Last fall we took a chance and planted twice as much garlic as we normally do. We're pretty happy with the garlic we grow, it keeps well in the barn til we need it, and we thought we might get a decent price for it if we could sell it wholesale. Fortunately for us, MOM's Organic Market has been a great store to work with. Their produce manager, Soren Huber, came to the farm to meet with us and help us clean a bit of garlic. And she's agreed to buy whatever we can sell, which should be about 1000 pounds this year. Hooray!
Every purchaser does not fit well with every farm. For example, some of the larger chain groceries like Whole Foods or Wegman's, have a time-consuming set up process and it can be difficult to commicate with their regional produce buyers. So it hasn't been worth the trouble for our small, spur-of-the-moment sales.
MOM's, on the other hand, has been happy to buy from us, even when we just have a little that we deliver to our nearest store. Glut Food Co-op, in Mt. Rainier, and the Maryland Food Collective, in College Park, have also been easy to work with over the years, but this time we have more garlic than they can use.
Another critical factor is that MOM's offered us a good price. They are trying to source local produce when possible, and they're willing to pay a little extra to do it. Some of the wholesale distributors (such as the sole supplier of Yes! Market) could only offer us the price they were getting from California, which is too low for us.
We would be happy to sell to restaurants, but most chefs use pre-peeled garlic from a jar. If any of you know some chefs, or have a favorite restaurant that uses whole, organic garlic, encourage them to buy garlic from us next year!
We don't want to make wholesale a big part of our farm's marketing. We have plenty of great CSA customers now, and we've commited to donating everything we can. But these few sales, mostly at the end of the season, are a great little boost to our bottom line, with a crop that doesn't take too much extra work from us. Thank you MOM's!