Change is a powerful agent in our lives. Currently we find ourselves caught in change of season. The mornings are more brisk, the leaves are slowly beginning to shift their colors, and pumpkins are covering every roadside farm stand. Soon we will find ourselves bustling about preparing for the holidays, wrapping gifts, and spreading the table full of food. In the bustle of change, we must not forget to pause and celebrate it.
In October, Local First is hosting their annual Fork Fest event in Grand Rapids. It has quickly become a staple event, a time for the community to gather together and enjoy local food and drink. This year Local First is delighted to have nearly fifty vendors taking part in the celebration, one of which is Heffron Farms, a new Local First member who knows the power of change well.
Nearly 20 years ago, Heffron Farms, based in Belding, found that change was taking a toll on the those in the business of livestock and crops. Farms all around the Heffron family’s land begin to close their doors as they could no longer hold on. The Heffrons were determined to ride the change. For them help came in the form of a seminar: Adopt 101. It was a learning session for livestock and crops farmers on how to adopt and change through the ugly times. The seminar highlighted marketing down the line to the consumer as the key to making it through the tough times. The Heffrons came back to the farm and decided to open their first retail space at the Fulton Street Farmers Market, which essentially was a fridge on a trailer. By the end of the market season the Heffrons found they had built up a clientele. Not wanting to leave their new customers without meat for the winter they decided to open a retail space on the farm. Six years later they had three more retail stores; they had passed through the tough times of change, and found themselves stronger then before.
For Dennis Heffron and his family change has promoted growth. No longer are they just farmers, but also retailers. What they have found, and what Dennis feels has led them to their success is quite simply, listening. They listen to, and are guided by, their customers.
Be sure to stop by the Heffron Farms booth at Fork Fest this year. They will be on site carving meat for you to sample, as well as sharing about their work, their practices, and answering any questions guests may have.
n7724 Ashley Avenue
nBelding, MI 48809
nPhone: (616) 794-2527