Finding Markets In Rural PA

The key to success in produce marketing has always been the establishment of good relationships with buyers over time. New growers, like us, have to prove to potential buyers that they are serious about farming and are able to grow, in the amounts the buyer specifies.  Some market options for garlic include wholesale markets, farmers’ markets and festivals, on-farm retailing and produce auctions. Wholesale markets include sales to local grocers and restaurants, and regional supermarkets and specialty produce and health food stores.

Fortunately, local consumers have become more interested in buying fresh, high quality vegetables—part of a rising national demand for fresh, locally-grown products. Consumer interest are creating opportunities for both direct and wholesale marketing.  Large supermarket chains with stores in Pennsylvania has been featuring locally-grown produce and apparently would like to feature more.  Many potential buyers can be found among local wholesalers like grocery stores and restaurants. Local grocery stores are willing to buy directly from growers.  Buying direct relationships are harder to establish with larger supermarket stores. This situation may be changing.  However, small farms are wise to begin by establishing sales with the local grocery stores before approaching the larger supermarket stores to discuss marketing possibilities.  More and more restaurants are promoting locally grown and seasonal items on their menus, so individual growers may be able to sell to them.

Among the main factors influencing our choice of marketing options are:

a. marketing options and facilities available in our area
b. time we have available for marketing
c. our yearly production volume

This year’s sales can be analyzed by market type as follows:

Sales by Venue: 11% On-Farm
  40% Food Stores
  3% Restaurants
  13% Festivals
  33% Farmer’s Market
Sales by Mode: 43% Whole Sale
  57% Retail

We believe that more sales opportunities are available in all of the current sales venues.  Good potential for more sales is present at regional festivals and with our local grocers .  Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA), produce auctions and regional supermarkets are available for creating new sales (current year 0% market share).


About wooleylot

Garlic Farmer
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