Wholesale Success Workshop: meeting the needs and values of wholesale produce buyers


 This workshop is designed for fruit and vegetable farmers who wish to sell to wholesale marketsws-manual

 In January Community FARE will host a 2-day “Wholesale Success” workshop to train 25 fruit/vegetable farmers to sell to commercial and institutional buyers.  The workshop is developed and led by the FamilyFarmed’s Atina Diffley and has support from the U.S.D.A and FamilyFarmed.   See the agenda below –  with descriptions of the workshop topics.

The event will be held in the beautifully restored Dairy Parlor at Fox Haven Organic Farm and Learning Center, 3630 Poffenberger Rd, Jefferson MD.

The trainer, Atina Diffley, is an organic farmer and author of the 2012 award winning memoir, Turn Here Sweetcorn:atinaOrganic Farming Works.




THERE IS LIMITED SPACE AVAILABLE, to hold your spot you must:

  1. Answer the REGISTRATION QUESTIONS below and send the answers to:  Community FARE  (frederickfoodhub@gmail.com).
  2. Send your $45 payment/person to cover your meals on Monday (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and Tuesday (breakfast, lunch).  You may pay:
  • online atl-cpf.org (click on the DONATE NOW button on the right side bar)
  • by mail to:  Community FARE, 4 E Church Street, Frederick MD 21701.
  • by delivery to our office at: 4 E Church St, downtown Frederick.  If delivering a check please enter the building and find the Land and Cultural Preservation Fund, Inc/Community FARE door and put your envelope through that mail slot.

If additional people attend from your farm please add additional funds to your payment to cover meals ($5 light breakfast, $10 lunch, $15 Monday night dinner)



Your name:

Your farm name:

Your farm address:

Name of person(s) who will attend. (Farm staff are encouraged to attend as you see fit.):

Acreage in production:

Acreage not currently in production:

Principle crops:

Years selling wholesale:

Years selling retail:

Do you have a copy of the Wholesale Success Manual:  YES or NO




Monday January 23, 2017


8:30 am        Registration (networking, beverages and food)


9:00 am        Marketing: Meeting The Needs and Values of Wholesale Produce Buyers

Meeting the needs and values of produce buyers is fundamental to creating a healthy long-term relationship. How to actively seek buyers is just the start. Who is your customer and why do they buy?  Maintaining the relationship requires attention to details from bunch sizes, labels, and lot codes, contracts, pricing, communication, sequential planting, quality control, trends and more.  Learn how to serve the wholesale market and make your farm a highly desired source of fresh produce.


10:45 am       Break


11:00 am       Marketing continued


12:15 pm       Lunch


1:15 pm       Sorting and Packing for Wholesale Markets

Wholesale buyers selling into the retail market expect to receive high quality produce packed to USDA industry standards. Come learn about packing standards: size, shape, and uniformity, grading, proper cartons, liners, and unit packaging, are all crucial components of a well-packed carton. Learn what it takes to keep your wholesale buyer coming back for more and willing to pay a premium for your produce.


2:30 pm        Break


2:45 pm         Co-Marketing: Promoting Your Farm Brand in a Wholesale Market:

How about a Marketing Agreement with your wholesale buyer? One of the most effective ways to create market stability and committed relationships is through source-identified product and farm-brand marketing. Working with your wholesale buyer to “co-market” your farm brand and products brings the one-on-one advantages of direct marketing to the volume of wholesale.  Buyers are motivated to keep your branded product on the shelf—it differentiates them from the mass-market. Customers learn who you are, what you stand for, and develop loyalty. Without it, your product is fungible, replaceable for another of like kind, and vulnerable to cheap commodity pricing. Learn to tell a compelling story about yourself, your farm, and your products and how to represent yourself with point of purchase materials that work for you and your buyer.


3:45 pm         Break

4:00 pm         Buyer Panel:  Local wholesale buyers have been invited to speak for 10 minutes each.


5:00 pm         Social – appetizers and beverages


5:45 pm         Dinner


6:30 pm         One-on-one Grower/Buyer Meetings:  Stations will be set up for local wholesale buyers to meet one on one with farms to discuss buyer needs and start a conversation about growing to fulfill that need;  this will last 1 hour – until 7:30pm.


Tuesday January 24, 2017


8:00 am         Networking, beverages, and food


8:30 am         Check in on Meet The Buyer


8:45 am         FSMA Food Safety Produce Rule, Your Status and Resources


10:30 am       Postharvest Handling

Success for produce farmers requires good postharvest practices to preserve quality and shelf life, and an understanding of postharvest food safety practices to minimize risks. We will discuss the cold chain, respiration, harvest, cleaning, cooling, storage, transportation, and sanitation for maximum shelf life. Food Safety will be discussed from a risk-prevention perspective, integrated into post harvest, and be FDA Produce Rule relevant. This workshop will include examples and discussion of cost-effective and scale appropriate postharvest systems and short videos from working farms for group discussion.


12:15 pm       Lunch


1:15 pm         Post Harvest Handling continued and Packing Shed Photo Tour


3:00 pm         Intentional Crop Planning to Meet Market Needs and Maximize Profits

A key component of produce marketing success is timing production to mature for when your market needs it. Successful planning requires skill with sequential planting, crop maturation, and good recordkeeping. Other benefits include maximizing space and fertility, extended harvest windows, maximizing space and farm profits, continuous supply, and optimize quality and yield. Learn how to design a sequential planting/harvest plan, including when to plant, which cultivars, and how to adjust plantings based on weather and markets.


4:15 -4:45 pm  Wrap-up: Questions, Takeaways, Next Steps        


This Wholesale Success Workshop is supported by FamilyFarmed.org and led by Atina Diffley, with a generous grant from the U.S.D.A. Community FARE provides workshop organization and coordination and Fox Haven Organic Farm and Learning Center generously offers coordination support and use of the Dairy Parlor at 3630 Poffenberger Rd, Jefferson, MD. Space is limited to 25, you must be registered to attend.





Janice Wiles, Community FARE

(240) 626-5209



JoAnn Coates-Hunter, Fox Haven Organic Farm and Learning Center

(240) 490-5484