We met Trevor from @HerrlesMarket through Twitter, where he’s constantly engaging with his customers and sharing some farm goodness. He kept telling us how much he loves his BlackBerry smartphone and how his “BlackBerry on the Rogers network,” as he describes it, helps him as a business. So we couldn’t pass up a chance to get his point of view on BlackBerry 10 and learn how smartphones help him grow beautifully red and plump strawberries. Read on to learn his secrets.
Tell us more about your business?
Herrle’s is a family owned and operated farm, located just west of Waterloo, Ontario. In 1858 Peter Herrle purchased the land at 1243 Erb’s Road that the Herrle family has farmed for over 150 years. We are delighted that our children, the sixth generation of Herrles, can call our fields of sweet corn, strawberries, peas, beans and pumpkins their backyard playground! Each and every year, our farm market is brimming with fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, homemade jams and preserves, local honey and maple syrup, breads and baking, fruit juices, snack foods and decorative wooden crafts.
When did you start using BlackBerry devices on the farm?
Personally, I have been the “AgNerd” of the family. My first BlackBerry device was the 6210. Back then, being able to see the weather in the field was a luxury. Being able to respond to an email on a tractor was almost unheard of. I have remained loyal to BlackBerry since the beginning, and owned probably 15 devices between then and now. As far as the rest of the family, I got them hooked about three years ago. We amalgamated our wireless plan with Rogers and purchased seven devices. This has given us outstanding connectivity between family members throughout our properties, our business, our suppliers, our agronomists, our Twitter followers and our staff.
How does technology help you connect with your customers?
Technology and farming go hand in hand, more than the general public understands, from the GPS units in our tractors to our BlackBerry smartphones. Farming is a mobile industry, we need information at our fingertips, and constant connection between family members, staff and suppliers. BlackBerry, along with Rogers Small Business Solutions, has enabled our farming operation to #KeepMoving.
How has BlackBerry 10 changed things on the farm?
Currently, I am the only one in the family with a BlackBerry 10 device. There are other members who were patiently waiting for the BlackBerry Q10 (available today) as a physical keyboard is an important feature for a few members of our family. I have been using the BlackBerry Z10 for three months now, and undeniably, this is the best typing experience I have had. (I’m typing this interview on my Z10 now).
Beyond coordinating activities using calendar invites and BBM, I also take pictures, track weather patterns, and engage with the community using Twitter from my BlackBerry on a regular basis (yes, even from my tractor – but not while driving it, of course!). I have leveraged social media in particular as a method to connect urban consumers to the farm, gathering feedback on new product ideas and reaching out to them in a variety of ways. We’re providing a constant opportunity for our customers to connect with the family, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and almost 365 days a year, for a business that is only open from June to October 31st.
Do you think you could you grow beautifully red and plump strawberries without your smartphone?
Hahahaha! Of course! We just wouldn’t be able to share amazing quality “just in time” images and videos with our customers, enticing them to come out to the farm that day and experience that “Freshness Makes the Difference.”
The BlackBerry Q10 smartphone is now available at Rogers retail locations across Canada, starting at $199.99 with select three year plans.