Don't Cheat Yourself

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

  1. midmogrower

    midmogrower Member

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    You raise high quality produce, eggs, meat, value-added procuts ect., don't cheat yourself by under pricing. There is one vendor at our local farmers market that makes it impossible for anybody to sell much until all their produce is sold out. This hurts everybody including that particular vendor. I hear alot of consumers say that the farmers market is the place to go to get a bargain. The items we sell is much better quality than they can buy at the supermarket and should be priced accordingly. I'm not looking to rip anybody off, just asking for fair prices. Anyhow got that off my chest anyway, good luck growing in the upcoming season.
     
  2. mama2littleman

    mama2littleman El Paso

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    So, is it your position that hobbiest and back yard growers, who aren't necessarily treating their sales as a business, have a detrimental effect on professional grower sales?

    Are there some "unwritten" rules in regards to pricing that maybe the neophyte isn't aware of?

    Still learning and curious.

    Nikki
     

  3. I would have to agree with you midmogrower. After all what your growing and selling taste a whole lot better then what you get at the grocers. If I was setting up at a market I think I would check everyone elses prices and price my stuff at average of what everyone else is selling theirs for.

    I've been wondering what the price of fresh farm eggs are going for now days. Back when I had chickens I was selling them for $1 per dozen and the grocery eggs were selling for about .75 cents a dozen. Now days eggs at the grocery store are selling for up to $1.35 per dozen. I had a hard time selling fresh eggs for $1 per dozen, so I can't imagine trying to sell them for $1.75, $2.00 per dozen.
     
  4. fransean

    fransean Well-Known Member

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    Is there a certain formula for pricing available? I ran across a spreadsheet that I use for my soaps but am curious if edible products are priced the same way.

    Thanks
    bev
     
  5. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

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    Sometimes. I don't care if other growers treat what their doing as a business. That's entirely up to them. A lot of hobbiests realize they're losing money and quit. I do care when someone comes to market with prices that aren't sustainable. If I can't sell my produce for a fair price because someone else isn't charging an appropriate price, I've got a serious problem. I have a short amount of time to make my year's income. I need to be paid fairly for my hard work and investment. If I don't make a sustainable wage my farm isn't sustainable and I'll be out of business.

    As long as people are charging fair prices I don't care if their gardens are 10' x 10' or 1000 acres. If they're not going to charge sustainable prices I hope they'll be fair to people who do this for a living by staying home with a table out front. That's not meant to be snotty. I do hope people will give market farming a try. We need a heck of a lot more locally grown food in this country.
     
  6. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

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    It's very important to know what your expenses are and what you need to charge to make a liveable wage. What happens if that average price isn't enough to make your business profitable? For example, I can't grow corn and sell it for $3 a dozen but that's the average price. I need $6 a dozen to make it profitable. If I can't get that price (I do) I need to use the space for something else.

    I get $2 a dozen and break even. That price pays for the replacement hens, the food, housing and equipment they need, and provides eggs for the house.
     
  7. chicky momma

    chicky momma Well-Known Member

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    I used to feel the same as midmogrower, but once talked to another market gardner. She said never lower your price because people will expect it. Used to have another egg seller who was selling her eggs for $1 a doz. told her you're not even paying for their feed. Why would you sell them for $1 when you can get $2.5? She changed her price. We sell ours for $1.25 and $2.50. Also, last year had some Amish who were selling much cheaper than me on most things. People still came to me. Think this is because they know me and my produce, heirlooms naturally grown etc... As to pricing I ask around at the beginning of the market to see what others think and what they're charging. See what I think is fair. Good luck. Lisa
     
  8. mommagoose_99

    mommagoose_99 Well-Known Member

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    The produce you sell at the farmers market has been picked within 24 hours of the market. The eggs are less than a week old compaired to the supermarket where the produce is weeks old and the eggs are a month old. Therefore, your produce should earn you a premium. Remember only the best produce should go to the market. Root crops should be washed, apples polished etc.
     
  9. mama2littleman

    mama2littleman El Paso

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    I can definately understand this point of view. I don't think that people, especially hobbiest, realize the actual costs they are incurring. For example ... I used to look at the cost of a packet of seed and think "Wow! I can grow 50 tomato plants for $3.Talk about a bargain". Now, I realize thaat it is the $3 packet of seed, the electricity for grow lights, the cost of sterile media for seed starting, the cost of the seed starting trays, the heat, the greenhouse, the raised beds, the soil amendments, the taxes and upkeep on the land, The depreciation of equipment, repair costs for equipment, the cost of water (even if you have a well, you most likely need electricity to power the well pump and that well pump will need to be repaired and or replaced at some point in the future, costs for advertising, costs for insurance, market fees, liscensing fees, and all that is before you even pay for your labor.

    I have a much better appreciation for the $64 dollar tomato.

    These costs all came to my attention as I was working up a hypothetical busines plan. A very educational endeavor for anyone considering starting their own business.


    Nikki
     
  10. chicamarun

    chicamarun Well-Known Member

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    We charge a little more than everyone else at the market. I get $3.50/dozen for my eggs - which are the only free range eggs at the market - everyone else has them in runs or tractors.

    Last year we got $1.50/pound for tomatoes to stay in-sync with the larger grower - however this year I will up it to $2/lb because we have 6 different types of tomatoes and most are heirloom, he has 1 type. I love him to death as I buy a TON of his apples and peaches and we have discussed the pricing before. He can afford to sell corn at $2/dozen - I can't and won't, it's not worth the space and the time as I would have to hand-pick etc. We don't spray, he does. He also has over 100 acres (20 of which is just orchard).

    Sometimes the most fun at the market is explaining WHY my stuff may be a little more expensive (hey I get $4/pound for a pasture raised chicken vs 69¢/pound at the store!) once they see and taste the difference they come back. Very rarely do people not come back to buy from me which is a source of pride in my mind.
     
  11. zealot

    zealot Soli Deo Gloria

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    Underpricing is better than overpricing. In fact, if you can manage the lowest produce prices in your area, you can even reverse inflation! Everyone else will have to either bring down their prices, or go broke. And those who won't lower their prices deserve to go broke, so it all works out.

    Deliberately pricing low will in the long run help the local farmers because it will remove the incentive to import from faraway places.
     
  12. midmogrower

    midmogrower Member

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    Have at it. You can work for free if you want to, but not me. Better yet why don't we pay people to take the stuff we grow, that would really put alot of people out of business.
     
  13. circlevranch

    circlevranch Well-Known Member

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    I totally agree 100% with midmogrower. We need to price our produce at least what the local stores are selling there's for or a bit higher. The produce bought to the markets are the freshest you can get by far. Keep in mind the stores DON;T grow the produce they just shuffle it.I'm sure if the stores would grow the produce they're selling the cost would be as high or higher because they won't work for FREE so why should we as growers work for FREE!
    Well I must have missed something here when it comes to "Underpricing is better than Overpricing". Sounds like to me math wasn't the strong subject in school!
     
  14. Rowdy

    Rowdy Well-Known Member

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    That was pretty decent, entertaining book, but not realistic for a true homesteading market garden. He came across as a yuppie to me, and could have cut his production costs in a hundred different places.

    Just my two cents.
     
  15. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

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    There's a lot of talk about prices in comparison to grocery stores. Don't forget to figure out what you need to earn a living. How much money do you need to earn to be a sustainable farmer? How much land do you need to do this? What vegetables can you earn a fair amount of money with? What vegetables (or fruits) do you have to avoid because they don't earn their space in the garden? Don't leave it completely up to grocery store comparisons.
     
  16. TxGypsy

    TxGypsy Well-Known Member

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    Possibly the problem with other folks selling lower than you is that they aren't really looking to make a profit. These people drove me nuts when I did trades days. For a lot of people, they sell stuff as a form of entertainment. A way to get out of the house and visit with people. In the case of vegetables...they enjoy gardening and like visiting with people. Perfect formula for them setting up at a farmers market and charging less. The more produce they sell the more folks they get to talk to.....don 't have to haul it back home if they sell it all. There is no way to compete with them. Your best hope is that they get busy doing something else or they get a new grandbaby or something.
     
  17. dahliaqueen

    dahliaqueen Apple addict

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    A great resource is the UDSA market reports- click around on this site to the reports for your neck of the woods-
    http://marketnews.usda.gov/portal/fv
    They list market reports for the wholesale markets around the country- click around to find the MN reports.
     
  18. ceresone

    ceresone Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I bought baby chicks, raised them to hens--big beautiful brown eggs--and couldnt get $1.00 a dozen--so i sold said hens, and only kept enough for ourselves. I was loosing money rapidly at that price!
     
  19. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

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    The price people are willing to pay varies around different parts of the country.

    One part of the country you might be hard pressed to sell eggs for $1/doz, but somewhere else people might be eager to pay $5/doz.

    Mine are $2 to $3 and I have a waiting list.
     
  20. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Have you considered buying all the low priced guy's stuff yourself at the start of the day?