What We Found at the Salmon Creek Farmers Market

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Thursdays in Salmon Creek

aberaspberriesWe love Thursdays. At Feed Us Media, it is our day to assess our week, wrap up loose ends, and start planning for the weekend. Because, who wants to work on Fridays?! Thursdays we try to get out of the office, shake the routine, see the light of day, interact with humans and get better perspective on our business, but that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, we end up burning the midnight oil to finish up projects. This Thursday, however, turned out to be a team field trip, which was much more fun than ticking away on our laptops.

We decided to attend the Salmon Creek Farmers Market. Our good friend, Ann Foster, is the founder and organizer. She has put a lot of work into making the market successful. There are over 25 vendors who sell produce, berries, plants, handmade crafts, cheese, baked goods, and yard and garden art. The market is situated in a field just off I-5 in Salmon Creek, and is very accessible to traffic.

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Salmon Creek Farmers' Markets

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Salmon Creek Farmers' Market: 45.716886, -122.657238
Salmon Creek Farmers' Market at Legacy: 45.721562, -122.648218
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Get Your Greens Here

coyoteveggiesOne vendor had an amazing display of produce. Coyote Ridge Ranch is located in Ridgefield, Washington, and in addition to market offerings, sells their produce direct to restaurants. Their table included beets, young zucchini, rhubarb, herbs, vegetable plants, and an array of more unique offerings. Celeste bought the most amazing kohlrabi that was larger than her head! She will be sharing recipes on our blog, so be sure to check back.

A new bakery in Felida, Fred’s House of the Rising Buns, offered whole grain breads, sweets, challah, and some fantastic focaccia. It was almost beyond words. You could smell the garlic as you walked up to the stand. Fred also offers biscuits, scones, pies and cakes at his Felida location. Check out his facebook page here.

Kid-Friendly

One of the most exciting parts of the market is the attention to needs of children. The market hosts a free kids craft table, and has face painting available. The vendors are very kid-friendly. One vendor, Jacki’s Heirloom Garden, took extra time and effort to introduce my children to new herbs they had never seen. She plucked leaves off plants and gave tastes to my kids. That means a lot to me, and taught my children something new about the nature that surrounds us all.

kellygoatcheeseThe market also hosts a program for kids called Produce Pals. Children participate in a scavenger hunt, and their prize at the end is a $2 token to purchase produce at the market. Two of my kids chose berries from Munoz Berry Farm, and my child with a more sophisticated palate chose goat cheese from Skamokawa Farmstead Creamery. Delicious choices, all around!

Ann has worked hard to get a good array of vendors, and there is always room for more Contact the market to get involved. This is an excellent vending opportunity for people who are just jumping into markets. Tell her we sent you!

 

 

Happy eating!

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What’s a Website Got To Do With Me?

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garden delights website on different screens

Summer is here, and there are so many opportunities to sell your product. The real question is, how do you find the right place with the right customers? Whether you are looking at farmers markets, craft fairs, or trying to jump into commercial production, the task of finding a consumer outlet can be daunting. And, even if you find the right customer, how can you be sure you have the right marketing that will sell the product for you?

Small producers and entrepreneurs often rely on word of mouth to sell their products. When I am researching small businesses, I notice that many do not have websites. This is sometimes not a problem: for instance, if a restaurant opens up in a busy part of town, they do not necessarily need a large web presence to garner business. Word of mouth, coupled with passerby curiosity, will sometimes create enough traffic to support a business. However, if a business is situated in a less travelled part of town or in a rural area, a good web presence is absolutely crucial to expand business to the right customer base. Word of mouth will simply not be enough.

socialmediatree

I also see some companies rely on a single social media outlet. This approach can definitely have its perks: it is much easier to update on one forum, and some sites can act as a proxy for a website. One business we frequent uses Facebook and Twitter in lieu of a business page. This has its benefits, but they might be missing out on customers who do not use Facebook or Twitter. Believe me, there are a lot of people out there who have no social media presence. In this case, there are drawbacks to ignoring the need for a website – the business is losing potential customers.

Think about this: if you own a company, how is your customer going to search for your business? Chances are, they will put your name into Google or Bing or a similar search engine. If you do not have a website, a search engine will have difficulty connecting your customers to you. (Claiming your Google+ account will do wonders in this situation, but that is another story for another blog post.) The last thing you want is for customers to find your business via Yelp! or another review site. The point of all this is, you want your customers to find YOU, not someone’s opinion of you. If you neglect the need for a website, you are letting the internet tell customers what to think of you… and that’s not the internet’s job! You need to tell your own story so your customers can connect in a meaningful way. THIS is why we stress the importance of a website.

This can all seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. If you need help building an attractive site, hire someone to do so. Tell your story, find the right customers, and take charge of your own success. We are rooting for you!

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A bag of compost in hand

Joe’s Place Farm – Rural Turned Urban

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Farmer Joe Beaudoin at Joe's Place FarmsI was very lucky to spend the day at Joe’s Place Farm today. My second grader had a school field trip, and going to a farm is a great reason to volunteer at school. Plus, I got to have a farm tour and chat with the owner, Joe Beaudoin.

The farm has an extensive you-pick selection, including strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, apples, plums, and peaches. After a tour, Joe let the kids pick a pint of the last of the season’s strawberries. This was a huge treat for many urban kids who have never seen how strawberry plants grow. Intertwined with thistles, plantain, pineapple weed, and dandelions, it is very clear that Beaudoin takes good care to abstain from chemical applications.

scooping up compost with the tractorMy child’s class did a science and biology experiment about compost this year. (How cool is that?! Who says public school is all work and no play?) The kids collected brown and green plant matter, as well as food scraps and worms, and made their own bags of compost. Joe took the children to the farm’s compost pile and did temperature experiments to explain just how plants decompose. He also described the connections between humus, carbon, and oil and coal. It was a fascinating discussion, especially for a group of sixty 8 year-old children. Joe let the students add their homemade compost to his pile, emphasizing the intersections of life, earth, and community. Then, the kids got to climb to the top of Compost Mountain for a little extra fun.

Joes Place Farms Farm StoreJoe’s farm is situated off an unassuming street in the heart of Central Vancouver. Established in 1971, it is now the last vestige of what used to be a vibrant agricultural belt, as the area is quickly succumbing to urban sprawl. One needs to only look across the street from the farm store entrance to see dozens of cookie cutter homes under construction. Beaudoin still owns nearly 90 acres of pristine farmland, but is facing constant pressure. Some may say that Joe’s Place Farm doesn’t “belong” in the city; but if anything, the farm has shown that people crave a glimpse of pastoral living, a sense of a simpler place in time. That is why the farm is so important to Vancouver and is worth supporting.The farm store boasts berries from the farm, as well as regional fruits and vegetables. Joe’s Place Farm has their own lines of honey, salsa and salad dressing for sale, and there is a bakery case with fresh pastries and fudge. It is a true gem in our city, and a part of our living history in Southwest Washington.

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Joe's Place Farm 45.626224, -122.555591 Joe's Place Farm, Northeast 112th Avenue, Vancouver, WA, United States (Directions)
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Check out more of my photos from the trip below.

The Dreaded Schedule: Making Peace with Time Demands

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No matter what your occupation is, time management is key. Many people struggle with keeping a good schedule and unfortunately, miss great opportunities to expand their communication networks. We at FeedUs.Media want to help! We have come up with a very simple time management schedule that we use in our own business, and you can adapt as necessary to help your business.

farmer on a tractor

In the past, we have blogged about content management, the key to staying abreast of changes and opportunities in the digital world. Small businesses especially have a difficult time with this because of budget and time restrictions: if you are busy working at your food cart all day, who has time to constantly update social media or write a blog post? And, chances are, you don’t have the budget to hire someone to do it for you. Content is SO important, and we know that you DO have time, but you have to change your perspective on how to devote that time through the power of positive thinking.

Yeah, yeah, we know. It sounds trite to say positivity can get your business where you want to be. But, if you think of every content update as a potential sale, maybe it doesn’t sound so cheesy. Social media makes content updates very easy, and it is important to keep in mind that every retweet, share, or check-in is a chance to communicate with your friends and customers. Remember, they follow your feed because they want to know what you are doing at your business! Anyone can take five minutes out of their day to update one part of their online presence. Five minutes in the morning, or a quick recap of your work day when you get home can go a long way. Maybe you had a particularly discouraging day at work – we all do sometimes. You can take a minute to ask your friends and followers to share your business page. Or maybe you can share a quick story about a good customer. Personalizing your information can help you stay focused on the positives. All it takes is five minutes!

Back to the scheduling part of your online presence: we use the following schedule in our own business, and encourage you to try it out. A little effort can go a long way to increasing your business.

farmer doing chores

Time Management Mockup Plan

  1. Daily content publishing. This can be a share, a retweet, blog. Keep the channels as open as possible to the messaging of your business. Keep it fun, interactive, informative, and relevant.
  2. Weekly objective updates of all forums. Make sure everything works, and it looks clean and neat. Be objective! Look at your site as if you were visiting the page. Does it give all the information a client needs?
  3. Monthly updates in the form of a longer blog post or seasonal update. this can also mean changing out banners or profile photos. Adding sale items can keep your information fresh and interactive. Maybe you can do a contest to get more traffic. The choice is yours, so have fun with it!
  4. Monthly blog reading about the changes to platforms.Sometimes, updates on platforms (such as Facebook) alter who sees your posts. Make sure that every month, you are taking a little time to stay on top of rule changes or new offerings. (For instance, did you know that Twitter now has embedded advertising, similar to Facebook’s “sponsored posts”?)
  5. Yearly renewals. Keep a list with passwords so you stay current! And, don’t keep a virtual list, make a physical hard copy that you can keep in a safe place. I don’t know how many times I’ve had a list on my computer that somehow gets lost.

That’s our short, simple schedule. All you have to do is make it part of your day. Remember the power of positive thinking and treat every update as a better way for your customers to find you.


FeedUs.Media wants to help! When you share our page and posts, we return the favor. One of our goals is to increase the network of creative people, agricultural and restaurant entrepreneurs, and community-minded folks. We are all in this together!

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Vancouver Business Journal Features FeedUs.Media

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Happy Friday, friends! Today we’d like to thank Nicholas Shamnac and the Vancouver Business Journal for running an article about FeedUs.Media in this week’s edition!

Founded in January, Feed Us Media works with local farmers and food producers to meet the growing demand of our region’s consumers. The company helps food businesses address a range of issues including marketing, social media, web design and product promotion.

You can check the story out online at http://www.vbjusa.com/news/top-stories/new-marketing-firm-focuses-food/ or pick up a copy of the paper at many local businesses in downtown Vancouver.

People care about where their food comes from. Just look at Millennials. They want to know the story behind what they are consuming, and they aren’t afraid to pay a premium for that…. We want to be there, ready to help producers take advantage.