- Fruits: berries (other), berries (strawberries), melons
- Vegetables: beans, beets, broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, celery, cucurbits, eggplant, garlic, greens (leafy), onions, peas (culinary), peppers, radishes (culinary), sweet corn, tomatoes
- Farm Business Management: cooperatives
- Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, new business opportunities
Project Summary Expanding markets for local fruits and vegetables can be challenging. Farmers need an efficient system to market fresh local fruits and vegetables through existing retail markets while maintaining a high percentage of the retail dollar. This project proposes to set up a system based on producer inventory management similar to that which is done with bakery items. Fresh fruits and vegetables will be delivered on a daily basis and placed in the sales area. Non-fresh items will be removed from the display and the business will be given a credit for these items. This method will return a greater portion of the retail dollar to the farmers as the grocery store does not have to deal with waste and reducing the prices for older, inferior produce. The community will benefit from a greater number of retail establishments offering local fresh fruits and vegetables. Consumers will be educated as to what produce in the store is produced locally, and why purchasing these products is important through point of sale advertizing.
Project objectives from proposal:
The goal for the first year will be:
-10 farmers to market fresh fruits and vegetables to two retail outlets
-Farmers to increase fruit and vegetable sales by 25%
At the end of the season farmers will be asked to complete a survey which will gather information about their sales, satisfaction with the program, and suggestions for improvements. The retail businesses owners/managers will also be surveyed to determine their satisfaction with the producer inventory management process and local product point of sale advertizing. At least three times during the summer at each of the retail location, customers will be asked to complete a survey to determine the benefit of having local produce at established retail businesses. These surveys will be reviewed by the producer group for improvements to the business plan for year two.
During year two of this project, the goal will be to increase the number of farmers involved to 15 and the retail businesses to four. The goal will also be to increase sales by 25% over the previous year.