In July 2008, Long & Scott Farms was featured on the cover of Florida Grower to highlight the unique retail marketing and agri-tainment offerings on the farm. We recently caught up with the owner of the Zellwood-based business Hank Scott to get an update on what’s new on the farm.
Q: What are some of your new offerings intended to draw people out to the farm since our last visit?
A: We have added Scott’s Country Cafe serving breakfast and lunch to our customers at the farmers’ market and other attractions. In the maze area, we have added a 40-foot by 60-foot jumping pillow, a zip line, a putting green, and we’ve opened the permeated tree maze for all maze guests. Finally, we have reintroduced our community supported agriculture membership program called the “Produce Club.”
Q: Is having a diversity of things to do important to the success of a venture like yours?
A: It is an inexpensive great day of fun for families that supplies a small percentage to our gross revenues, which is nice. But the main reason we do this is to promote our industry and educate our future consumers (kids) and allow them to learn in a fun way. We show the kids what is involved in growing the food they depend on.
Q: How much of your motivation for doing this has to do with the money side and how much to do with the fact that you really enjoy it?
A: It is a lot of work and a sacrifice of the weekends. In addition, it is a challenge to secure enough help to run everything smoothly. But, I would say it has more to do with the satisfaction of giving people a fun outing. We are giving young kids an opportunity to learn a work ethic that will hopefully last them a lifetime, while the parents spend a little money. And, some of the adults learn about agriculture here, too.
Q: Social media has risen to new heights since we last met in 2008. How important has social media been in helping you promote your market and other offerings?
A: Social media has not only taken away the need to spend too much on advertising, but also we would never be able to get as much information out through any other means. Plus, this is how we can increase our coverage — far more than normal advertising. It is immediate messaging to all your customers as well as potential customers.
Q: Do you think what you’ve done on the farm with the public has helped educate people and give them a greater appreciation of agriculture?
A: There is no doubt. We see this through the comments and compliments we hear from customers. And, we see it in the fact that customers return. The feedback through social media — good and bad — is a big help to our efforts. Every year, we have a new theme and educational questions to complement the theme, which are designed to be in line with school curriculums.