Buying directly from Farmers

Joined Aug 11, 2000
Out of curiousity, how many of you buy directly from your local farmers......
what makes it work for you?
Last year we had Farmers/chefs/seed catalogs
that helped some....
Starting a market will bring dialog but I need the nuts and bolts....dropping a knife to cut a check or farming hours vs restaurant hours (how can I call you if I'm out pitching hay)
Joined Aug 8, 2000
I do. I've been pretty much shopping at Farmers' Markets. (Except for toilet paper, etc.) But it's a big thing around here. If I had my druthers, I'd shop everyday at the Farmers' Markets...


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Joined Oct 5, 2001
I think it would be could to learn more about how chefs can go about setting up relationships with farmers to buy products. I mean can you tell us Shroomgirl did you know these people? How did you find out about them? Did you just call them one day and say "Hey will you grow some tomatoes for me?"


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Joined Aug 11, 2000
I met my !st St. Louis area farmer at a program for the local Culinary Society....I did the demo of organic log grown shiitakis and those from the grocery. I got the farmer's phone number and bought mushrooms from her adn became good her chefs phone numbers, her product was heads above the others in the market place.
Well one weekend she had labor problems and I subbed for her at Wild Oats meet your farmer day. I cooked shiitakis and talked to farmers all day, heard their concerns, ...they asked for my help. So I organized an ACF meet your farmer night (gorgeous produce!)
No interest amoung the members. Monthes later I founded Mo Chapter of Chefs Collaborative....I invited the artisan chefs from our area that use/want to use more local produce. We've been around for a year, I called Mo dept of Ag started talking to Mo. organic Association (run by farmers)
started going to and talking at their seminars and conventions. Mo CC does not have alot of meetings we just do stuff...inschool programs with chefs and farmers (got a $3000grant for 5 (4part series), Started doing a series of Farmer~Chef dinners to raise money and give the farmers a venue to talk about their farms. With posters and handouts we fill them 3-4 weeks in advance (Mon is our 4th)
6 restaurants do a dinner featuring a local farmer and the farmer talks for 15 minutes about their farming practices.(TOO COOL)
Then in 4 weeks we will open a farmers market in a high income part of St. Louis running it down the middle of a street on Sat. mornings....chefs doing tours, chefs doing demos, music, farmers talking about their farming practices...SO every Saturday there will be 3 different chefs at the market interacting with farmers. Pretty Good for 11 monthes worth of work.
We had a picnic in the middle of a farm last Oct. chefs/farmers/educators, Janurary we hosted a potluck chefs/farmers/seed catalogs.

The biggest thing you can do is go out to their farm (take your family) see what they are doing (oooh aaaah) then ask about whether they can grow___________ and know what varieties and say how much you can use and tell them the size you want.....THEN buy what they raise....the culls can be sauce, concord grapes really can make a great ice.etc.....Treat them well and it will come back to you many times over again. Introduce them to your chef buddies, when they have too much. It will only expand in the marketplace. There still needs to be tweeking but we're on the way.
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