[Market-farming] Request for quote :)

Richard Stewart rstewart at zoomtown.com
Sat Apr 9 20:30:58 EDT 2011

This is one of the reasons why we stopped growing a broader range of vegetables.  We still grow a great variety but we have cut out things that everyone around here grows, like Tomatoes.  We have focused on root crops, herbs, a greens.  Our season extension, rather than investing in hoop houses is small grains (mainly wholewheat and cornmeal), dried herbs, and honey.

I love the term "case".  We sell by the pound plain and simple and work best with single/local owned restaurants who modify their menus to reflect seasonality OR simply source small amounts.  Lots of chefs do not realize that they can actually order less local food to do the same job with bulk produce.  I know the stuff we sell lasts the better part of week at a very good level of quality.  Some of the stuff they get from packers is gone in a day or two.  Much less waste when ordering form local sources that handle their product properly.

Our goal is not to supply every customers with the same exact thing in small quantities some items we will bulk sell for three weeks and then be done with them, like potatoes.  Last year we were moving selling to 4 of our customers.  Most went to one though, 1200 pounds a week for three weeks.  Our total potato sale period lasted 6 weeks total.  Lots of things to consider there.  If I get a buyer that wants 25 pounds of fennel, then I sell it to them.  My goal is not to sell fennel as long as I can but maximize the value of that specific crop without a decrease in quality.  Not everyone is happy with this and we have chefs that know we had something and ask why we do not offer it when they need it.  In the end it works for us and the chefs that are on the ball and organized have little issue with this.

Talk to them though start getting them to think locally.  It'll either work or it won't and then you find another chef and repeat.  Its taken us three years to get our foot int he door and cultivate some healthy relationships.  Its hard and very frustrating at times but the returns can be quite good.

Richard Stewart
Carriage House Farm
North Bend, Ohio

An Ohio Century Farm Est. 1855

(513) 967-1106
rstewart at zoomtown.com

On Apr 8, 2011, at 11:48 PM, Mike Rock wrote:

> Hi all,
> I just received this shopping list from a Polish restaurant in Chicago.
> How does one supply this with organic or 'responsibly' grown produce. 
> Obviously I cannot meet her needs for much of this from here in the 
> north (SW Wisconsin).  A case of leeks per week?  Yikes....  And this is 
> only ONE restaurant that needs supplies.  This is a real eye opener to 
> me.  The reality of large scale warehousing, California supply chains, 
> shipping and logistics all come into rather terrifying focus.
> Here is her list:
> "Leeks case each week from May through October, then one case every other
> week
> Carrot 40 pounds a week, may through October then every other week
> Zuchinni 20 pounds a week, may through October
> Potatoes 40 pounds a week
> Onions 20 pounds a week
> Spinach, case per week, more during May through October
> Mixed greens a case a week
> Also I go through a lot of rhubarb, blueberries, cranberries, and apples all
> year round, I take the cranberries and blueberries and freeze them.
> Hope that helps"
> This is way beyond farmers market type stuff, and is the day to day 
> reality of vegetable supply.
> I hope this becomes an interesting topic for discussion.
> Most respectfully,
> Mike Rock
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