- Fruits: apples, apricots, peaches, pears, general tree fruits
- Nuts: walnuts
- Farm Business Management: marketing management, market study, value added
The Salle family works hard to create a viable farm enterprise that can be passed down to another generation of farmers. In light of current economic pressures caused by factors such as increased labor and gas prices and decreased consumer demand, the project “Creating & Marketing Value-Added Orchard Products” has contributed significantly to the financial viability of our farm. The goal was to preserve foods by drawing on family traditions and natural methods to can, dry and flavor our crops and then market the value-added product to specialty stores, as well as through direct sales. We approached each project with the enthusiasm of a promising new future.
Ironically, our lack of knowledge probably helped make it a successful venture. Otherwise we would of been overwhelmed by the regulatory requirements and start-up costs. As of today, we have launched a very beautiful web site, designed literature and labels fitting for our product line, perfected our marketing practices and, most importantly, created several value-added products that have brought added income and recognition to our farm.
We have created a learning tool for other small farms by chronicling our process through a blog. Most importantly, the project has revitalized our passion for farming and ensured the future of Salle Orchards.
Project objectives:div style="margin-left:1em;">
- Establish project documentation on blog to discuss farm branding and product marketing including advertising, pricing and distribution, as well as other topics
Meet with local gourmet stores and schools to assess interest in purchasing value-added products
Construct fruit drying racks and upload “how-to” tutorial online
Decide on custom processors (e.g. to make honey roasted walnuts)
Hire graphic designer/marketing communications consultants to prepare product labels and promotional materials
Begin production of value-added products
Launch website to increase awareness and visibility of farm and products
Announce blog content to key contacts and through media releases
Finalize preliminary promotional materials (business cards, product labels, product fact sheets, recipe cards, etc.)
Test email marketing as promotional tactic
Continue to identify and assess new market opportunities, including e-commerce