Where can you find chocolate goat cheese truffles, organic okra, and Ginger Gold apples in the same place?

The answer is http://www.foodmarketmaker.com, an online marketing resource that was created by a team from University of Illinois Extension and has grown to include almost 20 states.

MarketMaker was initially developed in 2004 to assist and educate livestock farmers on marketing strategies for value-added meat products. 

The current site has developed into a tool that can benefit everyone in the food supply chain, from farmers, to processors, distributors, retailers, and the consumer looking for unique food products.

Since its inception, MarketMaker has grown to include profiles for over 500,000 producers and other food-related businesses.

Each state has its own unique site, but all sites access a common database. This allows users to conduct multi-state searches. MarketMaker's interactive mapping capabilities provide the user with easy location of all businesses.

Large corporations such as Wal-Mart are utilizing this Web-based instrument to find produce.

Darlene Knipe, MarketMaker principal investigator and University of Illinois marketing specialist, said MarketMaker was able to provide training to buyers that were interested in local produce on how to use MarketMaker for fulfillment in their stores.