Walworth County farmers can market themselves

A new tool for direct-to-consumer farmers

(Published Feb. 6, 2007, 10:38 a.m.)

If you are a farmer or local business that wants to attract customers, then the 2007 Farm Fresh Atlas of southeast Wisconsin is for you.

The atlas features local farmers, cooperatives, farmers markets and businesses that produce, use, or sell Wisconsin farm products directly to consumers.

"We are developing this atlas to meet consumers' renewed interest in choosing where their food comes from," Rose Skora with Kenosha/Racine counties UW-Extension said in a news release.

"These consumers want the freshest, best-tasting and healthiest food available. Additionally, they want to help preserve farms as part of the local landscape. Anyone listed in the atlas is asked to pledge that they are family (or cooperatively) owned and operated, and that they follow sustainable practices. This atlas will let people know where and how to buy directly from growers."

Even with all the back-breaking work that farmers and fruit growers have to do, sometimes the hardest thing they must face is marketing their products. "The Farm Fresh Atlas gives us, as farmers, a way to communicate with people looking to buy local," Gordon Smith was quoted as saying. Smith is co-owner of Cedar Bend Farm in Elkhorn, along with his wife Alyce and son Steve and his wife, Trula. "Even if we don't sell what people are looking for, we can point them in the right direction."

The Farm Fresh Atlas includes a fold-out map and guide listing farms, food-related businesses and farmers' markets in southeast Wisconsin. To increase the number of customers reached, the atlas is now on the Web at www.farmfreshatlas.org.

Over 75,000 atlases will be distributed at farmers' markets, through participating farms and businesses and through tourism and convention bureaus, public libraries and events such as county fairs.

Target counties include Kenosha, Racine, Walworth, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington, Dodge and Jefferson. Additionally, farms outside of this area can be included if they sell their products within these target counties.

Farmers who sell directly to consumers, through on-farm sales, farm stands, farmers' markets, CSAs, or you-pick operations can be listed in the atlas. Any food-related business that also supports farmers such as cheese factories, food coops, restaurants, bakeries, meat processors and others can participate as a business sponsor.

The cost to list a farm in the atlas is $50. Businesses can sponsor at two levels: $150 for a description of the business and contact information, or $300 for a 2-by-4- inch color ad in addition to the listing. Applications must be returned by Feb. 2 and atlases will be available for distribution beginning in May.

For more information or to request application materials, contact Rose Skora, community agriculture educator for Kenosha/Racine Counties UW-Extension at (262) 857-1945, rose.skora@ces.uwex.edu or Peg Reedy, UW-Extension, Walworth County at 741-4961, peg.reedy@ces.uwex.edu. Applications are also available on the Web site at www.farmfreshatlas.org.


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