The idea started small (kind of): to create an iPhone app that would connect consumers to farmers in Farm Family’s home office territory of New York. But why stop there? Why not bridge the gap between consumers and all the growers and marketers of local agriculture across the country?
“We realized we could take this concept and spread it across all the markets the American National Family of Companies serves,” said Katie Piretti, Sr. Marketing Specialist, Farm Family Insurance Companies.“ We have been serving the needs of the local agricultural community since the 1950s. We thought an app that helped connect our markets to their markets would be the perfect way to be able to give back.”
Farm Family looked no further for a mobile app developer than FARRAGUT Mobile. It seemed like a no-brainer to go with a trusted partner. In addition to working directly with Farm Family, FARRAGUT has been providing enterprise software development services to American National Property And Casualty Company, of Springfield, MO, Farm Family’s sister company, since 1998—with staff working onsite for the last seven years.
“It was an excellent choice,” said Piretti. “FARRAGUT took the world of mobile app development, a completely foreign concept for us, and made it manageable, easy to understand, and actually a lot of fun. As we were brainstorming ideas, I felt like they were just as excited as we were.”
FARRAGUT began development on numerous fronts. On the front end, Harvest to Hand is an intuitive interface that lets consumers explore local agricultural events, markets, wineries and restaurants that serve locally grown food. Once a destination is selected from a map-based view, users can choose to share the details on Facebook or twitter, map the route or receive the details via e-mail.
On the back end, Harvest to Hand is an integrated content management tool. There is a database to store event and farm venues information, a web site to enable list submissions, and an admin tool for Farm Family to review, modify and import submitted events from the data feeds.
Take it all together, and you have one seriously ambitious undertaking. Piretti, who was completely new to the process of developing applications, felt she could have easily been overwhelmed. But she wasn’t. “The process turned out to be far more involved than I could have ever imagined, but because the FARRAGUT team explained everything and held our hand every step of the way, I always felt confident. FARRAGUT made the process painless. My direct contact was so quick to answer my questions, day or night, that I once had to ask him if he ever slept,” laughed Piretti.
On September 1, 2011, Harvest to Hand hit the App Store. “It was very exciting to see what we had worked so hard to build go live,” said Piretti.
Less than a week later, the app began garnering positive reviews from users excited to find new “off-the-beaten-path” local food and farm venues. The growers and marketers of local agriculture are happy to take part in a free, innovative venue to grow their awareness. And Farm Family and American National agents love showing off the app to customers and prospective customers.
“Harvest to Hand just launched and already we can see it is a great success for everyone involved—the general public, our clients, the markets we serve and our agents,” said Piretti. “It’s everything we could have asked for—just a big win all around.”
“FARRAGUT took the world of mobile app development, a completely foreign concept for us, and made it manageable, easy to understand, and actually a lot of fun.”
Katie Piretti, Sr. Marketing Specialist, Farm Family Insurance Companies
Farm Family, part of the American National Family of Companies, has been providing insurance protection for farms, families, individuals and small businesses in rural and suburban areas since the 1950s. Its affiliate, American National Property and Casualty Company, operates in 34 states across the USA. Farm Family is headquartered in Glenmont, NY.