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

Eco Zoned

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Travelers have always come to Oregon for its natural beauty. But will the increasing popularity of agritourism, European-style hiking getaways and forest resorts relax Oregon's notoriously strict land-use laws?


Read more...

Hall of Flame

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

A Power Lunch at Oswego Grill.


Read more...

The ancient fish that stops bullets

The Latest
Friday, May 08, 2015
hagfishthumbBY CHRIS NOBLE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Hagfish may not have evolved much over the last 300 million years, but their protein-heavy slime promises advances in super-materials.


Read more...

Intrepid reporter checks out ZoomCare rebrand

The Latest
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
dentistthumbPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Like all good journalists, OB editorial staff typically eschew freebies. But health care costs being what they are, digital news editor Jacob Palmer couldn't resist ZoomCare's offer of a three-in-one (cleaning, exam, whitening) dental office visit, guaranteed to take no more than 57 minutes. 


Read more...

6 key things to know about summer baseball in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, June 05, 2015
basedthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.


Read more...

Efficiency Boost

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

How conservation stimulates the local economy.


Read more...

Credit Unions Perspective

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Gene Pelham, CEO of Rogue Credit Union.


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