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HP LIFE and Student-Run Business Hutchins Farm

Posted By Karen-Michelle Mirko, Tuesday, April 22, 2014

HP LIFE and Hutchins Farm

HP LIFE Faculty Ambassador: Dr. James W. Dottin, Professor of Business


Community College: Middlesex Community College        Lowell, MA  
Student: Jason Staci

Existing Business Name: Hutchins Farm 
Business Location: 754 Monument Street    Concord, Massachusetts  01742

Business Type:

            A more than seventy-five acre USDA certified organic fruit and vegetable farm.

What products and services do you currently provide?

            We grow more than 115 varieties of fruits and vegetables as of right now. We grow everything from watermelons, lettuce, blueberries, rutabagas, and many more.

We also offer locally sourced honey, salad dressings, and flowers.

How will HP LIFE helps you grow your business?

          Social Media Marketing was one of the greatest lessons I was taught by HP LIFE. In today’s ever changing society, we are surrounded by social media. In our everyday lives, we see it from your own phone, to the news and more. As a more traditional and laid back farm, we have yet to fully explore this venue. We have a Facebook page, however it lacks in certain aspects to attract even more new customers. With other outlets like Twitter and Instagram, we have the potential to expand our customer base with these easy to use and free promotional tools.

HP LIFE showed me effective ways to incorporate social media more into the business. We could set up a Twitter and Tweet about today’s fresh vegetables, or take an Instagram picture of the freshly harvested lettuce. Through HP LIFE, I learned how to successfully employ Social Media Marketing into my own business.

How is information technology important in growing your business?

            In today’s society, information technology is so important. Whether you are in farming or retail, it is a huge part of everyday business. Even as a small farm, we use it every day. We use it to log what produce was harvested for the day or what chemicals were put on the crops. It helps us respond to our customers through email and even Facebook.

What type of support do you have on/off campus to help you start your business?

            Off campus as a farmer, there are a tremendous amount of resources available. The MA Dept. of Agriculture is helpful in getting loans and land. There is also the BFN, the Beginning Farmers Network. This is where new farmers, up to ten years in the business, can find information and talk to fellow farmers about anything related to agriculture.

Every two years, we also have the New England Fruit and Vegetable convention where you can learn about new innovations in agriculture as well as speak with fellow farmers. As a new farmer or old, you have a wealth of resources to help you grow your business.  Now, HP LIFE modules are one of those resources that provide insight into Customer Relationship Management and Social Media Marketing to grow our customer base. 

At Middlesex Community College, students have access to the Small Business Assistance Center. The center assists in the writing of business plans, marketing plans, financial projections and micro loans applications. Also, the college has formed a partnership with the Merrimack Valley Sandbox Campus Catalyst. The Campus Catalyst is also in partnership with Northern Essex Community College, University of Massachusetts Lowell and Merrimack College. The Sandbox provides students with connections, support, and seed grants to launch ones business ideas through the assistance of this regional incubator. 

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