Wild Ramp Data a Snapshot of Regional Food and Farm Economy
By: JAKE LYNCH // March 27, 2017
In 2016 the Wild Ramp, a nonprofit local produce and artisan goods hub in Huntington, generated sales of $302,350 of locally-grown produce, food and arts products.
With a mission to support and expand the local food and agriculture economy, all goods stocked at the Wild Ramp are grown or made within 250 miles of Huntington, and 75 percent come from within 50 miles. Value-added food products, such as jams, sauces and pre-packaged foods, constituted the largest segment of Wild Ramp sales in 2016, bringing in $73,806, or about 24.1 percent of total sales. For every $1 paid for goods and produce at the Wild Ramp, 80 cents goes back to the producer. One of the ways the Wild Ramp is able to return such a high percentage of the sales price to the producer is by utilizing volunteers to man the store and for daily operations. In 2016, a roster of more than 200 volunteers recorded an average of 500 volunteer hours per month.
Value-added food products, such as jams, sauces and pre-packaged foods, constituted the largest segment of Wild Ramp sales in 2016, bringing in $73,806, or about 24.1 percent of total sales. Produce ($69,320), and dairy and eggs ($68,330), were the next biggest sellers. This was a significant change from sales patterns at the store in previous years.
In 2014 and 2015, meat represented by far the largest segment of Wild Ramp activity, with $99,668 of sales in 2014, and $98,992 in 2015. However, this number fell to $62,170 in 2016, when an issue with local supply meant the Wild Ramp was unable to stock enough bacon or chicken to meet demand.
Since opening in July, 2012, the Wild Ramp has returned more than $1.3 Million to local producers.
Wild Ramp management reports that steady supply of good quality local pork products is still a concern for the store. So is the lack of an approved smokehouse in the region, to meet demand for smoked bacon, which is much higher than the demand for fresh bacon.
Since opening in July, 2012, the Wild Ramp has returned more than $1.3 Million to local producers, and is playing a central role in the growth of the regional food and farm economy in the tri-state region.
Nonprofit food hub operations in other parts of West Virginia are playing a similar role in helping strengthen the food and farm economy in their region. These include the Highland Market in Davis, which is run by the Potomac Highlands Food and Farm Initiative, and the Green Grocer in Alderson, an initiative of the Alderson Community Food Hub.