Do you "specialize"?

veggievicki(7b)February 23, 2013

We have a pretty good zone and I have a pretty good locale for berry production. As well, the berry seasons fairly well match our market. Strawberries start in May, then blue berries ad black berries in June and July, and I've purchased a newer variety of raspberry that is supposed to be late summer. I've also got a few trees started, peaches and apples, Arkansas black apples which are popular here because of the tradition. That would give me some fall fruit. I'm just wondering if any of you "specialize" like that and if it is a good strategy. Our market seems to be flooded with produce as well as being rural a lot of people garden, and we compete with several permanent summer produce stands around town. I've thought about growing the less common veggies (asparagus, kolrobi, mushrooms) but I don't think the customer base is "snooty" enough for that. It seems to be more about "fresh". I have done okay with corn as I specifically grow peaches and cream and am able to keep from deep discounts when corn floods the market. Several years back I had a half acre of strawberries and sold everything I picked. It was too much for me to handle, though, so I'm looking at trying to do smaller plantings of different fruit and multiple varieties that will stretch my season out the longest I can. The goal being a smaller but steady supply.

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I'm also thinking like you. It takes a couple years to get there,which means if other see what i'm doing I have them by a couple years!
I've started asparagus,strawberries,& blackberry; myself. I think they will work,I already have a strong following, for my different type melons I grow- no cantulope& watermeleon

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 8:35AM
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I don't grow alot of fruit, but can sell strawberries, peaches and apples most any time.

Also cantalope and watermelon will sell until everyonelse's comes in.

The key that I've found is KNOW your produce. On apples, know which one better for pies, versus sauce. Know how to make applesauce especially for young moms, and it's rather simple. Know your peaches, which ones are higher in sugar (important to diabetics), know how to preserve them (again important to young moms). I've had several customers each year come to me and ask what varieties will be available for their liking, AND to make sure they have all the supplies that they need to preserve a few (even if it's just to freeze).

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 9:14AM
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Yes, Tulsa, especally the blueberries take a long time to get to peak production. Blackberries are faster and strawberries are up and running by the next year. I have had peaches off a dwarf in the second year, but I'm going with semidwarf because the dwarfs die out just a few years after they start producing. My family, the Arkansas black is a really great apple. Tart like a granny smith with a super long shelf life. It makes a really good carmel apple and ripens at a good time for that. You can't buy it in the grocery store and since people think of it as native, they like that. Same with the other berries, an Ozark Beaty strawberry and Ozark Blue blueberry will sell sooner than earliglo or duke. Arkansans aren't as bad as Texans, but they're pretty bad. LOL

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 2:15PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Specializing is great. It is just hard to know which thing to do!
I think asparagus is a great idea, not for snooty people. It is perennial and easier to deal with than strawberries. I know the vendor next to me is continuing to go toward specializing to make it easier for him. He has put in a lot of asparagus and strawberries and garlic.

I wish I could look in the future and see what I would learn about what crops would be best for me. I am great at flower arrangements plus flowers are easy to grow but I would have to get into a market that needed flower arrangements.
Scarred Cinderella pumpkins did great for me last year, They would be easy to sell wholesale. Anyway there are just so many ideas to specialize with I have no idea.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 9:23PM
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Veggievicki, I love the Ozark Beauty, I had some that produced for almost 7 years.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 4:43PM
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I'm a little nervous about Ozark Beauty. I've only done the June bearing in the past and not tried the ever bearing. Around here the big dogs only do June bearing, but I wondered if that is because they hire pickers or do u pick. (Which is May for us, not June). I thought maybe it is too hot for ever bearers. But since they're called Ozark, and I'm in the Ozarks, I figure it's worth a try.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 8:55PM
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I find that they were tastier than most other vendors' berries. You don't find them 'up here' much.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 9:09PM
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I pretty much grow 4-5 crops to include garlic, onions, potatoes and winter squash. I do grow others such as snap beans, beets, tomatoes, carrots but not in large amounts. I grow what yields the best income per foot of row, and what I like to grow as well as the crops most suitable for my ground and management style. I used to try amnd grow it all, naw. berries have done well for me, currants, black berries and raspberries.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 4:33PM
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