Mom and pop berry farm grows business

Jerry’s Berries, a multigenerational family-run farm, has a reputation for its berries – from the farmers market to its pick-your-own service. The seasonal company wanted to pivot its business model and diversify its product offerings, but they needed the expertise to help with this endeavour.

“We have a very small seasonal mom and pop farm in which we do 90 per cent of the work ourselves,” says Glenda Bargeman, who, along with her husband Jerry, owns the farm. “At the end of long days in the field, trying to get the name of our business out was the last thing I had the energy or time for.

 “After years in business, we were also ready to move on to the next step,” she says. “Frankly, we needed more traffic to the farm. We had tried many avenues with not a lot of success.”

The Hamilton, Ont.-based farm teamed up with the Business & Commercialization Solutions experts at NC’s Research & Innovation division to help take them to that next step.

The NC researchers conducted a comprehensive review of the marketplace, looking at the consumer goods berry industry. Target markets were identified to better understand consumers of raspberry products.

A list of potential raspberry products to bring to the marketplace was created, along with possible distribution channels. Information about co-packing, packaging options and custom package printing were provided.

The team also offered recommendations for a marketing strategy to generate more foot traffic to the farm, including recommendations for improving the company’s social media marketing.

“The end result was exactly the push in the right direction I needed. The advice given was dead-on,” says Bargeman, adding she discovered a brand-new understanding of the importance of digital media marketing for promoting her business and the suggestions and guidance for improvements were valuable.

“Not only did I receive fantastic promotion advice, but the team also spent many hours researching the market of raspberry products,” says Bargeman. “Getting the statistics of the many and unique uses of raspberries, what the market was flooded with and what was a potential product has saved me hours of time that I do not have. It has also given me some great ideas for future uses of raspberries that should have great potential.”

Jerry’s Berries also completed updates to its website which incorporates suggestions from the Business & Commercialization Solutions team.

“Even though the project is complete Paula [Reile, project manager] is still answering my questions, giving advice and finding things out for me,” says Bargeman. “What a breath of fresh air, having such a supportive and knowledgeable team behind us.”

Funding for this project came from the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) through its College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program.

This is one example of the marketing research and strategy with the Business & Commercialization Solutions team. For more information and to view other success stories see the website: