Before you start a market garden

Discussion in 'Market Gardens' started by myheaven, Jan 1, 2007.

  1. myheaven

    myheaven Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have been VERY blessed to have been given the book backyard market gardening from a friend. I told her what I wanted to do. She found this book and It has saved me from making HUGE HUGE mistakes.
    #1 Im marketing now with simple fliers and buisness cards I have made on my computer. Im getting a coustomer base now in the winter. Im telling people what Im growing and taking requests. Im giving discounts on pre oreders of meats (chicken turkey duck goose rabbit pork).
    #2 make your animals do the work. Im making the pigs, poultry and rabbits muck and tear up my garden area. the pig is digging the soil nicley. why keep animals in one are and then have to clean up after them? I rotate the gadren area and animals. No clean up and wonderful mucked dirt.
    #3 find all areas you can sell your produce in. street corners, parking lots beaches. plan your area now. you dont want to get a whole lot of produce and it go to waste. MOST importantly find out the local laws call your local university extention agent.
    #4 talk talk talk talk talk to everyone and tell them your going to be doing a huge garden and selling your produce. So far I have 10 famlies who are interested in my project this year.

    I so far have 5 pigs sold (havent even bread the gilt yet) several rabbits and a whole lot of chicken and turkey sold just a few ducks and geese.

    #5 Finde a niche. I sell heritage breed turkey no genitic mutants here. Most people like cornish rock hens, but I have alot who prefer the heritage hens also. and several like stewing chickens. Or a good old rooster. Cater to your coustomer. Im looking at about $26,000 this year between meat and produce IF I sell everything and hit my peak as expected. But that does not include my costs going out. Last year on eggs and meat along I made about $4,000.
    Not including my out going costs.

    Im cutting out the middle man this year and have a farmer Im working with directly for my feed. he gets a higher price for his crop I get a cheaper price for my feed. and I get to tell everyone they are supporting the local farmes and economy by buying from me and that makes EVERONE happy!
    Just my two pennies. im tired sorry for all the errors. I need to get to bed.
     
  2. mommagoose_99

    mommagoose_99 Well-Known Member

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    I agree that it is necessary to plan ahead. I also try to line up my customers in advance but when it comes to asking for money in advance I am pure chicken. I worry so much that there will be a disaster and the piglets will get rolled on or the rains will come and wash everything away like last year that I would never attempt a CSA. I wish you great success with your sales in the coming year.
    Linda
     

  3. myheaven

    myheaven Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I do not ask for it all up front only a portion. 25% 50% 25% it seems it works better for everyone here. its not a HUGE ammount in the end and it helps me out. I dont have to come up with a huge ammount of money to do what I need. 25% to start (deposit) 50% at around the middle and the last 25% at processing. If something bad happens its not to much money to have to cough up (never had to) but man it helps get things started. I have been blessed nothing bad has happened to me YET! My time is coming.
     
  4. chicamarun

    chicamarun Well-Known Member

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    I completely agree with many of your marketing ways. I also have a website where people can click and read what's going on.

    We are planning on $10,000 in eggs alone this year at a 50% laying rate (we predict low so we are happier with the end result) All my eggs are sold 1st at the farmer's markets (I'm aiming at 3 this summer season), then I have a local farm who has a pick your own customer base and they take all the rest of my eggs.

    We focus a lot on the heirloom vegetables to sell at the market, this year we are adding pasture raised chicken, quail, quail eggs, possibly pork, and I'd do beef - but we sold all the steers. This will be our second season at the markets - last year we did 2, but both were a little slower than I would have liked - so we are putting in for 2 busier markets plus 1 of the ones we did last year based on the late increase in traffic there.

    One thing I noticed to do is ALWAYS have a flier - not just a business card. I do a self printed tri-fold brochure and people always prefer that over a business card. Also pictures of your farm! People love that stuff (especially the suburbian people at the market).
     
  5. Wildfire_Jewel

    Wildfire_Jewel Well-Known Member Supporter

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    How many hens are you keeping in order to get that high of a income? And what price are you asking for your eggs?
    Thanks
    Melissa
     
  6. momlaffsalot

    momlaffsalot Well-Known Member

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    I have a question...if you are using the pig to turn the soil, doesn't that mean the pig is going to the bathroom in the soil? Isn't that what they think happened to the spinach with the e-coli?
     
  7. chicamarun

    chicamarun Well-Known Member

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    We will have about 4-500 layers this spring/summer season and will winter over about 200 to keep with our winter marketing needs. We sell our eggs at $3.50/dozen.

    General math was 100 dozen/week * 42 weeks (we start chicks at different times and will probably have a "rolling molt" like we did this past year) - basic expenses of food which is approximately $3000/year

    My husband does most of our # crunching :)
     
  8. myheaven

    myheaven Well-Known Member Supporter

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    yes the pig is pooping the are nicely and gleaning the old garden left overs. What happened with the whole e-coli out break is they were using fresh animal manure. when you let the animal manure sit for3- 6 mts or so(depending on the temps) the ecoli is destroyed. I NEVER spread fresh manure on present planted garden space due to the contaminants. It must compost and the garden areas and rotated. Pig pig is about to be moved and her handy work will be left to sit. the garden will be ready to go in the end of may.
     
  9. lonelyfarmgirl

    lonelyfarmgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    for those of you that sell meat, where do you get it processed at? whats the charge? do you store it fresh in your own freezer till it goes bad to seel fresh? or is it frozen immediately? can someone tell me how they do it?
     
  10. landmoswalt

    landmoswalt Well-Known Member

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    I also want to know about the meat? At the processing plant we use they mark it as not to be resold. So it is to all go into my freezer. Or if it is our meat can we repackage it and sale it?? I am in Kansas and want to know more about this we raise meat goats, and chickens. I would love to sell the chickens at the farmers market this year along with eggs and veggies. I only have 50 chickens right now and will be getting 100 pullets in the spring to raise and process. Please tell us how you all do the meat??
     
  11. chicamarun

    chicamarun Well-Known Member

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    Check with your state to find out the requirements. I am in VA - I can process chicken up to 1000 chickens per year without being inspected. My pork and lamb will be processed at a USDA plant and labeled etc according to their regulation.
     
  12. lonelyfarmgirl

    lonelyfarmgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    so when you say you can process, do you mean you butcher at home and put them in plastic yourself? so you sell fresh or frozen?
    you say process at a USDA plant. forgive my ignorance, but where do you find one of those? where do you look or call to find out state regulations?
    what do you pay for pork and lamb butchering? am I being to nosey?
     
  13. myheaven

    myheaven Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You can call you local ag department just google your state and agraculture dept. Me I have two choices. A: grow the pig and sell it to the person live and they do with it as they wish take it to a processor of their liking.B: Or I take it in with the rest.
    We here in wi can raise and sell 1000 birds also without inspection. Yes we can process and put it in plastic or what ever ourselves. Ours has to say not inspected by the usda and our address and name.
    As for the the processor just look in your yellow pages in your phone book and it will give you soem names just call and ask if they are usda registered. It all depends on the processer and what your processing to what it will cost. Here my processer is $20 to slaughter and 0.38 a lb to process.
     
  14. insocal

    insocal Well-Known Member

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    Normal everyday E. coli isn't the problem. Grain-fed cattle in feedlots are prone to the bad E. coli die to the wrong rumen pH, and the wild pigs near the feedlot mechanically spread ("tracked") the bad E. coli into the spinach fields.

    Not a problem with small farm/free range livestock fed properly.
     
  15. chicamarun

    chicamarun Well-Known Member

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    We are about the same way myheaven is...... but we don't need to put our name on the bird or not-inspected. That's only for poultry though.

    Look for meat processor, slaughter house etc in the phone book - or if you have an extension agent - ask them. We sell the live animal to people (in 1/4, 1/2 or whole amounts) and we offer to take it to the processor for them and then they can deal with telling the processor what they would like. We also offer to pick it up for them and even drop it off at their house (customer service stuff).

    For retail sale at the market - it needs to be inspected and labeled by the plant - and I take the animals elsewhere for that. Just different slaughter houses.

    It's a great way to make a little extra money - and marketing at the farmer's market is great.
     
  16. lonelyfarmgirl

    lonelyfarmgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    chicamarun, I check out your website. for someone just starting, it is very impressive. answered alot of questions I have too.
     
  17. chicamarun

    chicamarun Well-Known Member

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    Thanks a lot! I work hard at the site to "look" impressive for a small farm because that's the 1st impression people get from us most of the time. Feel free to ask me any questions.....I'm in my personal "lull" period while I wait for the lambing to begin...