[Market-farming] Mache, distributors and salad greens

Roger Weeks roger69 at yahoo.com
Sat Oct 18 18:48:51 EDT 2003


For what it's worth, this is true for just about any salad green you
can think of.  What I've found is that you have to find customers who
don't want salad greens that were picked several days previously.

Several upscale restaurants in my area have told me they are very
interested in high-quality locally grown salad greens, from
micro-greens to full-size romaine.  Conversations I've had with two of
the head chefs at different restaurants covered a very similar ground:

They used to buy salad greens from distributor X.
The quality was horrible.
They stopped buying greens from distributor X and went to farmer Y.
Farmer Y had a great local product but then stopped doing deliveries,
and only sells at a single farmer's market.
Neither chef can take the time to drive across county to that market,
so they are buying greens from distributor Z, and not happy with the
quality.

The reality is that anything that comes delivered from Sysco or any
major distributor has been picked at LEAST 48 hours previously,
probably more.  Some salad greens, particularly the red lettuces,
chicories and radicchios, just don't last that long in refrigeration. 
There's nothing a chef hates more than limp salad greens.

If you're growing greens, or thinking about it, use that to your
advantage.  The prospect of really FRESH greens and herbs is very
appealing to chefs, and to educated consumers as well.  People who have
tasted the difference won't go back.

Roger
Weeks Gardens
Sebastopol CA


> Note:  If you think that by growing mâche you are offering a unique,
> hard to
> get niche product, beware....
> There is a large California grower,  Epic Roots
> http://www.epicroots.com/,
> who is  producing mache for a very low price. Their product is in
> wide
> distribution in the mainstream wholesale channels (Sysco, etc).  It
> is
> selling to restaurants for $10/# and the quality is good.  I don't
> find $10
> a pound at all appealling for a crop that takes 52 days to produce
> and has a
> fairly low yield per square foot.  Love the taste, however.
> 
> Adriana


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