Despite the growing demand and support for local food, there can often be significant barriers for growers trying to tap into new markets, given specific food safety expectations, policies, and requirements. This trend is particularly true for institutional buyers, who are often constrained by far-reaching institutional and/or corporate policies. While there are lots of market opportunities in Virginia, navigating the landscape for produce growers can be daunting, since buyer food safety requirements are not a “one size fits all” standard for all markets. To better understand current expectations and perceptions across multiple market sectors in Virginia, and help producers better align their on-farm practices with these marketplaces, the Fresh Produce Food Safety Team conducted a state-wide market assessment in 2015-2016.
The purpose of this section of the website is to provide you with the results of that work, in order to offer insights into various buyer specifications and associated priorities, barriers, and recommendations of different market outlets, especially if you are considering selling to a particular market. Information is grouped into the following categories: