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Tiny Crop Report

An Illinois man is giving tiny farms a shot at larger sales

It can be hard for folks who grow small quantities of high-quality produce to find someone to buy it. There are chefs, brew masters, and others who would love to have those products, but they don’t know where to find them. Google and Yahoo search engines don’t readily bring up tiny farms.

Rob Loomis of AVM Publishing in Northfield, Illinois, has noticed. He developed what he’s calling the “Tiny Crop Report.” The goal is to connect typically overlooked farms with small food preparation operations.

"When you think of those two groups, small farmers and then the people on the other side whether that’s chefs or bakers or whoever, neither one of them really have a lot of time to search. Most farmer’s markets of course are on the weekends, and  that’s the busy time for chefs, bakers, and everybody else," says Loomis. "We perceive a need to better connect those two groups of parties."

Buyers pay to receive the report which is published 20 times a year, but it’s free for farmers to list their available crops.

In addition, Loomis says they’re working on ways to transport crops while reducing shipping costs.

"We’re trying to coordinate what we call a rural version of Uber, the ride-hailing service that is typically in much larger urban areas," he says. "There’s certainly a way to coordinate kind of an “on the way” delivery of crops from these different rural areas where the organic and small farms are concentrated to the metro areas."

As of now, the Tiny Crop Report is concentrated in the Great Lakes region. However, Loomis says it’s their goal to be nationwide.

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