Home Back Issues January 2010 Helping farmers maximize crops

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

College Conundrum

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

University and college tuition fees have been rising for more than a decade, while state funds for higher education have steadily declined.


Read more...

The Rail Baron

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Oil is gushing out of the U.S. and Canada, and much of it is coming from places that don’t have pipeline infrastructure. So it’s being shipped by rail.


Read more...

November/December Preview: Revenge Forestry

News
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
BY JONATHAN FROCHTZWAJG

Seneca AW46A flare-up in the Elliott Forest raises questions about détente in Oregon’s timber wars.


Read more...

100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon [VIDEO]

News
Thursday, October 02, 2014

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 11.17.21 AMMore than 5,500 employees from 180 organizations throughout the state participated in the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon project.


Read more...

Downtime

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

How State Representative Julie Parrish (House District 37) balances life between work and play.


Read more...

A Taste of Heaven

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY

Craft beer comes to Mount Angel.


Read more...

A Recipe for Success

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Two businesswomen, two iconic food brands and one food-obsessed city. We thought this sounded like a recipe for good conversation. So in late August, Oregon Business sat down with Wendy Collie, CEO of New Seasons Market, and Kim Malek, owner of Salt & Straw, to discuss their rapidly expanding businesses and Oregon’s trendsetting food scene.


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