What to Expect as a Grower: Building Customer Relationships that Last


Call when you say you will, deliver what you promised, and don’t be late. Maintain consistent quality so the buyer knows what to expect. Don’t “short the kitchen” – the buyer is expecting a certain quantity. If your product changes, call well in advance and ask if the buyer still wants it. The buyer would rather have time to find a back-up source than receive less or lower quality product than expected.

Maintain communication

Tell your customers what’s going on at the farm, follow up on deliveries, and find out what was appreciated or what can be improved. Some farmers call every week and update buyers on what’s available that week. It’s all about the relationship.


Most restaurants have set delivery times, and you’ll need to work within those. Know busy times and plan your visits and calls around them.

Sell your product

Arrange to go visit personally, and take free samples. If you offer something special or unusual and know its uses, don’t be afraid to offer advice.

Know your customers and their customers

Eat at the restaurants, read the menu, find out how your product is used. Many restaurants list menus on their website.

Be professional

Be patient and diligent, be on time, be courteous, prepare invoices ahead, and call if you’ll be late.


If you can accept terms, such as seven days, it’s a great convenience for the restaurant.

Specialize and Diversify

Make yourself unique. Talk with buyers and find out what they need in particular. Offer something they can’t get elsewhere, and you’ll have your foot in the door for a long time.