Farming Events: Getting Started

As a small farm owner I can tell you that the struggle is real, and you need to hustle to make ends meet. More and more farmers are turning to events to add another revenue stream while marketing their brand and engaging the community. If you are getting started with your farm events – or maybe just trying to refresh your current efforts – you should take a few steps into consideration.

Going it alone with Special Meal Events

If you have the knowledge, skills and resources you can consider hosting your own on-site special food events. You may still need a hand with the dishes, but at least you will be in the drivers seat. It may be difficult to get the buzz out about these types of events at first so don’t get discouraged. Stick to what you know and keep your number of guests where you can handle it – cooking for 6 people is very different from 12. Try finding events that are similar to what you want to do and attend a couple. Think of it as market research that involves delicious food, drink, and event some new friends. This is a great way to meet people that like to attend farm to table dinners and that is good for your budding new endeavor.

Power in Numbers, Collaborating Farm to Table

Pair with local restaurants and chefs to do exclusive farm to dinner events. You can start by researching the various dining establishments in your area. Research the different restaurants that host special events and try them out. Having a meal and drink at the place to get a feel for the style and quality is an important part of the vetting process. It far better to realize this earlier on in the game since it takes time to build regular event attendees and it can be rough to rebuild if the partnership ends. Talk to the chef and offer to provide some food for a special farm to table dinner at their place. Chefs obviously love food so make sure you select the best of what your farm has to offer for this meal. You can turn this event into a pairing dinner with a local.

Classes and Workshops

Many people want to learn how to farm – and the more small farms out there the better! Everyone is good at something, what are you/your farm exceptional at? Turn this into a lecturing farm tour, class, workshop, or demonstration. Perhaps you are exceptional at baking bread, or making wine? It’s crucial that you are extremely organized and prepare yourself well in advance for this. Once you have decided what you might be good at you can turn it into an event. If teaching is something you haven’t done before you should attend some different workshops, classes, or other educational events to get an idea of what you are up against. Teaching is in our basic human nature, but it may take some real soul searching for you to figure out if it’s for you. Brown Paper Tickets has many resources for putting together classes if you have any questions.

Think Outside the Box

Maybe mealtime events or teaching classes isn’t for you. The fact remains you still have some pretty exciting things happening on the farm. Hosting other unique events can still help build community and grow your farm business. Hayrides, pumpkin hurling, sack races, and corn mazes are also great options. Do you have a big open field and love the wind in your hair? Maybe a lawnmower race fits. Before you start busing droves of kids out to pick their own pumpkin, sit down and plan it out. Similar to the other event ideas shared in this post, you will want to go through the logistics of what you plan to do. Seeing your ideas on paper might help you get an idea of what specifically you are prepared for event wise.

 

Now you have an idea of how to get started. Remember if at first you don’t succeed give our resident event experts a call and let them help you get things going. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is available 24 hours a day to assist you with every step of the process. From start to finish; from event creation to promotions, we’ve got you covered.

Contact our 24/7 Support Staff if you have any questions about creating your Farm event or class: 800-838-3006×4 or Support@BrownPaperTickets.com

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20 Ways to Keep Costs Down At Your Next Food and Beverage Event

A cost-effective food and beverage event takes hard work, attention to detail and careful planning, but it can be done.

Here are 20 ways to save money and trim the fat without compromising quality:

1. Act extra nice when negotiating costs and dealing with service providers. If you’re polite and reasonable when asking for a better deal, chances are you’ll get it.

2. Avoid peak season when choosing your event date. Book during off-peak, when there aren’t a lot of other events going on. More events mean rigid and higher prices.

3. Make a list of all the essentials and have at least five options with reasonable prices for each. More options will make it easier to shuffle things around and cut costs.

4. Set a clear, reasonable budget and stick to it. Knowing how much you can spend from the beginning will help you prioritize when planning your event.

5. Partner with other makers and producers. If you are hosting a wine dinner, ask a winery you like to sponsor your event. These relationships often work out well for both parties, as you can help get their name out.

6. Choose reasonably priced beverages. The beverage industry is packed with affordable, high-quality beverage options. Shop around and taste everything—not only is it fun, it will give you a chance to save some cash.

7. Buy in-season produce and flowers. You will not only discover the freshest local ingredients and blooms, you will find cheaper prices due to the abundance.

8. Borrow what you don’t have. Reach out to friends and family and ask if they have what you need for your event. You never know—Nana might have a closet full of stylish vintage cutlery and tablecloths ready to show off.

9. Portion control is one of the biggest ways to save money with a food and beverage event. Keep an eye on the RSVP list but wait until your headcount is confirmed to do your shopping.

10. Negotiate everything. A price tag doesn’t mean the price is set in stone. You can also offer something in exchange—naming the caterer to reduce food costs. Always ask and always be polite.

11. Keep your event casual. Formal events require a lot of little extras and your guests will appreciate laid-back, let-loose vibe. A causal event also offers flexibility when it comes to venue selection—for example, air conditioning might not be necessary if guests can wear t-shirts and shorts.

12. Skip the DJ and make your own playlist. Download your own music or use an app like Spotify.

13. Don’t over serve. Everyone should get enough food and alcohol, but ensure your food and beverage portions are reasonable to eliminate waste and save money.

14. Keep registration simple. Eliminate the need for the guest to do anything beyond registering. This will free up labor that would normally be spent answering emails and taking calls from confused attendees.

15. Plan your marketing budget carefully. Appeal to food bloggers and use social media to promote your events. These methods are significantly cheaper than purchasing ad space or a radio spot.

16. Choose your venue carefully. Instead of getting quotes from 5 different venues, try 10. Once you have quotes and understand the pros and cons of each venue, you can start to negotiate. Ask them to come down on the costs if you really like the space, but have a cheaper option on your list.

17. Source reasonably priced food when ingredient shopping. Finding high quality ingredients at a fair price is easier than you think—you just have to shop around. Head to farmers markets late in the day and you will get a good deal when buying large quantities of an item.

18. Do a plated meal instead of a buffet. Serving food portioned for each guest will give you complete control over food cost. If you want to go more casual, have a set amount of light appetizers (between 3-5 pieces per person).

19. Pair wine, beer, or cider with each course. Prix fixe beverage selection and meals will allow you to tailor the guests’ experience and control portions at the same time.

20. Reduce, reuse and recycle. Avoid using disposable products and minimize food/water waste. Going green reduces costs and helps the planet.

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Go Green: 15 Secrets for a Fabulous, Eco-friendly Food Event

Before you get too far into your event planning, consider its carbon footprint. Making your food event eco-friendly is not only a social responsibility; it’s also a good way to save some dough. Plus, consumers are making more environmentally conscious purchase decisions and greening your event could lead to more ticket sales.

 

Here are 15 steps:

1. Swap disposable for second hand. Instead of bottled water, use mason jars as glasses. Instead of buying imported tablecloths, scour the local thrift stores.

2. Do the math. Save money and reduce impact by carefully calculating the amounts of food, drinks and other goods. This will ensure you don’t have a lot of leftovers. 


3. Make your guests aware of your environmental efforts. They’ll make more of an effort to use the proper receptacles and may leave inspired to take extra environmental measures in their own lives.



4. Carefully consider your location. Give your guests green travel options such as walking, biking or public transportation. Make it a goal to minimize fossil fuel used to transport event-goers. 



5. Go local for food, flowers and linens. Not only will you support the local economy, by eliminating long-distance delivery, you’re reducing fossil fuel emissions.

6. Be choosy when it comes to food. Whenever possible, make sure your food is organic, seasonal, fair trade, no or low packaging and locally sourced.

7. Allow guests to pour their own water instead of filling glasses on the table. This will cut water waste. 



8. Up-cycle as many objects as you can. Consignment shopping not only saves money, it ends the cycle of manufacturing. Buy your glasses, plates, silverware and other items from thrift stores or borrow them. 



9. Avoid plastic items. Plastics are quite toxic to manufacture, petroleum-based, and aren’t biodegradable. If you need disposable silverware, try the eco-friendly versions made from compostable plants. 



10. Limit the number of print materials to just what is absolutely necessary. 



11. Hand out practical swag. Be sure any swag you hand out is durable, reusable and useful. The cost might be higher but definitely avoid cheap, throw-away trinkets.

12. Reduce paper waste with paperless invitations and ticket delivery methods. 



13. Find charities that can use undistributed handouts, such as pencils and paper to schools.

14. Clearly mark recycling, food waste and trash receptacles. Make recycling, food waste and trash containers clearly marked and readily available



15. Allow your guests to go casual. When people have to dress formally, they will need their clothes dry-cleaned. Air-conditioning is a must for a black-tie event in the summer; allowing guests to dress comfortably eliminates the need for climate control.

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