As urban populations change and specialty markets grow, farmers near the city need to adapt their production to include new vegetables and meats. This project supports market research-largely face-to-face interviews-with urban retailers to determine demand. This information will be made available to other farmers via fact sheets.
In researching my project on marketing strategies for the New York area farmers I found approaching store owners and customers difficult at first. It was similar to a salesman making cold calls. Not everyone I approached wanted to participate and many were wary of me and my questions. Although there are so many vegetable stores in New York City even if I was rejected by three stores I knew that in the 4th or 5th store I would find willing participants which is what happened. While many were wary of me, many people were open to my questions and actually liked reminiscing with me about life in their native countries and what they are there. As far as travel to New York City parking in Manhattan is next to impossible without spending lots of money in parking garages. Travel by bus to Manhattan is preferable and it’s good exercise to walk to the various ethnic neighborhoods in Manhattan. When I traveled to other boroughs I drove and found parking where ever I went. The same holds true for my trips to Paterson, New Jersey, parking was plentiful.
I found communicating with immigrants to be a challenge but I overcame some of the language barriers by showing people pictures of vegetables and animals in order to get a response.
Overall I would self-evaluate my experience as successful and hope that farmers will benefit from my research.
Education & Outreach Activities and Participation Summary
After contact urban retailers that serve ethnic neighborhoods, the farmer developed a handout that inventoried that various produce items preferred in various communities. This information has also been posted to the Web at http://nyfarms.blogspot.com, and covers the Asian, Italian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Mexican, and Russian communities. Also offered is general clearinghouse information on who in the greater New York area can support or advise farmers who want to develop urban markets for their produce.