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When Pocono Organics signed up to be the sponsor to one of the NASCAR Cup Series races and the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series event at Pocono Raceway, the company knew fans likely weren’t going to be in attendance because of the state’s guidelines regarding COVID-19.
Pocono Organics and the track signed the deal less than one month ago.
But why would an up-and-coming agricultural business – which has set the lofty goal to be the largest Regenerative Organic Farm in North America – want to sponsor a race with no fans? What could it possibly gain?
It’s simple: To gain awareness of its brand and gain exposure on national television, Fox. The company opened its doors to its new Organic Farm Market and Café on June 18.
“As a new brand, coming out as Pocono Organics, awareness is really important for us,” Mike Mooney, chief marketing officer of Pocono Organics told Frontstretch. “Having fans here would be great, but the fact that we’ll still have signage and the opportunity to be seen on TV is going to have a lot of value.”
Pocono Organics was established in 2015 by Ashley Walsh, who was diagnosed with gastroparesis in her late 20s; a disease that paralyzes stomach and prevents people from digesting food easily.
Walsh went on an organic diet and realized she couldn’t find “a local source of great, nutrient-dense organic foods.” So she started up Pocono Organics, the farm within a half-mile of Pocono Raceway, founded on 50 acres of land. Now, it has over 380 acres of land in Long Pond, Pa, and is about as clean of food as a resident will find in the community.
“We’ve got field crops, but we’ve also got about 40,000 square feet of greenhouse,” Mooney said. “We’re able to grow the majority of the produce that we’re using in our menu. Our chef loves it (Chopped Champion Chef), she goes right to the greenhouse, picks out the vegetables, produce, whatever she needs and brings it back here; cleans it, preps it and it’s the food you will be eating. You can’t really get any fresher produce than taking it right off the vine and putting it on the plate.”
Since the Organic Farm Market and Café opened last Thursday, Mooney says business has been “fantastic.” On opening night, there was a line of over 100 people wrapping around the parking lot waiting to get in the doors to be served.
In fact, the company’s products were designed to help our local restaurants in the New York and Philadelphia areas with its Spring harvest.
“We had a number of restaurants that wanted our produce,” Mooney adds. “COVID-19 hits, we all know what’s happening with restaurants that are closing down, so we pivoted and on Earth Day launched an online store to serve the region with pickup. There were people in the community who weren’t able to get fresh produce in the grocery stores because it wasn’t available. We were able to provide that for them.”
“Being able to do that, as a new company and a new organization, was absolutely amazing to be able to build that relationship with our community, especially during a time where they really needed us and we want to be a value and a resource.”
For the company, in a way, sponsoring a NASCAR event is perfect and fits the brand. Both body and racecars need optimal performance in order to work at an elite level.
“One of the messages and things we’re trying to help people understand is not too different from racecars,” Mooney said. “The type of fuel you put in those cars is going to dictate how well the car can perform on the track. It’s the same thing with the food that we eat; the types of inputs that you’re putting in chemically developed and produced food versus organic, nutrient-dense, you’re going to see better performance in your health by having the organic foods.
“We’re using the facility and the farm as a way to educate people and give them that experience and allow them to discover the power of food.”
According to the Pocono Organics website, its goal is to become the gold standard for regenerative organic agriculture through its state-of-the-art facilities, research and development, community and employment initiatives.