KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The locally grown produce business is booming for wholesaler C&C Produce Co., and the company wants it to boom even louder.
To that end, C&C sponsored its first Harvest to Market Open House Dec. 4 at its headquarters.
The event brought together the company’s grower suppliers in Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska with retail and foodservice buyers, said Nick Conforti, C&C partner and vice president.
C&C sources zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, peppers, leafy greens, potatoes, asparagus, tomatoes and other fresh produce from the area. Christopher Shea heads up the company’s local program.
“This was the missing link,” Conforti said. “We wanted to get our customers in direct contact with our growers. Then we can help facilitate what they need to get done.”
Several hundred attendees enjoyed a complimentary lunch at the 5-hour event. Buyers from several area retailers, restaurants and school districts were in attendance, Conforti said.
“It has exceeded my expectations,” Conforti said of the turnout.
C&C hopes to make Harvest to Market an annual tradition. A Saturday night event is another option the company may consider.
Tyler and Pam Nelson, co-owners of Waterloo, Neb.-based A&T Farms, which began supplying C&C in 2012, said the open house was well worth the three-hour drive south.
“It’s always good to get out there and meet other growers and buyers,” Pam Nelson said. “There’s a lot of networking in produce.”
A&T Farms grows watermelons, tomatoes, sweet corn and other commodities, and has about doubled produce sales each of the past 10 years, Pam Nelson said.