Farmer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What farms does Twin Cities Local Food work with? Can anyone sell their product on the site?
A. Twin Cities Local Food (TCLF) works with a wide range of farmers and producers - including vegetables, fruit, eggs, meat, dairy, and other processed foods. We try to maintain a good balance of product on the site and do our best to grow our farmer list with our customer demand. In addition, TCLF works with farmers that are farming to make a living as opposed to avid gardeners with extra produce or crop to sell. We love the idea of a produce exchange website, but that is not our mission.

Q. I'm a local producer of a food item, can I sell with TCLF?
A. TCLF's focus is on local food products. We do require producers to incorporate local food into their product(s) in order to sell with us.

Q. How will TCLF determine the pricing for the products it sells?

A. We work closely with member farms to decide on a reasonable price for each product being sold. That price will be what the farmer receives from TCLF after sales are complete. We then take that price and mark it up for the customer.

    
Q. Will farmers be charged any monthly fees?
A. No, there are no monthly fees to sell with TCLF.  Website and marketing costs are included in the markup price.

    
Q. How will TCLF monitor the quality of the products it sells?
A. The farmer is obligated to deliver market-grade produce. Products will be inspected upon delivery and prior to assembling each order. If we conclude that product is below market-grade, the farmer will be notified. If poor quality continues, the farm may lose its membership. If a customer is unhappy with a product, and we determine their complaint is justified, we will notify the farmer. The customer will be given a choice of credit or a replacement product. The farmer will be obligated to honor the credit or the replacement.

    
Q. How will the farmer be required to deliver product?
A. The farmer will not be required to assemble individual orders but will be asked to group products by customer pick up locations. Product will be delivered to TCLF in a pre-determined package (i.e. bunch, 1 lb. bag, carton, etc.).

Q. How is the product transported?
A. MDA requires us to maintain temperature during the transportation of products requiring refrigeration.  We are equiped with commercial grade freezer and refrigeration to delivery products safely and in compliance with all regulations.

    
Q. What if the farmer can't deliver on time?
A. Each farmer is obligated to make every effort to deliver product on time. We understand that trucks break down, roosters fail to crow, and plants fail to grow, or grow too fast. In order for this to succeed, it is necessary for the farmer to communicate with TCLF as early as possible. If you are using our system, you know how to email or you have a telephone. Please keep us posted on events that may affect delivery, so we can communicate with customers.  Even if we have the best products available, our business is a failure if we cannot provide excellent customer service.

Q. What are the general guidelines for products that can be listed on the site?
A. In general, we want to provide products from within a 100 mile radius of the Twin Cities.  However, if you have a product with an extended shelf life and will compliment our offerings, we are glad to try it.  Minnesotans recognize certain products like wild rice as a distinct part of our culinary culture and we think it should be recognized as local even though most wild rice is not harvested within a 100 mile radius.  If a product is processed, a large majority of the ingredients should be grown or raised within Minnesota or western Wisconsin, the product must be processed within our market area. In all cases, the product must be grown or processed by you. We do not allow our farms or processors to resell products grown or processed elsewhere.

Q. What Department of Agriculture regulations apply to my products?
A. Any Minnesota Department of Agriculture regulations that apply to your business regarding off-farm sales will be strictly observed.  If you have questions, please refer to the MDA website or contact your local inspector. 

    
Q. What can I expect from a typical week?
A. Beginning every Wednesday at 9AM, farmers who have product to sell need to enter what products they will have available to sell the following Thursday for customer pickup.  As soon as quantities are entered into our database, the products will be available to customers when ordering pages open on Friday at 6AM on Twin Cities Local Food's website. Farmers monitor their crops throughout the week and report any changes in quantity as soon as possible via a phone call or email.

On Wednesday at 9 AM, customer ordering on the website closes for the period. Shortly after, the farmer will receive an email from Twin Cities Local Food detailing what the farmer needs to bring to their designated drop off location on Thursday morning. While Wednesday is "harvest day," farmers are able to moniter sales throughout the order cycle.  Products should be properly packaged or sorted according to the unit of measure that it was sold as, and delivered to the drop off location on Thursday for distribution to customers.