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Grassway Organics: Organic Poultry and Raw Milk, A Perfect Pair
This article was first printed in the July/Aug 2009 issue of the Organic Broadcaster, published by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service.
At first look, Grassway Organics Farm outside of New Holstein, Wisconsin, doesn’t seem like a likely location for a successful organic store. The nearest town with over 10,000 people is over 25 miles away, and the most sizable collection of potential customers is 45 to 60 miles away. But, owners Kay and Wayne Craig say, the balance of offering local, pasture raised organic meats along with organic raw milk is a winning combination. The store, stocking a full range of organic products along with local organic pasture raised broilers, eggs, stewing hens, whole turkeys, turkey parts and jersey beef plus pastured pork and lamb from neighboring farms, is now in its fourth year and grossing around $20,000 per month in sales. “I don’t think we could have made it with just the raw milk, or with just the meat,” Kay says. “It’s the combination that makes it work.”
Successful Egg Production
As we talk about marketing, Kay mentions that she sees our customer base as like a person’s hand- the thumb represents folks that love McDonalds and Walmart, and the little finger is the food groupies and 100% organic devotees. “We are geared to the number fours and fives,” Kay says. “We’ll never appeal to those ones and twos who like Walmart. They just don’t see the value in what we do.” So, she recommends, don’t even try to capture that one and two market. The Craig’s focus is producing quality food, and educating their customers (and potential customers) about why their grass-fed, organically raised food is different. “We are selling a value, an idea, an environment,” Kay explains. “We’re not selling meat, we’re selling information.” The store and web give them a forum to educate, with signs and a farm blog. Both Wayne and Kay have also made a pledge to get out into the community to make presentations to community and farm groups about the importance of raising and eating nutrient-rich food. “As producers we need to get out there and tell people about why the food they choose makes a difference,” Kay concludes.
Jody Padgham has been with MOSES since 2002. She is the organization's Financial Manager, the editor of the Organic Broadcaster newspaper and co-coordinator of the Organic University. Jody raises poultry and sheep organically on a 60-acre farm in west-central Wisconsin.Return to TOP