Those of us who are interested in selling pork have had some success finding markets for our pork; usually one or two local restaurants or customers at a farmers market. But it has always been hard to find customers outside our local areas.
Some chefs have a similar problem. They would love to put some heritage pork on their menus but they need a reliable source. They might be lucky to find one local farm but that can only provide enough pork for an occasional promotion.
So I'm trying something new. I'm trying to find a way for chefs to let farmers know what they want and a way for farmers to understand the market that exists and provide pork to that market.
I'm starting my focus on heritage pork because that's where the market is that can pay the higher price (give the farmer a reasonable profit and cover shipping expenses). Restaurants that offer heritage pork can price it higher and attract their customers who will pay a premium price to enjoy it. If this works then I'm going to include all small farm pork to help convince restaurants that it also is a premium product worth including in their menus. I already own the URLs that will work for that.
My approach may not work, it will certainly take some time to develop the lists of restaurants and farmers who are interested, but it has to start somewhere. So, here we go.
I've created a website at CertifiedHeritagePork.com just as an easy tool to collect info about the demand and sources. I'm talking about it on every chef and restaurant website that will let me and we'll see if it sparks interest. I'm also Twittering and Facebooking my A.. off.
If any of you find this interesting and want to help, please visit the website, give me some constructive criticism, and add your restaurant to my list of sources. Also, if you have a website, Twitter or Facebook account, please link to the website to help me get the word out.
I hope you don't think I am spamming; I don't mean to. I don't charge restaurants or farmers to use the service and I will be spending more than my sweetie wants me to on manhours and phone calls to get this going. I will be working with anyone who signs up to find out everyone's needs, including pricing, transportation, regulations, etc., and help find solutions that will move pork from farm to table. If it works out well enough then I'll let advertisers pay for the service.
I've seen other people try to do the same but their efforts haven't yet produced a good nationwide network or have only resulted in brokers getting in the middle and sucking out the profit. Hopefully if this thing develops properly it will be a website that makes it easy for farmers to fill orders without my help. And it will help create a market that rewards restaurants and small farmers for their efforts and makes more customers make better choices about which pork they choose to eat.
I am incorporating some requirements that should screen out the corporate producers and brokers and limit the service to small farms. Sorry for those of you who are into big ag, but I'm just not here to help you.
Anyway, if you want to help make this thing work then please do. If you want to criticize it, please make your criticisms helpful.