Wholesale : tips for predicting yield

joeyvegiesMarch 11, 2014

Hi everyone,
As I continue my market gardening career the one thing that always gets me is predicting how much of a crop I will have available from week to week. My buyers require me to send out a list of available produce about 5 days before I deliver.

I often base my quantities on the week before but there is SO much variation and that can lead to me having trouble fulfilling an order, or being stuck with a huge harvest that I haven't sold much of. (My box customers really benefit from that)

I havent seen much information about yield patterns - how some varieties will come on strong and then ease up for a few weeks before another flush. And it's not something I learned on other farms as they were not getting orders, just selling what they had.

For those of you who sell to stores and restaurants what do you do? Is it just a matter of giving a safe low figure and then having other channels to sell excess harvests?

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myfamilysfarm

You can't approximate the yield, but as far as being more than an appropriate, you are out of luck.
I've seen charts on yield over the life, but not weekly or even monthly.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 2:34PM
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barrie2m_

This is a hard topic that I struggle with and the main reason why I refuse to setup a CSA and why I no longer seekout restaurant sales . I really enjoy the aspect of taking what I pick to markets and laying it on the line. I have a hard time even predicting when wholesale quanities of most crops will be available to regular customers because that means that I take a potential loss on my retail sales.

There are far to many variables involved in making even a reasonably accurate prediction but usually for crops that have an earlier fruit set you can make an educated guess. Sorry I can't help more.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 11:26AM
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randy41_1

if you have a big cooler you don;t need to predict but just make your harvest day 5 days before you have to deliver.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 12:25PM
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joeyvegies

Well, if nothing else it's good to know I'm not alone in struggling with this.

I would say though that at least it's fairly easy with crops like lettuce where the whole plant is harvested and "readiness" is mostly determined by size.

And it is getting easier for me to take note of how many young fruits are on fruiting plants as I harvest and think about whether these will grow to full size by next harvest.

Randy that's true about having a cooler, though I feel that one of my sales advantages is that my produce is really really fresh - usually sold within 24hrs of harvest.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 10:59PM
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