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Okay, if you had ten acres of land that has never been farmed and has no irrigation, what would you grow to sell commercially? I have no machinery, so can't farm the whole thing, I have a particular interest in herbs and would love to grow something unique; mushrooms, truffles, tropical fruits. How does one get started and figure out what to grow, what prices are, who to sell to, what buyers want...

I will also have access to a few acres that I can irrigate..again, I have a particular interest in herbs, medicinal would be ideal, but just have no idea of how to start a project like this. Any suggestions or book referals?
Thanks!
 

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The first big decision to make with regard to growing herbs is whether you will sell them in cut bunches or as potted plants. Your decision here will guide your planting plans. If you go with pots, you could get away with laying down some landscape cloth type material across the field and setting your larger pots on that, in lieu of building a greenhouse.
 

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farmergirl said:
The first big decision to make with regard to growing herbs is whether you will sell them in cut bunches or as potted plants. Your decision here will guide your planting plans. If you go with pots, you could get away with laying down some landscape cloth type material across the field and setting your larger pots on that, in lieu of building a greenhouse.

How do I find out which is in demand more, cut or potted? Maybe I could do both! I have a lot of land to work with. And who is my market? Farmers Market, whole foods stores, restaurants? Can one build a viable business this way? I think so, but there has to be something unique about it, something to set me apart from everyone else who sells herbs and such. Hmmm, lots of thinking...the biggest question I have is how to price things.
Thanks for the input!
 

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Research! Go to any local farmers markets, ask questions. Same with local herbal businesses. Look on localharvest.org see whats around you. Contact similar businesses on the web or in other locals. Pick their brains for experience from people who you wouldn't be in contact with. Some of it I think you have to build a demand for your product. At least for me, at the farmers market and my CSA people like herbs they just don't know alot about them. Or what to do with them. I have started printing out recipes for both it gives people ideas of what to do with it if they buy from you. Once they find out its not difficult then go from there. There are all kinds of branching out you could do with herbs. Salves and medicinal, potpouri, teas, as well as culinary or landscape type stuff. As far as pricing research that too. I check around to see what the going rate is sometimes I price mine a little more sometimes not. Good luck! Lisa
 

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I'd guess that cut herbs would sell more.

However, your soil and climate will dictate what you can grow. Begin your research there. Find out what type of soil you have, how many days are in your growing season and how much rain you will get on average. Then find your crop.

You'll waste money and time without knowing the above. Remember, every do-over takes one year.

Read a book called, "The New Farmers' Market."
 

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I second the idea of research. Get books on the areas you may pursue. Growing, marketing, farmers markets, etc.
If you aren't very familiar with growing, I'd suggest you set up a small plot right now to start to get a feel for how things work. Even a 4 X 10 foot bed will give you some experience for next season.
They say that anyone can grow; selling is the hard part. Yet, when you sell, you must sell the best quality you can so you need to learn how to grow (if you don't know at this point).
Frequent farmers markets and see what they have and what is selling best. Note prices for what is there. Also, be aware of prices in the local supermarkets, for conventionally grown things as well as for organic things. This will give you an idea of price ranges for your area.
We really need more information, as you do, about what area you are in (small, big, rural, suburban, income levels, etc.) plus soil types, pH, frost free days, etc.
Go to coop. ext. office in your county. Join local grower groups or even national groups that have conferences to get really good, up-to-date information. Make friends with other local growers.
You have a lot of work ahead of you. Get going!
Ann
 

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Herbs are my dream, they just fascinate me. You could sell them potted, cut, dried and packaged (viable mail order there) in tinctures, specialize for herbalists seeking hard to find medicinal herbs, dream pillows, sachets...
 

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Cj, they fascinate me too, I would love to work exclusively with them. As a bonus, I think they are somewhat easier to grow than other things, as well! I thank everyone for their input, I will start with a phone call to gather information about our frost dates and make some decisions based on that. I like the idea of adding recipe cards with the cut herbs. People really are at a loss as to what to do with them.
Thanks for the encouragement. I'll keep you posted!
 

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by the way mushrooms take about a year before producing then the log is usually good for 4-5 years.

definitely know your market before planting anything.
You dont grow anything till its already sold.
 
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