Does anybody consign their preserves?

2ajsmamaMarch 4, 2014

I have 2 co-ops interested in some kind of arrangement. One that I was considering joining until I saw their prices (not that good, I can do better at BJ's, Job Lot, and shopping grocery stores sales for the flour and bulk goods I need, and things like frozen vegetables - we don't eat frozen dinners). They have a pickup once a month but are willing to let me "advertise" in their newsletter so people can buy from me directly, hopefully once a week. I have to get them a list of what I grow/preserve and have a meeting with the board end of the month. Hope they'll let me join for the $10 so I can advertise in newletter even if I don't ever order anything (right now cream of tartar is good price, and if Job Lot goes up I'll be ordering Bob's Red Mill flour through co-op in the future). I will probably have to offer a discount to co-op members, but I don't think the board wants a commission.

The other co-op wants to buy my produce wholesale, and says I can consign my preserves (which are not allowed to be sold wholesale by residential farmers). They would take 2x/wk or weekly deliveries, but are flexible and said if I'm doing market and am out of something, they will take less/none some weeks. But they want 25% commission on the preserves! My profit margin isn't that high, and if they price the jars lower than I do ($6/jar for normal half pints of jam, $8 for specialty items like Wild Blueberry Syrup) I could be "losing" money - that is, I would be getting less than the cost of sugar, jars, electricity, and what my retail price for the fruit would be. Though if the fruit I grow is "free" then I'd be making money. This co-op also wants to be named insured ($50 unless I change agents). I'm not sure about the first co-op.

WWYD? If anyone consigns canned goods or other value-added products, what kind of commission do you pay? I'm used to wholesale being 40-50% off retail prices of produce, should I refigure my cost of making jam based on 50% of retail price for fruit, plus full cost of supplies (jars, sugar, labels, electricity) and tell them I need to get at least $X/jar based on that (plus some % for profit?)?

I won't be able to support both co-ops and a farmer's market (if the co-ops take off), and market is taking a head count now so I need to make a decision ASAP. The nice thing is the co-ops could end up being full-year for canned goods, and definitely a longer season for produce than the mid-June to Oct 1 market (another new market starting this year is only 8 weeks, July and Aug!).

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myfamilysfarm

I'm not allowed to, unless I have certified kitchen and pass all kinds of classes on canning. HBV doesn't allow ANYWHERE except from home and farmers markets. Can't even deliver them.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 1:34PM
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2ajsmama

She said this was legal, I think I'd rather just join the other co-op and put in the newsletter that we have a market garden and have stuff available to other co-op members. Then they'd be coming here to buy, no problem with that since I'm only "advertising" in the newsletter and actual sales are from the farmstand (aka the garage, or picked to order). And I don't have to mark it down 25% - can do 10% off (co-op members are used to 6.5% off what I think are high prices to begin with).

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 1:57PM
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myfamilysfarm

I'd check with your state rules, not take her word. She might be assuming that you have a certified kitchen or whatever is needed.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 8:01PM
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2ajsmama

I told her I couldn't wholesale processed food, only fresh fruits/veggies. I definitely need to check into the consignment thing, I had wondered in the past if I could "rent" shelf space from another farmer who had a farm store. But I was really wondering about the 25% commission. Seems high? I know clothing, furniture, etc. consignment is that high, but that's either expensive stuff that takes up a lot of room (furniture) or stuff that you're just trying to get rid of b/c it doesn't fit any more (both/either) so it's not the same as something the consignor is actually trying to make a profit on.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 9:57PM
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myfamilysfarm

25% is high, my oldest son has a booth in a local flea market. He loads and maintains the look of his booth, they do everything else. He pays a monthly fee plus a small %, I don't know exactly what.

25% for perishables with the booth owner taking all risks, I would say is about right, but not non-perishables.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 8:58AM
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dirtdigging101(7 - NC)

I have recently started using mine for barter. and has gone really well, my jam and jellies do really well at $8 for a 12 OZ JELLY JAR. this weekend I brought 56 dollars of things I would normally buy for cash. my cost was less than $ 27 my red raspberry jars fetch $10 and sour cherry $12 respectively. I hope to do as well with pickles in the future

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 7:27PM
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