People buy fruit and vegetables grown on small farms for a variety of reasons, giving you several target markets to which your produce may appeal. An increasing interest in eating healthier while learning where food comes from and how it’s grown may make selling these types of fruits and vegetables more advantageous than ever, especially if you lack direct competition. Educating your audience about the benefits of buying fresh produce from small farms rather than large production businesses is the key to successfully marketing your store.
Selling certified organic fruits and vegetables from small farms appeals to people who want to avoid pesticides and to know their food is safe to eat. To counteract the higher prices of organic produce, explain the cultivation practices small farms use in organic production to help buyers better understand the value of the food. Rely on marketing messages that explain the quality and taste of organic produce. Your messages should also continue to educate buyers about the benefits of eating food that’s not contaminated by pesticides; your message needs to appeal to people who already know this and those who are learning about going organic.
The restaurants in your region make another target market worth exploring if they like to use local fruits and vegetables. Look for restaurants that feature changing menus based on availability of seasonal produce. Some restaurants may use a variety of small farm products and traditional wholesale produce, giving you another market to approach. Marketing messages to restaurants should stress the superior quality of the fruits and vegetables you carry.
Your area’s broader consumer base provides another large target market of people who might buy produce from small farms if they know it's available. The key to marketing to this group is to share information about how to use the fruits and vegetables you offer. Offer printouts of recipes for seasonal items, and provide nutritional value next to each item. Keep reminding buyers that you offer a variety of fruits and vegetables so they know you carry what they need year-round.
Encouraging people to shop for local foods gives you an additional target market that appreciates more of a personal relationship while supporting local farms and the stores that represent them. Talk about the small crops of specialty fruits or vegetables that are not available elsewhere to help shoppers realize the value of eating these local foods. Telling stories about the farms that grow the produce gives you a way to educate consumers about the nutritional value of the food while also encouraging support of the businesses that grow the goodies.