Friday, May 20, 2011

Marketing: Restaurants 101 - Step One

As you have seen from our posts, this week was Chef appreciation week on Polyface. We love our restaurant and retail accounts. The tricky part is getting one as your customer.

How do you get a restaurant account?

This is a several part process.  First you have to find the right place for your products. You can't just waltz into any restaurant and market your products.  Remember how we talked about knowing your target a couple of weeks ago? Well, its the same thing with restaurants.

What I'm getting ready to share with you is all assuming that you have a good supply of product and you are able to commit to a once per week delivery. Faithfulness is absolutely imperative in becoming a good marketer to restaurants.

Before you even make that first phone call or first visit, you need to do your homework

Step One - Prepare yourself a hit list.

You need to make a list of all the restaurants in your area that would be a good match for your farm.
Look for these here:
  • Trendy magazines (Washington Post, Cosmopolitan in our area)
  • Rich friends (ask your friends who have to go to "all those dreaded wine dinners with co-workers")
  • Internet - Yes, farmers, that's right. The internet is your friend. Look up restaurants in your area online.
Start your list and look up each restaurants website.  Look at their menu, pricing, what meals they serve and read the chef's story. Look for restaurants that boast local foods and specialty products. Gather facts.  Remember this is your hit list.

Next week, I'll continue with Step Two and what to do with this list. So come back!

Food for thought:

For Farmers-
What restaurants are in your area? 
Which ones would you just love to have carry your farm products on the menu?

For Foodies - 
What is your favorite restaurant to visit? 
What do they serve there that you recommend the most?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

This Week Around the Farm...

Hey! How has your week been so far?

Here on the farm, we have had a good and productive work week. On Sunday Sheri, Brie, Wendy, and I baked all afternoon for the Polyface Chef & Retail Appreciation day, which was held Monday afternoon. It was a great experience! Brie wrote a fun post about the day earlier this week.

Also this week, we have been putting together Buying Club orders, began to process our second batch of broilers, pasture the turkeys in our turkey shade structure/feathernet, and continue to graze the pigs and move the cows every day.

What are you up to this week? :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Beautiful baby calf born

When Michael and I apprenticed at King Hill Farm in Maine we had the supreme joy of assisting sheep birth lambs. Well, we only interfered when it was desperately needed. I will always remember one momma who had triplets. She was unable to feed all three babies so I took one of them to a nice neighbor who welcomed the newborn. I fell in love with these little beings. Especially the sound of  their sweet cries. We had about 30 lambs giving birth within a two week  period. We were busy bees. I'm certain my heart opened a bit further from this powerful experience.
     This past Sunday May morning my amazing husband helped pull this calf from a young potential mother all by himself. The cows were  across the river  and every morning after chores he crosses the swinging bridge to check on them. That's when he realized he had to act fast. No way to tell how long mom had been struggling with the birth. Unfortunately the mom wasn't in the best of health and did not survive. The good news is our neighbors,  Ben and Julie Peart have two calves they're already  milking and so they were kind enough to add this little guy to the group. This was such a relief for us. Being new at Buxton we're incredibly busy. Right now we have 600 chicks in our brooder who depend on us and we only have so much to go around!I look forward to taking on an opportunity like this one in the future. As of yesterday the baby was doing just fine!

Chef & Retail Appreciation Day!

Yesterday we had 150 of our chefs, restaurant staff, and retail store personnel out to Polyface for a farm tour and lunch. We love our chefs and retail stores and wanted to show them! Here are a few pictures from the event.

Getting ready for the haywagon tour
Good-lookin' salad -
fresh herbs from the garden, beets, triple cream cheese, mustard flowers, turnips, and a lemon-thyme vinaigrette
Sheri's to-die-for 1886 Chocolate Cake

Have you ever been to a restaurant or retail store that uses Polyface products?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Discussions for The Dirty Life (Question #9 and 10)

Join our discussion of The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball

Question #9
As a new farmer, Kristin struggles with where she fits in the socioeconomic spectrum. It bothers her when a neighbor brings over some kitchen things because she thinks Kristin is needy. Later Kirstin writes that farming makes her feel rich even though she's not.
What makes people feel poor or rich?
How much is the feeling related to money?

Question #10
Why do you think Kristin goes from being a vegetarian to an omnivore after helping Mark slaughter a pig?

Further discussions:
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