Retail Ready for Local Food Workshop
Date: March 5th 9:30 AM-3:00 PM
Where: Gaston County Extension Office 1303 Dallas – Cherryille Hwy, Dallas NC
The Retail Ready program was developed after two years of listening to farmers discuss the need to scale up to retail markets, and the explosion in demand for local foods statewide. The Retail Ready Workshop’s goal is to help farmers’ access these new larger-scale retail and food service markets.
Farmers have the opportunity to sell their products for retail sales in grocery stores, co-op markets, food hubs, food service buyers, hospitals and universities. Many retail market outlets are actively looking for farmers to supply them with local products. The workshop will discuss how to successfully sell to new, larger customers. The workshop is based on research that segmented the market into different outlets, each with unique needs and requirements. One of the goals of the workshop is to help farmers select which market outlet is the best fit for their operation. Restaurants, for example, are most concerned with how a product tastes, and the consistency of the product, and not as concerned about how it looks, whereas retailers need a product that looks good on their shelf and meets “retail quality” standards. Distributors need their products to look good and to come in easy-to-transport packaging, and they need it in large volumes, whereas a specialty distributor may not need a large scale, but they do need high quality and variety of products The workshop will provide fresh insight into what works and what doesn’t based on based on research that broke down the market into different “channels”: retail (chains, independent grocers, and cooperative retailers); restaurants; wholesalers and food service (food distributors); and specialty distributors (offering household produce delivery or aggregation services for corporate buyers).
The March 5th Retail Ready workshop curriculum is designed to cover the steps small-scale farmers need do in preparation to develop the business and marketing skills before the first meeting with potential buyers. The workshop training will be reinforced by a100-page manual distributed at the workshops, with resources and tools to help farmers with everything from identifying local buyers to bidding, invoice and payment terms. A guest panel of retailers will discuss their requirements and procedures for buying local food products.
After the workshop you will be better prepared to meet buyers as well as understand the procedures and requirements of the market’s outlet. The workshop will cover choosing the right market for your farm, relationship building, product selection, packaging, liability, among other issues.
For more information call Lara Worden at 704.922.2118
Registration deadline is February 26.Cost including lunch and educational materials will be $20 per person. Payment should be mailed to Gaston County Extension Office 1303 Dallas–Cherryille Hwy, Dallas NC 28034