FarmVille gets its first branded produce

The still pretty popular Zynga property FarmVille is getting its first branded crop in-game in a partnership with General Mills subsidiary Cascadian Farms.

FarmVille gamers will get the option of planting Cascadian Farms blueberries on their fake farms, in a move that the brand hopes will increase awareness about organic farming or blueberries or something. In the New York Times, Cascadian Farms’ marketing manager marketing-speaks about the initiative:

“We’re at a crossroads for the brand,” said Tim Goldsmid, marketing manager for Cascadian Farm, which started selling organic crops grown in the Upper Skagit Valley in Washington State nearly 40 years ago. “We’re looking to get our message out in a bigger way, and we wanted a creative way to do that.”

General Mills has stepped out with Zynga before, having distributed frozen veggies with Zynga codes on products at Target earlier this year. (Plans exist to expand that promotion to Wal-Mart.) The tokens gave players five units of “farm cash,” the in-game currency used for FarmVille. Goldsmid said the company chose FarmVille for having “scale that (Cascadian Farms) lack(ed)” despite a significant social media push on Facebook and YouTube. The Cascadian/FarmVille partnership will offer some in-game benefits for users, but only for a short time:

The food company is embedding its brand in the game by offering all players, including beginners, a crop that can be harvested faster and bring a bigger cash return than other crops. The promotion will run from Monday to July 26.

The tie-in isn’t going to be all virtual though. A $1 coupon will be offered to FarmVille players for Cascadian products, but until Zynga comes out with WholeFoodsVille, you’ll have to get off your actual derriere to redeem the promotion.