Category Archives: Marketing

Struggle with marketing? Here’s a free webinar.

What do companies such as Go-pro, Apple, and Coca-Cola have in common? They all do a great job with marketing. Yes, they all have great products (well, in the case of Coke its debatable), but in reality, they have figured out how to tell the story of how you need their product.

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The first iPod ad.

You can do that too.

You shouldn’t have to struggle with selling your product or communicating with your customers. Join me this Tuesday at 7 PM when I will share simple principles, tips, and techniques to connect with your customers and sell more product. I will talk about the power of developing your farm story and branding your farm, figuring out who your customer is, and connecting with them through simple social media strategies.

Over the last several years, I have spent thousands of dollars on marketing courses and seminars. Why, because marketing is a vital part of any business.  As I tell people, “if you can’t sell you product, its like you are just growing expensive compost

Best of all, did I mention this is free?  This webinar will be part of NOFA/Mass’s Inspiring Ideas from Experts in the Field.    See all the details below.

Marketing Strategies for the Farm, with Michael Kilpatrick
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
7:00 pm  |  Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)  |  1 hr
Meeting number (access code): 733 334 807
Meeting password: farmer
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+1-617-627-6767 US Toll












You can also click here to see NOFA-Mass’s original post.

Tips for increasing traffic to your farmers market stand

GrowNYC, which sponsors the NYC greenmarket program, recently released a PDF entitled “Understanding Customer Behavior at Farmer’s Markets”. I read through it this morning and thought there were some great takeaways. It’s a great resource for anyone selling at farmers markets or a produce stand.


Big takeaway- Do you step back and watch customers interact with your stall? Are you watching customer flow? After we had set up our stand and the market started, we would step across the aisle and watch customers. Our goal was to see how they moved by and hopefully through our stand. We would also “secret shop” our stands to see how employees where interacting with our customers.


Provide plenty of room inside the stall for customer movement. In retail science, there is something called “butt room”. Customers become uncomfortable when their personal space is invaded during a shopping experience and that can influence brand perception and future shopping habits.


Loyalty cards are great- customers always want to feel part of a “club” or “program”. Especially for staples which they can buy from anyone like salad mix, ground beef, or eggs, this can help drive sales.


Pile product high! If you can display 100 bunches of radishes, do!  It will help sales as people are drawn to abundance. Of course, then it can wilt, you might say.  Keep it looking fresh by spraying it down with water, we used something like this.


Selling meat or hot food presents special challenges. Many growers are using rolling ice cream freezers to keep meat frozen while still allowing customers to see the product. Having big, colorful posters displayed as well as offering samples can also boost displays.


You can read the entire report here.
What unique things do you do that help drive your farmers market sales?

NOFA-MASS Seminar: Farm Profitability: Season Extension and Marketing for the Small Farm

Ben from NOFA_MASS recorded the sessions-

Session 1 – Farm overview, soil, fertility, disease, economics

Introduction: Soils, markets and finances at Kilpatrick Family Fam

Goals and Purpose of Year-Round Farming

Soil Health


Fertility management

Beneficial insects


Economics of High Tunnel Production

Economics of Winter Growing: budgets, depreciation and labor costs






Mass 1 b

Session 2 – Farm Systems for Field Production, Tunnel Structure Intro

Washing and Packing Resources
Storage Facilities

Tunnel overview

Transplant/propagation houses
Greenhouses Manufacturers
Venting options



Session 3 – Greens for tunnels and season extension
Irrigation, row cover and other tools of the trade

Seed suppliers



Session 4  Marketing the Farm
The Why of Marketing
Educate the consumer



Cornell Webinar

I did a Beginning Farmer Webinar tonight for Cornell Cooperative Extension. They asked me to cover Post-harvest handling and marketing, two things I enjoy talking about.

Of course, the group had a lot of good questions which I’ll cover below.

Q. Does using the Barrel washer to wash Cherry tomatoes cause bruising?

Not really. We pick them when they are a firmly riped and feel that any tomatoes that become bruised or squashed were too ripe anyway.

Q. How much of the farm income comes from winter sales?

I can grab the specific numbers later, but its approximately a 1/3rd of our gross sales. The net is much higher since our labor cost is greatly decreased.  

Q. How long has the farm been operating?

 We are entering our 9th year of production.

Q. How does your CSA work?

Visit the website – –  it’s the best place to start, and gives a nice summary of what our CSA provides and how it works.

Q. What is your rate of pay for Employees?

We start everyone out at minimum wage and raise payment from there. People that have been with us for a couple of years are usually between 9-10 dollars an hour.  Our highest paid employees max out at 14, plus bonuses and some benefits.

Q. Do you have interns?

Not yet. Although, we will be looking for 2 for this coming year.

Q. What is the air heat for your greenhouses?

Visit this website:

Q. Do you have a deer problem?

Yes. We manage the issue with, electric fencing, and some permits.

Q. Do you use a specific template for crop planning? Or do you have any suggestions for finding information on potential yield?

We have our own custom plan that we have developed (which will be posted below) and I have a lot of information/experience stored in my head.  Check out Johnnys resource page for information on potencial yields-

Q. Do you find that there is a max/min in the number of crops one should grow?

For retail marketing (Farmer’s markets) 20-30 different crops is a good mix. It ensures a good looking display, and protects you against crop failures. Never go under 10 if your growing for retail.

Q. Do you guys start all your own crops from seed?

We do, with the exception of three categories: strawberries we get in as tips from Canada and propagate them ourselves after that, sweeties (sweet potatoes) come in as slips from a grower in the south, and onions we have contract grown for us by Barnett Parton in Florida. 

Q. What is the water source for the farm?

Our home farm has 3 wells, one field is on a pond, and our big Granville fields are along the Mettowee river. We irrigate with a mix of drip tape, solid-state aluminum, and a kifco B160 waterwheel (

Q. Do you harvest all your greens by hand or do you have a small scale greens harvester?

We harvet our greens by hand, although the new harvester from Johnnys looks tempting –


Here’s our Master Plan from 2012.  I should be doing an entire post on the new 2013 plan in a month or so.

Master 2012


Here’s the PDF slides for the talk.

Webinar Cornell 2013