We would love to see this topic grow amongst the users of LBHA. We are in SE Oklahoma and would like to hear others stories how they broke into a market for their pork. Has anyone entered into any agreements with retailers like Whole Foods, Trader Joes, etc? Please share your success stories so others can increase pork shares based on your experiences. We will do the same. Selling halves and wholes individually is not the business model we strive to achieve though we do plan to sell locally. Success for a our farm needs some serious quantity buyers of quality free range pork who process humanely.
First, you have to be realistic about how many hogs you can produce, taking into account how many you need to replace current stock, mortality, family consumption, marketing samples, etc. You’ll build your business model, including your marketing plan, around those numbers. Start by reaching out to farmer’s markets and farm to table restauranteurs who value the same animal husbandry techniques that you do. If possible, join some of the farm to table groups in your area. Talk to them about who is supplying their pork, how much they would need and ask if they would like to sample your pork. A sale may not happen right away with every person, but you’ll be building awareness of your product.
It’s quite possible that you cannot provide as much pork as they need to be a sole source supplier. I am building a relationship with a local restaurant owner who needs 2,000lbs per week year round and another seasonal vendor who uses 600lbs per week. I cannot produce 2,000lbs per week, so I’d have to buy from other farms and resale the pork. Reach out to other LBHA members within a reasonable distance and visit their operations. Perhaps you and s/he could develop a partnership that benefits from economies of scale. I know of some sheep farms locally who banded together and bought a refrigerated truck, a stock trailer, and developed a marketing campaign to further promote lamb, mutton and dairy products. They have more leverage with feed mills, restaurants, and slaughtering/butchering operations collectively than they would singularly.
This probably goes without saying, but make sure you take every measure to ensure your product is always top quality. Poor product can do irreparable damage to your farm’s reputation and the reputation of the breed.
Thank you for posting this information. We have been in contact with a local restaurant who wants to buy locally and is very interested in our pork. It is a small upscale restaurant that changes it’s menu based on what is available. They were buying from a large pork outfit that required them to buy a half a hog at a time. This restaurant does not have the room, time, etc. to process the meat themselves and would like to purchase them ready to prepare (pork chops, etc.) We will meet with them very soon to finalize the details. We are new at this so are learning how this works. Any information regarding selling pork is appreciated.