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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Specialty Crops: New Book Links Ohio Growers with Institutional Food-service Buyers

January 20, 2012

WOOSTER, Ohio -- A new book called Ohio’s Specialty Crops: A Boost to Food Service Menus is now available free online. Go to

It’s for farmers and for food buyers -- specifically, food buyers for institutions, such as colleges, restaurants, hospitals and nursing homes. 

Increased selling, buying, serving and eating of local foods is a goal. 

“We’ve found that many institutions want to provide Ohio-produced specialty crops to their clients” but don’t know where or how to get them, said author Megan Shoenfelt of Ohio State University’s Agroecosystems Management Program (AMP).

Farmers, meanwhile, “need to know the level of quality, consistency and efficiency expected by food-service administrators,” Shoenfelt said. 

“This book addresses issues on both sides of the supply chain.”

Ohio's Specialty Crops is published by AMP with support from the Ohio Department of Agriculture. It’s based on a research project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

Included are sections on:

  • “Making Connections,” on such topics as packaging, pricing, delivery, and building relationships between farmers and buyers.
  • Local food success stories, featuring DNO Produce in Columbus, Ohio State’s dining halls in Columbus, Medina County’s Green Harvest Trading and an Ohio University dining facility.
  • Food safety, including Good Agricultural Practices and educational programs for farmers by Ohio State’s Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team.
  • The monthly availability of more than four dozen crops, with a chart detailing the crops, their best storage temperatures and humidity levels, and when and how long a buyer can get them. 

Bulk printed copies are available to groups. Contact Shoenfelt, 330-202-3537,, for details and to arrange for her to speak to your business or group.

AMP is part of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. OARDC is the research arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and is the largest university agbiosciences research center in the U.S.

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Kurt Knebusch
Megan Shoenfelt