In his previous career, Tom Eich was a math teacher at a low-income school. Working in this profession forced him to see the effects of hunger first hand and invoked a sense of urgency to actually do something about it.
He started Kankakee Valley Homestead on his family’s farm four years ago, and what originally began as a conventional farm growing corn and soybeans has now become the chemical-free produce farm we now know and love. After teaching in a low-income school for several years and knowing that not everyone can afford to pay a lot for high quality food, Tom wanted to make sure his produce was for everybody. Kankakee Valley Homestead is a part of Indiana Grown for Students.
Kankakee Valley Homestead originally only sold its products at local farmers markets. Because many farmers markets are small in size, this wasn’t the best economical option because the labor ended up costing more than their actual sales made. Enter Market Wagon.
Kankakee Valley Homestead joined Market Wagon in 2019 and has loved it ever since. Working as a vendor makes selling his produce so much more convenient. Rather than individual sales or deliveries, the farm is treated somewhat as a wholesale market with one drop off location for all of their customers' purchases. Another great benefit of Market Wagon that Tom loves is that there is significantly less food that is being thrown away. Because he knows exactly what is being sold, Tom can provide the correct quantity and make sure that no food goes to waste.
His biggest advice to other vendors who are looking to join Market Wagon or have recently become a new vendor is to consider using the “sale” button. Even a subtle discount, like 10 percent off, can make a big difference. The sale will draw in more customer interest in your products.
If you’re interested in trying out Kankakee Valley Homestead, Tom highly recommends their sweet corn and suggests cooking it as little as possible to get the best flavor. According to the Kankakee Facebook page, their delicious corn should be ready as soon as July. Add this vendor to your follow list on Market Wagon today!