Marketing & Specialty Foods
Many small-scale farmers are responsible not only for growing their crops, but also for selling their products. Agricultural marketing can include selling to wholesalers, distributors, retailers, restaurants, and consumers. "Direct marketing" is the term for growers selling their products directly to consumers, whether at a farmers market, from a farm stand, or through community supported agriculture (CSA) programs.
Over the years, the UC Small Farm Program has helped develop innovative marketing channels to help small-scale farmers add value to their products. Below are some general marketing resources.
- YoCal Produce Cooperative: The Growers' Story and the Cooperative Principles (2012)
History and analysis of a cooperative made up of early organic farms in Northern California's Capay Valley during the 1980s, as told by former members.
- California agritourism operations and their economic potential are growing (2011)
This peer-reviewed research article discusses results of the first statewide survey of California agritourism operators, published in California Agriculture.
- Determining Marketing Costs and Returns in Alternative Marketing Channels (2008)
This case study of three farms in Northern California compared the economics of marketing through farmers markets, CSAs, and wholesale channels.
Family Farm Series: Marketing for the Small Farmer
Originally developed in the 1980s, this series of publications provides an introduction to small-scale farming topics.
- Marketing Cooperatives
- Direct Marketing and Quality Control
- How to Establish and Operate a Roadside Stand
Additional marketing resources
- Marketing publications from ATTRA
Addresses the topics of organic marketing, direct marketing, and value-added processing.
- Fruit and Vegetable Market News from USDA Agricultural Marketing Service
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service follows market prices of specific commodities and compiles the information in Market News Reports.
- Direct Marketing articles from the USDA Risk Management Agency
Planning for marketing strategies can help lower risk.
- U.S. Food Market Estimator
This calculator estimates the potential market for a fruit or vegetable, based on aggregated data from USDA Economic Research Service.
- Agricultural Marketing Publications, Rutgers University
- North American Farmers' Direct Marketing Association