Farmer's Market Edition: Medina Berry Farm
Updated: Jul 23, 2021
In the past three years of working on MillennialMedia, our approach to bringing in new customers has been fairly simple; we start by finding nearby eateries via yelp or verbal recommendation, and then visit each site to pitch the vision of MillennialMedia. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many locally owned businesses have shut down, both temporarily and permanently. Amidst the pandemic we realized that limiting our resources to a small niche of businesses, restaurants, would no longer be sufficient; instead, we had to mold our product to make it applicable to a larger audience. After drawing up several ideas regarding how to implement these changes, we found our new audience: Farmers Market stands. It was so simple, yet, there was a field of opportunity. We learned that even within a 15 mile radius of our homes, there were 3 different markets filled with local sellers. As an added bonus, contacting owners of these stands would be relatively easy, as most stands are family run.
We started our journey by visiting San Mateo Farmers Market, our favorite market just five minutes away from our homes. As we walked around the different markets to observe each ambiance, we were enticed by the energetic chant from a near by stand: “Come get your berries, delicious, delicious, healthy and nutritious”. Quickly, we searched up “Medina Berry Farm,” on Google and found no website. However, we did stumble upon their instagram. It was full of life, filled with posts ranging from pictures of their delectable ruby red strawberries to funny videos of the team during harvest to pictures from special family gatherings.
At this point, we knew Medina Berry Farm would be a perfect customer; not only was each berry perfectly cultivated, but their family-oriented atmosphere was dynamic and loving, something we wanted all customers to see. We waited briefly, as the lines wrapped around the booth, and then met Hymen. While packaging the delicious guavas, Hymen gave us a brief history of Medina Family Berry Farm. In 1980, his family had started the business after immigrating from Mexico, where they adopted many farming techniques which they brought to Watsonville, California. Since then, the family has continued to grow their business, selling to over twenty different markets each week. More importantly, Hymen stressed their value on maintaining a strong and loving family dynamic through humor and tradition. Unlike our other projects, Medina Berry Farm is multigenerational, so it was interesting to see how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the business overall. According to Hymen, the business struggled slightly during March 2020, as most locals kept inside to stay safe. However, because the Farmers Market is integral to people’s food source, the business has been able to keep a steady flow of customers. Furthermore, granted Medina Berry Farm was started by immigrants, integrating technology into their small business has been challenging, as the emphasis of technology was slim early on due to language barriers. In addition, in the more recent generation, integrating technology has become especially difficult, as maintaining the 28 acres of land requires much effort, leaving little time to figure out the logistics of technology. Overall, working with Hymen and Medina Berry Farm has been a great experience, as we were able to learn more in depth about the farming industry as well as the importance of integrating technology into the ancient system. We look forward to continuing our work with Medina Family Farm as we endeavor to integrate an online platform and ordering system for the business.