[Market-farming] Restaurant update

Road's End Farm organic87 at frontiernet.net
Wed May 23 08:56:07 EDT 2012


On May 23, 2012, at 8:40 AM, Richard Stewart wrote:

> They have been used to working with a short list of vendors for  
> their produce and meats.

They're also most likely used to those vendors almost always having  
everything available, in whatever quantity is wanted, and on only a  
couple of days' notice.

Working with individual small growers and seasonal availability is  
quite a jump from that. They often also know next to nothing about  
farming and don't understand that different crops need different  
amounts of time to grow, let alone that growers often need to order  
seed, work out field plans, and sometimes start transplants well ahead  
of time for planting out in the field. I have had buyers say to me in  
late May "It's planting season now, we thought we'd better get back to  
you" when I had been trying my best to have a discussion with them in  
January when I was working out seed orders, and when some of what they  
wanted needed to be started as transplants in March and other items  
needed to be planted in the field in April.

An additional difficulty is, as someone else mentioned, that some  
restaurants change chefs frequently. The person with whom you actually  
did succeed in having a discussion in January may have been replaced  
by July by someone with an entirely different idea of what to put on  
the menu, and/or an entirely different degree of desire to buy local  
produce.

None of that makes it impossible to sell to chefs -- many growers do  
quite nicely at it. But there are significant challenges on both sides  
of the deal.


-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 6A now I think
Fresh-market organic produce, small scale

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