Opinion: Champion The Fresh And Healthy Cause

Rosemary Gordon

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As I sit down to write this editorial, I’m looking out the window, taking note of the sunshine and warm weather: two things I enjoy most about spring. The flowers and trees are blooming and the sound of a lawn mower in the distance is again becoming a common and welcomed noise.

With the change in the weather, that also means it is time to gear up for farm market season. I have toured farm markets and shopped at them, as well, and noticed that the ones with the friendly, helpful staffs and good signage, directing patrons to freshly picked produce, always made for a pleasant shopping experience. Common sense dictates that when shopping is made easy, that encourages repeat sales.

Another thing I noted while shopping in a farm market was the convenience aspect regarding product placement. For example, some markets will place salad fixings, such as dressings and croutons, next to the tomatoes and peppers. I’ve also seen recipes next to produce, letting consumers know of all the different ways a particular vegetable can be prepared.

In addition to providing customers with different ways to prepare the food, what about taking it a step further and including calorie counts and vitamin amounts with each of those recipes? Consumers interested in losing weight and getting fit just might appreciate the gesture.

In addition to creating a pleasant, memorable, and educational shopping experience, those who promote and sell fresh produce, which includes farm marketers, are also the people providing the antidote to the obesity epidemic that continues to plague the U.S.

Local Health Food

As those involved in farm markets, farmers markets, and even small farm stands are part of the driving force behind the locally grown movement, they are also the places where consumers can get true “health food” items. Plus, it is as fresh as it can possibly be. Where else can you get produce that fresh, other than from the field itself?

Most of the people who shop at these types of markets are aware of the health benefits, the freshness factor, and the local aspect. I wonder, though, about other potential customers who haven’t connected all the dots, so to speak.

Getting your name and your produce to the consuming public who are not part of your network — or your social network — is another way to increase the number of people walking through your door. It’s great to have regulars, but it’s even better to expand your customer base. If you think about it, anyone concerned about his or her health is a potential customer.

Going Above And Beyond

As with most things, it’s about going the extra mile. With the push from the government with ChooseMyPlate.gov, the Let’s Move campaign, which was developed by first lady Michelle Obama, as well as encouragement from the Produce For Better Health Foundation, the momentum is in
your favor.

Tell us your success stories. How were you able to entice consumers who haven’t tried the farmers market experience to give it a try?

We are also interested in hearing about what didn’t work and how you learned from your mistakes.

Send me an email to the address above and tell me your stories. I’m sure marketers across the country are interested in hearing about your experiences — both good and bad.