Kathy Kelley, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Horticultural Marketing and Business Management
  • Affiliate Appointment: Agribusiness Management, Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education
Kathy Kelley, Ph.D.
6 Tyson Bldg.
University Park, PA 16802
Work Phone: 814-863-2196

Areas of Expertise

  • Wine marketing
  • Produce and ethnic food marketing
  • Retail business management
  • Consumer attitudes and behaviors pertaining to horticultural goods and services

Connect with Kathy Kelley, Ph.D.



  1. Ph.D., Simultaneously, Departments of Horticulture & Botany and Plant Pathology, Michigan State University, 2000
  2. M.S., Horticulture, Michigan State University, 1997
  3. B.S., Botany and Plant Pathology, Michigan State University, 1995

Cooperative Extension Educational Focus

As consumer demand changes and as competitive forces increase, it is crucial to inform horticultural stakeholders about strategies they should consider to best appeal to customers. A component of my extension program is to develop business and marketing educational resources (e.g., presentations, fact sheets, blog entries, and webinars) for horticultural crop producers and retailers.   

Presentations that I have developed to assist audience members with understanding realistic marketing strategies, consumer research techniques, and better understand what goods and services consumers truly desire include:

  • Products: Goods and services offered by horticultural retailers and how they have evolved over time
  • Products: Wine, consumption trends, and the tasting room experience
  • Establishing prices for horticultural goods
  • Promotion: Commonly used activities and adding social media to the mix
  • Developing events to appeal to your clientele
  • Cause marketing: Showing the community you care while being profitable
  • Identifying you clientele and marketing to your target market
  • Branding horticultural products
  • Creating a customer loyalty program
  • Creating a retail shopping experience and designing the retail outlet
  • How to conduct marketing and consumer research

Teaching Responsibilities

  • HORT/AGMB 455. Retail Horticulture Business Management (3 credits). The nature, operation, and management of retail garden centers, winery tasting rooms, and independent food retailers.  Overview of retail marketing principles and practices as they pertain to horticultural retail businesses.  
  • HORT 410W. Issues in Landscape Contracting (3 credits).  The goal of this course is to provide students with a perspective on business management, regulatory, and environmental issues impacting the landscape contracting profession.  
  • INTAG/AGBM 470A/B. Comparing Agricultural and Food Systems in the United States and France (3 credits). This course is taught in the spring and the first summer session in conjunction with Drs.Stephan Goetz and Dan Azzara, Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education. The course is designed to explore key differences and similarities in the food and agricultural systems of the United States and France.  The spring semester portion of the course emphasizes learning via lecture, guest presentations, individual research and group discussions, while the summer portion involves travel to Paris for two weeks so students can attend the summer program at AgroParisTech (APT) in Paris, France. 

International Experiences

New Zealand Sabbatical. From February 1 through July 23, 2011, I was on sabbatical in New Zealand to investigate consumer attitudes and behavior with respect to wine preferences and consumption.  I completed this objective by conducting research in collaboration with faculty at Lincoln University, Lincoln, New Zealand.  New Zealand, a nation distant from large primary markets, has been able to encourage a sizeable grape production and processing industry and to command a respectable international presence, all lessons applicable to the U.S. and state wine industries.  New Zealand has been recognized as “one of those countries whose star is rising” in the wine world , with the country’s Sauvignon Blanc “acclaimed throughout the world as the definitive benchmark style for the varietal” and aiming for similar standards for its Pinot Noir.  Project outcomes will benefit domestic winery and vineyard owners and operators by providing a solid comparative perspective on how another nation’s wine industry is reacting to current global economies and positioning itself for sustainability.  This comparative perspective will also allow me to introduce valuable international benchmarks and examples into my teaching and extension programs.

Short-Term Study Abroad Courses. On four separate occasions, I have collaborated with horticulture (James Sellmer) and landscape contracting faculty (Martin McGann and Dan Stearns) to develop short-term study abroad experiences for our students.  Specifically, I have been involved in developing course outlines, contributing to delivering pre-trip content, organizing and reviewing student projects, helping with travel logistics, and serving as a marketing and consumer research source on the tour.

  • Agribusiness Dutch Horticulture Study Tour, 2006
  • Landscape Italy Study Abroad Short Course, 2007
  • Landscape Contracting and Horticulture:  Paris & the French Countryside – Gardens and Landscapes of Distinction, 2009
  • Landscapes of Ireland, 2012

Management Volunteer Consultant.  I have served four times in the capacity of an Agribusiness Management Volunteer Consultant for the Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs (CNFA), a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC. During all assignments, I traveled to Eastern Europe for 12 to 18 days to assist small business owners.

  • Business Management and Financial Management. For this assignment, I developed and delivered a three-day training program to four agribusiness dealers and their employees. Attendees learned content that should be included in a business plan, financial documents that need to be developed, and key business ratios.
  • Marketing of Fruits, Vegetables, and Value-Added Products. I worked with a group of 12 farmers, the Kiev Fruit and Vegetable Farmers, to determine potential markets for fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as opportunities for value-added products. I conducted two training sessions where participants learned basic marketing strategies and viewed examples of products, packaging, and promotions used by small-scale growers in the U.S.
  • Direct and Wholesale Marketing of Vegetables. I served as an agribusiness volunteer during my third assignment in Ukraine in Abrikosovo Village on the Crimean Peninsula. During my assignment, I worked directly with the lead of a group of farmers who were in the processing of developing a cooperative.
  • Direct Marketing Strategies for Fruits and Vegetables. For my fourth agribusiness assignment, I traveled to Chisinau, Moldova and presented direct marketing information to growers living in three separate villages in Straseni Rayon. Growers were informed about how to differentiate their booth space at open-air markets from their competitors using signage and point-of-purchase materials with recipes and the grower’s contact information, the importance of packaging produce as opposed to selling produce loose and expanding their product mix with addition varieties and specialty vegetables.

Select Research Projects

End-user consumers ultimately decide the fate of horticultural goods and services. Investigating preferences for edible products through consumer research ensures that producers are aware of consumer needs and can fulfill their demands. Data is collected from consumers using a variety of survey methods.  Information is then shared with industry members to help them understand consumer attitudes and behaviors. Primarily research studies have included: 

  • I have conducted wine marketing research to learn what information East Coast consumers feel should be placed on wine labels, their preferences for bottle sizes and materials, and participation in events and tasting room visits.  In addition, data has been collected pertaining to attitudes towards East Coast wine compared to other U.S. regions and Old and New World wines. Other wine marketing research is currently being conducted with researchers from The Pennsylvania State University, Rutgers University, Cornell University, and New York University.  This project is being funded by the USDA Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program.
  • Ethnic consumer interest in purchasing of ethnic greens and herbs.  This multi-state, multi-discipline research project, funded by the USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative grant and directed by Ramu Govindasamy, Professor, Dept. of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics at Rutgers University, focuses on how to better market authentic ethnic products to Asian Indian, Chinese, Mexican, and Puerto Rican consumers who reside along the East Coast of the U.S.  By conducting online focus group sessions and telephone surveys we have gathered data that will assist producers with determining what crops they could grow and help retailers market the crops to these individuals.  Data collected from intermediaries (brokers, wholesalers, and retailers) will allow us to better understand what issues or difficulties they have with sourcing and selling these goods. 
  • Agricultural businesses have several opportunities to host events and draw consumers to their businesses for them to participate in activities such as hayrides, wine tasting, and school field trips.  This research, funded by the USDA Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program and directed by Ramu Govindasamy, Professor, Dept. of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics at Rutgers University, focuses on collecting data from consumers and allow business owners and operators to better understand what events and activities are of greatest interest and how to encourage customers to visit on more than one occasion. 
  • Mid-Atlantic Specialty Crop Research Initiative. Research conducted along with Dr. Jeffrey Hyde and Amy Chamberlain, former graduate research assistant, and funded by the USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative grant . For this research project, four Internet surveys were developed and implemented by targeting consumers residing in five metropolitan areas within the Mid-Atlantic region: Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia, Richmond, and Washington, D.C. Survey questions were developed to investigate factors influencing consumer purchasing decisions regarding fresh produce and value-added, processed products. Additional questions examined the role and impact of increasing food prices, rising energy costs, concerns about food safety, quality, availability, affordability, and other economic factors currently affecting produce purchases. 

Select Refereed Publications

  • Sciarappa, W., J. Simon, R. Govindasamy, K. Kelley, F. Mangan, S. Zang, S. Arumugam, P. Nitzsche, R. van Vranken, S. Komar, A. Ayeni, G. McAvoy, C. Park, W. Reichert, D. Byrnes, Q. Wu, and B. Schilling. 2016. Asian crop overview: Consumer preference and cultivar growth on the east coast of the United States. HortScience 51(11):1344-1350.  doi: 10.21273/HORTSCI11040-16
  • Centenari, M., K. Kelley, B. Hed, A. Miller, and A. Patel-Campillo. 2016. Assessing growers’ challenges and need to improve wine-grape production in Pennsylvania. Journal of Extension 54(3): 
  • Kelley, K., R, Primrose, R. Crassweller, J. Hayes, and R. Marini. 2015. Consumer peach preferences and purchasing behavior: A mixed methods study. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 96(7):2451-2461. 
  • Kelley, K., J. Hyde, and J. Bruwer. 2015. U.S. wine consumer preferences for bottle characteristics, back label extrinsic cues and wine consumption: A conjoint analysis. Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics 27(4):516-534.
  • Kelley, K., J. Hyde, and J. Bruwer. 2015. Usage rate segmentation: Enriching the U.S. wine market profile. International Journal of Wine Research 7:49-61.
  • Bruwer J. and Kelley. 2015. Service performance quality evaluation and satisfaction in the USA wine festivalscape: Buying behavioural effects. International Journal of Events and Festival Management 6(1):18-38.
  • Govindasamy, R., V. Puduri, K.M. Kelley, and J.E. Simon. 2014. Increased purchases of locally grown ethnic greens and herbs due to concerns about food miles.  Journal of Food Distribution Research Society 43(3):428-440.
  • Govindasamay, R. and K. Kelley. 2014. Agritourism consumer’s participation in wine tasting events: An econometric analysis.  Revised and resubmitted to the International Journal of Wine Business Research 26(2):120-138.
  • Chamberlain, A., K. Kelley, and J. Hyde. 2013. Mid-Atlantic Consumer Purchasing Behavior and Knowledge of Locally Grown and Seasonal Produce. Journal of Extension 51(2).
  • Chamberlain, A., K. Kelley, and J. Hyde. 2013. Comparing Consumer Preferences for Locally Grown and Certified Organic Produce in the Mid-Atlantic Region. HortTechnology 23(1):74-81.
  • Kelley, K., R. Govindasamy, and J. Hyde. 2012. Using On-line Bulletin Boards to Gather Preliminary Information. Journal of Extension 50(6).
  • Cornelisse, S., J. Hyde, C. Raines, K. Kelley, D. Ollendyke, and J. Remcheck. 2011. Entrepreneurial extension conducted via social media. Journal of Extension 49(6):
  • Kelley, K.M., J.C. Sellmer, and R.H. Robert. 2010. Survey responses identify community member interest in visiting public gardens and arboreta. HortTechnology. 20(6):1001-1009.
  • Kelley, K., J. Hyde, J. Travis, and R. Crassweller. 2010. Assessing consumer preferences for scab-resistant apples: A sensory evaluation. HortTechnology. 20(5):885-891.  
  • Kelley, K.M., J.C. Sellmer, and R.H. Robert. 2010. Developing strategies to increase visits to public gardens and arboreta by surveying community residents. HortTechnology. 20(5):902-914.
  • McCoy, M.S., K.M. Kelley, and D.T. Stearns. 2008. Factors influencing consumers’ selection of a landscaping service provider. HortTechnology 18(1):148-153.
  • Phillips, J., E.J. Holcomb, and K.M. Kelley. 2007. Determining interest in value-added planters: Consumer preference and current grower and retailer supply. HortTechnology 17(2):238-246.
  • Wehry, R.H., K.M. Kelley, R.D. Berghage, and J.C. Sellmer. 2007. Developing a state plant promotion program based on consumer gardening interests, experiences, and preferences for brand attributes, presentation, and retail price. HortScience 42(3):547-580.
  • Kelley, K.M. and R.M. Bates. 2006. Containerized table-top Christmas trees: Interest among Pennsylvania consumers and attitudes concerning care and handling. Journal of Extension 45(1): .
  • Montri, D.N., K.M. Kelley, and E.S. Sanchez. 2006. Consumer interest in fresh, In shell edamame and acceptance of edamame-based patties. HortScience 41(7):1616-1622.
  • Montri, D.N., K.M. Kelley, and E.S. Sanchez. 2006. Direct marketing edamame (Glycine max [L.] Merrill) to professional chefs. Journal of Extension 44(1): .
  • Kelley, K.M., J. Stumpf, J.C. Sellmer, and R.M. Bates. 2006. Invasive Plant Species: Results of a consumer awareness, knowledge, and expectations survey conducted in Pennsylvania. J. Environ. Hort. 24(1):53-58.
  • Kelley, K.M. and R.H. Wehry. 2006. Consumer interest in gardening topics and Journal of Extension 44(2):

Select Published Proceedings

  • Kelley, K. 2014. Using social media to let customers know what is happening on the farm. 2014 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Conversion Proceedings, pgs. 155-157.
  • Kelley, K. 2014. Marketing to the mobile consumer. 2014 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Conversion Proceedings, pgs. 221-222.
  • Kelley, K., J. Hyde, and J. Bruwer. 2013. Consumer alcohol behaviors and preferences based on wine consumption frequency. 20th International Conference on Recent Advances in Retailing and Services Science Proceedings.     
  • Kelley, K., K. Demchak, and E. Hanson. 2013 Berry marketing: Results of a consumer survey. 2013 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Conversion Proceedings, pgs. 179-181.
  • Demchak, K., K. Kelley, and E. Hanson. 2013. High tunnel berries: Results of a grower survey. 2013 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Conversion Proceedings, pgs. 188-190.
  • Kelley, K., J. Hyde, and A. Chamberlain. 2012. The consumer and the farmers’ market: What research shows us.  2012 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention Proceedings, pgs. 224-225. 
  • Kelley, K. 2012. My wine marketing sabbatical experiences in New Zealand: overview and impressions.  Pennsylvania Fruit News 92(2):18. 
  • Govindasamy, R., K. Kelley, and V. Puduri. 2011. Using Internet Bulletin Board Focus Group Sessions to Elicit Consumer Preferences for Ethnic Greens and Herbs. Journal of Food Distribution Research, 63(1).
  • Kelley, K., A. Chamberlain, and J. Hyde. 2010. Consumer attitudes and purchasing intent: A Project Update of the Mid-Atlantic Specialty Crop Research Initiative. 2010 New Jersey Vegetable Growers Convention.
  • Kelley, K.M. 2010. Basics of marketing: How will you distribute your product?  2010 Mid- Fruit and Vegetable Convention.
  • Kelley, K.M. 2009. Consumer Behavior and Preference for Locally-Grown and Certified-Organic Produce and Value-Added Products.  2009 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention.
  • Kelley, K.M. 2009. Using trends, tips, and techniques to encourage sales in your retail outlet. 2009 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention, pgs. 54-55.
  • Kelley, K.M. 2008. Implementing a customer loyalty program. 2008 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention, pgs. 54-55.
  • Kelley, K.M. 2007. Promotional strategies for your horticultural business. 2007 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention, pgs. 55-56.
  • Kelley, K.M. 2007. Population trends: Does this change your consumer outlook? 52nd New Jersey Annual Vegetable Meeting, pgs. 26-27.
  • Kelley, K.M. 2006. Population trends: Does this change your consumer outlook? 2006 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention, pgs. 50-51.
  • Kelley, K.M. 2006. Pricing strategies for horticultural products. 2006 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention, pgs. 61-62.

Select Non-Refereed Publications

  • Kelley, K. 2016. Marketing strategies and uses for imperfect produce. Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, Country Focus. 26(10):20.
  • Kelley, K. and D. Ollendyke. 2015. Adapting to consumer and product trends. Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, Country Focus. 25(8):20.
  • Primrose, R., J. Hays, K. Kelley, R. Crassweller, and R. Marini. 2014. Consumer peach purchasing behavior and preferences, part 2: Results from a sensory evaluation. Pennsylvania Fruit News 94(10):26-28.
  • Kelley, K. R. Primrose, R. Crassweller, J. Hayes, and R. Marini. 2014. Consumer peach purchasing behavior and preferences, part 1: Results from an Internet survey. Pennsylvania Fruit News 94(9): 26-27. 
  • Kelley, K.M. 2012. Social media strategies for horticultural businesses.  Ohio Florists’ Association, OFA Bulletin 936:10-12.
  • Kelley, K.M. and J. Hyde. 2012. Focus on consumers.  11 July 2012 online edition.
  • Kelley, K.M. 2011. Cross promotion: Partnering with other businesses to better serve your customers. Ohio Florists’  Association, OFA Bulletin 930:1, 9, 10.
  • Kelley, K.M. 2008. Layout and design for retail horticulture businesses. Ohio Florists’ Association, OFA Bulletin 910:4-5.
  • Kelley, K.M. 2007. Implementing a customer loyalty program. Ohio Florists’ Association, OFA Bulletin 905:1, 12-14.
  • Phillips, J., J. Holcomb, and K. Kelley. 2006. A traditional product with a twist: Consumer preference for value-added poinsettia planters. A Growing Interest, The Pennsylvania Floral Industry Association’s Newseltter. Fall 2006: 12-13.
  • Kelley, K.M., J.R. Conklin, J.C. Sellmer, and R.M. Bates. 2006. Invasive plant species: Consumer awareness, knowledge, and expectations. Perennial Plants, Quarterly Journal of the Perennial Plant Association 2:6-12, 14, 16.

    Wine Marketing Research & Extension Blog Posts

    Several blog posts have been published on Penn State’s Wine & Grape U. blog site ( These posts emphasize some of the key findings from a research project, “Developing Wine Marketing Strategies for the Mid-Atlantic Region” (GRANT 11091317). funded by a USDA Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program.  Research goals are to help wine tasting room owners and operators better understand consumption and purchasing patterns, as well as identify marketing and social media tools Mid-Atlantic consumers prefer to use to connect with wineries.

    Additional post focus on marketing strategies customized for winery tasting rooms. These posts focus on: Developing and enhancing cause marketing programs, tasting room techniques, interacting and involving customers, providing an experience, and related. 

    Wine Made Easy Fact Sheets, College of Agricultural Sciences, Pennsylvania State University.  

    Kelley, K. and D. Gardner. 2015. Wine marketing: Getting wines into local restaurants.

    Agricultural Entrepreneurship Blog  

    Blog entries are written to provide information that is both timely and that complements other written and electronic publications and materials.  Blog entries can be found at

    Value-Added Marketing Fact Sheets

    Fact Sheets range in length of one to four pages and are intended to give producers, wholesalers, and retailers a brief understanding of marketing and business management topics. Fact sheets are housed on the Farm Management website:

      Mid-Atlantic Specialty Crops Newsletters

      Biweekly articles were written in conjunction with Amy Chamberlain, former graduate research assistant, Dana Ollendyke, extension assistant, and Jeffrey Hyde, professor of agricultural economics, pertaining to the 2008 fruit and vegetable strategic planning workshop hosted by Penn State and research funded by the USDA SCRI.  Articles were reposted on the Penn State Agricultural Entrepreneurship blog at

        Agricultural Business Management Social Media Webinars 

        A series of webinars were developed by Agricultural Entrepreneurship extension members.  In conjunction with Jeffrey Hyde, professor of agricultural economics, I developed and delivered a webinar informing clientele about the benefits of using YouTube, features, and examples.  The webinar can be at found



          Research Interests

          Small Fruit
          Tree Fruit