Rainbow Farms Finds a Market at Oberlin College

Students jostling to buy an impressive array of fresh produce from visiting Madison, OH–based Rainbow Farms

Though Bon Appétit chefs have long established mutually beneficial relationships with local farmers, on-site farmers’ markets can be a challenge for the farmers in terms of time invested versus sales gained.

So when Director of Operations John Klancar at Oberlin College in Oberlin, OH, asked Farm to Fork partner Larry Klco of Rainbow Farms to try selling his rainbow-colored produce on campus, Larry was understandably hesitant. Nevertheless, Larry agreed to set up a stand one day, after he delivered to the cafés.

To everyone’s surprise, business was terrific. Luck provided ideal weather, sunny and warm for fall in Ohio. An outdoor location with lots of foot traffic also helped. By 1:30 pm, Larry was already inquiring about setting up a subsequent date. He was amazed at how eagerly students embraced his produce and opened up their wallets to support his family farm. By 2:30 pm, he had sold out of yellow watermelon, cantaloupe, pink potatoes, and more.

Many students and staff were buzzing about the farmstand on campus, and asking when Larry would return. Rainbow Farms has an extended growing season due to its proximity to Lake Erie and its use of hoop houses. The Bon Appétit team is looking forward to bringing them back in the spring.

Submitted by Eric Pecherkiewicz, Marketing Manager and Regional Dietitian