On-Line Series Tries To Help Farmers Sell Wholesale
Demystifying Wholesale is a new video series on YouTube to help farmers learn how to grow and sell their products to the wholesale market. Selling products to the wholesale market is added value to your farm, and a market with huge demand. But with many farmers wondering how to enter the wholesale market, the West Central Missouri Community Action Agency teamed up with its partners to help.
“In 2018, when we applied for the funding, we saw there was a lot of demand from the wholesale side, and there were a lot of beginning farmers who had a couple of years under their belt and were interested in potentially selling into the wholesale market," said Katie Nixon, WCMCAA Food Systems Director. "The Demystifying Wholesale video series is basically to help farmers understand what it takes to sell wholesale because it can be quite confusing. There's a lot of ways to sell wholesale, there's a lot of ways to pack wholesaling, grow and varieties of crops, and so it can be a little overwhelming for a beginning farmer.”
Funding for the series comes from USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Nixon said the video series shows farmers how they can grow and sell wholesale products.
“In this particular series, Demystifying Wholesale, we really do focus on vegetable production. And the wholesale markets we're focused on are restaurants, corporate cafeteria clients, schools and other sort of, I would say middle tier wholesale. We're not talking about you know, moving semi loads of produce off of your farm, this is mostly about how could I sell five to 10 cases a week of one or two things that I could grow on the extra space I have on the farm.”
And, when you watch the series, you hear directly from farmers who participate in the wholesale market.
“They're basically farmers talking about their experience with selling wholesale. Some of the farmers might sell produce off of 60 acres, another couple of farmers that are interviewed sell produce off of two acres. So, it's a really large difference in scale in the videos. Each video is focused on one crop, so we have one on tomatoes, one on cucumbers, peppers, salad greens, summer squash, and then we also have a buyer video that's more long form, but you can hear from different buyers about what they expect and why they like to work with farmers and how they like to work with farmers.”
Coming through the pandemic, Nixon added, demand for local food has switched from retail to wholesale.
“We applied for this project in 2018, and that was before COVID. And then COVID hit and local farmers found a huge increase in consumer demand. But over the last couple of years, the consumer demand has gone down a lot as people have gone back into their normal routines. And so, I think there's a real rebound right now with the wholesale market and the demand is super high. And so, I think it's really important that farmers look at what are one or two things that I can do on my farm that could be wholesale and I can grow profitably. it can be a really great value relationship when you find a wholesaler that can give you the right price, and you can grow a product that you really enjoy growing wholesale.”
Nixon said the demand for locally grown food in the wholesale market is high, and farmers have an opportunity to fulfill a need.
“Also, this is really important because the schools are really wanting to buy local food and the supply is not currently there. And so, we're trying to help farmers scale up into that market where there is a huge demand to feed our kids in the schools. This video series is for any beginning farmer anywhere, obviously there's going to be some things that are sort of focused on a Missouri climate, but to sort of watch it and get an idea about what it would take to go into wholesale tomatoes, anybody across the country could enjoy watching these videos.”
You can watch the video series on by visiting the Demystifying Wholesale's YouTube channel.
If you have a story idea for the PNW Ag Network, call (509) 547-1618, or e-mail email@example.com