EscapeMaker Donates $50k in Webinars by Women Experts to Save Farms


EscapeMaker is offering 200 all-access passes (7+ hours of education) for their agritourism training platform to farmers, innkeepers and local travel destinations for a $1 or a Name-Your-Price contribution to help them prepare for when the public can travel again.

Brooklyn, NY -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/28/2020 --EscapeMaker, a consumer online resource for local farm, food and beverage getaways within a day's drive or train ride from New York City since 2000, just launched "$1 or Name-Your-Price" pricing for the first 200 farmers or local travel destinations to sign up for its agritourism training series on its B2B site:

The EscapeMaker Virtual Agritourism Training" (EVAT) series, presented by EscapeMaker and Fulton Stall Market, is not only the first-of-its-kind digital training focusing on the intersection of the tourism and agriculture industries (agritourism), but also is produced solely by women - 30% of whom are certified as an M/WBE (Minority Women-Owned Business Enterprise), including EscapeMaker.

The all-women led webinar series consists of 12 presentations, each 25-45 minutes long with topics ranging from legal and liability issues, marketing, social media, and hosting workshops, to adding lodging to a farm and making green eco-friendly on-site improvements – all topics focus on increasing revenue via agritourism i.e. inviting the public to visit on-site for pick-your-own fruit days, farm tours, wine trails, harvest festivals, craft beverage tastings, overnight getaway packages, farm-to-table events, etc.

During the COVID-19 pandemic period of uncertainty, farmers and small business owners nationwide have had to cut expenses, lay off employees, employ technology and shift sails to keep their doors open or get their goods to customers and farmer's markets. This is an ideal time as everyone waits for the travel restrictions to lift to upgrade one's skills and plan for recovery through agritourism sales.

Since there's always a risk of external factors affecting a business' bottom line, whether it be changing consumer tastes and trends, weather emergencies, or a global crisis, the on-demand webinar series is a primer for entrepreneurs who want to be armed with the know-how and savvy to survive and thrive in the changing landscape. The farmers, innkeepers, winemakers, craft beverage producers, and other ag-related destinations that survive the coming recession are those who will capitalize on their new knowledge to make up for lost revenue as a result of the pandemic.

"Local travel will come back eventually but the COVID-19 pandemic is a perfect example of why it is imperative that everyone, especially a farmer, diversifies their income stream for leaner times," says Caylin Sanders, Founder & CEO of "Knowing all too well that so many farmers and small business owners are experiencing catastrophic financial losses at this time, we have decided to deeply discount our full access pass so they can view the entire 12-part series," says Sanders. With over 7 hours of education, the webinar series is designed so that an attendee can watch at their own pace.

Sanders also comments "Escapemaker is a local travel promoter, local tour operator and tasting event production company – a triple whammy when it comes to banned activities right now, but we recognize that if we don't keep our farm, food and beverage and women-owned business partners in business, we don't have a business."

Through June 2020, their site is offering 200 all-access passes, which normally retail for $249 each, at $1 or whatever a person can afford, keeping in mind that all the women expert and farmer speakers on the platform share in the profits and/or promotion for their organizations.

Fourteen female industry experts with extraordinary resumes and decades of experience have come together to share insider tips, trends, and best practices for preparing a business to capitalize on a rapidly changing travel landscape and to meet the demands of leisure, group, event, and corporate travel markets.

Topics and expert speakers are as follows:

- Welcome & Introduction:
Caylin Sanders, Founder & CEO,, Inc.

- Social Media for Food/Beverages/Farm on Instagram 101
Amelia Tarpey & Kathleen Ernsting, Social Media Managers, GrowNYC-Greenmarket

- Basics of Agritourism Liability & Your Risks:
Cari Rincker, Esq., Rincker Law, PLLC

- Rallying Your Resources for Group, Corporate & Motorcoach Business:
Jennifer Ackerson, CEO, ALON Marketing

- Farm, Winery & Craft Beverage Trail Overnight Packaging:
Debbie Meritsky, Innkeeper, The Black Sheep Inn

- Social Media & Storytelling for Destinations:
Danielle Gaebel, Owner, True Food Collective

- Using Public Transit to Fuel Your Marketing Strategy:
Donna Haynes, Asst. Director Promotional Partnerships, Metro-North Railroad

- Capturing the Eco-Traveler & Making Green On-Site Improvements:
Jennifer Woofter, CEO, Strategic Sustainability Consulting

- Craft Beverage Trail & Event Marketing:
Linda Pierro, President, Flint Media & Hudson Valley Wine Magazine

- Adding Lodging to Enhance the Agritourism Experience:
Erica Frenay, Farmer, Shelterbelt Farm

- Successful Tastings, Tours & Winery Events:
Chelsea Snider, Food Programming & Events Consultant, Tousey Winery

- Offering On-Site Classes & Public Workshops:
Cheryl Rogowski, Farmer, Rogowski Farm

- Hosting Farm-to-Table & Cider Events:
Elizabeth Ryan, Farmer, Breezy Hill & Stone Ridge Orchards & Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider

Presented by and Fulton Stall Market, series sponsors and partners include, Edible Manhattan, The New York Apple Association, Heritage Radio Network, Metro-North Railroad and Women in Hospitality United, all of which are organizations with a commitment to the advancement of the food, farm, beverage and agritourism industries and their stakeholders.

The full access-pass, normally $249, includes additional workshop downloads and links to more resources. The current "$1 or Name-Your-Price" pass is in effect through June 2020 and can be accessed 24/7 on-demand here:

About EscapeMaker OR's mission is to provide New York City area residents with the education and tools necessary to explore the countless farms, wineries, craft beverage trails and local agritourism destinations located within a day's drive or train ride of New York City. Whether it is through overnight packages, local tasting showcases, or tours, EscapeMaker advocates lowering one's carbon footprint whenever possible and supporting the local economy through unique tasting experiences. Emmy-Award Winning for their agritourism webisodes, they currently have an Agritourism Pop-Up Shop within the Fulton Stall Market where they host tasting events, food festivals and distribute local farm and destination guides.

About Fulton Stall Market Fulton Stall Market, located at 91 South St. NY, NY 10038, is a multi-faceted public market that connects regional farmers and producers with the growing Lower Manhattan community. Located in the historic district where the city's public markets began in the 1700s, it's the first step toward the development of a multiple-vendor indoor public market for the community featuring local farm and food products and educational programming that celebrates the region's food producers and the Seaport District's vibrant market history. The market is operated by the Fulton Market Assn., Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
This press release originally appeared here

How To: Host Tastings, Tours & Winery Events


Download Chelsea's course, “Hosting Tastings, Tours & Winery Events” here.

As a freelance Food Programming and Events Consultant, Chelsea Snider is serving clients in the Catskills/Hudson Valley to up their hospitality game, boost sales, and enable their space to host big occasions and intimate gatherings. Chelsea will help you identify ways to express your business identity through creating memorable, joyful and educational experiences.

In Chelsea's training course, she will walk you through the do's and don'ts of event planning -- from weddings to concerts to private tastings -- specifically for wineries. Everything from the ambiance and mood to the decor and lighting will help set the tone for a successful event that your guests will be sure to remember. As they say, it's all in the details ... but knowing what to anticipate and what to have a Plan B, C & D for can make or break an event!

Chelsea explains, "we are in the sensory business, are we not? And wine is for pleasure seekers. So frame the delivery of a tasting around creating a moment of pure enjoyment. While the quality of the wine will speak for itself, it is your job to set a stage where all obstacles to the path of enjoyment are removed. And in that way it is as much a moment of theater as it is a direct sales opportunity." 

Download Chelsea's course, “Hosting Tastings, Tours & Winery Events” here.

HOW TO: Social Media and Storytelling for Destinations


Download Danielle's course, “Social Media and Storytelling for Destinations” here.

Danielle is a Capricorn on a mission to help farm, food and lifestyle brands succeed using the power of digital media. For the past 22 years, she's had her hand in marketing - working with businesses big and small, across all platforms and genres. Working in print, radio and now digital, she's seen marketing shift like never before and at such a rapid speed. Reading and researching, she keeps up on trends and best practices for her clients, including Sullivan Catskills Tourism, Narrowsburg Farmer's Market and Whitestag Farm. She's currently offering a social media intensive online class online called Super Fine Social.

In Danielle's training course, learn to up the strength of your social media game through storytelling. This workshop, which focuses on promoting destinations, increases your skill level and will help you reach and engage your target customers. Learn how to create a strategy that builds awareness and drives traffic while streamlining the process for proper in-house engagements. Danielle uses specific case studies to show low cost and effective ways you can leverage content creation from your customers and fans.

"Attention is the most valuable commodity in marketing," Danielle explains. "And if you're not producing a strong content strategy that incorporates the user experience, it's kind of like shouting out into the wind."

Download Danielle's course, “Social Media and Storytelling for Destinations” here.

Capturing the Eco-Traveler 101


Download Jennifer's course, “Capturing the Eco-Traveler & Making Green Improvements” here.

Jennifer Woofter is the founder and president of Strategic Sustainability Consulting (SSC). In this role she draws upon more than a decade of experience in the fields of organizational sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and socially responsible investing. She has worked with more than 50 clients on projects including Green Auditing, Sustainability Planning, Carbon Footprint Analysis, Stakeholder Engagement, Training and Facilitation, and Sustainability Reporting. She currently manages the SSC Consultant Network, an association of more than 650 professionals with expertise in virtually every area of sustainability.

The "Capturing the Eco-Tourism Market" workshop will focus on the key trends driving travel towards more environmentally conscious choices and how tourism businesses can most effectively position themselves to capture this growing niche. You’ll learn hot trends in eco-tourism that you can apply right away, real-life examples of hotels, wineries, farms and cities that are using eco-tourism features to engage and delight their guests and practical ways to green your facilities and destinations and reduce your environmental footprint.

"The hospitality industry spends more than $7.5 billion on energy each year," Jennifer explains. "Reducing energy use by 10% across the industry could save $750 million and help reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 6 million tons."

Download Jennifer's course, “Capturing the Eco-Traveler & Making Green Improvements” here.

Donna's Tips for Using Public Transit to Fuel Your Marketing Strategy


Download Donna's course, “Using Public Transit to Fuel Your Marketing Strategyhere.

Between her former marketing and promotions positions at Dutchess County Tourism, at New York City Transit and her current position at Metro-North Railroad, Donna Haynes has nearly 20 years of experience with promotional partnership and leisure travel marketing in the public transportation industry. Tourism marketing, corporate sponsorship and sales promotions are just a few of the areas that are woven into her day to day professional arena. Her specialties include: relationship building and partnership development, packaging, marketing campaign planning and placement, leisure travel marketing to support destination and transportation business success.

As more travelers opt for car-less travel to save money, time and the planet, destinations need to position themselves to capitalize on the green travel movement. In Donna's training course, learn how to help your visitors connect the dots and understand why your address and a google map are not enough. Donna will touch on creating travel packages for customer value, discount rail packages, rail & tour offers, hotel packages and marketing channels for promoting the packages. Find out how to lead visitors to your doorstep with travel information that leaves a breadcrumb trail at all of your touch points.

"When you're talking about getting this audience to come up to your destination, you need to think about how are they going to get there," says Donna. "Are you close to the train station? Is there a bus stop nearby? Are they going to have to take the train and then take a cab? How much does that cab ride cost and how far is that cab and is that service available? Do you have Uber and Lyft that service your destination? How long would it take... there are just so many questions you have to ask."

Download Donna's course, “Using Public Transit to Fuel Your Marketing Strategyhere.

Agritourism Legal, Liability & Insurance 101


Download Cari's course, “Basics of Agritourism Legal, Liability & Insurance Risks” here.

Cari Rincker is the owner of Rincker Law, PLLC, a national general practice law firm concentrating in food and agriculture law with offices in New York and Illinois. She is licensed to practice law in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois and Washington D.C. She is a prolific writer and blogger on a myriad of food and agriculture law topics and has been recognized as an author of a Top 100 Blawg from the American Bar Association. She is the co-author of “Field Manual: Legal Guide for New York Farmers & Food Entrepreneurs.” Cari’s passion for agriculture issues is deeply rooted.

Whether its assessing your corporate structure, tax issues and estate planning or minimizing your liability risks, you'll walk away from Cari's training course with actionable steps and some free and low-cost tips you can immediately put into place. The workshop will also give an overview of  general releases and types of insurance. You'll feel prepared to tackle any challenge and will breath a sign of relief knowing where you need to shore up to protect yourself, your family and your business.

"A rider should be obtained for things like a petting zoo, corn maze, farm tours or festivals and the premiums will be affected primarily by the type of activity that you are implementing into your agritourism or agri-tainment operation," explains Cari. 

Download Cari's course, “Basics of Agritourism Legal, Liability & Insurance Risks” here.

How to Generate Biz via Overnight Packages


Download Debbie's course, “Creating Farm, Winery & Craft Beverage Trail Overnight Packages” here.

From the creation of the first private chef service in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio to owning and operating a bed and breakfast for the last 13 years, Debbie Meritsky has cultivated a working knowledge of the local food movement and continues to promote her small family farms to locals and tourists alike. Through her experience, Debbie has developed extensive knowledge in the creation of travel packages, which allowed her to further utilize her relationships within the agritourism community. Debbie's business location in the Finger Lakes affords her an extensive selection of agricultural and craft beverage products and experiences to offer guests.

In her training course, learn how to add customers, revenue and value to your agritourism business through packaging. You will get first-hand knowledge of how and why to create exciting agritourism packages as Debbie walks you through all of the steps. Using real-life examples, you will learn what to do and benefit from many helpful hints along the way. Best of all, you can create your packages with little, or no upfront cost, and quickly experience the direct benefit to your business.

"There are three main goals in agirtourism packaging," Debbie explains. "1) To provide a one-stop shop approach that offers the customer an exceptional experience while they explore the best agritourism products or services in your area or region; 2) to create a new revenue stream for your business as well as the participating businesses in the package; and 3) to build a new customer base." 

Download Debbie's course, “Creating Farm, Winery & Craft Beverage Trail Overnight Packages” here.

Jennifer's Tips for Getting Your Business "Group Ready"


Download Jennifer's course, "Rallying Your Resources for Group, Corporate & Motorcoach Businesshere.

Jennifer Ackerson, President of ALON Marketing Group, is a 25+ year veteran of the travel industry with direct experience working in all tourism business categories. Jennifer has an excellent understanding of group visitation and the tourism dynamic. This expertise results in a high level of successful strategic tourism business development for both tourism suppliers and destinations in the domestic and international group markets. 

In her training course, learn how to become "group ready"! Working with groups is different than working with walk-in visitors. There are techniques and how-to’s that can make your business run seamlessly when working with groups. Even better, there are opportunities to garner repeat business and increase your revenue by diversifying your audience of customers. In Jennifer's workshop, absorb invaluable insights about effectively harnessing the group market. Although this workshop focuses on NY State examples, these concepts can easily apply to any area with agritourism offerings.

"I always like to solidify the impact of tourism in the beginning of our presentation because the numbers make the case for you to get excited about putting your action plan into place," Jennifer explains. "In 2017, New York State welcomed a record-high 243.8 million visitors. This marks an 18% increase in statewide visitation since 2011."

Download Jennifer's course, "Rallying Your Resources for Group, Corporate & Motorcoach Businesshere.

Adding On-Site Workshops with Cheryl


Download Cheryl's course, "Offering On-Site Classes & Public Workshops on a Farmhere.

Cheryl Rogowski began farming in 1983 when the Onion Harvest Festival was reestablished and she was crowned Princess. In 1984, she received 5,000 acres from her family and started growing broom corn, sunflowers, zinnias, chili peppers and ground cherries. Starting in 1998, she grew a community-supported agriculture program from 12 to 156 members, and since then has sold at farmers' markets in the New York City and Hudson Valley Regions. Cheryl participates in El Puente ("The Bridge") CSA for low-income people and English lessons for migrant workers. In addition to mentoring Future Farmers of America students, she helps with "Just Food", and "The Tastemakers" annual food festivals. In 2004, she received the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship Award "Genius Grant." Since then, she's focused on building her "Black Dirt" catering business and running on-farm classes and workshops for the public on Rogowski Farm.

In her training course, learn how to take your passion and turn it into a side stream of revenue on site. Whether you like to cook, bake or make herb gardens in quirky containers, Cheryl will teach you how she monetized her passion to offer on-site classes at her working farm and thereby increased visits and more clients for her catering business.

"I cannot emphasize enough how much we enjoy putting on these workshops," Cheryl says. "We meet so many great people and it's such a wonderful opportunity to share your knowledge, share who you are, share what your operation is all about, and to really and truly be a central integral part of the community around you. When folks talk about the farm in this area, they're talking about us and our operation, and that's a pretty special place to be." 

Download Cheryl's course, "Offering On-Site Classes & Public Workshops on a Farmhere.

Hostess with the Mostess: Elizabeth Talks Farm-to-Table & Cider Dinners


Download Elizabeth's course, "Hosting Farm-to-Table & Cider Dinners" here

Elizabeth Ryan is a renowned fruit grower and cider maker. Elizabeth bought Breezy Hill Orchard in Dutchess County in 1984 and has since expanded to operate two more orchards. What started out as a roadside fruit stand selling fresh apples has evolved into the area’s most unique purveyor of local foods grown using sustainable farming practices. Stone Ridge Orchard is a 114-acre ecologically managed orchard in the Hudson Valley, which produces Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider. They have just planted a dedicated hard cider orchard with a number of traditional cider apples. Elizabeth has a degree in Pomology from Cornell University and she has also studied cider-making in Somerset and Hereford in England. She is one of the founding GrowNYC Greenmarket farmers, received the Cornucopia award from Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, and was a Smithsonian Fellow.

In her training course, learn how to diversify your income in an industry that may have uncertainty from year to year. As a farmer, cider maker, etc., get creative to supplement when faced with less than stellar crop years or economic downturns. Elizabeth with share her tips for offering tours, festivals and pop-up events as well as best practices for on site hospitality and logistics.

"Staffing will make or break an event," she explains. Learn the other key components of a successful farm-to-table event in this 27 minute training.

Download Elizabeth's course, "Hosting Farm-to-Table & Cider Dinners" here

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