|Photo Courtesy Chicken Scratch Farm|
Carolyn Eddy in Eagle Creek, OR, has always been a farmer, but after raising pack goats for years she and a business partner decided it was time for something different. They bought a few chickens and a few hives and started building a fresh egg and honey business.
“Normally I would tell people to start small and take it slow,” she said, “but that’s not how it went for us.”
Soon after launching Chicken Scratch Farm, Carolyn joined FoodHub and made the business connections that quickly took her to the next level.
“We didn’t have a market for eggs and somebody told us about FoodHub,” she said. “When that first big client jumped on board we were scrambling to keep up and adding more chickens. We’re doing better than we ever expected.”
“I’ve been in business for about four years and as long as I’ve been running I’ve worked with local farms,” said Rose City owner Christina Robinson who looks for no-spray, organic fruits and vegetables, and humanely-raised meat. “At first it was just organic, but now it’s more local. It’s really important to most of my customers.”
When Christina could no longer get in touch with her normal egg supplier she turned to FoodHub to fill the gap. Now, after posting for eggs in the Marketplace, she gets 30 to 50 dozen eggs every other week from Chicken Scratch Farm.
“The Marketplace is a great place to connect with people and find things that you’re looking for,” Christina said. “If I’m looking for a product, I go to FoodHub first.”
To keep the connections going, both Christina and Carolyn will continue to rely on FoodHub: Christina, who is launching an online storefront for her customers, will be using FoodHub to vet new vendors and invite them to join her list of providers. Carolyn, who doesn’t yet have website for Chicken Scratch Farm, will continue to use FoodHub as her primary marketing outlet.
“A lot of people don’t do advertising,” she said, “but with FoodHub we don’t spend a lot of time working on marketing. We were fortunate to get good clients right off the bat.”
Launching a business can be hard, but getting started with FoodHub is easy:
3 … If you’re new to FoodHub, log in and spend some time filling out your profile, searching for your primary customer type or the vendors you need, and sending an initial round of introductory emails. Carolyn said many of her clients have reached out to her through the Message Center – don’t be afraid to use it right away! – and make sure your other contact information is up to date as well.
2 … Every month or so, update your product list and Hot Sheet to make sure any new potential connections are finding your profile when they search the site. Christina told us she found a farmer in her area who she knew had strawberries, but they didn’t show up in her list of results when she searched for that product on FoodHub because they hadn’t added it to their profile.
1 … Carolyn said she spends an hour a week with FoodHub, usually every Tuesday when she gets the Fresh Sheet. Use your hour to respond to any messages, create a marketplace post of your own, and see who’s new in your area.