Grow Your Business Training Offered To Help Farmers Make Direct Sales To Restaurants

Monday, October 20, 2014

Crabtree Farms, in partnership with the University of Tennessee’s Center for Profitable Agriculture (CPA) will host a day-long intensive training for farmers titled “Grow Your Business: Seeds For Successful Direct Marketing Of Fruits And Vegetables” on Dec. 12, in Chattanooga. Grow Your Business is targeted at small and medium-scale producers of fruit, vegetable, and specialty crops, but all interested farmers, regardless of type or experience level, are encouraged to attend.

“A growing number of members of our local farming community would like to see their products on restaurant menus,” says Andrea Jaeger, programs coordinator of Crabtree Farms. “However, many farmers are unclear about how to get started. This training will take out the guess work of making direct sales relationships that will last. ”

Led by the CPA’s Megan Bruch Leffew and Hal Pepper, Grow Your Business will explore planning for enterprise success, liability insurance, marketing, determining and tracking costs, and pricing for profit. In addition, a panel discussion on the benefits and challenges of direct marketing to restaurants will be offered, and the Harvested Here Food Hub will offer a short presentation about their operation, as well as help farmers interested in selling to the hub to sign up as vendors.

Crabtree Farms and the UT Extension’s Center for Profitable Agriculture (CPA) have organized the event with funding in part by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant, administered by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

The workshop is free and lunch will be provided. Registration and networking begin at 8:30 a.m. and the training will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The training will be held at Chattanooga WorkSpace, 1302 W 6th Street, Chattanooga, Tn. 37402. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required by December 5, 2014. Register by calling 423-493-9155, ext. 13 or emailing

Farmers may also be interested in attending the Center for Profitable Agriculture’s “Southern Style Hospitality” course on Thursday, Dec. 11. Southern Style Hospitality provides customer service training for business owners, managers, and front-line employees. The concepts taught apply to anyone dealing with customers, and focus on providing tips for handling difficult situations and explore the importance of implementing fundamental hospitality habits. Southern Style Hospitality will also take place at the Chattanooga Workspace, and preregistration is required by Dec. 4. For registration instructions and additional information, visit the Center for Profitable Agriculture’s website

The Center for Profitable Agriculture, a partnership between UT Extension and the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, assists Tennessee farmers in the analyses and development of value-added agricultural enterprises.


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