March 15, 2010

Contact: Bernadette Logozar, 518-483-7403

Experts Share Local Food Sales Tips April 16 in Chateaugay, April 17 in Watertown

Malone, NY – Cultivating sustained local foods sales is the focus of “Working with the Middleman: Selling through or to a local distributor” conference set for Friday, April 16 at the American Legion in Chateaugay, NY, and Saturday, April 17 at Cornell Cooperative Extension Jefferson County in Watertown, NY.

“Understanding the various levels of buyers and sellers between the farm and consumers is critical to properly pricing one’s products. The April ‘middleman’ conference also provides producers the opportunity to learn how to price based on true costs,” says conference speaker Ruby Sprowls, director of the Northern Adirondack Trading Cooperative.

“Wholesaling can be selling to a distributor who delivers your products to groceries and other retailers or selling your meats directly to restaurants, your maple candies to the local gift shop, or your chutneys and jams to a regional organization such as TAUNY (Traditional Arts of Upstate New York). This type of selling can provide small businesses with the security of knowing each month you will be selling x dollars worth of product to a commercial account,” Sprowls says.

Craig Bilow of Sustain Brand will share his experience with managing wholesale accounts. Sustain Brand requires the main ingredients for all its products to be grown within 300 miles of where it is sold. Bilow recently opened his own chip plant in Malone and buys locally-grown potatoes.

Conference speaker Agriculture Marketing Specialist Matt LeRoux with Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County will help local producers evaluate various types of market channels.

“You can spend hours picking, washing, and packing produce in preparation for market. A simple new tool is now available from Cornell to help small and mid-size farm operators evaluate how time, labor, pricing, and sales volume impact the profitability of using different channels,” LeRoux says. “Cornell Cooperative Extension marketing specialists can help you analyze your data to create confidential benchmarks for your business.”

Also on the conference agenda, Northern New York regional food distributors will identify the types of products they are looking to buy and at what price, and will discuss the importance of how the food products are grown, prepared and packaged.

Conference organizer and Northern New York Local Foods Specialist Bernadette Logozar says, “The Northern New York region has an exciting opportunity to grow its local foods marketplace. This conference is one way of equipping farmers to take advantage of the surge in interest in locally-grown foods.”

Pre-registration for the 10am-3pm conference is required. The $5 fee covers lunch and materials. Those interested in registering for the conference, may contact Logozar at 518-483-7403 or bel7@cornell.edu

For more tips on selling food locally, go online to the Regional/Local Foods section of the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at www.nnyagdev.org.  #