Running a Successful Farm Stand Beside a Thriving CSA with Will Conway – Carrot Cashflow Episode 29


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Episode Summary

Many farms have different programs to draw people to their location—from tours to workshops to parties. If you’re someone who’s managing your farm’s CSA program while running an on-farm farm stand, what can you do to draw people in and keep them coming back?

In this episode of Carrot Cashflow, we’re talking to Will Conway of Stone Acres Farm to share some useful tips and tricks on how to run a successful farm stand, what they’re doing to keep customers coming back, and how they’re managing their unique CSA program alongside it.

Today’s Guest: Will Conway

A teacher by profession, Will Conway’s passion for education and farming brought him to Stone Acres Farm in Stonington, Connecticut to tackle the job of being a farm manager. With his faith on making meaningful connections, he has helped further establish the thriving local food scene in their community.

Relevant Links

            Stone Acres Farm – Website | Instagram | Facebook

In this episode of Carrot Cashflow

  • Diego introduces the episode’s guest, Will Conway (01:07)
  • If Will Conway weren’t farming right now, he would be doing… (01:55)
  • Working an off-farm job to support the farming endeavor (02:25)
  • How making off-farm connections are beneficial to farmers (04:04)
    • Will’s hit rate when cold calling chefs to offer his produce (05:54)
  • What chefs are looking for when buying produce (06:58)
  • Chefs’ reception to local product pricing (08:32)
  • Will Conway’s experience with local-based distributors (09:49)
  • What distributors are looking for in terms of product quality (11:41)
  • How Stone Acres Farms move product out the farm (13:23)
  • If a small farm wants to host a farm dinner (14:22)
  • Keeping old, rural properties thriving (16:55)
  • The importance of deepening relationships with other business customers (18:00)
  • How Stone Acres Farms manage their farm stand (20:19)
  • What Stone Acres Farms’ farm stand looks like (22:43)
  • How tourists learn about the tourist spot of Mystic, Connecticut (23:54)
  • The 3 things that make Stone Acres Farms’ farm stand successful (26:18)
  • The struggle to always have produce in stock (28:38)
    • Which market stream gets top priority for produce? (30:15)
  • How has a CSA program worked for Stone Acres Farm? (31:18)
    • CSA customers self-fulfilling their CSA shares per week (32:54)
    • Bonuses for CSA members (34:10)
    • Educating the customer base on how the CSA works (35:10)
  • The best part of a CSA from a farmer’s perspective (37:50)
  • The challenges that come with free-choice CSAs (38:14)
    • The demand for different crops evens out fairly enough (39:53)
  • Customers coming to the farm stand for pick up vs. getting their CSA shares delivered (40:52)
  • Which has higher sales, farm stand sales or CSA sales? (42:22)
  • Ditching the CSA and transitioning to all farm stand sales (43:33)
  • Where to find and learn more about Stone Acres Farm (44:25)

Subscribe to Carrot Cashflow in your favorite podcast player:

iTunes | Spotify

Check Out My Book: Ready Farmer One: The Farmers’ Guide to Create, Design, and Market an Online Farm Store (2022) by Diego Footer & Nina Galle

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Arielle Roxas

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