Helping farmers maximize crops

| Print |  Email
Articles - January 2010
Thursday, December 17, 2009

DSC00661Randy Morrow comes from a long line of farmers, so he knows first-hand the difficulties they face with shifting markets for crops. Every season farmers must contend with this as they look for the best outlet for their produce. But Morrow hopes to ease some of that uncertainty with his new family business called eProduceSales.com.

His idea began in 2008, growing out of his experience with his family-owned, Portland-based grocery and produce businesses. He says his online site is a central resource for buyers, wholesalers, retailers and farmers to help direct produce to where it is needed best.

“We thought, ‘Let’s bring the Internet to fresh produce industries,”’ he says.

His model is simple: Growers and wholesalers sign up for one of three fee-based memberships based on monthly transactions. Members then list the quantity and quality of their commodities, post a picture, and wait for customers to purchase at agreed-on prices or enter into auctions. “All we need are price, quantity and USDA grade,” says Morrow. “We liken it to eBay for large-scale business-to-business trading.”

Produce transactions are traditionally based on established relationships, but Morrow says growers now can sell perishable produce more efficiently. Buyers and sellers both benefit by finding new markets and suppliers, reducing the potential for produce rotting in the field , or empty shelves at the store.

A few companies like California-based AgriWorld Exchange have tried a similar approach before, but Morrow says his model is the only one that allows buyers of produce to shop for free on his site while they peruse batches of produce through the site’s photos. “If you go to our site you can immediately buy, say, 500 pounds of basil,” says Morrow. “And you don’t have to be a member.”

eProduceSales won a Gorge Angel Investor Network competition in May, resulting in a $105,000 investment and a move from Portland to Hood River.

Morrow says his company began its first marketing campaign in early September and brokered between $25,000 and $30,000 in produce during their first month of operation. As of early December, the site had around 45 members and more than 1,000 separate buyers.

Morrow is happy so far with the company’s growth through connecting sales points for individual produce runs, but he has an even bigger goal. “What we’d like to move toward is entire fields and crops,” he says.

WILLIAM E. CRAWFORD
 

More Articles

The short list: 5 companies making a mint off kale

The Latest
Thursday, November 20, 2014
kale-thumbnailBY OB STAFF

Farmers, grocery stores and food processors cash in on kale.


Read more...

Editor's Letter: Power Play

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014

There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda


Read more...

Corner Office: Marv LaPorte

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

The president of LaPorte & Associates lets us in on his day-to-day life.


Read more...

Downtime

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Bob Dethlefs, CEO of Evanta, balances work and play.


Read more...

OB Poll: Wineries and groceries

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

24-winethumbA majority of respondents agreed: Local vineyards should remain Oregon-owned and quality is the most important factor when determining where to eat or buy groceries.


Read more...

Dan and Louis Oyster Bar opens up to a changing neighborhood

The Latest
Thursday, December 11, 2014
121114-oystervidBy MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Revamping a Classic — an iconic eatery stays relevant in a changing marketplace.


Read more...

Legislative Preview: A Shifting Balance

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY APRIL STREETER

Democratic gains pave the way for a revival of environment and labor bills as revenue reform languishes.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS