Granby Sampler

2010 Annual Report for CNE10-079

Project Type: Sustainable Community Innovation
Funds awarded in 2010: $14,942.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Northeast
State: Connecticut
Project Leader:
Michelle Niedermeyer
Granby Agriculture Commission

Granby Sampler


The problem the Granby Agricultural Commission sought to address through the Granby Sampler was that local residents were not aware of the variety of products available from local farms and farmers needed a method to reach the consumers. In its pilot project year, the Granby Sampler provided 12 distributions [2 per month, July through December] of local farm products to 25 subscribers. It introduced the subscribers to the variety of products grown/produced on farms in or very near Granby and created a new reliable market for the farmers. We purchased $17,700.00 in goods from 30 local farms for distribution. We also made sure the subscribers knew which farms provided the contents of each distribution and encouraged the subscribers to shop locally—they did! The first year was a huge success and we will double the number of subscribers to 50 in 2011.

Objectives/Performance Targets

The objectives listed in the grant narrative included increasing farm revenue, maximizing the use of current farm production, creating a better connection between farmers and consumers, introducing new farm products and new farmers to the Granby community, and improving the quality of life for farmers and the community through sustainable agriculture.

• Increasing farm revenue – in our narrative we listed new products offered by farmers, revenue generated by the Granby Sampler and decreasing the time farmers spent marketing, selling and delivering products as our methods. For our pilot project year we were too late [March] to influence the selection of products offered by farmers but farmers have promised us several new products for the coming year. The success of the first year has given the farmers confidence that we do have a market and our increase from 25 to 50 subscribers doubles the opportunity for sales. We purchased $17,700 in goods from 30 farms in our first year. We will purchase a minimum of $36,000. In our second year and are already looking at ways to extend the program with holiday gift baskets of local goods in December. With little additional effort on their part, farmers were able to increase their presence in the local community.

• Maximizing use of current farm production – we listed keeping track of the sales and production volume of ten key products as our gauge. Once again, production levels were set before we contacted farmers in early March making this metric unworkable in the first year. We will have a better sense of how farmers increased the amount and number of products offered after our second year as well as any increase in the number of farms participating. We do know that we were able to take produce that would have ended up on the compost heap and sell it for farmers with an overabundance of ripe vegetables—they were very pleased to have the Granby Sampler as a new, reliable market.

• Better connection between farmers and consumers – we wanted to gauge the percent of their food budget subscribers spent at local farms and encourage the subscribers to shop at local farms featured in the Granby Sampler. We sought the mutual satisfaction of farmers and consumers. Each subscriber paid $720, what percentage of their food budget that encompassed depends on whether they were a retired couple or a family with four children. For most of our subscribers it was at least $500 more than they had ever spent at local farms before [many had purchased corn and tomatoes at local stands for example]. As one subscriber quipped, “Whole Foods lost a lot of my business this year.” The nearest Whole Foods is 17 miles from Granby. And all of our subscribers ventured to one or more of the farms featured in the Sampler distributions.

• Introduction of new farm products and new farmers to the Granby community – our subscribers had little knowledge of the variety of products grown and made on Granby farms and so “new products offered by farmers” was an easily attained goal. We introduced them to sources for meat, dairy, honey, soap, preserves, baked goods and more and they responded with delight, pleasure and the desire to acquire more.

• Improving the quality of life for farmers and the community through sustainable agriculture – with the Granby Sampler we were able to create a connection between the farmers and the subscribers to the satisfaction of each group. The subscribers shopped more locally and now appreciate and seek local products. We invited all of the farmers and subscribers to a pot luck dinner in mid-November [attended by 15 subscriber families, 12 farmer families and 3 sampler staff families] and everyone expressed pleasure in their newfound acquaintance. We have just distributed a survey to both the famers and subscribers and will have more detailed metrics when the results are evaluated.


The grant narrative listed the following milestones:
– finalize farmer participation by 4/30/10 [complete June 15]
– finalize detail product distribution schedule by 5/31/10 [complete June 5]
– define success criteria, measurement techniques and collect baseline data by 5/31/10 [complete July 15, without baseline data]
– develops marketing materials for Granby Sampler by 4/15/10 [complete May 20]
– finalizes consumer participation by 5/31/10 [complete July 12—last place filled]
– set up fund in Town of Granby to manage monies collected and distributed by 3/31/10 [complete July 8]

– execute bi-monthly delivery program in according to following schedule:
o Monday – confirms products for sampler box with participating farmers
o Tuesday – make any adjustments to sampler box due to availability of products.
o Friday – picks up products from participating farmers, stores at pick up location
o Saturday – puts together sampler boxes, perishables added to box upon pick up.
o Saturday – Pick up by consumers from 10am to 1pm

It took longer to get the program underway than anticipated in the initial plan. Farmers were skeptical that we would be able to get 25 subscribers. Subscribers were skeptical that the variety of goods promised was available in Granby. Our success criteria became a successful first year—farmers providing local goods to the 25 subscribers in 12 distributions. Local press coverage aided marketing and handouts were distributed at farm stands throughout the community. Everything came together in mid-June for a start date postponed to July 8. The Town of Granby Board of Selectmen established the Agriculture Fund by unanimous vote on July 6.

The plan was to have pickups occur on Saturdays between 10:00 and 1:00. We broadened the schedule to be as flexible as possible and the first and second distributions took place over Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday morning [July 8, 9 and 10/July 22, 23 and 24]. With the Granby Sampler underway we used the first two distributions as tests of what processes worked best—we were able to get schedules into place and checks out to the farmers. Cash boosted our credibility with the farmers and the goods in the distributions more than reassured our subscribers. In early August we established a Thursday evening/Saturday morning pickup schedule that continued into the 12th distribution in December. We continued to allow for subscriber pick up needs with a few dedicated deliveries for vacation schedules.

Initially we picked up everything from the farmers and took it the distribution site [selected because of its central location, it had no storage available]. By the last distribution everything except eggs [5 sources] and dairy was delivered. For our second year we will further streamline the process to have one group of 25 pick up on Thursday evening and the other group of 25 pick up on Saturday morning.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

We overcame skepticism on the part of farmers and subscribers alike. Each group was willing to take a leap of faith that the Granby Sampler would deliver on all that was promised. Each group was pleased and enthusiastic about the result. We anticipate having all fifty places taken for year 2 by mid-January. Interest generated by the enthusiastic descriptions of the Granby Sampler from current subscribers assures our short term success.

The Agricultural Commission benefited from its sponsorship of the program. It increased its visibility in the community and its credibility with the Board of Selectmen. The resounding success of the first year underscores how programs that promote sustainable agriculture in the town of Granby bolster the town agricultural economy and increase the quality of life for the residents.

The town of Granby benefits from the increased viability of its agricultural community. Farmer entrepreneurship is on the rise. Several new farm stores opened last year and more are planned for the coming year. While the subscribers revel in the convenience of picking up each distribution, they are also being trained as locavores and share their newfound knowledge. Our subscribers let friends, relatives and neighbors know where to acquire the goods included in the distributions. Each distribution lists the items, a unit price and the source farm’s location. The Agricultural Commission’s website [] gives farm hours and locations.

The tool kit that we will develop over the next year will allow this model to be replicated in other communities increasing the impact of the Granby Sampler.


Marianne Curling
151 Silkey Road
North Granby, CT 06060
Office Phone: 8604789344
Ann Wilhelm
Financial Contact
329 North Granby Rd
Granby, CT 06030
Office Phone: 8608440008