Earlier this year, we asked farm marketers which of their current business channels they would like to increase. Not surprisingly, most (64.6%) want to increase their own on-farm market.
But coming up in second place, well ahead of other choices, is supplying restaurants. With consumers demanding locally sourced food, when available, more and more restaurants are seeking local farms to work with, creating a steady business for growers. That was not always the case with restaurants. Even 10 years ago, there weren’t very many restaurants who would take the time to seek out locally sourced fruit and vegetables. Today, there are so many restaurants wanting local food, mini distributors have popped up all over the country to make daily rounds to growers and restaurants.
Supplying local grocery stores comes in third, followed closely by increasing e-commerce sales and the wholesale divisions.
This survey had 156 growers participating.
You will notice the “other” category is quite high. This shows just how diverse the direct-to-consumer industry is. I should mention that there was one obvious business unit we did not include in the main list: CSA. We had five people write that option in, which would have been 3.4% of the total responses. Actually, the percentage of farm marketers selecting “CSA” would have likely been a higher percentage if it was listed as an option.
Beyond CSAs, the write ins were a diverse mix. Here’s a word cloud created from all the write ins: