University of Maryland Extension

Which markets fit your operation?

Author: 
Ginger S. Myers, Extension Specialist, Marketing, University of Maryland Extension and Kim Rush Lynch, Extension Educator, University of Maryland Extension

Urban Ag home | Table of contents

Producers must learn how to combine different market outlets that suit their production cycles in order to maximize profits. To do that, careful evaluation of what buyers want/need before making production decisions can help producers decide which market outlets are appropriate for their marketing plans and overall operations.

Here is a chart from University of Kentucky Extension that compares retail and direct marketing outlets, the resources required and their profit potential.

Comparing marketing options for vegetables

 
Available Sales Opportunities
Things to consider
Direct:
On-Farm,
U Farmer's Markets, CSA
Produce Auctions
Marketing Cooperatives
Local Wholesaler, Local Grocers,
or Restaurants
Regional Wholesalers, Chain Store Distribution Centers, Terminal Markets, or Brokers
Production and Marketing Challenges
Difficulty getting into the market
low
low
low-medium
medium
high
Marketing time required
high
low
low
medium-high
medium
Compatible with off-farm employment
yes
yes
somewhat
somewhat
difficult
Importance of product quality (especially shelf life)
medium
medium-high
high
medium-high
high
Investments: Time and Money
Initial commitment level required
low
low
medium-high
high
high
Management level required
low
low
medium
high
high
Level of service buyers expect from individual growers
low-high
low
Low
high
high
Initial capital investments required
low
low
medium
medium-high
high
Postharvest equipment and facilities investment required
low
low
low
medium
high
Income and Potential
Prices
high
variable
medium
medium-high
medium
Price stability
high
medium
medium
medium
medium
Product volume required
Low
low
medium
medium
high
Market/sales volume potential
low-medium
low-medium
high
medium
high
Likely further development potential
excellent
good
good
good
fair-good
Marketing Options for Commercial Vegetable Growers, University of Kentucky Extension, ID-134

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