Five organizations in the Piedmont region are working together to support targeted local food marketing efforts through a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant.
Culpeper Downtown Farmers’ Market
The Culpeper Downtown Farmers Market continued to build on the success of the FMPP grant for the 2018 season. New marketing efforts to better inform the public of the Grand Opening Celebration of the market led to one of the most well attended days in the market’s decades long history.
Promotional efforts supported special events programming like various customer appreciation days, children’s nutritional cooking classes and a National Farmers Market week celebration. Increased advertising of the market through signage, posters, postcards, informative vendor and special event guides, traditional print and social media have been key to maintaining a strong customer base while also reaching new market attendees.
The Market’s ability to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits was promoted throughout all marketing material which resulted in a doubling of SNAP usage during the 2018 market season from the previous year.
Madison Farmers’ Market
Madison Farmers’ Market is excited about the upcoming year. Some changes in Virginia laws allow more flexibility in what we can sell. We are also looking forward to having some breakfast type items, homemade bone broths and more.
We are opening an online store! Visit it at www.localline.ca/madison-fresh-market
The website can take pre-orders with Saturday pick ups in Madison or Monday afternoon pick ups in Culpeper. We specialize in bringing you fresh, local food by farmers who know you by name!
The Piedmont Environmental Council
The Piedmont Environmental Council’s Buy Fresh Buy Local program has used the FMPP grant funds to design, print and direct mail the annual Northern Piedmont guide to over 75,000 households in the region. The grant also covered the Farm to Table Showcase in the fall of 2018. This event was an opportunity for local producers to set up tables with their products and meet a wide-range of buyers with the intent of helping develop market connections.
This year, we are excited for the final event of this grant! The Flavor of the Piedmont will take place at Lord Fairfax Community College in Warrenton on September 8, 2019. This day starts with a local food buyer-seller event and ends with a local food tasting that is open to the public. Visit www.pecva.org/events for more information and tickets!
Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission
The Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission continues its “Purely Piedmont” marketing campaign to promote the region’s locally-grown foods and beverages. Look for their booth at local festivals, billboards proclaiming “Local Tastes Better,” and commercials airing on Comcast this summer.
The Purely Piedmont regional label program is entering its second year. Similar to the state’s Virginia Grown program, producers who register their products with the program will receive free labels with the Purely Piedmont logo to affix to their products, in addition to digital versions of the logo to incorporate into their own marketing materials.
Keep an eye out for the Purely Piedmont label at local markets, verifying the product was grown in Virginia’s Northern Piedmont. Visit www.purelypiedmont.com for more information.
‘Tween Rivers Trail
The ‘Tween Rivers Trail has continued to support and expand its efforts in marketing to potential customers, both in- and outside our region, as well as growing the number Trail member locations. Free workshops are offered quarterly on topics designed to support agri-tourism businesses and provide networking opportunities with other Trail members. A quarterly newsletter for the Trail allows the Trail members to learn more about one another as well as any important information and upcoming events or workshops. Trail member interviews continue to allow us to understand how each business functions and the best ways to support Trail members. Since the grant award, the ‘Tween Rivers Trail has grown to 85 Trail locations! Learn more at www.tweenriverstrail.com