Some things you can only get from someplace special. Each region has its own point of pride: Hood River lays claim to strawberries, Rainier has its cherries (roundly contested by Montanans!), Vermont has maple syrup. While searching FoodHub for new sources of ingredients for her all-natural line of muesli, granola and whole grain porridges, Betsy Field found something special from Brownsville, OR, and farmer Clint Lindsey of Greenwillow Grains.
Putting it simply, she said, “They grow the best oats I’ve ever eaten.”
So good, in fact, that Betsy anticipates being the sole distributor of Greenwillow Grains in California as she brings their oats into her San Rafael production facilities, then redistributes the final product to co-ops and other natural markets who buy from her.
A self-described sourcing fanatic, Betsy spends hours poring over lists of producers, visiting farms, and building the connections she needs to feed her growing business called From the Fields’ LLC. When she found Clint on FoodHub, she did a taste test, comparing Greenwillow’s grains to a commodity product. What she discovered was an astonishing texture and taste profile against which she now judges all other grains, and that inspired her to raise the bottom line on her ingredient costs.
“I’m always looking for direct to farm relationship,” said Betsy who buys thousands of pounds of grain every year. “Anything in fruit nuts and seed, we want. It’s been challenging, but it allows us to knock out the middle person, offer the product for less and pay the farmer more. Greenwillow’s oats are more expensive and the taste profile is superior, but I also know who grew it and where they grew it, and how, and that they mill it.”
And Betsy’s diligence makes a big difference to businesses like Greenwillow Grains that are ready to serve regional markets.
“At first our barriers to expansion were market opportunities. We needed people to be aware that what we had was available,” Clint of Greenwillow said. “We now have ten different organic crops for local markets and that’s been a big deal, but we are also starting to pursue the kinds of relationships that fit the kind of farm we are capable of becoming: We’re ready to pursue customers that need a pallet or two per month.”
To find these new customers, Clint regularly uses FoodHub.
“Once I started to really keep our profile up to date and look at the Marketplace and Fresh Sheet every time they came up was when things really started to happen,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called or emailed someone who might be a good fit. A couple times it’s resulted in killer business relationship. … I know that if somebody is on FoodHub they’re probably the kind of person that I want to do business with.”
Up the Ante
Ensure your success on FoodHub by returning to the site and updating your profile on a regular basis. Every three months, edit your product list to include the most current list of what you’re harvesting to make sure the best of what you have is visible season after season.