Andrew Abendshein runs a container farm called Acre in a Box in Houston, Texas. Since starting the farm last year, he’s learned to deal with the thick Texas humidity and troubleshoot a hydroponic system.
One of the most unexpected challenges that Andrew ran into happened when one of his major produce sales fell through last minute, leaving Andrew with a whole harvest to deal with. Obviously, greens have a limited shelf life. This left Andrew wondering how to sell extra produce in a hurry.
Andrew explains what he did to avoid wasting a whole harvest:
The short answer: hustle!
When you’re in a pinch, the only solution is to immediately work hard. Andrew started cold calling restaurants, boosted his marketing, and bringing the produce to farmers markets.
“Cold calling is always an unusual, uncomfortable thing at first,” says Andrew. However, the spurt of quick sales ended up being a good thing in the long run because it forced the farm to approach even more potential clients. In fact, Andrew says that their best customer came from that outreach.
“It ended up being a Godsend really that we were able to quickly get away from our comfort zone of selling to this one particular restaurant and going out and meeting new people completely. That’s helped us in marketing and being better providers of […] healthy crops.”
They started by looking up restaurants who listed fresh produce on their menu or had local food as part of their branding. Then, they set up a meeting with the chef. Ideally, the chef came to visit the farm. Seeing the crops growing in the farm was a huge selling point for Acre in a Box.
“That’s when we were able to lock in sales,” says Andrew. “When we brought people out to the farm.”
We know how the chef feels. When you step into an indoor farm, you’re hit with a wave of smells and fresh air that’s hard to beat. Seeing the humble beginnings of menu items is a precious insight that many people are hungry for, and Acre in A Box offered just that.
“When they get into the farm, it’s hard for them not to be excited.”
Thinking about a farm of your own?
Upstart University is creating more content in 2017 than any year so far. This content—built with courses, articles, eBooks, and more—is designed specifically for people who:
- Are starting small or with little experience
- Are embracing new and practical technologies
- Are ready to serve their communities with high-quality produce.
Is that you? Try out Upstart University today to see what the platform can do for you and your farm.