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Making Connections The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service and The Ohio State University Cooperative Extension Direct Marketing Group have developed the MarketReady Training Program. Ohio farmers can benefit from participating in the training that guides the producer through the important steps needed to establish successful relationships with wholesale buyers and food-service institutions. It covers many practical considerations to help the farmer prepare and plan for any marketing opportunity. The program is a daylong workshop featuring both presenters and a comprehensive workbook loaded with information, sample documents, checklists, and resources. The MarketReady Training Program provides detailed information for marketing to restaurants and grocery stores in addition to wholesale foodservice companies. The day-long workshops are held at various locations throughout the state and are taught by extension specialists. OSU South Centers in Piketon, Ohio manages the program. Call 740-2892071, extension 225 for more information and schedules.

tive food-service buyers. What institutions or schools are close to your operation? Contact the executive chef or the food service director. Be prepared to discuss specifics and to listen to the needs of the buyer. Have an information sheet prepared listing your primary products, approximate harvest dates, and all your contact information. This can also be a great way to share the story of your farm operation with prospective customers. Food service buyers are busy folks—

Communication and Relationship Building It is usually up to the farmer to make the initial contact with prospec3

just as farmers are—so it’s good to start the process early in the season and come to an understanding about the best way to keep in touch as harvest approaches. It may be a weekly phone call or email, but work out in advance what will be the most convenient way to stay in communication. As time goes on, invitations to the farm, providing samples of new varieties, and providing educational information may go a long way to building a long term and profitable relationship.

Ohio's Specialty Crops: A Boost to Food Service Menus  

Ohio’s Specialty Crops: A Boost to Food Service Menus is intended to be a resource for specialty-crop producers (individually or producers w...