So we have been told by a few folks that an Amish or Dutch style auction would be useful in our region. We have been doing research and have found some fascinating auctions around the country. Please email Tim or post a comment below if you have interest or knowledge about produce auctions.
The idea we are researching would happen something like this: The Puget Sound Food Network would organize a live, and connected online, food auction that allows food producers to offer their product to the highest bidder. The method for the bidding can vary between a traditional auction with price starting low and going higher, or to a Dutch style auction where the price starts at the high number and goes down. A connected, eBay style auction space could be developed to allow an ongoing auction to occur right up to the date of the live auction, with minimum bids and a “BuyNow” price offering. The online auction may be of more interest to small farms while the live auction may be of more interest to midsize farms.
Delivery of the product would vary. The product would already be at the live auction, so it could be taken away by the buyer, delivered by the seller that day, or a pre-arranged delivery vehicle would be present to move the sold goods to the appropriate destinations. Delivery of online items would be coordinated either directly between buyer and seller or with interested distributors.
The location and timing of a live auction would occur when enough product is available, and in the county of most interest to the most participants. Multiple auctions could occur through the growing season depending on interest.
More information about produce auctions can be found online at various locations. Some locations I found:
- U Kentucky has a quick 3 page pdf
- Central Missouri Exension has a roadmap available for event organizing and contains info about policies, procedures, and packing and grading.
- The Homerville, OH Produce Auction has extensive list information including pricing trends and the methods towards their success.
Please let us know what you think of the overall idea.