Direct Marketing Strategies


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Direct Marketing Strategies

Regional Markets Program Lead: Laura Raymond
General Phone: (206) 256-6157 
smallfarms@agr.wa.gov

9. Direct Marketing in Washington State


Direct marketing allows farms to sell their products in a variety of ways including from the farm, at a farm stand or U-pick operation, at farmers markets, through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), agri-culinary tourism, Food Hubs, online/mail-order sales and even directly to restaurants, hospitals, grocery stores, food co-ops, and schools.

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10. Selling to Individuals: From Buying Clubs to U–Pick


Farms interested in selling directly to consumers have many options in Washington State, especially (but not exclusively) in the high population base of the Puget Sound region. This is a very dynamic and creative marketing arena and this fact sheet provides an overview to get you started. We have picked seven of the most common means of making direct sales to individuals who will eat, wear, experience, or otherwise use your farm products.

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11. Culinary Agritourism


Family farms have a long tradition of offering a taste of farm life to travelers. From cider pressing and seasonal farm stands to harvest festivals and pumpkin patches, farms offer a range of unique experiences. In recent years a new field has emerged called culinary agritourism. Culinary agritourism is a traveler's authentic interaction with farmers, growers, and chefs that lead to the discovery of geographically distinctive food and drink.

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12. Selling to Grocery Stores and Food Co–ops


Washington now has over 400 independent grocers according to the Washington Food Industry Association. In fact, Washington ranks second in the United States for the greatest number of independent grocers. These are grocery stores owned by a family, sole proprietor, or partnership.

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13. Selling to Restaurants


Restaurants and caterers can be a great place to sell products that are high quality, interesting and unusual. Washington State has many innovative chefs looking for unique products that they can incorporate into outstanding meals. Products that are hard to find through mainstream food suppliers, like heirloom or heritage products tend to be in higher demand.

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14. Selling to Schools and Other Institutions


Across the US, "farm to school" and other strategies to sell directly to institutions have grown in popularity, especially as public policy has sought to both promote healthful diets and support local farms. The precise requirements for selling to institutions vary. In general, farms need to have a volume of reliable production to sell to institutions, though several small farms are selling to institutions by finding a right-size match.

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15. Selling and Donating to Food Banks


Washington State has an emergency food system composed of over 500 regional food banks, community food pantries, and meal programs according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture Food Assistance Programs. In 2013, the emergency food system supplied food to one in five Washington residents who experienced hunger. These organizations span every community across the state. Small and direct marketing farms can help tackle food insecurity by both donating and selling to food banks.

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