[Market-farming] anyone working with a food hub?

grizzdover at gmail.com grizzdover at gmail.com
Thu Sep 13 20:10:24 EDT 2012


Hello All,

We also participate in something like you describe as a "food hub".  What
we participate in is called the "Iowa Food Cooperative": www.iowafood.coop.
It involves customers ordering online from producers that are IFC members
($50 initial fee than $10 per year membership renewal for a consumer or
producer renewal) and distribution is every other week during produce
season (and once a month during the winter time).  From the producer side,
it is very nice compared to a farmers' market, as the producer already
knows how much they have sold and just has to deliver it on a Thursday
morning as opposed to bringing the bounty to a farmers' market, sitting at
market for 3+ hours and then bringing back home whatever didn't sell.  We
mainly market through a CSA program, but I really appreciate the
convenience of being able to make a big unit delivery to one location (and
getting RETAIL prices) and then getting back to the farm to do "real" work
; ).  The way the IFC makes their money is they take 10% of total Producer
sales per ordering cycle and Consumer purchases per ordering cycle.

Ben Saunders
Turtle Farm
Granger, Iowa
www.turtle-farm.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Turtle-Farm/200544863386129?ref=hl


On Thu, Sep 13, 2012 at 12:22 AM, <KAKerby at aol.com> wrote:

> **
> I went ahead and signed up for this particular service, and so far I'm
> cautiously optimistic.  It sounds a lot like what you've described below.
> I create my own "fresh-sheet" for any given week, with whatever products
> and quantities we have available.  I also set my own retail price, my own
> wholesale price, and what minimum volume folks would have to buy to get the
> wholesale price.  I liked that last feature quite a bit.  They have two
> days of deliveries (Tues/Thurs) and I have to get product there by 10:30
> the morning of a delivery if it needs to be delivered.  But I can also
> direct customers to pick up there.  I already have some folks in that area
> so that's handy.  I get paid when I drop off, and customers pay when they
> pick up, with a fee charged for handling the transaction.  Another nice
> thing is that they have three different levels of membership, where the
> higher the membership, the more "bells and whistles" come with it but at
> higher cost.  Things like auto-invoicing and monthly sales reporting and
> other features which don't matter much to me right now at our micro-scale,
> but would become more important as our sales added up.  I'm still fuzzy on
> some of the details but I'm working through their FAQs and figuring it out
> as I go.
>
> I'll keep folks posted.  We're doing a better job of finding our own
> customers lately, but it's been a very slow buildup.  This may help us
> reach more folks, with less effort per new customer.  I'll be curious to
> see whether this new food hub listing out-performs our Local Harvest
> listing.  I've gotten some window-shoppers through the latter, but only a
> few actual customers.  We're also involved with two different informal
> bulk-buy groups, which have also given us a few customers here and there.
> I guess it all adds up.  The food hub claims to reduce the amount of effort
> required for producers to gain new customers.  We'll see if they live up to
> that particular advertising claim.
> Kathryn Kerby
> frogchorusfarm.com
> Snohomish, WA
>
>  In a message dated 9/12/2012 8:27:46 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
> vaspencer at sisna.com writes:
>
> We are involved in something like that-- SixRiversMarket.com
>
> This is a local online system where local producers advertise what they
> have to sell, can set quantities available that the computer system
> keeps track of while people order.  Customers order anytime Friday
> through Monday the specific items from the specific producer that they
> want.  The producer gets it to the distribution center with the label
> for each customer on each item (or one package for each
> customer--producer's choice) on Wed. early afternoon and customers pick
> up late afternoon to early evening.  The producer is paid when they
> deliver to the hub, and the customers pay either online or when they
> pick up that day.
>
> It started as a non-profit co-op, but wasn't run well and was given over
> to a businessperson this spring.  We are in the process of rebuilding
> our customer base.  Each producer sets the price for his own product,
> can add, subtract, change prices at any time, but if it is during the
> order cycle, the manager has to update it from their end.  The market
> takes 6 percent from the price set by the producer, and adds tax and I
> think percent from the consumer as well.
>
> We drop off product on our way to Farmer's Market and if we have ordered
> anything ourselves, we pick it up after market.  The nice thing is we
> know what is sold before we even pick it.  The downside is if we only
> have one order we still have to get it there, but it is only a couple
> blocks from Wed. market and during the winter we can either keep going
> or take a break.
>
> I don't know how Local Orbit works.
>
> Vern
> Vern's Veggies and More!
>
>
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