Having talked to producers selling at my local Farmers' Market here in Timaru, New Zealand, I discovered that many have these markets as their only outlet to sell what they make. This is great for the increased returns for their goods – but there is variable and somewhat unpredictable demand – so at times they leave the market with perishable goods with no way to sell them.
Customers at Farmers' Markets have high regard for the produce they see available, and many are even evangelical in their recommendation of the things they buy there. I propose leveraging this love of local products as a trusted way to let others in the wider region know the quality of these goods and subscribe to a message service alerting them when there is a surplus. This could be coordinated through existing organisations such as the Australian Farmers' Markets Association: http://www.farmersmarkets.org.au or Farmers' Markets NZ Inc: http://www.farmersmarkets.org.nz The local Farmers' Market organisation take responsibility for receiving the orders and dispatching, leaving the producers to get on with what they do best.
Bob the Butcher has 14 kilos of locally raised, corn-fed prime rib left over form the Sunday market which was slow this week because it was raining. That gets messaged out to subscribers (via Twitter, SMS, website, etc) at an attractive rate. They choose from various weekly deals, sometimes bundled, which they can opt to pick up or have delivered. Everyone's happy & the customers love Bob, his beef and the Farmers' Market Association even more than they did before – and can't wait to tell all their friends.
Images via Creative Commons: Francesco Pappalardo, Roger Walch, Cleber Mori and Meanest Indian. http://www.flickr.com/photos/cicciofarmaco/5398431848/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/rowmuse/295087022/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/cleber/2550799422/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/meanestindian/483886997/
+ a hat tip to the good folk at the Timaru Farmers' Market for sharing insights.