Meet the Buyers at Illinois Specialty Crops Conference!
Meet the Buyers: Illinois Fruit and Vegetable Growers to Meet with Wholesale Buyers at Illinois Specialty Crops Conference January 7!
Buyers from Augies, Chicago Public Schools, Fresh Picks, Goodness Greeness, Hy-Vee, Maldaner’s, Niemann Foods, Schnucks, SYSCO, and Whole Foods Market want to Expand Illinois Produce Purchasing.
CHICAGO – A wide variety of local food buyers are set to meet with fruit and vegetable growers at the Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism & Organic Conference on Friday January 7th.
“Meet the Buyers is a great opportunity for farmers to develop new sales opportunities,” says Diane Handley of the Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism & Organic Conference. “We hope growers will take advantage of this opportunity. In the long term this can substantially grow our specialty crop industry.”
To help create new markets for Illinois growers, FamilyFarmed.org has developed a full afternoon of programming at the Specialty Crop Conference. “Wholesale buyers are clamoring for more produce from Illinois farms,” says Jim Slama, President of FamilyFarmed.org. “We will be offering growers educational programming and networking to meet the demand.”
The programming will begin with a Wholesale Success workshop that will teach farmers about what buyers are looking for including best practices in food safety, post harvest handling, and packing. In addition, speakers from Niemann Foods, Maldaners, Hy-Vee, and Fresh Picks will give farmers tips about selling into wholesale markets. Following this, there will be a question and answer session with growers and buyers and then an opportunity for farmers to “Meet the Buyers” and have face time with these representatives.
At 3 pm, buyers from Augies, Chicago Public Schools, Fresh Picks, Goodness Greeness, Hy-Vee, Maldaners, Niemann Foods, Schnucks, SYSCO, and Whole Foods Market will be part of a Meet the Buyers Reception to connect with farmers. “Our goal in meeting growers is to expand the number of local family farmers supplying our stores in Illinois,” says Jose Valadez, Midwest Produce Coordinator at Whole Foods Market. “This event will be a great way to begin this relationship building.”
Whole Foods Market and FamilyFarmed.org will also be releasing a Request for Information application at the conference for Illinois growers looking to sell into Whole Foods Market stores in Illinois. To learn more about this program and to access the application go to: www.familyfarmed.org/wholefoodsmarket.
FamilyFarmed.org is a non-profit organization that has worked for the past decade to build local food systems and create markets for family farmers. Its mission is to expand the production, marketing and distribution of locally grown and responsibly produced food, in order to enhance the social, economic and environmental health of our communities. The FamilyFarmed EXPO is the leading trade and consumer show connecting Midwest food producers with trade buyers and consumers, and will be held March 17-19, 2011.
Fore more information, contact James Pirovano of FamilyFarmed.org at 708-763-9920.