New Windsor, Maryland
Farm Credit Affiliation
MidAtlantic Farm Credit
Trevor Hoff has been an entrepreneur since the age of 16. His entrepreneurial spirit carried him through high school and college and has now positioned him to be an innovative businessman supporting his local community and economy.
In high school, Trevor tried some beef jerky made from his grandparents’ cattle and decided it was far superior to anything he’d found at the supermarket. Rather than just being disappointed with the current grocery options or sharing the product only with his family, he recognized an opportunity and started selling it to classmates and teachers. He soon expanded his business further, attending food shows on weekends to reach wholesale outlets.
The proceeds from this successful business helped pay for Trevor’s college experience, which included capitalizing on another opportunity: purchasing a hometown neighbor’s property and turning an old garage into a retail store. Trevor bought the property in January 2012 and opened his on-farm market, Local Homestead Products, just five months later, all while still attending college.
“My goal is to provide my community with an easily accessible, affordable local food source. Not only do I want it to be convenient to shop local, but also to make our local food source reliable and available year-round,” says Trevor. “If people get used to shopping local every week, it’s more likely they will continue to directly support the young farmers in our area.”
With space to sell more products, Trevor wanted his market to provide his community with better access to local food, including beef, cheese and produce, and he wanted to support his neighboring farmers who didn’t have a retail outlet. He implemented an innovative approach to working with the 20 farmers who supply his store that delivered significant benefits to them: he purchases product upfront rather than waiting until they’re sold, which is a typical co-op approach, and he pays the farmers a higher-than-wholesale rate, unlike a grocery. Trevor recognizes that he could make more money paying growers monthly or by paying them wholesale, but says he’d rather make less so that they can continue to grow their businesses.
“Running a farmers’ market that is family operated and customer focused, we have high standards for the products that leave our store. We know that every product we sell is a reflection of us, so quality is of the utmost importance,” says Trevor. “My grandfather has had a huge impact on my drive and work ethic. Generations caring for the farm is as important to us as creating generations of customers. “
What he lacks in margin, Trevor makes up in marketing. Last year, at the age of 23, he sold 550 turkeys for the holidays and offered chickens for the first time, selling 120 a month from May through October. He used the extra funds to renovate the store and increase the retail space, with plans to grow his operation further by purchasing a nearby butcher shop to bring more local meats to the community. He’d eventually like to build a hydroponic system to produce and sell tomatoes, lettuce and herbs during the off season so his community has better year-round access.
“It’s easy to see the desire for local, quality food, but it takes innovation and hard work to distribute it,” says Trevor. “Bringing products directly from our farm to the storefront helps the community and the small farmers who grow the products. Having all of these products under one roof makes supporting the small guy an easy task – and convenience, variety and accessibility are critical to the future of agriculture.”
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