A Nebraska Thursdays Producer Story: Pekarek’s Produce

Small Towns
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Ryan Pekarek, of Pekarek’s Produce, near Dwight, Nebraska, sells vegetables to area schools.

Who we sell to

“We sell to Lone Tree Foods, a local distributor, and various schools. We also sell our produce at the Seward and Lincoln Haymarket farmers markets.”

Ideal way to sell to schools

“I would love to sell as much as possible and deliver once per week. The biggest obstacle is talking directly with the school purchaser. Every now and then someone else comes along and either has a change of heart or decides to terminate purchasing from our farm.”

Storing food for schools

“We have a cooler that holds 24 pallets. I can store up to six pallets in my truck for delivery. Schools can’t take that much, so we haul cases inside by hand.”

Most challenging part of selling to schools

“The competitive bidding process has meant that we have lost bids by a fraction of a percentage. Often times the other bidder is a larger distributor that may not be offering local products. ‘Low bids’ as the priority to purchasing makes it difficult to make the sale to schools.”

Do you deliver your food?

“We deliver within a 70-mile radius of the farm but for a minimum order of $500, we will go further.”

Best-selling products to schools

Broccoli, tomatoes, and potatoes

Geographic preference

Schools are encouraged to utilize geographic preference when soliciting bids for unprocessed locally grown and locally raised agricultural products used in school meal programs.

Contact: Find Pekarek’s Produce at facebook.com/Pekareks​Produce