How do you package and sell your greens? I'm considering having a produce stand in a small town nearby. Thanks
I found last year (first year I sold them) that bagged greens sold better than heads or loose. And unlike heads I could do cut and come again. Just dunk them in a bucket of COLD water as you're harvesting them, pull them out when you're done and wash them again, spin them and bag them up. I sold 1 gallon bags (not sealed b/c then I'd have to label them, and can't say "prewashed" b/c then it's assumed to be "ready to eat, processed" food) for $2. Fancier mixes like arugula/tatsoi/mizuna/baby greens were $2/quart.
Keep most of the bags in a cooler of ice, pull out a half dozen or so at a time and keep them on ice on the table, rotate them in and out of the cooler if they don't sell quickly.
I did sell some head lettuce @ $2/head, had an old stoneware crock, a big margarine tub that fit inside. I'd fill the tub partway and freeze it, then top it off with a little water and stick the heads down in, set it inside the crock. Looked nice and kept the heads cool though on really hot days I'd have to rotate those in and out of cooler too.
There was a thread on this last year, try a search.
When I sold lettuce, it was loose leaf and I sold it per pound, displayed in plastic wash tubs with very cold water sprayed over the lettuce every few minutes.
Marla, did you pre-bag the greens or just pile them in the tubs? In the past I have cut my greens at ground level then rubber band the bunches and display them in a short tote with water in the bottom. Do you sell all you vegetables by the pound? I have never sold by the pound because I think it's faster and easier to add the totals up but I'm considering using a scale in the future. I think with a scale the pricing would be more fair.
This post was edited by TomatoesAndThings on Sun, Mar 10, 13 at 18:28
no bagging, in my market area, it got too hot for bags and then they sweated and wilted.
I sell most items by the pound, very few by the eaches.
Eaches would be zucchini, quarts/pints of berries or really small potatoes, bell peppers, pumpkins, and melons. onions radishes were by bunch.
Leaving the bags open worked for me. Too hard to weigh lettuce (and I didn't have scale until July), heads didn't really sell as well.
Ater I got my scale, almost everything sold by the pound except cherry tomatoes, berries, edamame, chiles, small stuff that was easier to sell in pints (or in the case of chiles, each). I did pre-bag (paper lunch bags) new potatoes.
Too many people wanted an exact size for there potatoes. The very small ones went into quarts.
I pre-bag everything in 8 ounce/1/2 pound bags and twist tie them shut. We do this with Kale, Chard, Tokyo Bekana, Arugula, Tatsoi, Cilantro, Salad Mix, and spinach.
To me it doesn't make sense to bag at the market. Our markets are dusty and they would be very dirty. Also, the wind would blow them out of the tub and I would waste alot.
Nobody says anything about closing the bags at our markets and if they did, I would still do the same thing and just take the twist ties off when I pulled them out of the cooler to display.
This spring I am not doing salad mix or spinach. To labor intense with a new baby. So we are just going to harvest mini heads. We sold them last fall and winter for $2.50 each. Also, with our salad mix we charge $7.00-8.00 a pound.
I sell spinach and salad mix grown in my greenhouse from Oct-April. It's fairly clean so I don't wash it.
I bag 1/2 lb bags ($4) after harvesting and leave some for bulk sales and for display.
The bags fog up sometimes but with a little shake, they get clear.
This is the best pic I can find.
I don't stuff the bags, my gallon bags are about 5 oz and the quart mixed greens (no lettuce, just specialty greens) are 2 oz. So @ $2/bag that ends up around $6.40/lb for lettuce (usually a mix of green leaf and romaine, I throw in red leaf when I have it) and $16/lb for the specialty stuff. Maybe I could ask more (or put in less) for the gallon bags, and put in more (or ask less) for the specialty but it makes the pricing easy, and people don't really want a whole lot of the spicy baby greens so I don't want to put in more than 2 oz.
This is funny. Leaf lettuce heads sold way better for me than bagged baby greens, which were very nice looking. Strange since the container baby lettuce at the store sells so well. I am putting in way more heads this year.
Microgreens are becoming a trendy item in some areas, but if you operate a big market stand, and grow 50 other things, it is too time consuming to cut all those small leaves, wash them, dry them and bag them. I do extremely well selling large "heads" of Lolla Rossa and Simpson Elite lettuce. The only thing is that you have to pick them he same morning of the market, and them keep them cold (ice water). If you do this, you will really "clean house" selling all your lettuce 10:00 or 10:30. They sell much much better than looseleaf lettuce, and bring more $$$$. Also, they are easy to grow.
Steve, i'm confused what you mean when you say "they sell much better than looseleaf lettuce and bring more $$$".
I'm pretty sure that lolla rossa and simpson are looseleaf lettuces.
They can be picked as loose leaf or loose heads.
It's really hard to pick in the morning before market, when market starts at 7 and you have to be there at 5:30 am.