Category Archives: Marketing & Sales

Q&A with Member Dave Pratt: Ranching (and Farming) for Profit and A New Book Release!

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Boots on the ground learning! Summer course 2013, Laramie, WY

This week we’re honored to spotlight one of our members, Dave Pratt of Ranch Management Consultants. Dave has taught the Ranching for Profit School in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia and Africa, and is a respected authority on sustainable ranching. As a former Range & Livestock Advisor with UC Cooperative Extension for 14 years, and having grown up on a small ranch and worked for cattle and sheep ranchers, Dave has done a lot of research on management intensive grazing and strategic issues impacting the sustainability of ranches.

Over the years, he has earned a reputation for innovative teaching with a practical edge. Dave was instrumental in developing the Sustainable Ranching Research & Education Project, a large-scale, long-term effort to develop, research and demonstrate economic, environmental and socially sustainable ranching practices.

In 1991 Dave started working with Stan Parsons, who created the Ranching for Profit School and founded Ranch Management Consultants. In 1999 Dave became CEO of Ranch Management Consultants, Inc., and just released his first book “Healthy Land, Happy Families and Profitable Businesses: Essays to Improve Your Land, Your Life and Your Bottom Line“.

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Cottage Food Law 101 ~ Cooking Up Business From Your Farm or Home Kitchen

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Are you a farmer wanting to produce value-added items? Are you a food entrepreneur looking to expand your business? If you are, listen up! This past year, farmers and food entrepreneurs across CA rejoiced in the new Homemade Food Act (also known as the Cottage Food Act).

The first of its kind in the state, this law has opened the doors for many home cooks and farm businesses looking to expand into value-added products, to use their talents and often abundant harvest, to earn extra money and access new markets.

The law allows producers to sell their goods at farmers markets, in online stores, to wholesalers, in community supported agriculture (CSA) shares, and elsewhere. Without many of the restrictions that govern larger producers, this law aims to stimulate small-scale enterprise development and local economies, without requiring commercial kitchen space or lengthy zoning and regulatory measures!

However, it’s not just a free for all! There are still guidelines and limitations to what and how something is produced. Here at FarmsReach, we created a quick and easy info sheet on the basics of starting a Cottage Food Operation. The following are some highlights. For full details, visit our Cottage Food Law 101 Info Sheet in the Marketing & Sales Toolkit.

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How Do You Set Your Prices? ~ Advice from the Folks at the UCCE Foothill Farming Program

cooking, Eva Antczak, farmers market, Marin, market-to-table, organic, Shanti ChristensenIMG_2931

This blog first appeared on the UCCE Foothill Farming website on August 20, 2013.  The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Foothill Farming program works in partnership with farmers and ranchers across Placer and Nevada Counties to provide a range of educational training programs and workshops, farmer-to-farmer mentoring and a wide variety of events and networking opportunities.

Written by Molly Nakahara, Specialty Crops Program Representative, UCCE Foothill Farming Program.

“Set your own prices.” This piece of advice, given to me by a seasoned fruit and vegetable farmer, has proven to be one of the critical foundations of my own farm business. So, here’s a test for all of you business savvy farmers out there: What is the secret message, the subtext, the implied meaning in this great guiding sales principle?

I’ll give you a hint: It does not mean you should set prices to what you think your customers will like, or set prices based on prices at the grocery store. Any ideas?  YES!  You’ve got it: KNOW YOUR COSTS! It means set your prices based on the true costs of production. If you can embrace this concept, it will become one of the most influential tools of analysis you will use on your farm.

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Market to Table: Marin Civic Center Farmers’ Market

It’s foggy in San Francisco, but over the Golden Gate Bridge and through the rainbow (tunnel), it’s sunny and blue skies. Eva and I had a hankering for a market-to-table meal, so we drove out to the Marin Civic Center Farmers’ Market (California’s third largest farmers’ market) to hob nob with organic farmers and ranchers, local chefs, gourmet-food purveyors, and a lot of wide-eyed hungry appetites. Our goal was to create a simple, fresh meal using recipe ideas from the market purveyors.

cooking, Eva Antczak, farmers market, Marin, market-to-table, organic, Shanti ChristensenIMG_2945

 

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Community Picks: Farm-Fresh Online Grocery Delivery

For our second edition of Community Picks, we’re highlighting companies taking farm-direct CSAs to the next level by offering customized farm-fresh online grocery delivery — sourced from local and sustainable farmers, ranchers and artisanal processors.

It’s a tough business juggling perishable products and delivering to a customer with discerning tastes.  Here’s to the folks finding solutions that bring more profits to local producers, tasty fresh food to the customer, and a viable business for themselves!

Food producers and food processors:  These services may be a great place for you to sell more of your fresh produce, meat and food products!

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