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Ho, Ho, Ho—Handling Crabby Customers this Holiday Season Mastering Marketing - November 2018Unreasonable customers are always a pain, but they're especially prevalent and stressful during the holiday shopping rush. To help you cope with difficult shoppers this holiday season, consider these seven tips from customer-service experts.
Emerging Models for Direct-to-Consumer Marketing Mastering Marketing - June 2018“You never change things by fighting an existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.” – Buckminster Fuller
Market Season-Ready, Set, Sell Mastering Marketing - April 2018Despite the colder temps and slow start to the growing season, farmers markets, roadside stands and on-farm markets, need to get ready for sunnier days and the first flush of customers looking for fresh local produce, fruits, and other locally produced foods.
Balanced Pruning I - A Critical Step in Maintaining and Adjusting Vine Balance  Timely Viticulture Update:  February 26, 2018A major theme of viticulture is that for a vine to consistently produce high quality fruit it must be “in balance.” That means that the amount of vegetative growth (shoots and leaves) is just right to properly ripen the reproductive growth (fruit load).
Assessing Grapevine Bud Damage  Timely Viticulture Updated: February 26, 2018
Understanding Grapevine Bud Damage  Timely Viticulture Update:  February 26, 2018
Matching Products to Customer Appetites in 2018 Mastering Marketing - January 2018Every December I enjoy reading food trend predictions for the coming year from a variety of sources such as the Specialty Foods Association, the American Restaurant Association, Packer magazine, and  a host of foodie blogs.
Maryland Crop Production Meetings Maryland Crop Production Meetings Planned
Farm to Door─Should You Offer a Product Delivery Service? Photo Credit: Alden Jewell - Maier's Kew-Bee Bread Truck by Boyertown Body Works
Tissue Sampling Updated May 4, 2017 Some early varieties in many vineyards are just starting to bloom. This is a critical time for taking tissue/petiole samples to assess the nutritional status of your vines. The following are some timely considerations.
Some of our watermelon fields may be low in sulfur For the last 3 out of 5 years (yes I know, but I get busy with other things) I have been looking at whether or not adding extra sulfur to watermelon is worth it. I was asked a similar question from a couple of eastern shore growers awhile back and I said I was not sure and I’d look into it.
Why so little yellow shoulders in tomatoes this year? Normally at this time of year, I’d be writing about how bad yellow shoulders and other fruit ripening problems are in Maryland tomatoes. But this has been a strange season with May weather in March and March weather in May, which caused a great deal of catfacing problems this year.
Other Fruit Problems with 2016 Tomato Crop Many of our tomatoes this summer look pretty ugly and is what I’d like to talk about this week. Some of the ugliness is due to high levels of gold fleck (Fig. 1). Gold fleck is caused by calcium crystals being deposited in the epidermal layers of the fruit when certain varieties are 
Crop Management The goal of most grape growers is to produce high quality grapes for wine. For making the best wine, the highest quality grapes are often the most mature and uniform. In today’s quality driven marketplace, the best fruit will command the highest prices and the greatest demand.
Catfacing Problems in Tomatoes There have been some reports from growers and educators of several sets of tomato fruit with catfacing or that are deformed (Fig. 1). Catfacing results in fruit with deep indentations in the blossom end or fruit with significant distortions.  It is thought to be caused by a problem during the formation of the flower that results in the fruit not developing normally.
Potato Leaf Hoppers on Hops I do not usually look at hops very much as only a few farms have them, but they are becoming a bit more common in the last 10 years (Fig. 1). Visiting two farms withy hops I saw marginal leaf damage (Fig. 2) on some leaves (found some thrips too) and then marginal leaf scorch on others (Fig. 3).
Garlic Viruses In the past I have talked about several different problems with garlic, be it mites, nematodes, fungal or bacterial diseases. However, this year I am seeing something different that I will just call ‘garlic viruses’ that may have been there in past years, but is more prominent now for some reason.
Mites (Two Types) Found in Strawberries  While visiting some strawberry fields over the last few weeks, I ran into a few areas that had two spotted spider mite (TSSM) feeding. These were mostly in fields that had been using row cover. Spider mites Tetranychus urticae are well adapted to high-temperatures and can complete their life cycle in as little as 7 days when temperatures are > 80º F.
Allium (Onion) Leafminer The allium leafminer Phytomyza gymnostoma (also known as the onion leafminer) has recently been detected and confirmed from infested leeks in Lancaster County, PA.  This is the first confirmed infestation in the Western Hemisphere.
Who’s the Boss Mastering Marketing - April 2016 A primary attribute often given for being self-employed is “I’m my own boss.” But, business guru Peter Drucker stated, “The purpose of a business is to have a satisfied customer”. So, whether you’re a farmer, producer, or other type of small business owner; who’s the boss in your business?  Is it you, your customers, or both?
Understanding Grapevine Frost/Freeze Damage   Timely Viticulture Updated: April 7, 2016
Marketing— The Root of All Profits Mastering Marketing - March 2016 I’ve written, taught, and executed marketing ideas and plans for some time now. But, after pages and pages of text and theories, I’ve found marketing really boils down to a couple key concepts executed over three similar categories.  And, marketing is truly the root of all profits in any business.
Generate More “Word of Mouth” Referrals Mastering Marketing - February 2016
Tomato Ripening August 2015

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