Ohio produce at the click of a mouse

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COLUMBUS – Growers can connect with other sellers or with consumers on a wide variety of products with the help of a new Ohio State University Extension Web site.

The site, www.farmtomarkets.com, will connect buyers and sellers of Ohio-grown agricultural products, from fruits and vegetables to wines and juices to flowers and plants.

It is maintained by OSU Extension and the Ohio Direct Agricultural Marketing Association, and updated by members who join the site.

Making connection. “The theme is connecting Ohio buyers and sellers – establishing a connection with niche products,” said Nathan Watermeier, an OSU Extension technology program leader who helped develop the Web site.

“Many small, local growers are decentralized from the buyers market and many consumers are not aware of what is available to them. This site is meant to help bridge that gap.”

Updated during season. The Web site, the first of its kind in Ohio, is connected to a database of buyer and seller information that is updated daily during the peak growing season and updated weekly the remainder of the year to ensure information on the site is accurate.

Potential buyers can peruse the Web site for free; sellers are charged an annual fee to have full access to the site and post news and information for other sellers and consumers.

The fee is $60 a year.

“It’s all about investing in Ohio products, more so than buying from California or Florida,” said John Ellerman, an OSU Extension agent for South Centers at Piketon.

Buyers and sellers can locate items either by product or by retail method. The site gives detailed descriptions of retailers, the products buyers are looking for and in what quantities and provides an added bonus of whether such items are organic, non-organic or hydroponic.

The site also provides news and information, a calendar of events, health resources and additional links regarding direct marketing.

The future. Watermeier said eventually, organizers hope to tie this site into agri-tourism – carnivals, tours, activities associated with farm or roadside markets – to connect people not only to the products but where the products are coming from.

For more information, visit www.farmtomarkets.com, or contact John Ellerman at 740-289-2071 or ellerman.5@osu.edu.

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