Grower-Buyer Meetings

Grower-buyer meetings are a chance for farmers and producers to introduce themselves to grocers, distributors, and chefs and discuss products and potential interest. There are no promises made and no contracts signed; it’s just a chance to open a door and follow up later. For growers who are just getting started, this is a great opportunity to learn about individual buyer requirements.

In addition to the annual Grower-Buyer Meeting at the Business of Farming Conference, ASAP offers periodic stand-alone events. Are you a buyer interested in meeting with local farmers? Contact David Smiley with any questions.

Upcoming Grower-Buyer Meetings

May 11: Selling to Schools Workshop and Grower-Buyer Meeting

Virtual Workshop, 3:30–4:30 p.m.

Learn more about selling to K-12 schools and preschools in WNC, including models for local procurement and opportunities and challenges for selling to schools in your community. Directly following the presentation, farmers are invited to sign up to meet one-on-one with individual school systems and preschool food programs as part of a virtual Grower-Buyer Meeting. The workshop is free, but you do need to register via Zoom to participate.

Presenters include:

  • Molly Nicholie, Executive Director, ASAP
  • Alison Francis, Child Nutrition Director, Haywood County Schools
  • Melinda Aponte, Nutrition Coordinator, YWCA of Asheville
  • Genie Gunn, Director of Food and Nutrition, Verner Center for Early Learning

Virtual Grower-Buyer Meeting, 4:45–5:45 p.m.

Use the links below to reserve a time slot to meet with participating school buyers.

Buncombe County Schools
Products desired: fresh fruit and vegetables
Certifications required: GAP 

Creative Beginnings of Lenoir
Products desired: lettuce (salad), strawberries, blueberries, apples, oranges, snow peas, cucumbers, tomatoes

Haywood County Schools
Products desired: fresh fruit and vegetables
Certifications required: GAP

Macon Program for Progress
Products desired: fruits and vegetables

Verner Center for Early Learning (Asheville)
Products desired: fruits and vegetables

How to Prepare for a Grower-Buyer Meeting

Have farm materials available to share digitally. Helpful items might include:

  • Price sheets
  • Projected product availability
  • Brochure or fact sheet with info about insurances, food safety, delivery terms and area, packaging, etc.
  • Photos of the farm
  • Product samples

Don’t be intimidated if you don’t have these items. Depending on the buyer and your stage of business development, a quick “get to know you chat” and a handshake might be right. The buyers we invite are friendly and are there to educate and inform as well as to source product.

Here are some questions you might like to ask:

  • What are your specs for my product line? (size, packaging, ripeness, preferred cuts, etc.)
  • What volume of my products might you be interested in purchasing?
  • What insurance, food safety, and labeling/packaging requirements do you have?
  • What is your preferred delivery schedule?
  • How do you like to make orders? (phone call, fax form, email, etc.)
  • How can I follow up on this meeting? What would be the right timing to connect again?

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