Open Farm Day

MAFRD and MAAS are indicating Manitoba’s Open Farm Day is extending its registration to be a host farm for the 2014 event happening Sunday, September 21. Look to to register

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11 Steps to Successful Farm Marketing

The following article by Sarah Bewley for Hobby Farms shares insight explaining that with a little forethought, you can create successful marketing plan for your farm that will expand your customer base and increase your profits.


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Open Farm Day seeks host farms in Manitoba

It is that time of year again to consider being a host for Manitoba’s 2014 Open Farm Day taking place on Sunday, September 21.

Together Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Development and the Manitoba Association of Agricultural Societies welcome farms to participate in the fifth consecutive year of Open Farm Day. Last year, 63 farms combined saw a total of over 7000 visitors to participating farms during Open Farm Day.

To be a host farm for Open Farm Day:
1. Open Farm Day is looking for farms that produces agricultural products, services or direct farm marketing experiences
2. Admission to the farm is free for this event. Activity fees may apply at some locations
3. Farms need to follow the guidelines provided

Open Farm Day is
• An opportunity to market your farm to others all around the Province of Manitoba
• An opportunity to open your doors for others to see what your farm is all about
• An opportunity for the public to meet the farmer that works in their backyard
• An opportunity for the public to see where their food comes from
• An opportunity to connect

I hope your farm will consider being a host farm for 2014. For more information or to register, please call 204-821-5322 or

Please feel free to share with your organization(s) to help spread the word.

Also attached is the 2014 Open Farm Day Registration Form. The form is also available at

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Tips for shopping at a Farmers’ Market

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Upcoming Workshop

Looks like a great food product workshop is happening this week in Winnipeg! Check it out at

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Two Sure Fire Ways to Tick Off A Customer

taken from
by Nancy Arsenault on March 20, 2014

1. Don’t listen to what they are saying they need – and be a solution provider.

2. Trying to upsell them something the clearly don’t want or need.

Wow, in securing a online platform that we need for our small business today I was frustrated at how my online chat ‘help’ turned facilitating a quick sale from a return customer to driving me stark-raving mad!

All I needed was an old account hooked back up again, as I had stopped service for a year as I didn’t need it. Should be easy, welcoming back a returning customer who is asking to buy something very specific. Apparently not.

Better to waste 20 minutes of their time and your staff time trying to upsell a corporate account that I didn’t need. Despite typing in multiple times I don’t need a corporate account, I need flexibility and ideally a pay-as you play (which of course isn’t an option), I finally had to type in: “I appreciate your talent in trying to upsell me but I don’t need a corporate account.” Then I got what I wanted, after one more pitch for a discount of the very thing I don’t need.

Companies work so hard to drive business down the path to purchase, repeat customers should be a dream, suggesting purchase options could receive a thank you for it may attract more customers. Not so with this company.

Do you know what your employees are doing to drive away business at the very time they should be thanking a return customer for their business?

Mystery shop yourself a few times and you may be surprised what you learn.

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8 Tips For Beginner Farmers’ Market Vendors

(taken from by Lisa Kivirist
*Note: The following is a publication out of the United States. The tips are great for everyone.

If you’re new to selling at farmers’ markets, survive your season with these business-minded tips.

If selling at a farmers’ market for the first time, figure out a niche that will set you apart from the other vendors.

Perhaps you planted those first seeds with a goal of feeding your family, but as with many farm projects that start small, gardens can quickly blossom into a much larger endeavor. When your neighbors start locking their doors for fear of more covert zucchini deliveries, perhaps it’s a sign to start selling your bounty at farmers’ markets.

You won’t be alone in embracing farmers’ markets. According to the USDA, as of mid-2010 more than 6,100 farmers’ markets operated throughout the U.S., a 16-percent increase from 2009. With continued interest in local foods, shoppers find farmers’ markets the best opportunity to “know your farmer” and bring healthy, fresh food to their family’s plate.

But as with any farm-based venture, selling at a farmers’ market should be a well-thought-out, strategic part of your farm-management plan. Here are some tips to get started:

1. Do Market Research
Ideally, you’ll identify a potential farmers’ market the year before you want to start selling and visit it several times during the season. Get a feel for the market and attendance flow. Is there enough shopper volume to justify more vendors?

“Every market has its own culture and vibe,” explains Leigh Adcock, executive director of the Women, Food and Agriculture Network, an organization connecting women in sustainable agriculture. “Some markets cater to busy shoppers who want to quickly buy their week’s vegetables while others create a more social setting with music and kids activities. Talk to other growers and folks buying at the market to get a sense of what the market is like.”

2. Learn Farmers’-Market Rules
Understand the regulations of the particular farmers’ market you’re considering selling at. Ask the market manager questions, and make sure you can commit to the expectations. For example, you may inquire about rules regarding what you can sell. Some markets are “producer only,” which typically means you can only sell things you grew yourself, whereas others may allow you to resell other items or include things like crafts.

3. Start Small
Don’t go overboard—test the farmers’-market waters before investing in expensive tents and gear. See if you can find a market where you can sell as a “daily vendor” to get started. These are markets that will let you commit to one market at a time depending on available space. This way, you can get a feel for selling at the farmers’ market without over-committing. As you do these trial sales, take into account your driving time and costs and sales volume to determine if this particular market is a good long-term fit.

4. Identify Your Niche
How is what you’re selling different than other vendors at the farmers’ market? Sometimes it helps to specialize in selling varietals of one distinct item, such as garlic. Another route is to creatively package your items. Sure, a lot of farmers may be selling red, ripe tomatoes, but what if you sold green tomatoes, along with your recipe for fried green tomatoes?

5. Design Your Stand
“Plan your stand ahead of time, and even do a ‘dry run’ rehearsal and set things up at home before your first market,” advises Blue Strom of Shady Blue Acres. Strom sells at the Dane County Farmers’ Market in Madison, Wis., the largest producer-only market in the country.

“Colorful tablecloths and clear signage go a long way in showcasing your product and increasing sales,” she says

6. Get Organized
Develop a system for organizing, transporting and setting up your product at the farmers’ market.

“Keep detailed checklists of all the little things you’ll need that easily are forgotten, such as small bills and coins to make change, weights for your tent in case it gets windy, and even extra clothes to prepare for weather changes,” says Larry Johnson, manager of the Dane County Farmers’ Market.

7. Be Personally Prepared
Take along water and snacks, and prioritize a good night’s sleep the evening before, especially if you’re selling at an early-morning market.

“Nothing like a grumpy farmer first thing in the morning to decrease sales,” Strom says with a laugh. “It’s important that everyone selling at the market put their best cheery face forward, as this helps the market develop a reputation as a friendly, fun place to shop.”

8. Build Relationships
Share information about your farm with your customers. Connect them with where and how your items were raised. Bring in photos and your favorite recipes.

Connect with other farmers at the market, too, particularly at the end of the day when there’s the “second market” going on: A lot of informal bartering happens between farmers at this time.

About the Author: Lisa Kivirist writes from Inn Serendipity, her farm and bed-and-breakfast in Wisconsin, which is completely powered by renewable energy and specializes in local, seasonal, organic cuisine. She is co-author of the award-winning book ECOpreneuring and Rural Renaissance and the cookbook Farmstead Chef.

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