Most people start farms because they love farming, not because they love running a business. Fortunately I enjoy running a business, and Jake loves chatting with customers. Unfortunately neither of us had any particular skill in gaining new customers.
In the beginning we courted restaurants then had frustrating relationships with their chefs, we had a dismal CSA retention rate (just over 20% from year 1 to 2, and that's counting Jake's parents!), and a "good" day at farmers market grossed about $200. Going into our fourth year I put most of my winter planning efforts into marketing and am so relieved to say that those original numbers have changed quite a bit. This year we opened our CSA to returning members on January 1 and sold out of our 100 member Spring share by January 2! We regularly have a 80% - 90% overall CSA retention rate, our farmers market stand grosses an average of $2,000 per week, and our wholesale customers are consistent, dedicated, and a joy to work with. These numbers are more than I could have hoped for when we started out, and I have a couple of key resources to thank for it.
Taylor Mendell. I grow things for people to eat.