Please join us May 10th for the 2012 opening of the Chesterhill Produce Auction (CPA). We will have a Pot Luck celebration starting at 3 pm and the auction will begin at 4pm. This year we are also adding a “Spring into Auction” consignment auction on Saturday May 5th, from 1 pm to 5 pm with the auction starting at 2 pm.
2012 marks the third year of Rural Action ownership of the CPA. Since taking over management with an advisory board made up of growers and stakeholders Rural Action has:
- Increased the yearly gross by 96.8%
- Raised the average auction gross by 75.9%
- Added 211.8% more buyers
- Grown the number of participating farmers by 135%
This growth has been made possible with the help of people and resources at the Local, State, Regional, and Federal Level. Locally over 50 individuals have volunteered to support the auction through hundreds of hours of direct service ranging from assessing the electrical needs to operating the snack cart. Eight local individuals either donated or invested in the purchase. At the State level we have had funding and educational support from OSU Extension, Ohio State Center for Farm Land Policy Innovation, and the Ohio Farm Bureau. Regionally we work with the Central Appalachian Network. This Collaboration has supported the core operations of the CPA. At the Federal level we have had support for our food safety and marketing training, as well as base funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission for a portion of the purchase. All these resources have been woven together to build a sustainable piece of local food infrastructure that creates a unique local foods destination in one of the poorest and most rural Counties in the State. To support the sustainability of the CPA in the past few years we have:
- Educated 150 growers on food Safety and Season Extension
- Brought the facility up to electrical code
- Created a regionally recognized brand
- Built an internet marketing system
- Obtained a refrigerated delivery truck to build a delivery system
- Became a State licensed auction house
The CPA has become a local landmark, a place and resource people are comfortable with and depend on for fresh local produce in a community setting. This year we are continuing to build the auction to a self sustaining level. We are doing this by a series of targeted efforts aimed at building the multiple markets and constituents we serve.
To attract large buyers we offer large lots first. We do this so employers can afford to send people to the auction to purchase and know that they will be served as efficiently as possible. To insure food safety our growers receive food safety training and support. Our auction system provides excellent traceability to our customers who re-sell our products. If you buy either directly or indirectly from the CPA, you know where your food comes from and how it was grown. Our growers invest in high quality packaging, this makes for safe and presentable food for you and your customer.
To attract and serve household consumers we continue to offer smaller lots, retail sales, and the CPA Country Store. During the height of the season 2 auctioneers will be working simultaneously to better serve you. We offer free drinking water, a snack bar and a season long events calendar including pot lucks, childrens’ activities and consumer education. People purchasing for their own households remain our single largest customer segment and despite a business model that serves large buyers we continue to offer a community atmosphere in a beautiful rural setting.
Regardless of the scope of your produce needs we look forward to seeing you this year at the Chesterhill Produce Auction!