Carrot Cashflow: Ray Tyler – Creative Ways to Sell More Product to More Customers (CC03)

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Episode Summary

When one of your main sales outlets is an online farm store, one of the biggest challenges is predicting how much vegetables you can put in your inventory and making sure you’re able to deliver that amount. But what if there’s too little, how do you handle shortages? If there’s too much, is there a market stream to absorb the excess?

In this episode of Carrot Cashflow, we’re talking to farmer Ray Tyler of Rose Creek Farms to share how they’re able to sell all their produce through different market streams and creative selling strategies.

Today’s Guest: Ray Tyler

             Ray Tyler is the founder and head farmer at Rose Creek Farms, profitably growing on an acre of land in Selmer, Tennessee, all the while providing livelihood to several families. Apart from growing wholesome food, Ray also provides consulting services on how to grow food on efficient systems.

            Rose Creek Farms – Store Website | Instagram | Facebook

            Rose Creek Farm Education

           

In this episode of Carrot Cashflow:

  • Diego introduces the episode’s guest,
  • Diego introduces the episode’s guest, Ray Tyler (00:33)
  • Keep an eye out for Diego’s upcoming book: Ready Farmer One: The Farmer’s Guide to Design, Create, and Market an Online Store (01:35)
  • A breakdown of Rose Creek Farms’ sales outlets (02:38)
  • Projecting future farm sales with the pandemic easing up (04:14)
  • Things to consider if you’re planning on doing online sales (08:08)
    • What Ray does when they’re short on vegetables for online orders (10:43)
  • Ray Tyler’s advice for accurately predicting inventory (12:30)
  • How accurately can Ray Tyler predict his inventory? (15:15)
  • Advantages of religious note-taking and record-keeping (17:23)
  • How the farm store has been like for Ray Tyler at Rose Creek Farms (21:00)
  • Implementing an on-farm self-checkout system (23:50)
  • A subscription model for the online farm store (28:50)
  • Time off to take care of yourself and the family (35:00)
  • Successfully drawing people to the farm and the farm store (36:06)
  • Where to find and keep in touch with farmer Ray Tyler (39:05)

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CC03 - Ray Tyler

[00:00:00] Diego Footer: Carrot Cashflow. Profitable farm business starts here. Today, I'm talking to Ray Tyler about some of the unique ways he's came up with to sell products off of his farm.

[00:00:28] Welcome to Carrot Cashflow. I'm your host, Diego, DIEGO. And Ray's doing some really interesting things to try and get his product into the hands of more customers. One thing to keep in mind when you listen to this episode is Ray�s not located in some bustling metropolis. He's not just outside New York city. He's in rural Tennessee in a small town that you think might not have a large appetite for local food, but it does.

[00:00:58] And the key was rages had to find ways to tap into that local marketplace and get food into the hands of people who want to buy it. And he's doing that in some unique ways, like a self-service kiosk at his online farm store, that's open 24 7 and a unique modified CSA, which he calls his seasonal farm bag.

[00:01:18] It's a program that makes it more advantageous for the farmer and the customer. There's a lot of great little tips and tricks that you can implement on your farm in this one, whether you're a veg farmer or a livestock farmer. I think these sales models could be easily adapted to any style of farm.

[00:01:35] Before we get into this one, just want to make a quick announcement. My new book, Ready Farmer One: the farmer's guide to design create and market an online store will be out very shortly. It's going to cover everything from online farm store logistics, to delivery and fulfillment to marketing and social media promotion. Stay tuned for more updates on that in the very near future. Now let's jump right into it with farmer Ray Tyler.

[00:02:09] Ray Tyler: Hey, my name is Ray Tyler, and along with me and my wife, we own and run Rose Creek farms here in west Tennessee, smallest town of Selmer, and we grow seasonal vegetables, 52 weeks, under an acre of cultivation. And we've really specialized in having consistent greens year-round and other seasonal produce.

[00:02:38] Diego Footer: Given that you're farming year-round here in Tennessee, you don't get intense winters down there. What does your market streams look like on your farm, blending farmer's markets wholesale online. How do the percentages break down?

[00:02:54] Ray Tyler: Currently, to which we've gone through a major change in the past 12 months as I'm sure every farmer has, but we've gone almost completely away from wholesale, so we may be at 20% wholesale, we have a few grocery stores and some other occasional wholesale outlets.

[00:03:19] Then I would say a good. Probably 60% is farmer's markets. And then the other 20% is online. That's what we're at right now currently. Now last year during the peak of COVID, we were a good 50 to 60% online.

[00:03:41] Selling online doing home deliveries. And then the other, I would say around 40% was farmer's markets. And our wholesale completely stopped except for one or two grocery stores, but which was not pretty much at all. But a lot of our other wholesale accounts completely stopped. And the online was a massive part. And that really played a big role in kind of shifting and pivoting our market outlets sales.

[00:04:14] Diego Footer: With the end of the pandemic and things opening up in the US, how do you view the future of online sales for your farm? Do you think a lot of the customers that you have will be sticky or do you think that when everything opens, they'll go back to their old ways, and you'll get a big drop-off in online customers?

[00:04:35] Ray Tyler: It's hard to say around here with our market, with our kind of clientele last, during the pandemic, we did offer free home delivery. And as you can imagine, a lot of people took advantage of that. And this year we started charging for that, because obviously we knew we weren't going to be doing that as a loss, but it's like our way of helping.

[00:04:57] And doing our part to, Hey, we're going to make this as easy on you as possible. And we felt like we had the money because at wholesale we're Lil, literally we were getting half the price versus retail. So we have a little bit of play in there, but once you start doing your labor for drivers in your vehicle. At the end of the year, we saw really to make this profitable either we got to raise our prices on our vegetables, or we need to charge.

[00:05:26] And so we did start charging again for home deliveries. We definitely saw a really big drop-off, which was okay because doing online sales, if you don't have the right team, can be challenging logistically. So having an�and we just got a new pack ship manager, so we were cleaning her. And so we wanted, we were doing 150 customers plus.

[00:05:56] The farmer's market, which was just exploded for us. So it was a lot to do with just a few people running this farm. So I would say going forward, we're not sure to be honest. It was great, and it still is. It still is great right now, but I think that there's two things. One is selling online, takes a good bit of organization.

[00:06:27] And fairly organized people who are geared to quality control, double checking their work. If you miss an order, you have to do a refund or they want you to drive back out. It can just be problematic with customer service. So you need to either be talented in that field or have somebody on your farm who can do that work for you.

[00:06:51] Where say, if you go to a farmer's market, you bring what you have. And once the sale is done, you don't really ever hear back from a customer again. But the great thing about online is once they place that order, it's paid for and what you harvest and pack that order for online, there's zero waste. So if you go to the farmer's market, it's a gamble every week.

[00:07:17] You have a good sensor keeping track of what's selling and what's not, it can change based on holidays. Does it rain? Is it too hot? Is it too cold? There's a lot of variables with manning and managing farmer's market sales. Where online it's like before you harvest the first. It's already been paid for, and you know exactly what you're doing.

[00:07:42] Diego Footer: I'm glad you brought up the complexity side of things because that's something that's came up in a lot of interviews that I've done with farmers. I think people think selling online is passive. And while the sale transaction is passive, the doing the inventory is not, and the fulfillment of workers is also not passive.

[00:08:04] And I love that you said it takes an organized person to do this. Like for somebody considering doing this, realistically, where are some of the spots that you've found over the last 12 plus months of doing this? Okay. If you're going to do this, you really need to think about these areas. You alluded to some of them like, detailed oriented.

[00:08:24] Ray Tyler: Yeah. Some of the big things is going to be like what you said, inventory. And that is, so let's just say, you're trying to guess to, let's just say you set up your inventory on a Wednesday for the following week's pick list, because we like to give our clients a good five days to order. So let's just say, if you put up there a hundred bunches of kale, right? You sold out, you stop it, but you really miscalculated, and you only had 65.

[00:09:01] So now you've got to figure it out. What are you going to do with those 35 bunches of kale that you oversold? And that's obviously a big difference, but if you do that to enough items, even if you're, even if you're one or two off, it can be chaotic in the whole� Farming is like an orchestra. You've got harvesters and pickers and you're seeding and you're planting and you're doing crop walks and you're trying to make sure this, all these veggies aren't healthy and right.

[00:09:30] And so what happens when over the weekend, your irrigation doesn't go off and something just fries and bolts or something happens. So there's a lot of, and that can be very chaotic for your team when they're trying to harvest. In our case in the summertime, our harvest window stops at 10. It's just too hot to harvest.

[00:09:54] It's wilted, right? Most of the time, they're not packing those orders until the afternoon. And so they realize, oh my goodness, we're 10 head short of butter lettuce, but it's too late to harvest. What are you going to do? So a lot of this comes down to what I mean, being organized is you'd really have to make sure that you're very precise on what you're guaranteed to have, and that you need to make sure that pick list is organized ahead of time early in the morning, before your team gets there.

[00:10:30] So when they get there, they have the list and they're hitting it. They're harvesting right away. They're not waiting around for you to get all your pick list and all your orders together.

[00:10:43] Diego Footer: Let me pause you there. Let�s say we use that kale for example, and they're out there harvesting kale and they know, all right, I got to pick a hundred bunches, and they only get the through the bed and they have 65. Do you have some sort of procedure in place? Hey, let Ray know now.

[00:10:59] Ray Tyler: Yes. Yes. Like as soon as typically peop�like our team, the longer our team members are with us, they realize how, when they're short, how big of a problem it can cause in our whole day. And so if they got a handful of bands in, because the way we harvest is if you're buying, we like a bunch in the field.

[00:11:23] If you're a three, if you're three quarters through the bed, but you got half your rubber bands left, you're like, Ooh, we�re gonna be short. And usually they're calling me or the farm manager to assess, Hey, are, did we get carried away? Did we pick too much? Or some cases on the weekend, we can get a massive insect infestation, and they can devour a half a bed very rapidly.

[00:11:48] And so those kinds of things they know, Hey Ray, what are we doing? And so, that's when I'll make a call of, okay, let's make a bunch of smaller or maybe, maybe we need to substitute kale for collards, and we'll let our customers know that there's a few things we can do. But the biggest thing is that we need to be notified right away so we can make the call as fast as possible.

[00:12:14] Diego Footer: One thing that's came up a lot is doing that inventory estimation and you teach new farmers, you've consulted with a lot of farmers. You're farming probably close to 10 years now. Like you have a lot of experience. What advice would you give to people to predict inventory further weeks when you have to factor in, growing conditions, insect pressure, disease, pressure, human error. Are there some just rules of thumb that you can use to say, okay, here's what it is.

[00:12:52] Ray Tyler: What I like to do is I like to�if I think I'm going to have a hundred bunches, I like to say I have 75. So I like to put inventory about 75% of what I think I'm going to have, if that makes sense.

[00:13:08] What happens is usually myself or the farm manager. We like to do first thing Monday morning or Tuesday. Now that will cause we've changed it to Tuesday. Used to be Monday it's we'll do prop wall. So first thing, like 5:30 I'm I am I'm out there looking, seeing that there's any damage over the weekend.

[00:13:34] There's anything that looks iffy. Maybe some wilting, yellowing of leaves. And then I'll try to make that call before, but I found that kind of general principle really helped alleviate a lot of these being short. And is it just great thing about having�

[00:13:58] I was going to say, this is what's great about having a farmer's market or online or an on-farm store, because if you just playing on selling 75% of what you think you have, that 25 or oftentimes less can go to farmer's markets or other things. So you're not wasting that product. Now, if you're a hundred percent online, it could be a very challenging task to try to perfectly predict a week in advance what you're going to have.

[00:14:34] Especially if you're in a volatile climate, you're either getting lots of rain, lots of heat and fluctuates back and forth. You're not in a factory. So there's nothing certain you can't count anything being exactly how you. This is why I like to have a few outlets of sales �causeit hedges your bets and may a lot of your fulfillment a lot less stressful. Growing is easy, selling it, getting it into people's hands, that's where the work is at.

[00:15:12] Diego Footer: Feel free to toot your own horn here. But with your experience, do you think you can walk a bed and say, this is about what I should get out of it and be reasonably close?

[00:15:28] Ray Tyler: I can be, I can be within five pounds.

[00:15:31] Diego Footer: So that�s just time and experience of doing this, people should get better over time.

[00:15:35] Ray Tyler: Let's say if I walk a bed of arugula, and I can tell we're going to get 80 pounds off that bed, but then if I look closer, maybe underneath, cause we've had a lot of cloudy weather and maybe I see a little bit of mold down below and I'm not going to harvest it, so my team is going to harvest this.

[00:15:56] And they're going to be a little conservative on making sure that they don't get any of the yellow leaves or mold. And I know it's gonna be a lot less. So this is why you want, when you're doing the crop walk, you can't just do it overall. You have to get on your hands and knees and really look at the health of that crop.

[00:16:21] Let us know next out. And if I can tell that's going to be 125 pound bed, a hundred pounds, 150. Or maybe it's a 75. Maybe we've had a lot of overcast weather and maybe my fertility and my bed was off. And I can just tell it's stressed. It's not going to make, but maybe 60, but that comes from there's no way to teach someone in a workshop or a book, how to predict your yield exactly.

[00:16:55] And this is why you should get a lot of that. And just the whole 10,000 hour rule, right? A lot of new growers it's, you're going to get better every year. You'll get better and better. But what you want to do for those early years is you want to have an outlet that is the easiest way to get your product paid for.

[00:17:21] Diego Footer: How important do you think notes are in this learning curve? It's one thing to, to say, here's what I harvested. It's another thing to know. Okay. Here's what I guessed. Here's what it came out to. I was underestimating or yield was low compared to what was expected and here's why. To start fine tuning that lens that you have as a farmer.

[00:17:42] It�s like the mold issue or overcast, I only got 60 pounds of salanova. A year later, you might look back and say, I only got 60. Why was that? Was it fertility? Was it overcast? If you don't keep track of these things, you can't know what to look for going forward.

[00:17:58] Ray Tyler: Yes. That's very such a great point. And this is so we keep track of every crop we grow and harvest. And so we keep track of the variety, when it was seeded, transplanted, harvested, and the yield, even how much fertility we put on that bed. So we're always like in, in my case, I do a lot of unconventional soil and even plant foliar applications.

[00:18:32] Especially in the summertime to overcompensate for the amount of heat stress that our plants receive. And so I found a lot of nutritional things have been very successful for us. And the only way we've been able to track this is for the past three years, three plus years, we've kept track of every bed.

[00:18:56] We can see the progression of yield and then we can see the wow, this bed, this field for the past year. And it has way underperformed, everything else. Why is it because that bed didn't drain and then this is where we'll really break them. Okay. Let's take soil tests on every single bed let's look at, let's go out there and the point rain and make sure that those beds are draining properly.

[00:19:27] But you don't really know because when you're in the thick and things are just turning and burning and you're trying to avoid crew burnout, it's hard to really analyze what is going wrong. There's a lot of moving parts and pieces on a farm, especially in the summertime. We moved $400,000 of produce last year, all on quarters of an acre.

[00:19:48] It's a lot of food to move. And we did that on five day in our workday. And there's not a lot of time to sit and analyze everything, but if you're keeping track of yields and problems, then you can go back and try and address some of those things. And that's what we're doing now. There's always a bed or maybe a tunnel or a block that has issues.

[00:20:14] And so the only way we know is by our record keeping, and this is where record keeping is really important. And I don't do them. I have someone else do that for me. It's numbers, but that's been really important for us in increasing our yield year after year.

[00:20:38] Diego Footer: I like what you said about underestimating or under promising on the inventory side to account for that learning curve. I also love the idea of a blended approach. Like you're going to underestimate, you're going to have surplus to make the business work. You're going to need to sell that surplus, so you need to have outlets for it. One outlet that you have is your online farm store. How has that worked for you? I've heard mixed reactions from people who have them.

[00:21:07] Ray Tyler: We live and where this next and come out there to that farm store and load up on produce. And so it's something that I've always wanted to have. And then last year we just�last two years, I would say, every week we would always get, Hey, can I just come in? No, you've got an old pre-order or come to a market.

[00:21:30] But not everybody is that organized. We live in a society where we're�everyone's pretty busy and unless you're really organized homemaker, and you can place your order on time or make it to the market on Saturday, it can be difficult to like play by the rules of farms, small scale farmers.

[00:21:49] And so what we decided was let's buy a cooler. We didn't want to spend five or $10,000 on the store because we didn't know if anybody would even show up because we live so far out there. So we just bought a cooler, put it outside, up against the wall. Stocked it. And I made a Facebook ad that I had on reoccurring every day.

[00:22:14] And just people came out of the woodwork. We were shocked how much traffic we were getting, and we weren't really loading it with everything that we had. It was like the top 10, 15 items that we sell the most of. And then we found the more we have, the more people bought. And so it came to the point where it's about it is that we don't have to go anywhere open 24/7.

[00:22:45] On our system, we have a really easy system that makes it very simple for people to check out and people love that flexibility of, Hey, I can go there any time. And we like it because we don't have to be there mainly the booth, having someone checking out. And there's a market we used to go to Jackson, Tennessee.

[00:23:08] It's a town of 70,000 people and we do more weekly at our farm store than we did at that farmer's market or on our on-farm store. And it is so easy for us to manage. Yeah, I'm sure people have stolen things, but it's extra. It's going to be okay. But when we look at our dollar sales, it's something that we want to do well.

[00:23:35] Diego Footer: For the honor system. One thing that attracted me to what you were doing was having�people say, oh, I got ya. Sorry. You locked up there for a minute.

[00:23:45] Ray Tyler: There was a little bit of lag on my end, possibly. Okay.

[00:23:50] Diego Footer: Let me just�I'll ask you a question here. One of the things that I like that you were doing, I saw on your Instagram, was you enabled people to self-checkout on a tablet register POS type device. So it's not just like coffee can put the money in. How has, can you talk about that system and how it's worked for you?

[00:24:11] Ray Tyler: Yeah, we have just the iPads set up and there's this app called KioskBuddy. And it's an app that uses Square as the backend. So it's like an ad-on app that you would use where, so it's using the Square payment system and you can go into Square and you can upload your product, the pricing, pictures on the Square, and then it links to KisokBuddy.

[00:24:41] And that KisokBuddy is just, it's very easy for people to go in there. They have is a big kind of a thumbnail kind of grid where they can slack on the vegetable. So there's a picture of radishes or carrots or a head lettuce. And so visually they can match the produce on the KisokBuddy to what they have in their hand, because I'll just be honest.

[00:25:03] There's a lot of people who don't know the difference between Greenleaf lettuce and romaine lettuce. You'd be shocked in this area. And so having those pictures, it just makes it very easy and they just, they select on there. And then as they click that picture, then it has a dropdown. How many did you get?

[00:25:28] I got this. Or say if it's salad mix, you click salad mix. It's a picture of salad mix. And it'll say, what size did you get? Was it a one pound bag, or was it a third pound bag? And they select that. And once they select those buttons. It automatically adds up to this, to the side of their shopping cart, total and big button checkout, and then they have their card.

[00:25:54] They can do Apple pay. It's just, it's pretty easy to check out. We've only had a handful of older people who needed help knowing how to use that system. My 11 year old can just, it was easy for her to just go there and figure it out on her own. And then what's great about that is that there's discount codes.

[00:26:16] So let's just say, if we wanted, let's say if our team members. We want to give them free produce. They can just put on there, the code that we gave them, and they can get free produce or a discount or whatever it is. So that Square has made it very easy. There's no cash. So we're not taking any cash payments.

[00:26:36] Yeah. I guess someone could rip out the iPad possibly. Like we're about this mindset of believing that most people are good or at least have good intentions. And so for us, it was really a way of making this easy for a local community in Selmer in our county, because there's nothing like it near us.

[00:27:00] And we'll get in a lot of out-of-town people coming, who are used to more of these kinds of conveniences and options. And so it just felt like the right thing to do at the right time. But it's been, we were very skeptical, very reserved on this doing any good at all. But I wish we had done this five years ago, honestly, because it's been so easy for us to manage it.

[00:27:27] No work, hardly any questions, and we're making sales without hardly any work at all. Not to attend a market. We don't have to print off orders. Pick lists is, Hey, we've got 25 pounds of head lettuce left over. Let's package it and put it in the walk-in and the farm cooler. So we're in the process currently, as we speak on making this area.

[00:27:55] Like, we poured concrete, we're going to put nice little wood sign in there, have some bins where we can buy some other produce from other farmers, things like sweet potatoes and some different kind of storage crops that we can have on hand. Just making it more of a one-stop shop kind of thing.

[00:28:16] Diego Footer: Do you keep a separate inventory for that cooler or is the cooler the inventory? Like, it's full and when it's gone or do you have that inventory also tied into your online store inventory?

[00:28:30] Ray Tyler: No, there's no inventory that on that on-farm store is literally what's left over. So right sorts. Like I'm projecting under what I think we're going to have.

[00:28:43] And then the rest will go to market or to that on farm on our system. There's one more thing I want to add in there is that for our online store, we have a subscription model. So this is something that I really like. So last year, last summer decided to give my wife a one year kind of sabbatical. So I, and she built the shop.

[00:29:08] Our online store four years ago, she started, we started dabbling with it, right when Jeff Bezos bought Whole Foods, we paid attention and went, if this guy is buying online guys buying organic food store, and they're planning on selling food on Amazon, it is time for us to get in the game.

[00:29:33] And so like the month he bought Whole Foods, we opened an online store just to get our feet wet. So by the time the pandemic hit, my wife already had the whole system basically, and we just scaled it up. So when she left, I didn't want to do all the individual customized orders. So I found this subscription model.

[00:29:57] It's like a plugin that we use for our online store and basically what it is. It's like a CSA, but they pay weekly. They can pause and cancel anytime, and we can too. There's no commitment for either side. And so it's a reoccurring order. So it recharges their card once a week. And then we tell them that your farm bag, what our main one is like changes weekly based on what's in season.

[00:30:33] It�s like a CSA, but they're not prepaying ahead. So it's very low risk for them. And then say in the middle of the season, if we want to take a break, we're not tied down to, oh, we can't take off because we have CSA. So it's been a good way for us to balance those sales. And it's significant part of our Shopify, our online store, these weekly subscription bags.

[00:30:59] And so we can update our online store with inventory 25% below what we think we'll have. And that means come Monday morning, I'll update our subscription bags based on how I know what I know for a fact what's available. So let's just say kale is running short. That's fine. We'll put collards in a subscription bags this week.

[00:31:24] So it gives me a lot of flexibility in whatever's left over after our hard sales online. Then I take the rest and I make farm bags with that. If that makes sense. Yeah.

[00:31:38] Diego Footer: So that's maybe a good option for somebody who was just selling online to absorb some of that surplus, like you talked about earlier.

[00:31:45] Ray Tyler: That's right. That's right. And some people may be like, Hey, I like the idea of a CSA, but I just don't feel confident to sell 20 weeks out, produce right. This is like my second year and last year was a sketchy year, and I need those sales, but I don't know if I I'm confident enough to promise 50 members, 20 weeks� worth of food. That's okay.

[00:32:12] Just get them on reoccurring orders. And when you feel like you need a break, you just, you can pause it, pause the whole system, let them know. And then before you unpause it just, Hey, next week, we're back on just letting you know that we're going to start charging your card again next week. And just when we enter the whole system.

[00:32:33] So it's really easy and it's easy thing to sell to because the client who's unsure about this whole CSA local food thing, they can just try this week by week. Now I personally like the CSA model, but I'm the only person on our team who likes that. So there's a lot of, there's a lot of moving pieces in us making decisions, so this has been a good compromise.

[00:33:05] Diego Footer: So just to clarify the model here, so the model is customer signs up, they or you can pause it at any time. It's X dollars per week, and each week, you create a basket at your district discretion to give them X dollars� worth of whatever produce you want to put in there.

[00:33:28] Ray Tyler: Correct. Yep.

[00:33:30] Diego Footer: Yeah. I like the idea.

[00:33:31] Ray Tyler: That�s right. It's very simple. It's very simple. There's no newsletters for those. There's no keeping up with�CSA can be very difficult to manage, and I know there's apps out there to help you manage it, but they take a big cut of your week. Again, this is something that's been very efficient for our model in our scale

[00:33:56] Diego Footer: Is that customer pickup at your farm store?

[00:33:58] Ray Tyler: �and our customers just like it. Yes. They pick up that farm. Yep. We also deliver there's a lot of ways we do that, but that's been really popular and something that we think we want to grow. It's very, as every farmer knows, it's very easy to plan and plant for a CSA. If you have a hundred members, it's dream trying to plan for that.

[00:34:30] Whereas, if you're doing grocery stores or online or a farmer's market, you don't know what they're going to want about. Three or four months from now. Last year, the craze was a broccolini. This year, they don't want that. They want the red kale. And so this really blends the CSA model without the commitment for them and for us.

[00:35:00] Because one thing I do that's a little bit different is when my team, anybody on my team gets tired, or if I think they're about to get burnout, I give them time off. It's not a, you can't take time off till two weeks till a break. It's Hey, if our team just that, or they need a breather, we're shutting it down. And so this gives me that flexibility that I feel like it's very valuable to our principle, as we're more than just growing food.

[00:35:31] We're providing for families livelihood at our farm. And so their personal health and their family's time is really valuable for us. And so this has just been a great balance and compromise and a mix of both. So anyway, that's plugged into our online sales, and it's another way to move that excess produce, that extra 25 that's a play to� No farmer wants to throw away produce. So we throw away very little, we use and sell everything we can grow.

[00:36:06] Diego Footer: When you launch that on-farm store, you mentioned putting some ads out there. What do you think was ultimately successful in drawing people to the farm? This is another big question that comes up a lot. How do I get new customers to come to my on-line store or come to my farm store? What works for you?

[00:36:23] Ray Tyler: I think getting that in a video done and just getting ads out to a very small location, like 10 miles around the farm. So we weren't trying to get all the people that drive. We were trying to get people. Basically our neighbors to go, Hey, we're here.

[00:36:46] If you're new to the area, there's this. And you're like, there's a farmer's market in our small town, but it's mainly like hobby, backyard people selling, but it's just, it was more of us getting a message out of, Hey, we're your local neighborhood farmer. Come see us.

[00:37:05] And so I think, and obviously we're doing, we're always putting out content and posts mainly through Facebook. So our local demographic is pretty heavy on Facebook, especially the older population. And that helped also, we had some local newspapers come out. And do some articles, the chamber of commerce came out. So this is something very different for our county. There's not much going on.

[00:37:35] And so for them, they've been watching this for 12 years, and I think this was like, whoa, this is great because we don't want to do the online. We don't want to go drive all the way out to Jackson or Franklin farmer's market. We just want to come to your farm and pick up. And if they want to walk around the farm, they can do that as well. And so I think. Just getting people to tell that story, be a part of, Hey, there's a really cool thing happening in our backyard. Go check it out.

[00:38:01] But I had an ad go out that basically it was every day for 30 days and that really jumped, started the conversations back into the spring. And that's one thing I think, to notice you want to do this at your peak. So in may. Everything. We have tomatoes and peppers and lettuce, and we have all the summer crops because we plant them early and we have all the winter spring stuff.

[00:38:32] So we have everything that we grow is ready for sale. So when they come to the store, they're going to get the most options. And that's what you want. If all you have is head lettuce, they may not make that drive again. But if you got lettuce and spinach and arugula and peppers and beets, radishes, and okra and onions, people want to come back.

[00:39:00] Diego Footer: Love what you're doing down there, Ray. You do a lot of teaching, you do a lot of consulting for people that want to learn more about what you're doing or follow along with what you're doing. Where's the best place to go?

[00:39:13] Ray Tyler: Yeah, probably just my website, which is www.RoseCreekFarms. I'm sorry, that's my website, www.RoseCreekFarms.net. And that's like my personal page where we have a lot of that's what we'd be posting events and courses and different things where they can find out more about what I do. And then if people want to check out our online store, that is www.RoseCreekFarmStore.com, and they can see our online store. All these different options that we've mentioned is on there.

[00:39:51] Diego Footer: There you have it. Farmer Ray Tyler of rose Creek farms. If you want to learn more about what Ray's doing, you can follow him on Instagram, use the link below. And if you'd like to learn more about sales and marketing, get ready, my new book, Ready Farmer One: the farmer's guide to design create and market and online store will be out very shortly.

[00:40:14] It's a book that I've worked on for the past year, and I'm really, really excited about it. Stay tuned for more on that book in the weeks ahead. Thanks for listening to this episode. I hope you enjoyed it, but more importantly, I hope you do something with the information in this episode to make a more profitable farm business.

[00:40:36] I'm Diego. And until next time, be nice. Be thankful and do the work.

 

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