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Winter blues

Posted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:22 pm
by PieGirl
So the time of year has come when the allotment is left alone, and I am left depressed. I had this plan in the summer but was too busy to get it sorted so now that I have lots of free time it's the perfect opportunity. I grow quite a lot of produce like tomatoes, potatoes, fruits etc.etc. and there's simply too much for all of us to eat. So I want to start selling it locally and maybe make it into a business. We've decided to set up like a little company and deliver our produce (all organic) locally. What I need help with is the business side of it. I need to set up a website which I can then promote closer to the summer. But I don't know where I can do this, has anyone attempted something along those lines and can give me some tips? I am fine with growing pretty much anything, but no clue about business websites :(

Re: Winter blues

Posted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:47 pm
by Stephen
Hi Pie Girl
Good luck with your efforts, I'm sorry I cannot help you on the business websitefront.
Be careful, check that you are permitted to sell your allotment produce. It is frequently proscribed, reflecting the below commercial rents charged (again rents vary enormously)

Re: Winter blues

Posted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:11 pm
by oldherbaceous
A very warm welcome to the forum, PieGirl. I'm afraid i'm like Stephen, i'm not very good with computers, i can just about turn it on and that's it.

Do you not grow any Winter veg on your allotment? At the moment i'm harvesting, celeriac, carrots, curly kale, brussel sprouts, leeks. cabbage and some sprouting brocolli is just about ready. I must admit it's not always the warmest of jobs picking the produce, but it's all worth while when it's on the plate.

Re: Winter blues

Posted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:10 pm
by PieGirl
Thank you for the welcome! :)
It's a shame that no one has any suggestions for the website..So far I've found this one but then i've also found things like Blogger where you can set up your own blog, but it's hard because i don't want to dive into anything without getting some recommendations first! My boyfriend is sorting out the legal side of things, and has trusted me to do this..maybe he shouldn't have! :p
At the moment we only have summer veg and fruit but hopefully we'll have some winter produce next year, if all goes well. I've always been a fruit fan more than anything, so I love growing things like strawberries, blueberries etc. That's why I'm calling it winter blues hehe

Re: Winter blues

Posted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:10 pm
by Westi
Have you tried u tube PieGirl? It's pretty much got everything & you usually get the video to visually show you how! Also if your going to sell your veg my friends increased their sales by googling recipes and typing them out on their own stationery & putting them beside the particular one they were trying to promote. Changed regularly they turned out to be a big hit - they are still doing it.

Welcome to the forum by the way!


Re: Winter blues

Posted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 9:24 pm
by Motherwoman
One of my friends sold her excess produce at a local WI market once a week, don't have to be a member and the table cost her the princely sum of 5p for a whole morning. Could be cheaper than a website :)

Re: Winter blues

Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:29 pm
by FelixLeiter
I don't see that a website is necessarily your best outlet. I'd see about renting a market stall. And be absolutely sure about the legalities of selling produce from your allotment.

Unless your allotment is under snow, there's much to be done — a good time to catch up while conditions allow. Conditions have been excellent for winter cultivations so far this end of season. I'm putting in fruit bushes next week. Usually at this time of the year you're contending with frozen ground and waterlogging.

Re: Winter blues

Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:16 pm
by tracie
The best form of advertising is yourself.

Go to Primark for example and buy some cheap sweatshirts and get them printed up locally it is not expensive, then make sure you wear them everywhere you go.

If you have a dark colour top then have large fluorescent print, make it easy to read.

Visit vista print and get some leaflets done, they are relatively economical and with a bit of local leg work you can distribute them through local doors. I had some done, I think 500 cost about £35.00.

A blackboard at the end of your drive is also a good idea

Re: Winter blues

Posted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 9:09 pm
by John
Hello Piegirl
I do the booking for my local village hall and have also set up a website for the hall. We were lucky as the county Rural Community Council bought a package for us and I had three afternoon training sessions. I use a DIY package from MrSite.
As others have said I'm not sure that a website is quite what you need. This one costs about £40 a year in hosting and domain fees. Its quite easy when you get the hang of it.

Also on a village hall note, some halls round here have monthly local food markets though not mine. They charge a flat fee of £10 for about 5-6 hours on a Saturday. Another similar event at a local tourist attraction charges 10% of takings - on trust - which I think is quite a common arrangement. Something like this might be a good starting place as I don't think that there is any ongoing commitment.
As you get known you could try getting a mailing list of your customers together and sending them a weekly/monthly newsletter of where you will selling and what you have for sale.

I had always thought, like Stephen, that produce from allotments was for personal use only. You'll need to check your agreeement as your plan may not be in the spirit of the allotment idea.


Re: Winter blues

Posted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:39 pm
by PieGirl
Oh wow, thank you for the replies and the suggestions. I've never thought about youtube, but might have to consider it now. And Tracie, that's an interesting idea about the sweatshirts, but I think I prefer the leaflet one, thanks for the info! I'm in the process of checking out the situation with the local market/getting a stall so hopefully I'll get somewhere with that. Would be so great if I could make this into a small business, thanks again for your advice!

Re: Winter blues

Posted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:42 am
by retropants
if you do choose the website route, have a look at it is the one I use. it is template based and a basic site costs 4.99 per month. i prefer it to MR Site, which I used for a couple of years. have a look at what you can acheive without any website building knowledge whatsoever:

good luck with yoru venture!

Re: Winter blues

Posted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:53 pm
by Beryl
As your veg is seasonal have you thought about a local farmers market? to get yourself known locally. I do think checking if you can sell produce from your allotment should be a priority first. I know most council's don't allow it unless it is for family and friends.

Most ISP's will give you free web space - worth checking yours.

Best of luck with your venture.