We have been attending the local Farmer’s Market selling our cuts of Ossabaw Island pork and fresh brown eggs. We have enjoyed meeting new people, and it gives our back a break from the farm work.( With a big thank you to my parents for their time spent helping set up and tear down.) Our time spent at the market is one way we are marketing and branding our farm in the local community.
There are hundreds of ways to market your farm. But our main goal is to increase brand recognition, and produce some cash flow. A Farmers Market in a small community can be a great place to sell your products, but use it to network and generate sales directly from the farm as well.
In our community it seems that meat vendors have been very spotty at the Farmer’s Market. And from customer reaction they are not use to the level of care we put into our animals. Customers are pleased to learn that our meat is raised with no antibiotic, no vaccines, and no added hormones, but are not educated on why it makes a difference. We spend time with our customers giving information on why our pork is better. Not every customer is in the market for pork at that time, but hopefully our information will bring them back to us when they are.
I am not the best at decorating, but I am very good at being unique. Our tent is very noticeable among the other vendors. I am also using computer cut vinyl letters wherever possible to make clear, readable signs. No one should have to decipher my handwriting. Our pricing board has vinyl letters on a whiteboard, so we can adjust prices without recreating the whole board.
I made a farm sign out of an old metal sign I had made when I was taking motorcycles to bike shows. I cut the vinyl and applied it to the sign. Recognition is a great way to create credibility, the more someone sees your “look” in a positive atmosphere the more it is perceived as credible.
We are increasing sales every week. We are gaining repeat customers and we have even scheduled a sale of a whole hog in September. I am surprised at how the egg sales have really taken off, I am needing to add more hens to the coop now.
Marketing is like a marathon, you may sprint occasionally, but a steady gain is the best.
Our old trusted farm dog, Chewey, who in his old age became blind and deaf wandered off a few weeks ago. He was very loved by our family, but I didn’t know how much his presence meant around the farm. Since he departed I have been seeing coyotes getting increasingly close to the main part of our farm. one sighting was less than 30 yards from our main barns. Even blind and deaf I now realize his presence and occasional bark kept the sneaky night thieves at a comfortable distance.
Well we decided we needed another dog to protect our farm. since we have a lot of different livestock, we wanted to get a livestock guard dog. There are many different breeds to choose from. We took into account stories from friends and their experiences with dog breeds that they like. We became particularly interested in the Great Pyrenees breed.
I searched on Craigslist for a couple of weeks doing some research on the average cost of a new puppy. I looked at the local humane society and a local shelter just for the chance I could help a one in need. I realized that in our part of the country this breed was a working dog in demand. Litters sold out fast, and ranged from $50 to $300. There were a few pure bred litters available, and there were a few Great Pyrenees crossed with other breeds available. A Face Book group post caught our attention, they had a Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherd mixed litter that they were going to sell.
Now it was time to contact the seller. Trish happened to be going to the area where the litter was for sale the very next day, Perfect! She contacted the seller to find a time to meet and look at the puppies and the puppy’s parents. It is always a good idea to inspect the location and get a feel for the temperament of the parents. Since we wanted a livestock farm dog, this farm had pigs, chickens, goats, cows, and cats. This early introduction to animals on the farm allows the puppies to understand what animals are good and need protecting, and what animals should not be there. Also, seeing the temperament of the parents will give you an idea if the puppy could be a good fit on your farm.
Trish was impressed with the farm that had the puppies for sale, and the parents of the puppies seemed to be the type of dog that we would want our puppy to grow up to be. Now it was time to pick a puppy. The only request I had was for her to try to get the biggest puppy she could, and she could go from there. She had her eye on two male pups from the start, but eventually picked our new little guard dog, Max.
We haven’t had a puppy for quite a while and we have forgotten the mischief and fun the get themselves into. We are thoroughly enjoying our new addition to Burnin R Farms. And we are exited to see how “Max” grows and learns as the time passes.