We recently asked Amy Huyffer of Strafford Organic Creamery to write us a letter of support – describing how Farmers To You has helped her farm thrive. Here is what she had to say about us:
Through Farmers to You, I currently sell a variety of dairy products including organic bottled milk and ice cream from my farm business, Strafford Organic Creamery at Rockbottom Farm. We rotationally graze a 70-head herd on 600 acres. We are proud of our land stewardship and the high quality of our dairy products. In 2001 we determined that we needed to move away from the bulk fluid milk model and improve our farm’s viability by adding value through bottling in glass, managing our own marketing, and creating our ice cream line.
While moving towards a value-added model of dairying has provided us with many advantages, marketing and market development are ongoing challenges. Working with Farmers to You has provided us with $368,152 in sales since we first started selling milk to them in June of 2010. These sales have all been within new geographic markets and a new market channel (online), with a relatively low investment of our own marketing expenses. Farmers to You is our steadiest account, which is a huge thing in a business where managing supply begins two years out with the birth of a heifer calf.
Farmers to You is good at what we aren’t. We are very good at taking care of our cows so they make amazing milk and doing as little to it as possible to pass along its goodness to consumers. We are not good at making people buy it unless they were already looking for glass-bottled milk. Farmers to You makes people care about good food. They have beautiful pictures, farmer profiles, and they just seem to understand exactly what their consumers are looking for in their relationship with the farms that make their food. It would drive me insane to have to talk with consumers all day, but the FTY folks weirdly seem to enjoy it and that lends joy to the experience of buying our stuff and everyone is happy, especially my family, who is free to be as anti-social as we like at the end of our long dirt road.
If you asked me six months ago about whether FTY selling in Vermont would net us sales, I would probably have said no, supposing that the people who would buy our milk were already buying it in stores. But then in September, I got to see another side of their operation when my best friend’s father entered hospice and I was trying to figure out how to get our milk and ice cream down to nourish her family as they celebrated the last of Ron’s life. Farmers to You solved that problem and kept her fridge stocked with healthy stuff. After her dad passed on, Bernadette took over the account and uses the deliveries as the backbone of a renewed commitment to eating great food and supporting the agricultural practices she believes in. Farmers to You doesn’t just influence the moment of decision when a consumer is choosing a product; their revolving order system makes a habit of good eating. I think that is about the strongest marketing you can get.
Strafford Organic Creamery