Prince Edward Island is known for many things besides Anne of Green Gables. The products that form part of the primary industries of agriculture and fisheries are well known around the world. From Malpeque oysters to potatoes, PEI produces a lot of what the world eats.
Like many places, Islanders like to support local producers – some by buying local at markets or direct from the growers, which can sometimes be done by actually going out into the fields yourself. My mom introduced me to U-Picks growing up and I now visit regularly on my own for things such as strawberries and apples. A number of Christmas tree farms also do this, allowing customers to visit their farm before the snow comes to tag a tree and to return closer to Christmas to have it freshly cut.
My local fruit U-Pick haunts both use Facebook but I don’t think ‘strategy’ quite describes their use. Occasional messages of ‘we are open’ and ‘we are closed’ are about the extent of the postings. While helpful, they could use a little work. On the other hand. my new Christmas tree farm of choice showcases photos of people out to get their tree, pictures of their farm and invites customers to share pictures of their trees after their are up and decorated in their homes.
A more defined strategy for the U-Picks could help encourage people to:
- come out and try picking their own products
- buy pre-picked products
- learn recipes new recipes/uses
- take part in experiential tourism
- take tours of the fields and production
- support local
and could reach out to groups such as:
- day camps
- seniors centres
- newcomers associations
- tourism providers
- those interested in supporting local
By using platforms like Facebook, Instragram and Periscope, the U-picks could engage with current customers to provide up to date information on their operations, engage people new to the concept by showing them how things are done, what things look like and drive traffic to their websites.
The leaders and followers that I outlined both deal with products with short windows for selection. Being able to engage current and potential customers would help to ensure they maximize the returns on their seasons.
What about you – do you support local?