Fresh Produce Marketing: Crtical Trends and Issues. Series of 7 articles. The U.S. fresh produce sector continues to grow. Markets for these products are increasingly complex and often involve high risks, with the potential for high rewards. Innovations in distribution and technology, retailer and wholesaler consolidation, changing legal environment, international policies, food safety issues, and health concerns create new challenges and new opportunities in a sector where per acre cost of production is already high and traditional government safety nets do not exist.
Direct Marketing Guide for Producers of Fruits, Vegetables, and Other Specialty Products (PB 1711) is an excellent overview of direct marketing strategies for the budding entrepreneur. This bulletin provides practical advice on selling through farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and pick-your-own operations. Other topics such as business planning, market research, advertising and promotion, and pricing are discussed as well.
Pickyourown.org, localharvest.org, and www.picktnproducts.org offer free listings to small farms and farm businesses. These sites also allow prospective customers or tourists to search for farms and related businesses by state, product, etc.
Profiles of Innovative Agricultural Marketing: Examples from Direct Farm Marketing and Agri-Tourism Enterprises by the Western Extension Marketing Committee. This publication examines 17 direct farm marketing and agri-tourism enterprises from the West and also includes introductory and summary sections. The end of each section provides contact information for the enterprises examined and for the contributing authors. The Western Extension Marketing Committee is greatly indebted to the willingness and openness of all interviewed participants to share the strategies, successes, and failures of their enterprises and what their plans are for meeting future challenges and risks.
Pick-your-own.org provides a fast link to east Tennessee’s pick-your-own (PYO, U-pick, pick-it-yourself) farms. A must see!
Farm to School programs are popping up all over the U.S. These programs connect schools with local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing health and nutrition education opportunities that will last a lifetime, and supporting local small farmers.
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service homepage provides links to relevant information pertaining to, among other things, direct marketing and farmers markets. AMS Farmers Market is another link off of the Agricultural Marketing Service homepage. This site offers links to farmers market facts, The National Directory of Farmers Markets, resources and information, and a look into the USDA Farmers Markets in Washington D.C. In addition there is a link to an interactive childrens section.
ATTRA Direct Marketing Business Management Series by Katherine Adam, Radhika Balasubrahmanyam, and Holly Born. This publication focuses on direct marketing alternatives-with emphasis on niche, specialty and value-added crops-features many farm case studies, as well as information on enterprise budgets and promotion/publicity. A new section discusses implications of Internet marketing and e-commerce for agriculture.
Facilities for Roadside Markets (an NRAES publication). Selling produce from a roadside market can be satisfying and profitable, but only with careful planning. This publication is valuable for persons considering a roadside market or looking to improve or expand a current one. Three chapters cover site considerations (visibility and accessibility, utilities, drainage, zoning, and building ordinances); market layout (areas for sales, preparation, and shipping and receiving); and market structure and facilities (parking, lighting, fire protection, security, and more). Also included are twenty-six illustrations, four tables, and two sets of plans.
Produce Handling for Direct Marketing. Successful direct marketing of fresh fruits and vegetables depends on providing quality items in a clean and customer-friendly environment. This publication is valuable for growers who sell seasonal produce at local farmers’ markets or roadside markets. It describes postharvest physiology, food safety, produce handling from harvest to storage, refrigerated storage, produce displays, and specific handling and display recommendations for over forty types of fruits and vegetables.
Refrigeration and Controlled Atmosphere Storage for Horticultural Crops. Refrigerated storage extends the period of acceptable eating quality of perishable seasonable products. General construction procedures for storage facilities are discussed in this handbook, such as site selection, structural considerations, thermal insulation, vapor barriers, and attic ventilation. Different refrigeration systems are explained, including descriptions of equipment and operating procedures.
Farmers and Their Diversified Horticultural Marketing Strategies: An Educational Video on Innovative Marketing, NRAES-139 ($15.00 plus S&H/sales tax, 49-minute video, 1999) profiles vegetable, fruit, and horticultural growers who have pursued a variety of rewarding approaches adapted to their unique products and conditions. The video will help both new and established growers and their advisors carefully consider the marketing options for their particular situations that can enhance income and promote the sustainability of their farms.
ATTRA Farmers’ Market Marketing and Business Guide by Radhika Bala. Farmers’ markets are becoming increasingly popular as small growers are discovering the advantages of marketing directly to consumers. This publication is a resource for those who want to organize a farmers’ market or sell at one.
Direct Farm Marketing and Tourism Handbook This guide, produced by the University of Arizona Agricultural and Resource Economics department, is designed to help farm and ranch operators (and other individuals who grow or process food products) market their products and services directly to the consumer.
Simple and Successful Vegetable Farming: How to Sell Your Crops: Marketing, by the Communication and Educational Technology Services, University of Minnesota Extension Service, describes various ways to market your products. Includes wholesale marketing and direct marketing via farmers’ markets or roadside stands.
New World Publishing Books and Online Resources for Farmers & Market Gardeners. This site provides links to reviews and ordering information.
Community Supported Agriculture provided by CSREES, NAL, and the USDA. Community Supported Agriculture is emerging as an alternative way to sustain farming practices. This website is dedicated to defining and locating a CSA farm and to further explain sustainable agriculture. For the CSA farmer there is a section to assist in locating specific resources and a set of direct marketing links.
Organic Produce, Price Premiums, and Eco-Labeling in U.S. Farmers’ Markets by Amy Kremen, Catherine Greene, and Jim Hanson, Outlook Report No. (VGS-301-01) 12 pp, April 2004, The popularity of farmers’ markets in the United States has grown concurrently with organic production and consumer interest in locally and organically produced foods. This research describes the significance of farmers’ markets as market outlets for many organic farmers, and recent shifts in relationships between organic growers, market managers, and customers. Market managers in more than 20 States answered questions by phone pertaining to the 2002 market season. Their responses provide insight into recent grower, manager, and customer decisionmaking and attitudes about foods advertised and sold as organic at farmers’ markets.
Tax Information for Businesses. This website, provided by the IRS, is a good source of information for tax rules and regulations.
The Small Business/Self-Employed webpage, also provided by the IRS, offers information and links for starting a business, employee records, employer id numbers, and many other aspects of owning and operating a small business.