This may have been the longest and whitest winter for many years in the USA, but it has not stopped farmers being innovative retailers. I have come across three initiatives that are worth noting; 1 National Apple Month This is organised by the US Apple Association and is held in the fall. The best apple promotions are judged in February and the results have just been announced. The winners were Timothy Hassel of Ferguson and Hasseler Inc who won the award as large retailer. This store exhibited 12 different varieties of the fruit. What was unique was his promotion of “Vote for YOUR Favourite Apple”. This engaged consumers and encouraged them to buy more varieties of apples and hence sales increased.I am sure there are other products in retailing where this technique would be a winner. The small retail winner was G.F.F Foods on Moore Oklahoma who built a display around a fire department theme and used the slogan ” Sound the Alarm, Apples are Hot Stuff”. Again a theme that could be used in other promotions. 2 SPUD-tacular Potato Display Build the biggest and get it int the Guinness Book of Records and the public will come. That has what has happened this winter in Spanish Fork, Utah during February’s Potato Lovers Month. This store used 240,000 Idaho russet potatoes to built the worlds largest potato display in a store. Most of the potatoes were in 10 pound bags for sale. What a great way to get international marketing exposure. 3 Winter Farmers Markets You do not expect farmers markets when the snow is on the ground, but the growth in winter farmers markets this winter has been 17% and these markets now make up 14% of the 6,100 markets in the USA. One of the leading winter markets can be found in Kansas City. Farmers around the country are erecting polythene tunnels and growing hardy vegetables through the winter for sale at winter markets. This ensures they keep the consumer out of the supermarket and buying local even when the snow is on the ground.