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Micro Farms Uses Market Wagon For Sales

by Caitlin Yoder

Published: Friday, June 8, 2018

Micro Farms LLC in Nappanee grows produce using hydroponics in a greenhouse. The farm has been in business for four years and was having trouble with marketing in the beginning.

The farm now sells produce to local farmers markets, restaurants and an online farmers market called Market Wagon.

Market Wagon allows customers to order locally grown, or handmade products and have them delivered to their doorstep. This is not only great for customers, but producers as well. Dion Graber of Micro Farms LLC said their sales took off when they joined Market Wagon.

"The thing I love about market wagon is one, they help you get your name out there," Graber said. "The people are really good too. Every time you go to one of their hubs they ask how you are, say good morning, like it should be. They do a very good job."

Every Wednesday at 3 a.m. Graber jumps in his truck, loaded with fresh produce and heads to the hub in Indianapolis. There he adds his produce to the customers' bags where they will either pick it up, or have it shipped to their doorstep.

He then travels to a hub in Laporte while his brother Nick takes produce to Fort Wayne.

"Before that sometimes we would go to a produce auction and pretty much be giving it away," Graber said. "You're hoping and praying that the right guy shows up that needs that many tomatoes and will pay a nice price for it. You're living on a hope and a prayer, which is a good thing sometimes, but for the most part when it comes to business you want to have something a little more set in stone."

On Market Wagon, vendors are allowed to set their price and amount each week. If they are unable to sell products one week they are not obligated to sell.

"If we don't have as much one week it's OK," Graber said. "If you're selling to a grocery store and you're short 50 pounds, that's not good but market wagon can be a little more flexible."

Nick Carter, the Co-Founder and CEO of Market Wagon also used to be a farmer. Graber explained how Carter got the idea when he saw that there were many people who were making or growing good products, but they had no way of marketing and selling them. There were many people that stopped making their products because they could not afford it. He wanted to create a way for people to get their products out there and make some money. Graber said Market Wagon helped his new business get on its feet and find customers to buy their products.

"This is a good way to slowly start and get your name out," Graber said. "When you first start a business, you have to charge more to cover your costs. The thing with Market Wagon is you set your price."

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