Eat Local – Buy Local – Grow Local – Sell Local

Advice for Producers

Advantages of Selling Your Food to Local Businesses

Cross-promotion. When local restaurants or retailers are selling food from your farm, their customers will learn about your farm and your products. Think of it as free advertising!

Expand your market. Selling to local food businesses expands and diversifies your direct-sale market. Other culinary buyers and retail customers will learn of your farm, and will be more likely to drop in and purchase your products themselves.

Environmental and Social Responsibility. Supporting a local food system enhances the sustainability of your farm business.

Tips of the Trade

  1. Commitment. Restaurants and retailers need to be somewhat automated in their purchasing patterns. When a business commits to buying a certain amount, they anticipate it to be delivered accordingly.
  2. Delivery Schedule. Try to establish a delivery system that works for both of your schedules. Know your buyer’s busy times and plan your calls and visits around these times, not in the middle of them.
  3. Sell what you can deliver. If you are selling meats or fish, make sure that you have the appropriate permits to sell to restaurants or retailers. If you can’t realistically fill an order, say so right away. If the product quality or quantity is different from what you offered, call and ask if they still want it.
  4. Be Professional. Remember to be consistent in your work and with your product. Be easily reachable (e.g. answering machine, cell phone, email). Always deliver the freshest and best quality that you can. Assist the person receiving the delivery by collecting your boxes, be on time, courteous and prepare invoices ahead. Call if you will be late. Arrange payment terms.
  5. Specialize and diversify. Diversify the product that you offer and make yourself unique. Research the market so you know what others are growing and where the holes are. Talk to your buyer about what they would like to see on their menus and shelves in the future.

Adapted from Ecotrust and the Portland Chapter of the chefs Collaborative