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The signs of quality produce: Don MacDonald, of MacDonald Blueberry Farms, proudly displays the new branding at his North Fraser farm.
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True North Fraser Logo
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New signage for True North Fraser.
There are raisins ... and then there are California Raisins.
That wildly successful exercise in branding, featuring raisins wearing Wayfarer sunglasses, showed fruit growers all over the world the importance of branding ... and now, the North Fraser region of BC is getting into the act.
The idea of creating a brand unique to three communities north of the Fraser River was born in 2012. Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, with input from Mission, decided to create a brand communicating the agricultural offerings of the shared region.
“We are helping people connect to local products,” said Kate Zanon, Economic Development CEO with Pitt Meadows. “We’re also hoping it’s helping some of those smaller growers make some of those same connections [with people buying their products].”
The project to create the brand set a number of goals including the objective to create a brand recognizable worldwide – somewhat like California Raisins or California Strawberries. Stakeholders from the farming community, community supporters, agricultural specialists and others gave input as to what they wanted to see the brand concept achieve.
Design firm ION was hired to create the brand identity and were given a blank slate in terms of creating whatever met the needs expressed.
“The brand was here already,” said Rod Roodenurg of ION. “We just held a mirror up.”
The final concept is an image, somewhat like a postage stamp, with “True North Fraser – Dig It” and an agricultural image. Suitable for signage, packaging, websites and more, it is available to all North Fraser producers and agriculturally oriented businesses.
While the official launch occurred in February 2013, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Mission producers have been using the image since late 2012. Most recently however, Pitt Meadows council implemented permanent road signs mounted to posts at key intersections with the logo, website address www.truenorthfraser.com and the words “farm sales” with a directional arrow. Both Maple Ridge and Mission plan to add the signage program in 2014.
Another aspect of the program is business specific directional signs for producers. One of the growers taking advantage of this is Don MacDonald, of MacDonald Blueberry Farms.
“I’ve got two [signs] so they’ll go up when the season begins,” MacDonald noted. “It’s great to share our vibrant farming industry with others and now it will be even easier for visitors to find us.”
MacDonald runs a U-pick blueberry farm on seven of his 10 acres at the far eastern tip of Pitt Meadows. He hopes the city’s installed signage combined with his new directional signage will draw even more visitors to his farm in the 2014 season.
A key component of both types of signs is the website, which includes directory style listings of agriculture-related operations and information about True North Fraser products.
Sign up for the program includes a quick checklist of required and recommended standards to help increase quality and improve health and safety at the businesses. MacDonald noted the sign-up experience was positive.
For more information about the True North Fraser program, those in Pitt Meadows can contact the Pitt Meadows Economic Development at 604-460-9481 or EDinfo@thinkpittmeadows.ca, in Maple Ridge contact Sandy Blue at 604-467-7319 or in Mission contact Sandy Crawford at 604-820-3789.