2.5.3. The Direct Distribution of Prunes
Short Schedule Farm description Start point/Challange
Name: Monredon Farm Web site : http://www.fermedemonredon.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Country: FRANCE Region: AQUITAINE City: Saint Aubin (Lot et Garonne)
Successful elements Output/Effects
Added Value – Quality Label – Direct Distribution – Farmer’s Markets – Innovating Product
Why is the topic interesting?
Entire production is transformed and then commercialized through direct distribution. A large role is played by the farmers in the local community.
Farm Description Monredon is a typical, authentic, and traditional farm from the Lot-et-Garonne department (47) located between the cities of Toulouse and Bordeaux. The business: Total surface area of 80 ha, of which 76.5 ha are for cereals (Sorgum saccharatum, corn, wheat) commercialized through a co-op and 3.5 ha consist of plum orchards of the Ente variety. Two full-time workers, Gilberte and Claude Doumarès, and their daughter Céline (part-time) manage to do all the work involved in production, transformation, and commercialization. They practice reasonable agriculture; which means that the only treatments used are sickness preventive, where needed. Their production is at the mercy of the weather (storms, hail, freezing), which (last few years) has caused substantial damage - trees uprooted, fruits destroyed by hail, etc. Transformed products: 75% of the farm’s sales come from the transformation and direct distribution of prunes (dried Ente plums). Transformation facilities and oven are located on the farm.
The plum orchard in spring
Complementary activity: camping is offered at the farm with six campsites that can accommodate tents and camping cars. Vacationers have the option of dining at the farm. 1/4
The Direct Distribution of Prunes Start Point Farm description Start point/Challange Successful elements Output/Effects
Since 1771, the farm has been passed down from generation to generation and has been engaged in growing cereals and raising cows for the slaughter (for the meat type ‘Blonde d’Aquitaine’). The chute of cereal prices, Mad Cow Disease, and the will to work together as a family were all deciding factors in the decision to begin distributing directly in 1990. This coincided with the construction of the transformation laboratory. The first small shop was commemorated in 1998. The livestock branch was terminated in 2005; which allowed the barn to be converted into a boutique and, during the summer months, into a banquet hall for the various dinner events organized for clients.
Currently: - 1 fair in London every two years - 8 to 10 fairs per year (Bretagne, Alsace, Paris, North of France, and Center of France) - 3 country producers’ markets each week during July and August (Monflanquin, Villeréal, Sauveterre) - 2 ‘Ripalhous’: traditional rural dinners at the farm with musical entertainment - Sale by correspondence: pre-arranged orders distributed at markets, the boutique, and at the local office of tourism
Challenge See your production from start to finish, from the producer to the consumer, without passing through intermediaries. products derived Offer agricultural practices
RECALL! Award winning specialty: Dishes prepared from 7 IGP ingredients (European label)
Be recognized for your specialty products: 30 different products Popular products consumed: plain pasteurized prunes (from 0.5 to 1.5 kg), preserves (plum only and mixed with other fruits), prune cream, prune syrup; plum nectar (allowing damaged fruit an outlet) High-end products: cream-filled prunes, chocolate covered prunes, prune dough, pies, prune spirits Specialties: brands and recipes recognized as traditional for the region, various sweet and salty preparations
Glossary IGP: indication géographique protégée (controlled geographic indication) Country Producers’ Markets: composed entirely of producers who qualify as farmers or artisans
This range of products allows for the satisfaction of a highly differentiated clientele: athletic, healthy, celebration/party needs… 2/4
The Direct Distribution of Prunes
Success elements Farm description Start point/Challange Successful elements Output/Effects
STRENGTHS Experience, competence, and implication of farmers Quality product of reasonable agriculture Large range of products
On a human level: Long family experience Competency in respect to public relations and openness Versatility and complementary nature of the three players Involvement of producers (see box below) On a geographic level: An excellent location Saint Aubin: known for its good food Eligible as the IGP product of the Prune of Agen On a product level: Quality product of reasonable agriculture Large range of products Brand and award-winning recipes distinguish from competition On the promotional level: Internet site, mailing list, 3 page brochure, flyers for events, road signs, advertising innovating products through the press - For fairs: flyers sent to clients informing of presence at the fair and of a raffle to win camping trips - Two promotional events: - The ‘Ripalhous’: 2 summer nights with a traditional rural theme - The book “A tire d’elles” written by women farmers (observations by and on women in the rural world) Camping at the farm, which assures a clientele -
THE PRODUCERS’ INVOLVEMENT
1 - Céline Doumarès is the president of the Saint Aubin syndicate of initiative
2 - Membership to the network Bienvenue à la Ferme (Welcome to the Farm) 3 - Chamber of Agriculture: Country Producers’ Markets 1
4 - The Bienvenue en Haut agenais périgord (Welcome to the Upper Agen/Périgord Region) Association (sales training)
5 - France passion (camping car association)
6 - Motorist relay 7 - The “Entente Vallée du Lot (Agreement of the Lot Valley)” Association (participation in the fair at London)
8 - “Les sites remarquables du goût 3/4
The Direct Distribution of Prunes May 2009
Output/Effects Farm description Start point/Challange Successful elements Output/Effects
Results · Valorization of a quality product · Revenue security (regular business) · Mastering the product from production to consumption · A large amount of work for three people all year round · Particularly heavy workload during the second half of the month of August (plum harvest and hosting campers) Projects · Insertion of Céline Doumarès as farmer by the end of 2009 · Two-year plan to create a kitchen to provide for guests, another event hall, and another laboratory · Creation of hotel rooms (clientele diversification and a new source of revenue to decrease the risks of loss due to climate conditions) · Orchard renovation CASE STUDY END…
...an end is always a new start...
Further investigations National network for Bienvenue à la Ferme http://www.bienvenue-a-la-ferme.com/ IGP: The Prune of Agen http://www.pruneau.fr/fruitdunterroir/igp.html A book written by women farmers http://www.atiredelles.com Association “Les sites remarquables du goût” http://www.sitesremarquablesdugout.com Association “Bienvenue en Haut Agenais Perigord” http://www.haut-agenais-perigord.com/
CONCLUSION This case study shows that a small farm can be viable in marketing its products directly to local, national and European level, and using networks established for this activity. However there are financial risks involved in only one production and the producer must therefore consider complementary activities.