The Vancouver Island Flower Farm, 10 km west of Qualicum Beach, has a farm gate booth at its entrance. Photo supplied.

Marketing pitched at next Mid Island Farmers Institute meeting

From farmgate stands to farmers market booths

Marketing is a huge skill that can sometimes be overlooked due to the technical nature of production.

Luckily, the Comox Valley has a number of options for marketing, everything from farmgate and farmers markets to wholesale distribution. Join the Mid Island Farmers Institute for a panel discussion on Marketing: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Merville Hall, 1245 Fenwick Rd.

Fiona McQuillan Onneken is the owner of Fireweed Farm on Island Highway. The fact that her farm is right on a busy thoroughfare makes her location an ideal site for farm gate sales. Similarly, Dave Semmelink recently signed his lease for land at the Ducks Unlimited site, commonly known as Comox Bay Farm. Both farmers will relate how farm gate sales can be lucrative but there are many caveats that growers should be aware of before jumping in with both feet.

Alternatively, Dave and Sandy Todd from Victorian Acres are familiar faces at the Comox Valley Farmers Market. Building clientele at a weekly market requires time off-farm, hauling equipment to the market site, and a half-day of interacting with people constantly. Dave will discuss pros and cons of marketing through an offsite market.

Lastly, Glen Beaton from StoneCroft Farm sells much of his turkey production to wholesale customers and while his farm also attends the farmer’s market he’ll describe why farmers shouldn’t discount selling wholesale.

Meetings of the Mid Island Farmers Institute are open to the general public with a suggested donation of $5. Members attend for free and Membership for 2020 is $20.

For more information, please email midislandfarmersinstitute@gmail.com or visit the Institute’s Facebook group.

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The Comox Valley Farmers’ Market comes to Cumberland every Sunday during the summer. William F Jorgensen

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