Starting a Produce business?

smalltimeberryApril 25, 2007


I am wanting some info on growing produce for a living. I would like to know what kind of money one can expect to make after all expenses growing produce? Here's my thoughts and plans.

This year grow one acres of sweet corn and tomatoes. Buy cantolope, watermelons, greeenbeans, pumpkins off of the amish and sell from our house 2 miles from a town of 10000. If this works and makes some extra income we will expand more, maybe into a small greenhouse. I currently have 120 blueberry bushes with plans this fall of completing a acre of blueberry's.

Would appreciate any input on what one can plan on making on just the produce. I have a pretty good idea what I can expect on my blueberries. What other items should one try to sell.

Thanks again for all the info

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Is there a market for an acre of corn/tomatoes? If so how much do you expect to gross from that acre. Then look at your projected costs and see if it's a viable operation. Then determine if YOU can actually sell it all. If it then still seems positive to you go develop a business plan. I wouldn't plant a seed until you've done all that. Are there higher value crops you could grow than corn and tomatoes. In '96 we put up a 12x24 greenhouse and grew salad greens. After covering the $1000 cost of the greenhouse that produce profitted us another $500. Can you do that with corn/tomatoes on an acre? If not it may be to your benefit to look at high income crops. Just an idea from a guy who has been out of market growing a few years. Tom

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 10:51AM
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ohiorganic(5/6 SW Ohio)

I did a bit of reselling last year and netted about $81 from $1500 in gross sales. I netted much more from from what I grew and sold.

Don't expect people to flock o your stand the first year. It takes a few years to build up a cusomer base. And you will need to do some kind of marketing

You will need refrigeration unless you intend on picking up produce daily and either always selling out (not gonna happen all of the time) or tossing out at the end of the day. Beans and most fruit need to be in 42F storage as does corn if you want top notch quality. Heat will quickly ruin your stuff

    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 7:02PM
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I am so happy to have found this forum! I am just getting interested in selling in our local farmers market next year. I want to learn as much as I can before jumping in. I've ordered a couple of books and just subscribed to a magazine devoted to growing for market. I'm going to visit our local market not only to buy, but to see what is selling, what there is a need for, meet the other marketers, and learn how they do things.

One rule that our local market has is you must grow or make whatever you sell; no reselling is allowed. Personally, I think that's a good thing.


Here is a link that might be useful: Dandelion Farm Blog

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 12:31PM
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Ya know, I've always dreamed of having a little produce stand somewhere. sigh. Going to be selling at the farmers market this year for the first time.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 2:51PM
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I started selling produce roadside at they age of 15, with the help of my elderly father who was an old school farmer and business man. I was very sucessfull in roadside business when I grew alot of the produce myself and bought from local farmers for resale. It is best to stay away from the ware houses as much as possible, buy and sell locally.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 1:18PM
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You don't really say where you are at, but a town of 10,000 people with farmland around it sounds a little rural. If so, then lots of people will have their own tomatoes and corn, green beans, cucumbers, etc. In Cincinnati, at a FM, one can expect to pay $1.50-2.00 for a pound of tomatoes in the middle of summer. Out in the country, 50â a pound was the going price. None of the locals bought corn - too many acres of it growing nearby. If a major highway ran through the town, the vendors might pick up a few sales but nothing like 100 or more customers a day.

I wanted to get into FMs this year and thankfully I didn't/couldn't. Thanks to our historic wet spring, I won't have anything except plants and dried pepper spice to sell until at least early June.

Presuming it will return to normal soon, I'll be able to grow all the tomatoes, peppers, squash, chard, beans, peas, lettuce, cucumbers, etc., I'll be able to sell. But rather than trying to set up a roadside stand, I'm searching for factories or places where there a significant (200-400+) number of employees who get off work over a 2-4 hr. period. In other words, I'll go to them rather than relying on them to come to me, though I hope to do one stand along a super-busy road in the middle of suburbia.

I'm not looking to re-invent the wheel, just fit it with tires or chains that allow me to get where I want to go quicker, easier, and without as much expense.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 4:08PM
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It's interesting that you mentioned setting up at a factory. We were approached last year about doing just such a think a one. They were running a healthy lifestyles program and were going to give vouchers to their people to use at the stand. Unfortunatly in the end it all came to naught - not realy sure what happened but it fell through on their end - I think it would have been a great moneymaker.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 7:23PM
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Picking an acre of blueberries would be the part that I would have trouble with. Back when I sold at a farmers market the family farm selling berries (strawberries & blueberries) had to stop selling because they couldn't find reliable help for the harvesting. Most berries have to be hand picked to keep the quality high. It's a lot of work. But, that being said, blueberries are an easy sell - as long as your quality is good.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 5:03PM
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Any thoughts on you pick berry farms?

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 7:29PM
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