Farm Direct Marketing Resources

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 Farm Direct Marketing
Selling farm direct means selling fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, bedding plants, herbs, meats, jams, pies, sausages and other farm products at a farm or ranch gate, a farm or ranch store or stand, a roadside stall, an on-farm greenhouse, a U-pick farm, a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm or by Internet or mail from a farm directly to the end consumer.

Developing relationships with your customers is key to the success of this marketing channel. Many farm direct marketing businesses add ag tourism events such as farm festivals, birthday parties and children's activities to their marketing mix. These events bring more customers to the farm, encourage them to stay longer and spend more money.

This page provides you with resources for those interested in getting into or expanding their operations in farm direct marketing.
    On-Farm Retail “Getting Control ...” Series Explore Local Fruit and Vegetable Production You-Tube Videos
    • Linda's Market Gardens: Linda Christensen shares their story about growing vegetables and fruit for over 30 years in the Smoky Lake area. They market a wide range of product successfully through their farm store. Listen to Linda share their story and the things they suggest anyone new and starting out put in place to be successful.
    • Serviceberry Farms: Grace Fedak embarked on her strawberry production journey in the mid 1980's and grew high yielding strawberries for close to 30 years. Her passion for precision production contributed to her success as a grower. As Grace winds down her career, learn from what she shares about being successful in fruit production.
    Other factsheets and resources:
    • Seed, Nurture, Harvest is a publication developed by the Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association. It contains valuable information on many aspects of farm direct marketing. To request a copy of the book, contact the Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association at 1-800-661-2642 or to access an electronic version, click here.
    • The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food published a guide for small scale food processors - Guide to Food and Beverage Manufacturing in Ontario 2015. This guide has many useful tips on starting and operating a small business from stages of business growth, financing, product development, marketing, information technology, human resources, etc. NOTE: Any reference to legislation needs to be researched looking for the applicable Alberta legislation.
    • The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food recently posted a number of margin calculator tools which allow producers to compare and calculate their margins for selling directly to consumers.
        • The Performance Analysis by Marketing Channel spreadsheet allows you to calculate or compare margins across six distinct market channels:
            Roadside stand
            On-farm market
            Pick your own/U-Pick
            Farmers' market
            Community Supported Agriculture
            Online store/delivery service
        • The On-Farm Processing Recipe Based Costing Tool allows you to analyze the impact of changes in recipe, ingredient costs or packaging size on product margin.
        • The Cost of Meat Processing Tool will allow users to calculate the cost of meat processing per meat product by summarizing the costs of animal transport, slaughter, further processing into cuts transport cost for meat pickup.
    • Guide to Marketing Channel Selection: How to Sell Through Wholesale and Direct Marketing Channels - This Nova Scotia publication is a decision-making aid for new farmers and for those considering marketing through a new channel. It focuses on the marketing of fresh produce but many of the principles apply to any agricultural product.
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    For more information about the content of this document, contact Eileen Kotowich.
    This document is maintained by Delores Serafin.
    This information published to the web on October 18, 2013.
    Last Reviewed/Revised on July 16, 2018.