Time Slots for On-farm Shopping: EP24

The Ag Engineering podcast is a conversation with small scale fruit and vegetable farmers to discuss tools, tips or techniques to improve the sustainability of your farm. In this episode, we visit with Pauline Stevens of Golden Russet Farm (https://goldenrussetfarm.com/) to talk about their pivot into opening up their greenhouses using a sign-up form during the covid 19 pandemic.

Learn something from the show? Let me know or share feedback here! https://forms.gle/fDraaXhRUtYfBchb6

Show Notes/Chapters

1:48 How are you selling during COVID19?

3:07 Challenges in the Pivot

5:21 Selling Seeds to gardeners

6:49 Pre-ordering plants & customers perceptions

8:27 Time slot shopping

14:19 Staggering arrivals

16:30 Sign Up Genius

20:56 Duplicating the form

24:23 Mailing list growth

25:49 Social Media Marketing

27:46 Challenges with Sign Up Genius

29:22 Tracking attendance

32:14 Getting plants to the people

33:15 Recycling flats

Sign Up Genius: https://www.signupgenius.com/

Website: https://goldenrussetfarm.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoldenRussetFarm

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goldenrussetfarm/

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Should an Online Marketplace be Part of your Long Term Business Plan? EP23

The Ag Engineering podcast is a conversation with small scale fruit and vegetable farmers to discuss tools, tips or techniques to improve the sustainability of your farm. In this episode, we talk with Rose Wilson (rosewilson.com) to talk about online sales and their long term plan for your farm.

Visit the show notes for photos, videos or relevant links at http://agengpodcast.com

Learn something from the show? Let me know or share feedback here! https://forms.gle/fDraaXhRUtYfBchb6

Notes to think about

  • Is the product shippable? Or how far away is the farm? Convenient pick-up
  • Shipping/HANDLING costs
  • Labor logistics
  • Sustainability of the business 
  • Value added – ice cream, cheese, ferments
    • Costs for: Packaging, dry ice etc.
    • Need high margins or charge a processing/shipping cost in order to be worthwhile
  • Might not need it after this pandemic 
  • Think about pick-up location!

Chapters

2:36 Why is an online store a good fit for you?

5:07 Pricing for delivery

7:05 Will customers stay online after COVID 19?

10:45 Considerations for long term online sales use

13:13 How to keep customers on this new service

15:23 Negatives to going online.

18:48 How do you get into remote markets?

23:56 Online competition or advantage? 

Contact: 

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Finding Market Streams in Rural Vermont: EP22

The Ag Engineering podcast is a conversation with small scale fruit and vegetable farmers to discuss tools, tips or techniques to improve the sustainability of your farm. In this episode, we visit with Evan Perkins and Heidi Choate of Small Axe Farm (https://smallaxefarm.com) to talk about how they built up their customers and markets on their no-till, hillside farm.

Learn something from the show? Let me know or share feedback here! https://forms.gle/fDraaXhRUtYfBchb6

Show Notes/Chapters

1:50 How did you get started selling vegetables?

“We had a wheelbarrow, a rake, and a 5 gallon bucket.”

Evan Perkins

8:35 You don’t need a perfect plot of land to farm

10:17 Selling produce in a competitive marketplace

14:35 Product offerings

16:34 Branding to make a difference

17:04 Plastic bags

20:17 Putting in the effort to support small orders

22:16 Where do you find your motivation?

  • Necessity 
  • Adding a label tripled their sales right away
  • Creative branding eg: “Snacking Cukes”
  • Trial and error

“We are more path people than goal people” 

Evan Perkins

Website: https://smallaxefarm.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smallaxefarm/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smallaxefarmvermont/?hl=en

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Stories of Success and Challenge at 1000 Stone Farm: EP21

The Ag Engineering podcast is a conversation with small scale fruit and vegetable farmers to discuss tools, tips or techniques to improve the sustainability of your farm. In this episode, we visit with Kyle Doda and Betsy Simpson of 1000 Stone Farm (https://www.1000stonefarm.com) and talk about what they are excited about and what challenges them.

Visit the show notes for photos, videos or relevant links at http://agengpodcast.com

Learn something from the show? Let me know or share feedback here! https://forms.gle/fDraaXhRUtYfBchb6

Show Notes/Chapters

2:11 A moment in time when you felt really successful farming. 

6:42 Story of challenge

7:41 Learning from podcasts

13:08 Winter production

15:11 Other topics to learn about – soil microbiology

19:26 Is having a covered growing area a requirement for a successful farm?

22:46 All Farmers should wear Crocs.

  • Closed toed, slip resistant crocs

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The Paper Pot Transplanter For Market Garden Success: EP20

The Ag Engineering podcast is a conversation with small scale fruit and vegetable farmers to discuss tools, tips or techniques to improve the sustainability of your farm. In this episode, we visit with Evan Perkins and Heidi Choate of Small Axe Farm (https://smallaxefarm.com) to talk about how they use the Paper Pot Transplanter on their no-till, hillside farm.

Visit the show notes for photos, videos or relevant links at http://agengpodcast.com

Purchase this tool at https://paperpot.co/

Show Notes/Chapters

2:48 Experience with the Paper Pot

6:00 The Paper Pot dance

9:15 How does it work in no-till? 

  • Works fine in their no till system when prepped with the tillie
  • Can be challenging in heavy clay soils
  • Can be challenging in rocky soils, especially stones around the size of a wallnut

12:51 Cost? Around $3,000

14:15 Desired upgrades

  • Larger cells
  • Deeper trays
  • Kickstand

17:48 Advantage – Using the drop seeder is nice. It can be used for interseeding too! 

“I think in general it’s just a skilled labor tool …That makes it particularly a great tool for a small farm because small farmers tend to have the time to develop those skills.” 

Evan Perkins

Follow Small Axe Farm

Website: https://smallaxefarm.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smallaxefarm/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smallaxefarmvermont/?hl=en

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Intro to Setting up an Online Store: EP19

The Ag Engineering podcast is a conversation with small scale fruit and vegetable farmers to discuss tools, tips or techniques to improve the sustainability of your farm. In this episode, we talk with Zachary Smith (zachary.m.smith@uvm.edu) of the University of Vermont Extension Farm Viability Program to talk about what farmers need to think about when deciding to get started with eCommerce.

Show Notes/Chapters

2:38 Platform introduction & marketing plan

  • Hosting & domain
  • Keep your domain (website) name simple. ex) xfarm.com
  • Quick start to an online store? Shopify

7:31 What do farmers need to know?

  • It’s going to take some dedicated time. Upwards of 40hours to get fully set-up. 
  • Use the customer service
  • Find a younger peer who is knowledgeable to help if need be

10:06 How did you learn about this subject? 

13:31 What’s the reason for an online store anyways?

14:54 Features to look for in different platforms

  1. Support
  2. Security (ssl certificate)
  3. Knowing your contract terms & fees
  4. Shipping support
  5. Social media integration

18:22 Is paid advertising required? No, but you should. 

  • Ways to get traffic (potential customers) to your website.
    • Direct traffic (people that know you already)
    • Social Media
    • SEO (Search engine optimization)
      • And add Google Analytics to know where your traffic is coming from! 

23:44 Other ways to get traffic? 

27:20 CSA Management Programs

28:55 Cost of an online store?

  • Average costs are ~$200 to set-up and get going then $30-80/month

29:22 Key Take Aways

  • Give it time and have patience

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The Wizard – Single Row Walk-behind Vacuum Seeder: EP18

The Ag Engineering podcast is a conversation with small scale fruit and vegetable farmers to discuss tools, tips or techniques to improve the sustainability of your farm. In this episode, we visit with Dave from Market Farm Implement to talk about vacuum seeding.

Market Farm Implement
Friedens, PA
(814) 443-1931
http://www.marketfarm.com/

Wondering What Vacuum Seeding is all about? Here is a Demonstration of the Technology.

Photo’s of the Seeder

Video of the Wizard Planter with Dave

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More information about this seeder

Written information about this machine: http://www.suttonag.com/wizard_push_planter.html

Other video examples from YouTube

Setting up a Self Serve Farm Store to Bring in Retail Sales: EP17

The Ag Engineering podcast is a conversation with small scale fruit and vegetable farmers to discuss tools, tips or techniques to improve the sustainability of your farm. In this episode, we visit with Kyle Doda and Betsy Simpson of 1000 Stone Farm (https://www.1000stonefarm.com/) about how they set-up an on-farm store.

Show Notes/Chapters

1:41 Farm Store vs. Farm Stand
5:27 How does self-serve work?
– Sqare, via a wall mounted iPad, with credit card processing or payment with cash.
10:23 Price lists for high end products
11:23 Pre-built structure
12:16 Insulated and open year roundHolding inventory
– Consistent messaging and easy to remember hours: 8-8, every day
– Cost: $9k in the building, ~$17k total
– ROI is on track for a timely return
– There is demand for this in the area
17:11 Market research & business decisions
– Respectful and thankful community
– Advertising: Facebook ads, word of mouth, Front Porch Forum
– Didn’t want to skimp or cut corners
– Variety is beneficial for customer satisfaction
23:36 Capital Investment
– Vermont Farm Fund for a low-interest loan
– Need money for the site work, building, inventory etc.

“The simplification aspect is huge for the customers and the farmers. Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be and make it as easy for the customer to access the product as possible, on their terms.”

Kyle Doda

27:22 Multi-use building – Farm store & CSA Pick-up
27:57 Regrets or changes on these decisions?
– Need to increase the branding and messaging for both their farm and the local, organic, high quality products they stock in their store.
31:16 Final thoughts – Customers enjoy shopping alone in a low stress environment.

Checkout The Farm Store!

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Cat Tunnel Tips on a No-till Hillside Farm: EP16

The Ag Engineering podcast is a conversation with small scale fruit and vegetable farmers to discuss tools, tips or techniques to improve the sustainability of your farm. In this episode we visit with Evan Perkins and Heidi Choate of Small Axe Farm (https://smallaxefarm.com/) to talk about how they use Cat Tunnels on their no-till, hillside farm.

Show notes/Chapters

2:14 How do you utilize Cat Tunnels?
3:58 Construction & Build
– Farmers Friend: https://farmersfriendllc.com/
– Side “Hooks”
5:25 Shoulder season practices
– Wind bracing
– End Walls
8:48 Usage on a hill
10:43 Cat tunnels vs. High tunnels
15:58 Heidi’s key takeaways
19:05 Rolling up the plastic during winter
23:50 The biggest tip: Build them up like a hoophouse

Website: https://smallaxefarm.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smallaxefarm/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smallaxefarmvermont/?hl=en

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Considerations for Fruit and Vegetable Growers Related to Coronavirus & COVID-19: EP15

The Ag Engineering podcast is a conversation with small scale fruit and vegetable farmers to discuss tools, tips or techniques to improve the sustainability of your farm. In this episode we read an update about Coronavirus & COVID19 as it relates to fruit and vegetable growers.

Show Notes/Chapters

This episode’s script can be found at go.uvm.edu/covid19produce

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