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What’s Next? Steps to Take After the Matchmaker Tips for Growers: 

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Follow up is important! Don’t worry about being pesky; just be persistent and respectful. o Send an initial “thank you/nice to meet you” note within days of the event. o Call (or contact using preferred method) well in advance of your crop of product being ready, so the buyer may use this knowledge to plan. Work out an arrangement for ordering: Who should contact whom? o Call (or contact using preferred method) when product is ready to solicit orders (if necessary). Be prepared to pass along materials that the buyer may request to promote the relationship with your farm or business. o A school or co-op may want pictures of your farm to feature in a newsletter. o A restaurant may want a digital file of your logo to use on their menu. o Business cards or brochures may be utilized by a variety of buyers. At the end of the season or year, thank your new accounts for their business, and set up a meeting to discuss crops/priorities/goals for the following year. Annie’s advice: People will do business with people they like and with people who offer them good value and good service. (Advice from Annie Harlow, ACoRN Board Member, former produce buyer.)

A Note on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Certification: GAP is a set of food safety standards promoted by the USDA. GAP certification requires an annual on-farm review administered by trained USDA representatives. Although law does not require GAP certification for most small and medium-sized growers, some institutional purchasers will inquire about it, and others may require it from growers. Currently, there is an advisory group of farmers and other interested bodies working with UVM and the State of Vermont to identify food safety measures that are responsive to the needs of small and diversified farms. If you would like to develop a food safety plan for your farm, please contact the following folks: Ginger Nickerson GAP Outreach Coordinator: UVM Extension (802) 656-5490 Virginia.nickerson@uvm.edu

Steve Parise Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (802) 828-2436 steve.parise@state.vt.us


What's next for Growers