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Old April 16, 2015   #91
reddeheddefarm
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find us on face book, reddeheddefarms we have some pics on there
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Old April 16, 2015   #92
Worth1
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find us on face book, reddeheddefarms we have some pics on there

Many of us aren't members of Face Book.

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Old April 16, 2015   #93
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I had a guy come by the house with a pickup and a freezer in the back.
He was selling frozen meat like steaks and such.
He told me he sold meat to all of the 4 and 5 star restaurants in Austin.
Really I asked him, 'Tell me who you sell to and if they buy frozen meat out of the back of a pickup truck.
Please give me your name and company name so I can call them and confirm it.
He wouldn't say.

I told him I didn't want any frozen meat, he presisted I go look, I told him I didn't have time, he continued to bother me and got mad and started yelling at me.
That's when I told the guy to get the devil off my porch and get off my property.
He walked off calling me the F word and other names.

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You are so good. I think the same guy came to my house too. He said so many good words about the steak and Filet Mignon wrapped by bacon. He asked for $100 for a set. After I said no he started to lower the price and almost begging to sell. The final price was $20 and I never dare to cook the meat

Here is the farmer's market story. I called one of the biggest market to see if I can get one booth for one day to sell tomatoes. One day pass will cost $50! (I think ~$300 for year round). The lady asked me how much tomatoes I had. I told her 100 lbs (I was exaggerating to convince her I was a farmer). To my surprise she told me I can only sell 20 lbs because 100 lbs will lower everybody's price. And there were farmers making a living by selling veggies. The amateurs were not allowed to sell too much. So I haven't sold one tomato yet till today. And will not try again.
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Old April 16, 2015   #94
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We sell 95% to restaurants. We may be selling a few items to small regional "chains" this year for the first time but nothing is cast in stone yet. And that is a key thing to remember when working with any food service establishment. Nothing is cast in stone. Most chefs follow trends with one or 2 signature dishes. if you want to get their attention and the premium dollars out of them you need to offer something they cant get any where else which normally isn't that hard to do. Keep the quality up. They appreciate service and relationships and love being asked what you should be growing for them. It can be a difficult market as the more creative the chef the more ummmmmmmmm interesting the personality. Look for places that offer seasonal or daily menu changes and find the new restaurants as they often havesous chefs from other kitchens who are now the executive chef and looking to make a name for themselves.
I was confident at the beginning because Austin is a very nifty city. The five places I called were all famous and well established and not too far from my house. Maybe I should have called the new/fresh restaurants. But I lost interest since then and don't have that much tomatoes anymore Good luck with your tomatoes and business.
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Old April 17, 2015   #95
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Wow- That is all very interesting! Here in Phx there are farmers around town that grow tomatoes but no one really grows heirlooms? There is definitely room for a small heirloom grower. I would LOVE to fill this niche. I'm realistic though and after talking with Carolyn, I'm VERY realistic - haha I need a farm first though. I have been looking for a while and I will continue to look until I find the right spot. Until then, I will live vicariously through your guys' posts
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Old April 17, 2015   #96
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AZGardener, as I'm sure you know, a "farm" need not cover vast acreage to be successful. My property is just four acres, of which only about 1/4 acre is garden/greenhouse. On that I can grow and sell all that I can handle by myself, and as I learn and collect labor-saving equipment and practices, I am able to produce more, and more variety, each year. I sell only at the local farmer's market, but I cover pretty much the gamut as far as veggies are concerned. I am not making a full living from my produce, and don't really intend to; I just expect to supplement my retirement, which starts in about two months (can't wait!).
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Old April 18, 2015   #97
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Wow, that market you asked to get in must not have a good customer base if they are afraid of 100 lbs of tomatoes. That's crazy. Even my smaller West Bend market has enough base that they could absorb that. But I think they are afraid of a "hit and run" seller coming for 1 or 2 markets with questionable stuff. If you got a season stall it would be a different story.

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Old April 18, 2015   #98
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Wow what an awesome way to spend your later years FarmerShawn!!! I'm on 1/2 acre BUT I only have raised beds in the garden area. I have tons of room to do more, esp in the front yard but I don't know what this community would think about that

I have farm dreams, I know, and one day they will be my reality
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Old September 3, 2015   #99
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In my area, we sell to both business to business OR business to customer.

When selling to chefs, I've encountered the following:

1) price shoppers because what they sell (in terms of dishes/revenue) and how much they expend equates to a calculation of their monthly income. So there are price shoppers out there.
2) some chefs that advertise selling local and buying local when they do not.
3) chefs that are paid by contract
4) chefs that do not care about how much per pound so long as a high level of quality exist. These are typically the chefs from really high end restaurants.
5) chefs no matter if they are from the high or lower end restaurants always want consistency. That means that they don't want to ask if they will have enough inventory to make a dish for their customers.
6) on the business side, even if the chef may run the show, they are still accountable to the owners/management. So that is something to keep in mind.
7) we have friends that contact out to local farms. The farms will grow what the restaurant needs, provided the restaurant will buy exclusively from the farm with the prices set, unless the farm, cannot provide what the restaurant needs.

On the retail market side, even if selling at farmers markets or other secondary markets, one should consider the following:

1) your customers will always know the market price of what they buy. Even if they are at a farmers market, they frequent grocery stores and know what to expect. So even if you are selling heirloom tomatoes, you will have to account for prices in regular grocery stores. This is a good indicator of market volatility.
2) market value of produce changes. Prices can escalate rapidly or decline rapidly. Grocery stores are again a good way to determine how volatile prices are when pricing per pound. Market value depends on weather, growing conditions, area it is grown, transportation cost, shelf life, etc.
3) we take large volumes from farmers that cannot sell all their produce at the farmers market. As a retail location/business we are like chefs that we want consistency. When ordering produce, I always have my list of preferred suppliers that I will order from all the time, regardless of price. But I do ask for consistency. So when I cannot buy produce of a certain type, I have to source through other means.
4) I'm always sent an availability list ahead of time or ask suppliers for it so I can plan adequately. If I don't do this, it means the business shuts down. This is really important to our suppliers to determine how much they grow and if they can meet the demands.
5) due to limited space, if I provide space to sell products from local farms, I really want consistency and be able to supply our customers. We were helping a new farm for a while and they were trying to meet the demands of so many niches, that they could not grow or supply enough to meet the demands of our customers. The farm would bring by large varieties of produce, but they could not supply our customers demands. A few pounds of every variety equated to a waste of space.
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Old September 4, 2015   #100
Starlight
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC.Sun View Post
In my area, we sell to both business to business OR business to customer.

When selling to chefs, I've encountered the following:

1) price shoppers because what they sell (in terms of dishes/revenue) and how much they expend equates to a calculation of their monthly income. So there are price shoppers out there.
2) some chefs that advertise selling local and buying local when they do not.
3) chefs that are paid by contract
4) chefs that do not care about how much per pound so long as a high level of quality exist. These are typically the chefs from really high end restaurants.
5) chefs no matter if they are from the high or lower end restaurants always want consistency. That means that they don't want to ask if they will have enough inventory to make a dish for their customers.
6) on the business side, even if the chef may run the show, they are still accountable to the owners/management. So that is something to keep in mind.
7) we have friends that contact out to local farms. The farms will grow what the restaurant needs, provided the restaurant will buy exclusively from the farm with the prices set, unless the farm, cannot provide what the restaurant needs.

On the retail market side, even if selling at farmers markets or other secondary markets, one should consider the following:

1) your customers will always know the market price of what they buy. Even if they are at a farmers market, they frequent grocery stores and know what to expect. So even if you are selling heirloom tomatoes, you will have to account for prices in regular grocery stores. This is a good indicator of market volatility.
2) market value of produce changes. Prices can escalate rapidly or decline rapidly. Grocery stores are again a good way to determine how volatile prices are when pricing per pound. Market value depends on weather, growing conditions, area it is grown, transportation cost, shelf life, etc.
3) we take large volumes from farmers that cannot sell all their produce at the farmers market. As a retail location/business we are like chefs that we want consistency. When ordering produce, I always have my list of preferred suppliers that I will order from all the time, regardless of price. But I do ask for consistency. So when I cannot buy produce of a certain type, I have to source through other means.
4) I'm always sent an availability list ahead of time or ask suppliers for it so I can plan adequately. If I don't do this, it means the business shuts down. This is really important to our suppliers to determine how much they grow and if they can meet the demands.
5) due to limited space, if I provide space to sell products from local farms, I really want consistency and be able to supply our customers. We were helping a new farm for a while and they were trying to meet the demands of so many niches, that they could not grow or supply enough to meet the demands of our customers. The farm would bring by large varieties of produce, but they could not supply our customers demands. A few pounds of every variety equated to a waste of space.
Lots of good advice.

How true it is when it comes to veggies, I don't know, but I heard that if your going to be a market grower for restaurants that it is better to stick to one or two crops and do them well to keep a steady supply going.
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Old September 4, 2015   #101
KC.Sun
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I agree with that. Restaurants want consistency. Our restaurant customers don't want to have to worry about where they will get their vegetables from the next time they buy. About 95% of our restaurant customers have a set menu and don't change it often. The other 5% changes their menu either daily or every week. So keeping a steady supply of a couple crops is a very good idea.

When selling to other retail locations, I'd say the same thing too. Steady supplies of any crop is really important. If for some reason, one is able to lock down a contract to have a market take their excess crops or everything they grow, it's really important to account for and supply the market. Otherwise, the deal can literally dissolve overnight.
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Old April 19, 2016   #102
berryman
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Heard of this article on the radio and then looked it up. Just burns me reading it, most of the items talked about are seafood because this is in Tampa, but some of it is produce and I think a fair amount of restaurants all over do this stuff.
Notice too that many times the chefs justify lying because the ingredients they advertise on the menu are just too expensive, in other words, "we are too cheap to pay for what we say is in the food".

http://www.tampabay.com/projects/201...o-fable/cases/
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