One of Chesapeake Harvest’s goals is to match its suppliers of fresh, local Maryland products to new customers, both retail and wholesale. On January 23, CH staffers Elizabeth Beggins and Natalie Slater attended the 2019 Maryland’s Best Food & Beverage Expo, where they met some 70 vendors pitching local agricultural products from the Free State.
“New buyers from the Eastern and Western shores of Maryland expressed interest in becoming part of the online marketplace,” Slater says. “These contacts will help the organization’s sales platform broaden its offerings to include grains, flour, peanut butter, honey and beef, to name a few,” she adds.
The event, held at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, was also a networking opportunity for wholesale buyers, says Beggins. “We had interest from some larger corporate customers from Northern Virginia.” These relationships would mean increased opportunities for local growers to sell their products more widely, she points out. “We are looking forward to expanding our current wholesale territory.”
Chesapeake Harvest is in the process of upgrading its platform to improve its functionality and flexibility for both suppliers and buyers. “There’s so much potential,” says Slater. “We’re excited about the opportunity to extend our reach.”
The MD Department of Agriculture’s Maryland’s Best program is an initiative linking farmers to customers via events, promotions and an informational website.