As a new grower in the business, “on farm” is the first level of sales to encourage. It also gives you the best price which often can be higher than the retail store prices. Take advantage of the “buy local” concept. The following ideas can help to encourage customers and sales.
- Visitors can be encouraged to drop in by having a large welcoming sign at the farm entrance to tell potential customers that you are open for business and what nuts you have for sale. Advertise your open hours.
- Set up a website and sell the nuts and your value added nut products there.
- Advertise in local newspapers, SONGNews and list yourself on the SONG website with a link to your website.
- Be prepared to sell nuts by mail order. Advertise in magazines and provide colour flyers to advertise your offerings, gift packs, etc.
- Hold open house during the growing season, give tours.
- Encourage pick your own customers.
- Get your local newspaper to do a feature article on your farm. Make your presence known in your community.
- Take advantage of holidays and offer specials including holiday nut baskets.
- Get ideas from other successful entrepreneurs to improve your marketing strategies. See some of the sites below.
- At every step, emphasize the high quality and fresh taste of your products.
Pick your own can be an entertaining fall event for families, young and old. At harvest time, provide a picnic area and sell apple cider, hot dogs and farm fresh nut desserts. Customers who want to pick their own heartnuts, butternuts, and black walnuts will need the nuts hulled and washed for them. Provide this service as part of the cost of the nuts.
As production increases, expand your sales to city markets and possibly flea markets. Market the nuts to grocery stores and fruit stands that emphasize local produce. Take your nuts to the Food Terminal in Toronto and sell them to the buyers there. Sell nut products through your local food co-operative. In the Niagara area it is the “Niagara Local Food Co-op”. Find out the price the buyers are paying for the imported product and remind them of the differences that quality and freshness makes. Crack some nuts for them to taste to show how good they are.
Most nuts will have good quality for up to a year. Before summer arrives, it is a good idea to store surplus nuts in a cooler or a freezer. The fresh taste will be maintained. If the crop is larger than you would be able to retail, then it would be wise to either wholesale the crop or develop value added products from your nuts.