Selling flats of Salad Mix

jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)March 22, 2010

I wanted to try out the salad mix I bought from Johnny's this year before I grow it outside. So I took a 1020 flat, put some potting mix in it, sprinkled some seeds and 3-4 weeks later (tonight) we ate them. The salad bowl was empty!

My wife thought of this one. My question is this. Do you think there would be a market for selling living flats of salad mix? Talk about FRESH SALAD! I mean, we clipped probably 1/4 of it for our family meal tonight. It would probably make 4 meals out of the flat and then, if it was cared for, they should get a second cutting.

Has anyone seen this done before? Would it work? I mean, I could handle selling salad mix this way. No clipping, washing, drying, bagging. Also, if it didn't sell, I could bring it home and take it to the next market. I could also just harvest the greens and sell them too.

I can put 1 flat in one of my tubs I take to market. They have lids and so I could easily stack 5 high in the truck. So that takes care of transportation. I was thinking I would have to charge $8-10 a flat to make it work and be fairly profitable. I mean 10-12 flats a week, that would be a nice little chunk of change for almost no work!

Also, I thought I could start them inside under the lights and transfer them to the high tunnels. Maybe even make a shelf on the sidewalls to set them on. Hmmm, maybe I am on to something.

Any ideas? Good, Bad, Dumb?

Thanks,

Jay

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myfamilysfarm

Jay, great question. Are you using no-hole tray? How full did you fill the trays? You would need to fill them full to get the depth needed to sustain the growing lettuce.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 9:47AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I I did use a no-hole tray. I filled it up to the 1/4-1/2 an inch from the top. The lettuce grew just fine in that shallow soil. I did sprinkle the seeds a little thicker than I needed, but there would be a learning curve.

I am going to start some more and see how they do in the tunnel this week.

Jay

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 10:56AM
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myfamilysfarm

I have some trays with holes in them that I would probably use, to have better drainage. Also have some rib trays, so that could have 2 different varieties. Then I would put the holey tray into the no hole.

Keep us posted, I'm very interested. This might be something for late in the season for customers also.

Tell your wife to keep thinking.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 1:29PM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

Jay,

I thought about this, but haven't followed through.

I did build a shallow wood box. Filled it with lettuce, spinach and some asian greens. Donated it to a silent auction. The highest bid was $95.00. This makes me think I should build more salad boxes for the Farmers Market. Not sure what price to put on them. Pallets are free and some look really nice after running through the thickness planer. Oak and other hard woods. These would be for people without gardens. They could sit right on the back porch.

Similar idea

Eric

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 12:56AM
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boulderbelt(5/6)

I have sold 4" pots of mixed heirloom lettuce and arugula. There is some interest in such but far more interest in cut, washed and bagged salad mix.

Not to mention it is a lot easier and cheaper to plant salad greens in the ground (and they over winter very well in unheated hoop houses) and harvest pounds rather than keep flats alive under lights and harvest/sell ounces. I know there are a few folks out there who will pay top dollar for such a set up and some of them may even be successful in keeping the living salad alive for several weeks. but i see this market as very limited and you may lose some customers if anyone figures out they can do the same thing for a lot less.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 7:06AM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

Boulderbelt,

We also sell in 4" pots @ 1.50 to 2.00 each. About 750 pots our first year. Compare that to mixed salad greens @ 6.00 1/2 pound. I agree the mixed greens is the market.

It's true, you could grab a cardboard box a little dirt and 2.00 salad seed mix and put us all out of business. Some people are to lazy, busy, or it's below them to do it.

Eric

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 12:38PM
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mmcd75

I sell trays and 6 packs of lettuce, cabbage, and mixes. I offer the 6 packs at 2.50 each (they are the smaller sized 6 packs that fit in the 1020 trays). I offer the entire flat for 25.00. I have done really well with them this season so far.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 6:36PM
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HerbLady49(Z6 PA)

There's a local grower who only grows and sells micro greens. He's mostly wholesale, but is open to the public 2 days a week. He also sells at the local farmers market on Saturdays. The greens are packaged and sold in clear plastic containers. He grows year round in a couple of greenhouses. I've never visited his business, but by the pic on his website it looks like he grows in 1020 flats.

Here is a link that might be useful: Grower of Micro Greens

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 1:16PM
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