Could someone give me some information on seeling my pepper for this upcoming season. I will have around 400 to 500 plants of seeet, bell, and hot pepper. I live in North Florida. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
As I posted on the other thread, you will have a hard time selling only one product anywhere. I've only sold at farmers markets and found that if I only had 3-4 products, then I didn't have the customers stop to look and hopefully buy.
I would advise you to find your market BEFORE you invest all of the time and money that it's going to take to plant, care for and harvest 400-500 pepper plants.
BTW, Hot or Sweet, people will consider all of them as 1 product.
Maybe some restaurant or store????
thanks, I am hoping for about 8 type of pepper. Many will be sweet as well as hot. What are some varieties that you recommend? My sister told me to take the pepper to a local farmer's market. I will likely take a few other products like sweet corn, if it is still in season and honey dew melons.
I usually sell alot of just regular green bell peppers, stocky and able to be stuffed. I can't sell yellow peppers, but the red ones do alright. I sell them all at the same price, that way if they are in-between stage, it's still the same price.
For me, hot peppers don't sell enough to plant more than a dozen total. Also, sweet bananas sell only during the early part of the season and then nothing, can't give them away. Hubby pickles them for his own use.
If you have a Hispanic market, you might be able to sell more. I still sell more green bells than anything else.
If you have alot of peppers come on, consider offering 'bulk buys', 1/2 bushels for a certain price. People that want to do salsas or other canning appreciate a bit of a bargain.
If you want to do the farmers market, you need to get all of the information NOW, some of our markets have a waiting list of years.
Consider having something else on your tables at the same time as the peppers.
I agree that this is a pretty big investment without having a marketing plan in place. If you don't have a wide diversity of crops, you will need a wide diversity of markets. I would check with restaurants and retailers as well as farmers markets if peppers are all you will be growing.
thanks guys, I have many hot pepper seedlings coming up, and will be ready to set out soon. Now, I am thinking on simply giving many of these away and only setting out the sweet peppers. What about the Hungarian Yellow Wax, do any pf you think it is a good seller? From what i hear, the simple Green Bell pepper could be a good seller.
At least try to sell some of the plants to cover your cost.
I live near Dallas and started around 150 extra pepper seedlings and 300 tomato seedlings. I am advertising the plants on craigslist for $2 a plant, but I don't know if I'm going to be able to sell them all. It has cost me time and money to raise these seedlings and I'm running out of greenhouse space. I grew the tomato plants from heirloom seeds that I saved, but I had to buy all the other supplies. If I sell all the plants I'll make a decent profit though.
There's nothing at the farm market scene more "in"or "cool"right now than peppers, all kinds.
My suggestion is to set up at the biggest urban market. As the new vendor it may be a slow start for you. Don't put out just a little diddly sample. Put all you have out and make a big display. Know what your talking about because you will get lots of questions. Know what your hottest peppers are, how to use them etc.
I've been doing this a long long time. I'm supposed to be sort of retired now but hope to plant nearly 7000 pepper plants this year. At the market I sell at I am just one of many vendors selling peppers.
I let my photo hosts lapse. Don't know if I can still post photos.
You certainly can, the link is working but not the HTML.
WOW. My chefs love pequillo peppers, colored sweet peppers, moderately hot peppers, and small really hot peppers. If you are growing good quality and unusual varieties, you can sell for better than wholesale prices and in good quantity to the right restaurants. Put together a sample box, bring some of your best product, and take a drive down to Main Street - you could be very surprised at the quantity a restaurant can use.
elrem2002, I am small time compared to you. 7000 is a whole lot of heat. bi11me, thanks for the info.
Hucky, if you look back in some of the other threads, you'll see that elrem really knows what he's doing, and he is happy to help us newerbies.
I have had better luck with the Hot Hungarian Wax Pepper. I have noticed that if you can grow peppers, nobody wants them, but if you're in an area that is so cool in temps, everyone wants them. Otherwise, the harder it is to grow, the easier it is to sell.
I would attempt to sell some of your plants, and mention that 'these are just extra plants, if you (customer) plants some AND you don't get enough, be sure to come back to get your extras from me." It works like a charm, the customer will know that if they fail, you'll be their backup. It's worked for me, and sometimes I sell plants one year and after a hard year (like last year), the customer comes back to buy produce. They tell me that it was TOO hard to grow, so they would rather buy from me, letting me do the hard work.
Bi11, I get the feeling that if someone like elrem took the sample box to main street, he'd have a hard time finding people that didn't already buy from him.
It is a good thought, if you wanted to 'deal' with restaurants and you were just getting going. Myself, I don't 'deal' with restaurants, I like to make enough money to make this worth my while. With my town, restaurants aren't the way to go. They expect me to be cheaper than the wholesaler, but have better quality. No thank you, I'll keep my regular customers. I have done the restaurant routine, and decided it wasn't for me. Most of my larger marketers won't do it either, only vendors that aren't good customer service/sales people.
A few years ago I had no trouble posting photos. Now things seem to have changed.
This photo I took about eight years ago about 10:30 at night before loading the truck for a Saturday morning market. It's some of the peppers for that day.
Awesome. Thanks for the picture, it says a lot.
Elrem, your picture is a good display and I know you didn't mean for that to happen. Are those baskets, 1/2 bushel or bushels? I know the white cardboard are pecks.
You are an inspiration to anyone that wants to grow peppers.
Those are 1/2 bushel baskets. They fit inside apple crates. Then I can stack the crates in the truck. When I get to the market I use the crates with some boards to make tables.
This photo was taken about 4:15AM setting up our tables at the market. We often don't get to bed til just before midnight, get up at 2:30AM. When there is room we take cut flowers and plants too. My daughter will bring in another load on her truck also.
All the peppers are put out in pints and quarts.
elrem2002 - I right clicked on your photo above and opened it in a new window. When it opened it started a 70 pic slideshow.
I'll second bi11me's WOW comment! Your garden is first class only outdone by your great photos.
You look like a meticulous gardener and I am envious. Some great photos of flowers and tomatoes too. Looks like you have been at this a while.
Here is a link that might be useful: Slideshow
The slideshow is awesome. I have a few questions. You did not set your plants out ona a bed, right? Also, you put them on plastic and how far did you space your rows apart? It looks like you have 3 plants side by side on each row, how far did you soace the planst. I was considering doing my rows 3 feet apart and simply putting setting my plants 18 inches apart in each row.
Hubby is in the process of making some crates, thanks Tom from henhousefarms. We are making the bottoms solid and slatted sides. Possibly a top that matches the bottom for the top layer of crates, haven't totally decided on that yet. Before long, we won't have ANY scrap lumber left and will have to start buying new.
Need to check out dimensions to see if the 1/2 bushels that we have will fit in the slatted boxes.
elrem, WOW is Right !! I checked out your slideshow this morn. I don't plant as many peps as you, I plant about 1500(15 diff kinds, more sweet(1000) than Hot(500).I plant my pep plants 3 rows wide (2 hands apart from each row) with the plants (one hand apart from each another) staggered in the 3 rows. Here in "THE U.P." The Upper Peninsula of MI; I just sowed my pep seeds today,TT's tomatoes(for hanging baskets) yesterday, all on my dinning room table (time to get the soil under my fingernails again, oh ya the Fun begins, "Good-Bye Winter" !!! We just got 12" of the white stuff in the last 24 hrs) Anyhow, When they germ I'll put under the lights till they get their true leaves,(sow more for din room table) then they will be moved to the small GH (16'x20')this is heated by our outside woodboiler (hot water heat). I will up/size in this GH till I run out of room in there.By the first week in April we get the other GH (24'x48') going, then the real FUN starts !! I'm so so so excited, I Love this Time of year:)elrem, I like your creat idea TOO!!
I went out and measured Tom's crate and decided to change it just alittle bit, less than 1/2" to be able to hold the 1/2 bushels. Plus we will need to make the crates deeper. While I was at it, I found out that 9 pint boxes will be able to fit inside of the crate, and at the depth for the 1/2 bushels, be able to be 3 deep. That will allow us to carry 27 covered pints in 1 crate. Just about perfect.
Growing and selling produce is real easy compared to understanding this computer stuff. I hadn't posted photos for several years and when I tried I found out that every thing had changed. I had no intentions of putting on a slideshow. If I had known that was going to happen I would have edited those pictures. I'm embarassed and apoligize for the disorganized jumble. Anyway, if you like them I'm glad.
I plant peppers on 4' black poly. Those rows are 30" apart. I put down the poly by hand, alone. I sold my equipment years ago when I thought I was going to quit.
On the poly I plant 3 rows. I use a long handled bulb planter to make holes. Set the plants in the holes, make sure the soil is tight against the roots and water them. Sometimes my wife comes out to drag the hose around and does some of the watering. The plants are about 12 to 18" apart in the rows.
I use no weedkillers. Too much fertilizer can get you into a lot of problems so mostly I use old composted manure. The last few years I have mulched between the rows with straw. It keeps the peppers cleaner, holds back the weeds, and makes it much nicer when I crawl along on my knees picking peppers in a cold wind-driven rain.
Wooden apple crates are common around here. Used also for squash, potatoes, onions etc., but now most fruit and produce is harvested and hauled in big 20 bushel bins.
I went out and measured a couple of my standard crates and the inside dimensions are 137/8"X 17"X12"high. Filled level these are considered to be a bushel and can be stacked in the truck or in storage.
I also use a lot of plastic bulb trays. There are some in those photos. Lots of people use them for produce. In fact now they are making them especially for produce, and they fold up and don't take up so much room on the truck when empty. Our bulb trays are some of the handiest things we have. Lots of uses on the farm, the greenhouses and nursery.
I'd love to get some of the fold up plastic crates, but nobody wants to give them up and I'm too cheap to buy them. I do find some plastic crates behind the Mexican food store that they get their peppers in. They work well for plants less than 12" (pot and all) tall, but are very light-weight, they also stack.
Thanks for measuring those crates, around here, they're few and far between.
I'll give you a tip, if the hole is already there, or no plastic, they is a bulb planter than attaches to a drill. They come in 2 lengths, same size as hand bulb digger. With a cordless drill, you can plant a lot in a short time. PS Don't hit a rock, or you might hurt yourself. We use it for planting the bedding plants up to 4" pots. Our ground is rather hard for garden soil, still needs lots of organic matter added (working on that).
After reading this thread and looking at Elrem's photos, I am inspired. Instead of selling the extra plants I have, I may grow more!
I'll be finishing my beds and planting in the next couple weeks. I was originally only going to plant one row on my 30"-wide beds, with 18" between plants. Now I think I'll go with 2 rows with plants staggered, but with 2' spacing between plants in the rows. I am surprised at the tight spacing you guys are using. Here in Texas our peppers slow way down in the heat of Summer, but come on strong again in Sept. and Oct.
What do you use for bottom heat to get pepper seeds to germinate?
I start my seeds in ribbed trays 10x20, with dirt on both sides. Sprinkle the amount I want on dirt, dividing the varieties by placing a plastic label between on it's side. I use the regular heat mat found at most any retailer. I don't cover with plastic or anything. Then wait.
This year, I didn't use the heat mat and am still waiting. Will probably need to start over.
Right now I have 3000 seeds sowed (17 diff size flats) on the din/room table next to the south windows (pushed next to the wall) there is a heat/reg under the table (plastic around the table to hold the heat under the table), works good for me. Well I got carried away, sowed 2300 sweet pep and 700> hot pep. About 1850 will be planted in the market garden, the other 1150 plants will be sold from the GH and the market. I only sell the jalapeno and green bell plants, I sell the finshed produce at the market. My "BEST" selling peps are the purple/Islander, white/Bianca and red/green/Carmen.
Here's how the pepper project goes for us.
First I count out the seed I want for each variety and put them in little glassine envelopes with a tag. This year there are 138 varieties, 17,686 seeds.
Then my wife takes over. She fills a lot of 801 and 201 plastic inserts, (the 8 and 2 is how many will fit in a 10X20 tray), with Fafard Superfine Germinating Mix, lightly dampened. She tamps it down a bit so it is smooth and level. The seed is then scattered on top. Not poked in or anything. We take tweezers and separate the seed so they aren't in bunches or touching each other. Then she takes some more dry soil mix and sprinkles enough over the seed to cover them. Then she sprinkles them with some water from a soda bottle with an old splinkler head that women used to use when ironing.
The flats are then placed under florescent lights. This is inside our house. Some are on a rack in our laundry room the rest upstairs in a little hallway. The flats are covered with panes of glass. If we don't have enough glass she uses saran. We DO NOT use any heating mats,never have, don't even own any.
When the seeds start to sprout she moves the glass a bit so a little air gets in. When all the seeds are up the glass comes off entirely. After a couple weeks they go out to the greenhouse.
This year we are running about 10 days earlier than usual. The first pepper seeds were planted on Feb.6. The last of them were planted on Feb.20. All except two varieties are up and looking real good. One variety must have been bad seed and the other is Rocotos that can take up to six weeks to sprout. Next week we are going to start moving the trays out to the greenhouse. Later this month I will take over and start transplanting them into 1204 cells.
So that's our system. It has worked very well for us for a long long time. We have made a living at this for over 45 years with no off farm jobs. If we were a much bigger outfit we would need a greenhouse, or part of one, dedicated to seed starting and might have a different method. Before my wife is done this year she probably will have started nearly 1000 varieties from seed. Lots of annual flowers, perennials, tomatoes, herbs etc.
Elrem, do you think you and your wife will EVER stop planting? After doing this for just a few years (next to you), I really can't see NOT doing this til the day I die. How about you?
BTW, you are the model that I would like to copy, to a smaller scale.
Thanks Marla, didn't mean to be rude not replying sooner but my mouse died. Things like that always happen on weekends when it's hard to find help or parts.
Yes, I expect we will never stop planting. My wife and I have interest in many other plants besides peppers. Farming and gardening is all I have ever wanted to do and all I've ever done. My age and some health problems are starting to catch up to me and I've done well enough that I don't really have to work anymore, which just makes it all that much sweeter. I love to grow things and I really really look forward to seeing again all my customers at the market. We will start in late April or early May selling plants. And here at home the nursery will open in April. So we are busy getting ready.
Not a problem, Elrem, I feel the same way.
It is so nice seeing my customers (friends) at the first of market, just to make sure that they made it thru winter. A lot of customers are older, and unfortunately I've had several die over the seasons.
I'm planning on opening our greenhouse for the first time mid April, and I have 1 sale day April 14th, with Saturday markets starting soon after. I'm not sure when the Wednesday and Friday markets will start, but I won't be able to attend until after May 8th.
What other plants do you and your wife plant? We are all learning from you.
Here's a portion of an email that I just received. I can't image how many peppers plants someone would need to supply this volume.
The company is looking for:
jalapenos, up to 200 cases/wk
serranos, up to 125 cases/wk
anaheim , up to 125 cases/wk
poblano, up to 12 cases/wk
maybe habanero, up to 126 cases/wk
That a lot of fire, Marla. I like the "up to" part - I can imagine having the full 200 and then being told they only need 50. I assume it was some kind of packer or wholesaler. We move between 1.5 and two bushel of jalapenos at the hight of the summer (about half hot and half mild) and had somewhere around 150 plants out last year IIRC without pulling the plant sheets. That would be somewhere in the 1500-2000 plant range just for the jalapenos.
It was someone that contacted the state of IN's agriculture dept. So who knows. I'm not going to plant that many of any thing. I was a member of Indiana Vegetable Grower, and get emails like this. Another member is RedGold growers, that might tell you the differences between small and LARGE.
I have a feeling that the cases that they want will go rather cheaply.
Another great thread, and slideshow.
Any suggestions for a source of poblano seeds that has potential for large peppers?
I looked up the Poblano, open pollinted, seeds, size is stated 4-6" x 2.5". I'm looking at Hummert Seed & Supply., which I've found very reasonable in their prices. They do charge shipping and a handling fee is order is less than $50. I don't have a problem getting $50.
The price for the poblano is 1/16 oz=$1.89, 1/4 oz=$3.59, 1 oz=$7.49, 4 oz=$23.49 or 1 lb=75.89.
Their number is 800-383-0865, based out of St Joseph, MO.
I've had good luck with them and their seeds.
That is under consideration. It seems like an update to their site format would be helpful? I now see Park Seed has a poblano called Tiburon that claims to be large, it's hybrid claims "up to 7 inches".
I have been happy with Parks.
I haven't ordered from Park, but I love the scheduling page in their catalog. It's the only one that I know of.
Sorry, I forgot, the online version is different than the paper catalog. the paper catalog has lots more varieties, ask for one, if you wish. I picked mine up this year from the Sounthern IL conference.
No problem Marla, Thanks for what you did.
I believe that is why we are here, to help and to learn, plus just chit-chat. I was the only seed catalog that I had beside my chair. Check out tomatogrowers.com, they only sell tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and tomatillos. They sell small quantities, with a few varieties larger than 30 seed/pkt, but I find their prices of the regular stuff that I sell too expensive.
I have 'shopped' over 40 companies over the years, and still find someone new that MIGHT compete for my business. Several seed companies, buy seed in bulk and repackage with their name. I've found some that have forgotten to put 'their' name on the packet.
I have set out many pepper plants, I have is cubanelle, belles, chili, jalapeno, banana, hungarian, and a few other hot varieties. I have about 70 young is cubanelle plants left, and figured I would use these to replace any plants that die. I was wondering, is it a mistake to plant differetn type of peppers near each other, will they yeild as much, or even mix and not be edible. I know this sounds silly, but any offormation on this matter would be greatly appreacited. Like I said, I only have about 500 plants total.
I had a guy ask me about buying pepper from me to make salsa. He has salsa in maybe 9 stores in this area. The types he wants are hard to grow here, carribean red and ghost peppers. I told him no. I'm thinking I'd need a tunnel or row covers minimum. It's just too cool here (Maine) at night to get good production. But if someone WAS to do this what would be the best way NOT to get stung. Say he decides he doesn't NEED all the thought he would. I'm stuck with a bunch of hot hot hot peppers I won't eat. I'm thinking it would be hard to get any money up front or am I wrong?