GFP036: Innovative CSA Farm Marketing Strategy

In farming you not only have to do what is best for your business, you have to do what is best for you as well. Sometimes that means changing what you grow, sometimes that means down-sizing, and sometimes it means scaling up. Other times is simply means you need to change the way you manage sales to take the stress off yourself. In today's farm podcast episode I speak with Dan Heckler from Jack's Farm in Pennsylvania who has done just that. In today's interview he tells us how he markets his CSA vegetables to best serve the customer and himself.

Innovation is a cornerstone of business. Companies that are constantly thinking of new ways to either produce or market their goods are the companies that are continuing to see growth.

You can be the country's oldest apple orchard or be a third generation vegetable farmer, but you cannot relay on what was done in the past to get you through tomorrow. You farm might not have to change, but the market will change, and you have to change how you market to them.

Also, your values may shift as well. I know when Kate and I had Mabel my values shifted greatly. Now everything I do is for Mabel and Kate. I am making decisions to ensure I have more time with them, be able to support them, and provide healthy food from the "backyard".

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In this farm podcast you will learn:

  • Dan's innovative CSA marketing strategy that takes some of the stress off his shoulders
  • Insight on farming in two locations at once
  • Investing in passive income to help pay farm bills
  • How much money per acre in commercial vegetable production is considered viable?
  • How to engage CSA customers and increase sales
  • Organizing and cleaning your e-mail list

Interview with Dan Heckler of Jack's Farm

"Dan" works on "Jack's Farm?" That's right. The name Jack's Farm actually came about from the notion that you have to be a Jack-of-all-Trades to be a farmer (I agree!).

Jack's Farm is located in Pottston, PA NorthWest of Philadelphia. In addition to farming 10 acres with his wife, Dan has also started a podcast interviewing other farmers. Here about the podcast in his own words:

At JACK’S FARM RADIO I record casual conversations with folks in the food industry; from local food producers, to food and farm educators and advocates, food executives, chefs and more.

There’s a lot of talk about getting to know your farmer and food provider yet where and when do you really get the opportunity to do that? Maybe if you’re a member of a CSA farm you can spend some quality talking time with the farmer or an employee. If you’re a Farmers Market shopper you get some attention during your transaction; but from my experience as a farmer and owner of a USDA Certified Organic vegetable farm, on the “other side of the table”, conversation is really dictated by how busy things are at the market. And if you like shopping at a grocery store you really don’t talk to anyone do you? Well, maybe the cashier and the deli person.

It’s time to really get to know the folks who are providing you your food. As the weeks go by you’re going to hear from all sorts of people involved in all sorts of food businesses. You’ll get to know a bit about how they think, hear some of the struggles they endure, vicariuosly live the joys they experience and sneak a peek at some of the behind the scenes efforts that happen; all to provide your food. I hope that through listening you’ll get an honest view of the food industry.

I’m not here to advance any specific food agenda. I will give you my personal opinions and experiences as a farmer and business person, though.

Most importantly, I am here to talk to real people in a real industry. I’m here to ask, hopefully, some entertaining and thoughtful questions so you can form your own opinions about an industry that impacts literally every person on earth.

So come along for the ride. Listen each week as I talk with hard working people in this multifaceted, interesting and essential industry.

Items mentioned in this farm podcast include:

Take aways:

What ways are you adapting to keep in touch with your target market?

What can you change about your business that would benefit both your customers and yourself?

Come say hi!

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My skills are ever-evolving as an interviewer. Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook or Twitter, or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show.