Our Experience with Selling Produce
Market farming, or selling your produce to others, can come in many different forms, whether that is a roadside stand, a U-pick agritourism model, or your traditional farmers market. The way we have found success with selling produce is a weekly bag model. Travis and his wife have been successfully market farming for over five years now, and they want to share what they have found to be the best way to do it.
What their model looks like is posting on Facebook that they have a vegetable bag for sale for $25. The post will include a list of what they have harvested and tell them that they will get a mix of five products—not letting people choose cuts down on the time it takes to pack the bags. For each product, let’s say okra, you will get enough in the bag to feed a family of four.
Once people have claimed their bag, which there is no subscription, this is an every week model. They then either Venmo or Paypal to pay for their vegetable bag. Having this cashless transaction also cuts down on time. People can choose to either pick up or have it delivered, and they will receive their vegetables at the first of the week.
This model works well for a family that does market farming on the side. Selling an average of 20 bags a week at $25 a bag isn’t too shabby. It all comes down to making sure people know about your bag and making that bag appealing to them. That’s is where marketing comes into play.
How-To Market your Produce
Marketing your vegetables is essential when becoming a market farmer. If people do not know about your products or don’t understand why it can benefit them, then there is no need for you to waste your time and labor. One significant component of marketing for Travis is Facebook. Creating a Facebook business page will allow everyone who follows it to see the post, which does not happen with Facebook groups.
You also have to learn when you should post about your vegetable bags. For Travis, this was on Sundays; this day is when people start thinking about what they will do for dinner for the week. If these working moms see a way to get fresh food delivered to them, they will buy into it, no matter the price.
When choosing what vegetables to grow and sell, it is also important to remember to grow staple items. Staple items include summer squash, cucumbers, okra, things people are familiar with, and know-how to cook. You also want to have vegetables that store well to be as fresh as possible when getting to the final consumer. Choosing vegetables that store well will help you market the products and keep customers returning.
Show and Tell Segment
After trying different methods, we have figured out the best indicator when deciding when our Canary Melon is ready to be harvested, and it’s not the curly-q. Our Halo Canary Melon turns a bright yellow, and to assure that they are ripe when you pick them, you want to make sure they have turned that pretty yellow color. When mature, these Canary Melons have a canteloupe texture and are sweet but not as sweet as a watermelon. These melons are powdery mildew resistant making them easier to grow in the heat of the summer.
Hoss Tools is excited to announce we have new seed bags that will be used for shipping. These bags are lined with foil and have a ziplock at the top, making it the best option when storing and shipping seeds. We will also be able to offer larger quantities in our seeds with these bags.
Viewer Question Segment
As always, we love the questions our viewers bring to us. After last week’s video on market farming, we had a few more questions. One viewer asked if we think non-vegetable items would do well with a market farm. Our answer was simple, YES! If you can put the planning into it and figure a way to get it to the customers, then there is a market. For example, to add a bouquet for an extra $10 with your vegetable bag, we believe it would do very well.
The next viewer asked about how to determine the price for what you want to sell your produce for? Travis explained you do not base it on what others are doing or the grocery store. You need to compare the time and money you put into it and look at what kind of profit you are looking to make and determine your price.
Goobers are also known as peanuts down here in South Georgia, and one of the viewers wanted to know why we did not grow any? The main reason is that they are everywhere around us. There is a 100-acre commercial farm right in front of our warehouse that plants all peanuts. Peanuts also have a very long maturity rate, which isn’t appealing to Travis or Greg.