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Making Connections

March 6, 2013

By: Stephanie Appleton

Our mission is to operate a year-round community-supported market that provides a viable economic outlet for local food producers while providing consumers access to locally grown agricultural products.

Connecting local producers with consumers is what The Wild Ramp is all about.  As a producer, I can’t begin to tell you how exciting that idea was, and is to me. Connecting with people was a challenge. Our farm is not in a convenient location. The farmers market is seasonal, and its days and time were not always convenient for our customers. I was sold on having a place where I could drop off products, and customers could shop retail hours.

I still am sold on that concept, but there is something missing for me. I miss the personal interaction with the public. When you are meeting directly with your customers, there is a relationship that develops. Sometimes that relationship becomes a friendship.

I miss talking about my products. Who knows my products better than I do? Who else knows how my pigs like to feast on acorns in the woods, or why the chicken yolks should be particularly rich this week because the hens broke into my hoop house and ate all the cabbage? I miss talking about my favorite ways to prepare cuts of meat, and why meat from a local farmer tastes so much better than mass produced meat.

I think consumers may miss that connection with their farmer a little too.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve just happened to be at The Wild Ramp when someone has had a question about my products. I think consumers generally appreciate being able to talk to the person who grew their food.

It occurred to me that while I am going The Wild Ramp anyway to drop off, why not just stay a couple hours to help out in the store? For our farm, the winter is a little quieter. There is a little more flexibility in my time. I could spend that time connecting to people at The Wild Ramp. I can’t volunteer every week. I probably won’t be able to volunteer at all during the warmer months, but the times I’ve been there in the last couple months have been very enjoyable.

I’ve seen some customers I haven’t seen in a long while. I’ve met new customers.  I’ve answered a lot of questions.  I’ve sold more product because I’m there to answer those question, and I’ve made that all important connection between the producer and the consumer.

Volunteering isn’t just for consumers. It is for anyone who can spare a couple of hours in a month to help make The Wild Ramp a success!

Volunteer

To learn more about volunteering please contact Cara Bailey at volunteer@wildramp.org or join our volunteer group on Facebook.

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