture with your phone and add it to the listing. (The third tab: “Deal/Events”) is for our shoppers app, to make it easy for you to make announcements to farmers market customers.  It will be ready in a few weeks.)

To find the app, search for “FFW” in the Google Play Store or Apple iTunes.

If you want to see how it works, click here for a video demonstration a:  http://bit.ly/FarmFreshWebFamersAppDemo.

And let us know if you have any suggestions to improve the app.  We think it’s great, but there’s always room for improvement!

 

Restaurants!

Yesterday, thanks to our newest team member, Jonathon Withrow, we had an opportunity to present FarmFreshWeb.Com to some folks in the local restaurant scene here in Asheville.  Jonathon (yes, that’s how his name is spelled) spoke with a staff person at AIR (Asheville Independent Restaurants) and some folks at Chestnut, where he used to work.

Our general concept is this: we can create a customized list of farmers that a restaurant is willing to order from and can even set up discounted wholesale pricing that those farmers are willing to offer restaurants.  Then, when the buyer for the restaurant wants to order, they log into FarmFreshWeb.Com and see only the vendors they’ve selected. We can even customize the payment and pick up rules on a restaurant-specific basis.

Since many restaurants want to add local food to their menus and be part of the farm-to-table movement, they’re willing to order from small local farms and farmers markets, even if it costs them a little more. But doing that adds a lot of work for them, so making it easier to get food from the farmers market can help restaurants offer more local food to their patrons.

We think this makes ordering from local farmers much easier for restaurants:

  1. They see the farmers and products they want and nothing else.  So they don’t have to wade through products they’re not interested in.
  2. All the farmers’ products are on a single webpage.  And even though they’re effectively ordering from multiple vendors, the ordering process is as simple as placing a single order.
  3. Inventory is always up-to-date.  When a buyer purchases something through the site, the inventory is adjusted accordingly.
  4. Farmers package up what’s ordered for easy pickup at the farmers market.  Or a restaurant can arrange for other delivery and payment options with the farmer directly.

Based on those discussions, we’re going to recruit both restaurants that are interested in using our service – which is free to them – and farmers who are willing to be the suppliers on this system. So if this is a concept you’re interested in, give us a call (704-996-5527) or drop an email to us at jveilleux@farmfreshweb.com.

 

FarmFreshWeb.Com Rebate Program

Welcome to the FarmFreshWeb.Com rebate program.  The FFW rebate program lets you get 5% of your 2018 FarmFreshWeb.Com purchases from the Farmers Market back.  It’s free to sign up and there’s nothing for you to do, except place your orders through FarmFreshWeb.Com and pick them up and pay for them at market at least four separate times in 2018.  The legalese below details the rules, but here is the basic summary:

  1. Register for the FFW Rebate Program by texting “rebate” to 828-266-0456 or 704-901-8901 (more numbers will be added as FarmFreshWeb.com goes into more markets.)
  2. Place a minimum of 4 orders at any participating vendor with FarmFreshWeb.Com.  The orders must be for four separate market days throughout 2018.
  3. Include the phone number you registered with in your order contact information.  Your telephone number is how we track your orders on FarmFreshWeb.Com.  If you don’t include your number, we’ll miss your order and won’t include it in the rebate calculations.
  4. Pick up and pay for your orders.  Rebates are based on orders placed and paid for.
  5. We’ll include all of your orders up through December 15, 2018.
  6. After December 15, 2018, we’ll calculate your rebate and send you a check or a gift card with the value of your rebate total.

 

FarmFreshWeb.Com Rebate Program Official Rules

  1. General Information; Definition of Terms.

The FarmFreshWeb.Com Rebate Program (“Program”) is provided by FarmFreshWeb.Com LLC (“FFW”), which is solely responsible for the Program’s operation. FFW may change the terms of the Program at any time. The Program allows you to earn 5% (“Rebates”) based on the amount you spend as described in Section 3 below, using your FarmFreshWeb.Com account (“Account”). These program rules, as set forth herein, (“Program Rules”) contain the entire understanding between you and FFW regarding the Program.

In these Program Rules, the terms “you” and “your” mean the Account holder. “We,” “our,” “ours”, and “us” means FFW. While the Program may be related to your FarmFreshWeb.Com Account Agreement (“Agreement”), which governs the use of your FarmFreshWeb.Com account, these Program Terms are separate and independent from your Agreement. In the event of any conflict between these

Program Terms and your Agreement, these Terms will control in any matter relating to the Program. Other capitalized terms not specifically defined have the same meaning as in your FarmFreshWeb.Com Agreement. The Program is not available to the extent it is prohibited by federal, state, or local law.

  1. Eligibility.

Beginning April 25, 2018, you will be automatically enrolled in the Program when you text “rebate” to an FFW text number or otherwise enter as provided by FFW. To remain eligible to accumulate a Rebate under the Program, your Account must be in Good Standing. “Good Standing” means your Account is open to new orders, and that you have picked up and paid for your orders as provided by FFW. So long as your Account is in Good Standing, enrollment shall continue until a notification of cancellation by you is received.

  1. Earning Rebates.

Rebate calculation is determined based on the qualifying orders you have placed with participating vendors on the FFW website (www.farmfreshweb.com) and/or smartphone app. You must place orders and go the farmers market a minimum of four times by December 15, 2018 to be eligible for a rebate. Each order must include the telephone number you registered with to qualify for the rebate.  Your Rebate is calculated in the following manner: dollar value of goods ordered through the FFW website, picked up and paid to a participating vendor, excluding “Commercial Transactions” defined below, from your enrollment date until December 15, 2018, multiplied by 0.05. (Total spend via FFW x 0.05 = Rebates Earned). Transactions that are deemed commercial in nature are not eligible to earn a Rebate in the Program (“Commercial Transactions”). For the purposes of this Program, Commercial Transactions are those transactions, determined in FFW’s sole discretion to be for a purpose or nature primarily associated with business or non-individual consumer-based purchases. Examples of Commercial Transactions include, but are in no way limited to the following: bulk purchases, wholesale purchases, product purchased for resale, and any transactions deemed by FFW to exceed the average or reasonable transaction amount at a farmers market. Commercial transactions may be deducted from the Rebate calculation and may result in future disqualification from participation in the Program.

  1. Issuance and Use of Rebates.

Rebate fulfillment will be done automatically after December 15, 2018. Within two weeks of December 15, 2018, you will be sent a check or pre-paid payment card for the rebate amount as long as the Rebate Amount is at least $1.00. A Rebate check not cashed or pre-paid card not used within 12 months after it is issued shall expire. Rebate amounts of less than $1.00 will not be paid.  You must have placed orders and picked them up at any participating farmers market a minimum of four times in 2018 to be eligible for the rebate.

  1. Rebates Disputes.

If you believe that a purchase made on your Account should have resulted in the addition of Rebates to your Rebates balance, and such Rebates are not reflected in the Rebates payment made to you (“Rebates Dispute”), notify us immediately. We will use reasonable efforts to investigate your Rebates Dispute so long as you notify us of such dispute within ninety (90) days of December 15, 2018. If you do not notify us within a ninety (90)-day period, you will have waived your right to make a Rebates Dispute with respect to that amount. In order for us to undertake an investigation of your Rebates Dispute, we may require you to provide written confirmation of the dispute. If we do not receive the requested written confirmation at the address and within the time requested by us, we may in our sole discretion determine not to investigate your Rebates Dispute. Upon completion of our investigation of your Rebates Dispute, we will have no further responsibilities should you later reassert the same Rebates Dispute. All disputes related to the Program are subject to the dispute resolution methods provided in your Agreement.

  1. Limited Liability.

Unless otherwise required by law or our agreements with you, neither FFW, nor any of our affiliates, officers, directors, employees, agents or participating vendors or farmers markets will be liable to you, or anyone making a claim on your behalf, in connection with (a) any termination of, change in, or temporary suspension of the Program; (b) any claim relating to any products purchased using any Rebates obtained through the Program; (c) any loss, damage, expense or inconvenience caused by any occurrence outside of our control; or (d) any taxes that you incur as a result of receiving Rebates. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any liability that we may have to you in connection with the Program shall be limited to the amount of any Rebates you have earned in accordance with these Program Terms.

  1. Changes to the Program.

Subject to any notice requirements and other limitations imposed by applicable law, we may, at any time: (a) change, limit, or terminate any aspect of the Program or these Program Terms, including the types of Rebates available, the items available as Rebates, and the cost of Rebates; (b) terminate the Program in its entirety; (c) amend these Program Terms in whole or in part, including adding provisions covering subjects not previously addressed; (d) discontinue or replace any Rebates with similar Rebates or Rebates of lesser, equal or greater value; (e) add or increase fees charged in connection with the Program; or (f) terminate your participation in the Program for any reason. Changes may apply retroactively and may affect outstanding transactions and Rebates, and may include, without limitation, the earnings rate for Rebates, how Rebates are earned, the type of transactions qualifying for Rebates, the type or value of Rebates, the expiration date of Rebates, and the maximum number of Rebates that may be earned per year. Any of the foregoing actions may be taken even if such actions affect the value of Rebates already earned.

  1. Canceling Program Participation.

You may cancel your participation in the Program at any time by emailing us at info@farmfreshweb.com. If you cancel your participation in the Program, you will no longer earn Rebates and you will forfeit your unused and unexpired Rebates.

9.  Not Transferable.

Rebates are not your property and are not transferable to anyone by operation of law or otherwise. Rebates may not be transferred upon death or as part of any domestic relations legal proceedings, and may not be brokered, bartered, sold or transferred in any way. Any attempted transaction of such sort will automatically be void. Anyone selling, purchasing, brokering, bartering, transferring, or altering Rebates, either wholly or partially, shall be liable for payment of the applicable full retail price of any Rebates obtained with them, as well as all damages, including, but not limited to consequential damages, transaction costs, and litigation costs (including attorney’s fees and costs at trial and on appeal and in any bankruptcy proceeding). Any brokered, bartered, altered, sold, or purchased Rebates shall likewise be void and may be deducted from your Rebates balance. Any violation of these provisions will result in termination of your eligibility to participate in the Program and forfeiture of unused Rebates.

10. Taxes.

You are solely liable for any applicable federal, state or local income, sales, use, or other taxes arising out of the accrual or use of Rebates. Consult your tax advisor concerning any tax consequences that may arise from your participation in the Program.

11. Severability.

If a court of competent jurisdiction or any government agency determines that any provision of these Program Terms is void or unenforceable, that provision will continue to be enforceable to the extent permitted by that court or agency, and the remainder of that provision will no longer be considered as part of these Program Terms. However, all other provisions will remain in full force and effect

12.  Governing Law.

The Program and these Program Terms are governed by the laws of the State of North Carolina without any reference to its choice of law provisions

13.  Entire Agreement; No Waiver By Us.

These Program Terms contain the entire understanding between you and us regarding the Program. These Program Terms replace and supersede any previous terms and conditions governing the Program we may have provided to you. We can delay enforcing our rights under these Program Terms without losing them. In addition, our failure to exercise our rights on any one occasion, or even on more than one occasion, does not constitute a waiver of our rights for any future occasion. All waivers must be in writing.