Temecula Valley Strawberry Farms: Case Study

The Challenge:
Temecula Valley Strawberry Farms (TVSF) is the first vertical hydroponic "you-pick" strawberry farm in Southern California. The fun and interactive farm is a great place for the whole family to pick fruit, learn more about farming or have a picnic. The farms opened to public on March 17, 2012. TVSF retained J. McLeish Public Relations to quickly spread the word of this new, innovative farm to local families as well as become a successful economic "green" agricultural model. This event faced the challenges many other businesses face in current economic times: limited budget, lack of vertical farming awareness and a narrow time frame.

The Strategy:
J. McLeish used a combined traditional and social media approach. We first used Temecula Valley Strawberry Farm's best assets: the berries. In addition to visiting the farm and taking stunning photos, JMPR assisted in updating the farm's the web site, as well as posted Twitter and Facebook updates to targeted media. We created a master media list targeting the nearby city and county outlets, as well as national family and green industry publications. JMPR crafted a compelling press release and pitch that focused on the farm's family-owned and operated tradition, coupled with its use of hydroponic vertical farming to produce sweet, beautiful and healthy fruit.

Many media outlets had never heard about hydroponic vertical farming, or TVSF. Our plan was to recruit local broadcast to tell the story and focus on family publications to appeal to parents looking for fun weekend activities. JMPR devised a pitch email with the theme: "Farm of the Future in So Cal." When the reporter opened the email, she saw a single paragraph that told the story of TVSF and a well-organized press release that also shared the health, economic and environmental benefits of hydroponic vertical farming. This proved to be the winning approach and two days before the opening, the owners of TVSF found themselves on the morning news KUSI program, Good Morning San Diego.

The weeklong pitching time frame was spent fielding media requests for phone and on-site interviews. After opening day, the story continued to garner attention from a variety of print, online and television media. The Good Morning San Diego footage was also shared on Twitter and Facebook.

The Results:

In spite of the rain on March 17, Temecula Valley Strawberry Farms sold out and continued to attract visitors throughout the strawberry season.

Examples of major media hits included:

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