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

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...

The 100 Best Companies survey is open

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!


Read more...

Justice for All

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Lawger upends the typical hourly based fee model by letting clients determine the cost.


Read more...

Three problems with Obama's immigration order

News
Wednesday, November 26, 2014

BY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR112614-immigration-thumb

By now, anyone who knows about it has a position on President Obama’s executive order on immigration. The executive order is the outcome of failed attempts at getting a bill through the normal legislative process. Both Obama and his predecessor came close, but not close enough since the process broke down multiple times.


Read more...

See How They Run

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Studying ground-running birds, a group that ranks among nature's speediest and most agile bipedal runners, to build a faster robot.


Read more...

The short list: 4 companies engaged in a battle of the paddles

The Latest
Thursday, December 04, 2014
pingpongthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Nothing says startup culture like a ping pong table in the office, lounge or lobby.


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