How does one find small-contract growers?
Hello, I hope this post is an acceptable topic for this forum.
I am looking for advice on how to go about finding people that will grow specialized crops for me. The quantities I need are too big for me to handle but too small for farmers to want to mess with. I thought maybe some local gardeners would be interested in making some extra cash but no luck so far.
What I fear is the issue of margins regarding what I am able to pay someone for their "bulk" product and still be able to offer competitively priced retail products. The whole concept seems to go down the tubes.
Adding to the difficulty of finding growers is that I also need to find people who grow crops in soil certified as organic, which is the whole point of my product line. I accept that this drives up costs but I expect to be able to build this cost into the final product pricing and still be competitive in the "organic foods" market.
I am not a cheap person - believe me I know and accept that growers deserve a fair price for their efforts. But that "fair price" means different things to different people.
Investing in more or bigger equipment to expand and do it myself is unrealistic IMHO for the following reasons:
1.) As I age I am moving into more value-added products for market and internet sales. I know someday I will not physically be able to handle what I do now so the last thing I need to do is add more physically demanding tasks.
2.) Because I am making more value-added products I don't have the time to do these crops myself.
3.) It's too costly for me to have employees here in Minnesota and I refuse to consider hiring until the state backs off on persecuting small businesses.
4.) I would simply be selling my products to pay off the equipment for several years. That is the kind of garbage I never get into and have been successful using low investment techniques so far. But I admit I am stuck on this one.
Any constructive, helpful comments or opinions would be much appreciated.