Post Trip: Reflecting on Rutland’s

Prior to the spring break trip, I researched Rutland’s Farm and Market located in Tifton, Georgia. After visiting the location, I can say—and I believe I speak for most of the students of this trip—that neither the farm nor the market disappointed in the quality of the experiences offered by both.

The most noticeable aspect of the operation was its sheer size. We took a wagon tour through the farm, and while we did not cover even close to all of the farm, our wagon tour still took a sizeable amount of time. We did not get to see much of the crops sprouting and growing as it is still a little early in the season for that, but we did get to stop at the “You-Pick” strawberry patch and pick our own strawberries, which were delicious. The appeal of being able to wander, at one’s own pace, through a well-maintained plot of farm-fresh vegetables was palpable, and I can see where such an experience would be a selling point and an attraction.

There are other methods that Rutland’s uses to garner popularity and business. While unconventional to a traditional farm, I got to experience these other attractions as well, and they were very appealing to me as a customer. We first got to see where all the ponds were located which host the multiple fishing tournaments, and the relaxing and clean environments which surrounded them were most conductive to a peaceful experience. We also got to meander around the petting zoo, which was filled with friendly animals, all with names and an appetite for bread held by our hands. I can see where such an attraction would be especially appealing to children and family with young children. Finally, we were able to experience the marketplace, the employees of which who were kind enough to provide us with free homemade strawberry and peach ice cream. Wandering around the marketplace full of locally sourced canned, baked, and homemade goods, I noticed yet another aspect of Rutland’s which appealed to an entirely different subgroup of customers.

Reflecting on the entire experience of visiting Rutland’s, I was struck by the overarching theme of diversity. Not only does Rutland diversify their products by offering baked, canned, and homemade goods along with fresh produce, but they also diversify their entire operation by offering attractions which appeal to various populations of people. Such a brilliant marketing and business strategy is surely responsible for their success as a business and as a farm, and I believe other agricultural operations should take heed of this theme and employ it on their own operations.

-Lindsey Fenster