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Scaling Up Vegetable Farms for Wholesale Markets

Nifa Author
Margaret Lawrence, Writer-Editor

With the popularity of local foods spreading to the largest retailers in the country, many producers now see an opportunity to grow their farms by scaling up and expanding to wholesale markets.

Selling to the wholesale market can help smaller-scale farmers to connect with more customers to increase brand recognition and profitability. 

A new educational resource from Sustainable Agriculture Research Education (SARE), a NIFA-funded organization, provides a variety of strategies and tools to help owners of small- to mid-scale operations branch out into wholesale markets. 

Scaling Up Your Vegetable Farm for Wholesale Markets features a range of effective strategies for business planning, working with wholesale buyers and increasing production capacity. Producers Shakera and Juan Raygoza of Terra Preta Farm in Edinburg, Texas, share how they scaled up from 1.5 acres of diversified vegetables to growing 15 acres of organic radishes for local wholesale markets. Raygoza said that transitioning to wholesale markets was a “game changer” for the farm and for the surrounding community. 

Specialized crop production, combined with smart investments in equipment, appropriate marketing strategies and improved postharvest handling, can help farmers scale up to sell their products more efficiently and consistently. In some cases, working together can give producers the opportunity to expand by overcoming barriers that have previously limited access to profitable wholesale markets.  

Download a copy at www.sare.org/wholesale-marketing. Scaling Up Your Vegetable Farm for Wholesale Markets is also available in quantity for free to educators for use in educational workshops, classes or tours. 

SARE offers grants and education to foster sustainable agriculture, productivity, profitability, environmental stewardship and quality of life. Read more about SARE here.

Top image: Farmer holding fresh vegetables in a basket. Courtesy of Adobe Stock. 

Farm Bill Priority Areas
Plant health, production, and products;
Agriculture economics and rural communities
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