Have you been thinking about turning your farm into a thriving agri-entertainment destination? Want to host weddings and private events or build a corn maze? How about a ‘must-visit’ on-farm market? Meet the Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association (OFFMA)! This organization can give you the tools and support to turn your farm into the business venture of your dreams.
Founded in 1973, OFFMA is a non-profit organization run by farmers for farmers. Its membership is made up of a diverse collective of direct-farm businesses, including pick-your-owns, farm markets, and agri-tourism destinations.
Members rave about the strong business support they receive from OFFMA.
“I consider OFFMA to be our business coach,” Laura Wegrzyn of Peach Country Farm Market in Vineyard Station, Ont. explains. “We’ve been proud members for 25 years and we will continue to be.”
OFFMA provides members with cutting-edge news and tips to help them stay on top of market trends via their newsletter, published 10 times per year.
“We read them from cover to cover,” says Elayne Hulshof of Hulshof Farm Market. “They keep you abreast of what’s going on in the organization and what could impact your business.”
The OFFMA website’s most popular feature is “Find a Farm” which allows consumers looking for family activities to find their nearest fun farm fresh experience. This innovative feature is a key driver of visitors to the members’ farms. Additionally, OFFMA has thriving consumer-focused social media channels that promote members farms and events.
OFFMA members enjoying a farm tour during a potluck at a member's farm.
OFFMA also unites their members with networking events and hands-on learning in the form of conferences, workshops, and on-farm tours.
The members form a community of business owners and managers who share information, suppliers, and help each other out when someone has a question or needs assistance.
“The number one benefit is the network of people that you’ll meet,” says Heather Fraser of Harvest Goodies. “You have the constant knowledge that you can call someone who’s doing what you’re doing and get information from them.”
OFFMA members during a study tour in England.
OFFMA members can also access a private Facebook group which allows them to share and collaborate with each other online.
“We have never regretted joining,” says Steve Martin of Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. “It was one of the best decisions we ever made, and I strongly encourage anyone in the business to sign up. It should be one of the first things you do!”
For more information on how OFFMA can help you grow your direct-farm business, visit http://ontariofarmfresh.com/about-us/join-us/.