Based on the needs of one our customers, we have added a new reporting option to our ecommerce tool. We call it a 'check-off report' because it is a concise report to print out and have at your stand for CSA extra product orders or farmers market pre-orders.
This type of report will be most beneficial in situations where there are a fairly limited amount of items being sold. If many, many items are being sold each week, the number of columns could get a bit unwieldy.
The check-off report will look a bit like this:
It's high time for markets and CSAs, so if you would like to step up your ordering and reduce administrative time: consider our ecommerce tools for online ordering. We'll make it easy, just get in touch!
This photo from Ploughshare Farm in Alexandria, MN says it all:
I bet you are starting to fill your baskets just like Ploughshare Farm!
We know it's "go time" from all the calls we've been getting over the last few weeks from farmers making last preparations for their first markets and csa deliveries. (Of course we know that many of you are selling year round and are on a completely different schedule!) Good luck this season! I know how hard it is from ground level and the feeling of racing against the clock to get everything done even in these long Summer days.
We're here to support your work and make your day a little easier. So just let us know if we can help with your site. We are just a phone call or email away. Happy growing!
The Small Farm Central staff is featured in the current issue of Edible Allegheny, a regional publication that celebrates the diverse and dynamic agricultural community of western Pennsylvania.
Victoria Bradley and Aleisha Jones did a good job of capturing the essence of our company ethos, and we had such a great time lounging in the grass on a beautiful spring morning for our photo shoot with Adam Milliron. You can read the full article here:
(This is the first of 5 principles of farm web marketing that I've developed over years of working with farmers. Read more about the principles here.)
The farm is your passion and your work. In your website content and blog entries, let yourself “be a nerd” about eggplant varieties, crop rotations, or small engine repair. People love to hear from people who are passionate and it connects them with your farm because it helps them understand how much skill and patience goes into the craft of growing food.
Being authentic extends beyond the way your write and present yourself online; it is also about the web marketing tools that you use to tell your story. Everyone is telling you that you need a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and what ever social network is on the horizon. Don’t go with the pack: use the tools that make sense for your business and start small.
You only have so many hours in the day and you can’t do it all! If you are completely new to web marketing for your farm, start with a website and then add an email mailing list to connect with your best customers. If you are feeling like entering the world of social media, dip your toes with a Facebook account. But remember! an abandoned facebook page, Twitter account, or website is worse than nothing at all. Make sure you can stick with the marketing goals you make for yourself between all the other tasks that make a farm happen.
In short: make sure the web marketing tools and the content you create reflects the personality of your farm. This part of the job of farming should be fun (at least most of the time), so make sure to find a way to have fun with it.
Read all 5 principles of farm web marketing
I have been working on some guiding principles for farm web marketing over the past 6 months. These are honest, down-to-earth principles for farmers to help make decisions for what marketing opportunities to spend time on and how to approach this part of your business. These aren't recycled from other industries or the same old boiler-plate: these are principles gathered from helping start and run a CSA farm operation myself and conversations with hundreds of farmers over the past five years with Small Farm Central.
I presented these at a number of conferences and workshops in the Winter of 2011 with really good response, so I thought I would take some time to write them down for the benefit of all our readers.
The following are the 5 principles:
#3 Clean Navigation
#4 Keep it Fresh
#5 Your story is interesting
Look for the first principle with details and examples to be posted during the week of May 30th.
Hi all! I've just added a new help doc for those of you interested in sending attachments in your newsletter. It's quicker and easier to send a link, within your email. Check out the new help doc for more info!
Small Farm Central is looking for a few great web designers to develop new, eye-catching design templates for our service. We are brewing up a batch of new designs in the summer 2011 and we need some help!
This is a tough design challenge. A successful designer must find the middle ground by creating a distinct, bold design and keep it customizable to each farm's needs.
Know a capable web designers that love farms? Send them on to read more about the job and how to apply.
We're helping lots of farmers get their websites and online sales going this year. One farmer talked about it on Twitter. We like the words 'smooth launch', so we thought we'd pass it on to you!
In case you can't see the image, @patspatured said:
"Grateful for a smooth launch of our 1st Buying Clubs / online store. Thks to Simon + the @smfarmcentral team -- couldn't do it without you!"
Let us know when we can work on a smooth launch for your farm!
Leslie is always up for a road trip, so she recently visited That Guy's Family Farm (thatguysfamilyfarm.com) in Clarksville, Ohio. Guy and Sandy Ashmore and their children, Conard, Maggie, and Nellie, grow a nice variety of certified organic produce, flowers, pastured meat and eggs, on their beautiful 48 acre farm land.
On a beautiful spring morning, Guy and Conard took time out of their busy day to chat with Leslie about their family farm, and how their Small Farm Central website has helped their business.
Soundtrack credit: Laura Veirs, "Anne Bonny Rag," from the album Carbon Glacier.
One of my main recommendations for web marketing is to start a regular email marketing newsletter. To make the work that goes into creating content for a newsletter worthwhile, it is important to have lots of subscribers! One key way to get new susbscribers is to leave out a mailing list sign-up form at your farm stand, farmers market, or wherever you connect with the public.
I've thought about designing a printed booklet that would make this easy for our farmers for a number of years and we finally got around to it. This booklet is designed to be taken to markets and sign up customers for your mailing list. Each booklet has 50 pages and is spiral bound so it will lay flat on your table. We would like to get one to you, so let us know that you want one and we'll mail one to you before the farmers market season starts. This is completely free! Just another way Small Farm Central helps you get your marketing done.
It looks like this:
Front cover with a space to write your farm name!
Inside pages -- there are 50 of these with a space to record which market it was used at for your records.
Again, use this form if you want a copy and we'll get one mailed to you some time in May absolutely free of charge!