Based in Mulmur, Ontario, Fiddle Foot Farm saw record sales in May during their annual seedling sale. They sold almost three times as many seedlings as they did in the past—all online!
Finding Local Line
This biodynamic farm grows a wide variety of vegetables from garlic to greens, carrots to cabbage, tomatoes to turnips, potatoes, peas, and more! Prior to Local Line, their main sales channels included their 150 member CSA, farmers’ market, and wholesale and retail customers.
In late 2018, Amy and Graham knew they wanted to bring their business online. They were searching for online marketing and administrative tools they could use to do the following:
Streamline their wholesale order list and make it easier to manage those orders.
Allow CSA members to add items on top of their weekly CSA share.
And reach the customers who were interested in their produce but did not shop at the farmers’ market or had a CSA share.
This is when they found Local Line; it checked all their boxes!
Local Line allows them to manage wholesale orders and reach a larger customer base. The Advanced Inventory feature allows Fiddle Foot Farm to offer bulk pricing. The more a customer orders, the greater their discount!
Meeting Demand Online
When the pandemic hit Ontario in March 2020, Amy and Graham were grateful they had their online store at the ready.
“At first, in March and April, sales exploded when we didn’t have much of our own crops,” shares Amy. “Because we had an online store already set up, it was easy to add products from other producers to become a nice alternative to the grocery store for a wide selection of foods. We added everything from dairy products, fruit, honey, maple syrup, mushrooms, and more!”
Each May, Fiddle Foot Farm has an annual seedling sale. This sale normally takes place at the Farmers’ Market and on the farm, with a similar arrangement to a nursery. This year they decided to sell their seedlings fully online.
“We sold almost three times as many seedlings as we have in the past to all the keen ‘Pandemic Gardeners’ who are either planting a garden for the first time or greatly expanding their usual home vegetable gardens,” said Amy. “This was an exciting (and incredibly busy) time for us since we were also trying to get our own crops planted!”
After their success in May, sales have settled to more “normal” levels over the summer. Amy and Graham have decided not to do one of their two farmers’ markets this season. Their success from online sales has allowed them to focus on their online store instead. Fiddle Foot’s online sales have replaced the sales from that second market.
Today, their online store has increased their sales by $1,500–$2,000 per week. Even better, Amy and Graham expect this number to increase in the winter, when many markets may not be open.
Having Local Line has given Amy and Graham the opportunity to not only continue to reach their customers but meet record sales during the pandemic. They enjoy that the platform does the administration for them and allows them to sell their products at multiple markets with just one platform.
“The biggest benefit we get from Local Line is that we can list our products on multiple online marketplaces if we want,” shares Amy. “As the market we sell at has a Local Line account, we are able to list our products seamlessly on their store without having to manage a separate inventory. This really helps broaden the reach of where we are selling and connect with new customers.”
As we continue to move forward, out of lockdown, Amy and Graham aim to continue to provide a safe and reliable selection of locally grown organic food. “We want to be a steady option for those looking for an alternative to the grocery store.”
When asking Amy what advice she’d give to others that might be considering an online store, she says: “Take the time to set up your product list carefully and think through your pick-up locations or delivery options so that they are as clear as possible for your customers. Give yourself plenty of lead time by setting an order deadline well ahead of your harvest day so that you can sort out any changes with customers before making your harvest lists. And take pictures of everything you grow! You’ll be so happy to have your own good pictures that show exactly what you are selling!”
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