How are your markets and how are things growing?

jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)June 27, 2014

Well, it has been kinda quiet around here and I know I haven't been checking in very often either.

What a strange year it has been. First a very late freeze/frost into the Mid to late May. Then straight to summer 95-100 for almost 2 weeks, then monsoon season, we had over 10 inches in about 21 days. Then cooler weather. Now we are getting really dry. Who knows what is in store for the rest of they year.

I got my tomatoes in the high tunnels planted about a 3 weeks late. I knew it was going to come back and bite me in the but. My customers are beating down the doors wanting tomatoes and I don't have them, yet. We started picking a few baskets of Cherry tomatoes and a I think the big ones are getting closer, but who know how long. Our first and second carrot plantings weren't close enough together so I have been out of carrots for 3 weeks and the next planting is probably another week away. Cucumbers and zucchinis are just starting and producing well, still later than I usually am. I also am selling lettuce heads and they are growing nicely. I almost didn't have my plantings close enough together. I sold some pretty small heads for one week, but I did still have lettuce. Onions were looking great, now are starting to struggle with the dryness. Garlic was good, but with the rains, I couldn't keep up with the rain and the weeds got our of control. I am going to try to dig everything tomorrow (before the rain,) I hope!

I have added a new market on Thursdays. I am now selling Wednesday, Thursday and two markets on Saturday morning. The Thursday one is brand new at a hospital and the PR department is really promoting it. Their goal is to promote healthy eating. Every week sales have been as good or better than the week before. Even with 4 markets, I am not selling out. I am trying to decide if I am picking too much, growing too much or if the economy is still hurting.

How are things for you?

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Wow, I am impressed with myself for having tomatoes to sell before you. I would be more impressed if they all sold,lol. I took three flats of Big Beef to market this morning and brought half of one home. Two other vendors have a truckload of big red tomatoes; mine taste better, but no one knows that yet. Market price is $2/lb.

One lady this morning came up to me, looked at my tomatoes, and said point-blank, "They are pretty, but I'm not going to buy any, because I know all tomatoes are flavorless this time of year."

I immediately picked up a red ripe one, handed it to her, and said, "You take this tomato and eat it, and then come back and tell me what you think." I wasn't rude, but at the same time, I'm not going to listen to someone who's never had my stuff tell me what my stuff tastes like. I thought I would see her next week, but she came back in just a few minutes, eating the tomato I gave her like it was an apple. "You were right; I was wrong. These are delicious," she said, and bought a box of them.

I only have a high tunnel of Big Beef because I lost almost all my seedlings to a late freeze and heater malfunction. I think next year, I'm going to go back to determinates. Yellow and orange early tomatoes sold well for me, because no one else had them. My Big Beef is also getting blossom end rot much worse than the determinates did, even stink bugs seem to like the Big Beef more.

When I realized that the tomatoes were not selling, I made a sign for them that said "pesticide free." To me that means I just never got around to spraying them, but customers LOVED that sign. It's my new favorite gimmick.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 12:44PM
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I didn't have much but lettuce and plants to sell this week - plants didn't do well even at $1 each but sold out of lettuce in 30 minutes. Maybe I should have asked more than $1/head for Tom Thumb. Have to see if I can plant some more with closely-woven curtain over it as shade cloth and get some for next month.

Everything is slow to take off, took weeks for melons, squash and cukes planted end of May to germinate and none are flowering yet but squash bugs are out - haven't seen SVB yet though. Some tomatoes planted out first week of June are flowering (surprisingly Brandywine and Black Krim have open flowers, but Bloody Butcher put in ground just 10 days ago is starting to get buds), others are putting on good growth but I keep planting more wherever I can squeeze them in since I have them - just put 1 more BW, 2 Mark Twain and 4 Cosmonaut Volkov in last spots in center of tunnel, 6 Best Boys at end of bean row (and found a volunteer from last year, I don't remember what was at the end then, prob. Cherokee Purple). Spent yesterday watering by hand b/c haven't had much rain past 2 weeks. Nothing wilting so far but want to keep up with it since next Wed is next chance for rain.

Have a few more strawberries ripe, squirrels seem to have given up but they didn't leave many. Blueberries are starting to ripen, raspberries right behind them but we need rain!

I noticed a lot of vendors missing from market - only 3 (besides me) from last year. Vendors are joining another market on Thursdays that's a bit older, wonder if they know something I don't? Brand-new market that's only 8 weeks in affuent town starting next week, lots of familiar names on their list of vendors, surprises me b/c the market fee is more $$$ than the established markets with 12-16 week season. You think people are going where the money is, hoping to find customers willing to pay more (though both are WIC markets), even though per-week cost is more? Must be going to the July/Aug only market (forget what day that one is) as a filler? I just can't afford to join 2 markets yet, and I need to have a market in Sept since that's when most of my crop is ready (tomatoes and peppers). Would love to go into Oct.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 4:03PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Well I have learned my lesson. NEVER GET TOMATOES PLANTED LATE, NO MATTER WHAT! Most years I have already had tomatoes for 3 or 4 weeks. Just about every 3rd customer today was asking where my tomatoes are. I could have sold several hundred pounds, if I had them. I could have sold lots of cherry tomatoes. I am thinking I am 7 to 10 days away, but who knows. I should have investigated my cherry tomatoes a little closer last night. I picked these today when I got home from market.

This post was edited by jrslick on Sat, Jun 28, 14 at 16:49

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 4:39PM
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I switched to a smaller and slower market at the beginning of june. i think i'm finally figuring out that i'm not 40 anymore. this is the second week in a row i skipped the market altogether....not enough to make it worth going. i picked some high tunnel tomatoes and cherry tomatoes and sold some from home. i should have enough to go back to the market next week. i'm in the opposite situation than you Jay in that i sell out every time most likely because i don't have enough.
growing conditions here have been a bit challenging as its been fairly dry. while i'm prepared to irrigate inside stuff and most outside stuff i'm not going to irrigate potatoes and i think my yield will be much less than last year when it was wet.
i did very well with strawberries in may and the first part of june and had my highest gross sales day ever on my last day at the bigger market. Markets have been sufficiently busy for me. actually the bigger market is too busy for me.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 6:34PM
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Sales dropped this summer big time, and less people. I've decided to stop going until my fall cucumbers, melons, tomatoes, etc start coming in. July & August are slow months anyways. A good time to order garlic, onion, and potatoes to plant this fall.
Also, refocusing my attention to get the winter crops seeded this week. Looks like I'm finally on time with starting winter seeds! Very excited to see how the winter sales will do. Looking to triple last year, should work since last year I was 3-4 weeks late.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 7:13PM
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I started a new farmers market this year in the town closest to me (the market is about 2 miles away from the farm). It is much smaller than the market I was doing 4 years ago but it is also a lot less stress and we are meeting lots of locals who are starting to come to our farm store.

The market itself has been badly run for the past 5+ years by a vendor that would not allow new produce vendors to join. They also have a very bad habit of leaving when they run out of stuff to sell and a lot of the vendors leave at 9 to 10 am (market runs until 1pm) which makes the market look smaller and crappier than it really is. They have a new market manager who knows little about running a market but is studying up on how to do it and when she figures this out will run up against the long time vendors most of whom leave early or do not come regularly and used to tun the market (she does realize that any changes are gonna step on the toes of most of the long time vendors). I have made several suggestions such as getting a board together that includes some of the long time vendors or at least have a couple of vendor meetings so we can all be on the same page of market improvement.

As far as my farm is concerned we have a new high tunnel and it has been producing well for us since early April so we have had no problem bringing a lot of produce to market such as beets, chard, kale, zukes, cukes, carrots, lettuce, spring mix, etc.. We will be taking the first maters to market next week-big beef and yellow taxi from the high tunnel. Also have a lot of fruit coming in-strawberries (about over for now but will be back in 3 weeks), red and black raspberries and soon some blackberries.

We are running behind on staking the outside maters due to a lot of rain in June and trying to keep up with the weeds in the onions and squash. Hopefully the stake pounding starts this morning so the tying can start tomorrow as they are beginning to sprawl. We have had good luck keeping blights at bay using Oxidate so at least the maters are really healthy despite all the humidity. Overall its' been a pretty good season so far.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 5:40AM
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Things are growing great. Just some things that might be of interest. I planted my sugar babies and yellow doll water melons on 2 rows per 4' wide beds on 6 foot centers bed to bed and Am getting really high yield of melons for that. Normally I would have just gone with tradition and planted single rows and used these permanent beds less efficiently. I had brought this up on a thread and I think it was Mark who encouraged me to do it ,so , thanks Mark.

Korean Ginkaku melons produce on par with something like cucumbers! These things are just stacked. I planted them in a single row on one drip tape and am getting about 3-4 melons per foot of row on compact plants. Could easily go 3 feet on center or do the double row like the water melons.

All the early plantings worked pretty well. We have butternut squash and can still plant a new crop which I am doing for a restaurant for fall sales.

Just about pretty much everything grew and produced well or will be giving bumper crops soon.

The bad news or good news is that the writing on the wall said I would be working way too hard for the money doing markets and decided to put my energy into putting food up for the house and gifting and informal bartering all of which is very enjoyable. So I didn't do succession planting of t,ost of the typical things and am gradually getting a lot of fallow areas after harvests even though we have a much longer growing season.

The writing was that , I didn't plant garlic or shallots last fall or even enough onions. The onions I did grow had some over 2 pounds and most about 1.5 pounds. The blackberries didn't look like they were going to bear heavily ( and they didn't) and the tomatoes I planted on Valentines day were taking a long time to ripen.Earliest and best tomato season ever so far though and I am putting up tons of ready to eat spaghetti sauce, meat and veggies , in the Freezer. Also put up and putting up about 25 pesto dinners finished with cheese and all. This stuff helps a lot with a busy family.

I am starting to dabble in canning and juicing to get more out of my passion for growing. It's been a pleasure to work with my kids in the garden and with some processing this year, over all a great year.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 11:46AM
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Fruit has been the easiest thing to sell. It flies off the table. Gooseberries, pie cherries, blackberries, black & red raspberries, plums, and pears.

I'm thinking about planting raspberries in my high tunnel instead of tomatoes.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 2:27PM
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So far, so good. We just got a fourth high tunnel set up, increasing our total tunnel space to 3400 sq ft, in addition to 5000 sq ft outdoors. I've finished selling the spring crop and am selling greens and peas while waiting for the summer crops to begin producing.
In the high tunnels, I have:
68 ground cherry plants (Cossack Pineapple)
530 Pimientos de Padron
218 eggplants
About 50 bell peppers (Ace and Islander)
40 each of serrano peppers and Pasilla peppers

Outdoors, I have 50 tomatoes, 20 zucchini, 100 eggplants, 60 ground cherries (Cossack Pineapple and Goldie), 110 padrons, 22 Cape Gooseberry, and 90 tomatillo plants (mostly Cisineros and Toma Verde), in addition to 1000 sq ft of potatoes and about 800 sq ft of onions. I think I may have gone overboard this year because it is a full time job just maintaining all this.

To give you an idea of how cold it is up here, yesterday was the first time all season that I had roll up the sides of the tunnels for the summer veggies.

I also tried growing Italian and Thai basil in low tunnels. The first was a bust - extremely tough and bitter. The Thai basil is doing well.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 4:49PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

It is good to hear from everyone. I am glad some of you are starting off really good.

Slimy_Okra, I enjoy hearing from you and your adventures up north. Where there is a will and high tunnels there is a way. Thank for sharing your planting numbers, it always give perspective for me.

We will have about 500 tomatoes under plastic during this growing season. We have another 500 outside. Tomatoes are our #1 crop. I guess customers think they are really good, we think they are good too! I have 300 bells and 100 jalapenos in a building and another 800 pepper plants outside. I went kinda crazy with them, but our customer really like Big Bell peppers and the only way we can keep them happy is to have large numbers of them and let them grow big. Also they are a crop that you can hold well in the field and in the fridge. 275 zucchini, 150 slicing cucumbers, 225 little (pickling) cucumbers, 500-600 melon plants, 500 plus bed feet (3 foot beds) of carrots, 200-300 per planting of summer crisp lettuce,
on ready to start the 6th planting and plant out the 5th, planted out 2 cases of onions, and close to 1000 feet of potatoes, 500 plus sweet potatoes and many more minor crops. We are always replanting and succession planting. I am going to get the rest of our garlic dug this week ( not very good :( ), and probably start pulling onions.

I am also ready to start construction/ reconstructing my walk in cooler this week.

Lots to do!


    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 11:57PM
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OT, but just wondering how you manage to do it all. Not just the day job (guess you're out of school by now though even with snow days!), but the kids!

DD has been out of school for over a week now, and doesn't want to help me outside (though she wanted to pick the wild strawberries out of the lawn last night!). She's bored. And the day before she was sick - I came in at 11AM, she was eating breakfast and looked awful, said she had a sore throat, headache, I took her temp and it was 102. So I spent the rest of the day inside with her, dosing her every 4 hrs with Tylenol and trying to get her to drink. Even when she fell asleep I didn't think I should go farther than the back yard.

I don't know, life just seems to get in the way of market gardening (I grow 1/10 of what Jay does!). Last week we had a funeral I lost a day to, but every year my siblings come to visit (brother was a little early this year, they usually overlap a few days) and my mom expects me to spend a day or 2 a week with them, plus at least 1 night a week dinner together after DH comes home from work. What I do isn't seen as "work" I guess - or not something that HAS to be done every single day.

I spent Sat at funeral, Mon afternoon with family, all day Thurs with family - would have just done afternoon but it rained Wed night and was supposed to T-storm at times Thurs, which it didn't so Friday was spent hand-watering all the beans, tomatoes, and peppers. Then Sat DD was sick (plus I was waiting for someone who called Friday and said she wanted plants but never showed up), yesterday I had to go grocery shopping (and kept moving soaker hose around the berries near the house). Today I am going to get out and mulch the last few tomatoes I threw in on Sat AM, don't know whether to bother to plant more tomatoes and peppers or just compost them. Need to get basil seeded, maybe some okra, time for fall peas? Too late for broccoli?

I don't want to start any plants inside (broccoli, backup zucchini?) b/c I'm taking 3 days to drive to Boston for my niece's dance competition. What was 1 day turned into min-vacation with my mom and DD - since she's performing early Thurs AM and again 5pm that evening, we decided to go up Wed night and stay until Fri AM but she's got a performance 3pm Wed so I figured leave 11AM to catch it, my mom is pushing to leave earlier, I don't know why. Then instead of us leaving early on the 4th, my sister made reservations for a Duck Tour 11-12AM that day, I'm hoping to get back home by dinnertime and dreading holiday traffic!

Then (we're not sure if they're coming here first or visiting the other set of grandparents) sometime between the 6th and the 12th sis and kids are coming here for about 2 weeks and my mom will expect us to spend more time together. Not that I don't want to, but every year it seems the entire month of July is taken up with people who are on vacation and want me to be on vacation too, and then there's DD who also has Aug off and wants me to take her places and do fun things with her (even if it's just library or movie or minigolf) and I have no time to work except early mornings. Then she and DH want to go to the beach for a few days to a week in Aug...

How do you balance work and family when you don't have a 9-5 job, they don't even see as a job?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 6:58AM
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Market product is low the late cold spring has put most things 3 weeks behind for us,,,, but early start is a good thing even if very little product to build customer relations I think even tho you know your time would be better back at the farm getting a handle on the weeds if nothing else.
always enjoy jays post and pictures .... tomatoes look yummy..... by the way!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 8:35AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

My wife works nights as a nurse, so 3-5 nights a week, I have the kids too. I kinda rely on our older ones (10 and 12) to babysit when I can't have everyone outside with me. I also try to work my work schedule around and do certain things to match my labor, my helpers, my responsibilities. I can assure you that there are some days that really stink. I also do certain things on certain days. Monday and Tuesday are hard core work days. Then I prep for markets or go to markets on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Our market garden started off as a hobby, food for us and some food to sell. Then it turned into, hey we can earn some extra money for trips, birthday and vacations if we plant some extra. Now we are to the point of we plant exclusively for markets and we eat what is left over. It truly helps our family of 7 make ends meet. Garden failure isn't an option, the work must get done. I usual work 12-14 hour days ( with lots of breaks for this and that). I have given up on the perfect week free garden, close is good enough. I have added mechanical power like a tractor and tiller. I also have added tools to make my life easier (Plastic mulch and mulch layer). This year installed water lines to most of our "fields" so I don't have to drag hoses, a big time saver. Our next big time saver will be a walk in cooler. I have almost everything, I just need to put it together. This way I won't have to find a way to pack everything into several small fridges and pick right up to market departure time. I can pick a little earlier and keep everything in better condition. I will also be able to load coolers and totes the night before and then just put a lid on them and slide them out of the cooler and into the truck. I am really looking forward to this! Best of all, when market is over I can slide the whole tub or cooler back in the walk in and open the lid and deal with it in the morning.

Market gardening isn't easy, but growing up as a farm kid, I wouldn't have it any other way. I just wish I could make it my only full time job.


    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 9:10AM
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I'm trying to grow for market and eat what's left over (or picked on non-market days), can't say it's bringing in any money yet though - just the opposite. I quit my day job almost 10 years ago to spend time with the kids (mainly DD since DS was in school) but now I'm finding not enough time to do that plus garden in 2000sf+ (plus the berries, forget about the apples) in 2 locations. And I just "inherited" my great-uncle's blueberry patch (100 plants?) 10 miles away - actually his DD inherited but she's been down south since Xmas so I'm the only 1 to take care of it. Went down the other day and it's a mass of weeds, raspberries (that she wants to keep), milkweed (ditto - some of them) and grapevines so today or tomorrow I need to take the loppers and start cutting stuff out. I asked DH and my dad if sometime in the next 2 weeks one/both of them could start weed-whacking or scything the stuff between the rows. They don't want to do it too early b/c they're afraid people (neighbors, her ex who lives next door) are going to go in and start picking (I don't know how we'd keep the ex out, neighbors have been taking care of the house plants and lawn so if she says they can have berries I don't mind, just ran into problem last year when people had picked everything a day or 2 before market so I went down there and didn't get much).

It's a lot to do and I don't want the berries to go by either. Esp. since it's not like they're *really* arranged by rows in order of maturity (though somewhat), so we can't just clear 1 row, pick that day, clear another row the following weekend, pick those, and so on. And then I have my own bushes (spread all over since they're wild) and the raspberries (only 2 rows of cultivated, and not too many wild) are starting to ripen too.

Forget about weeding - I mulch what I can, DH mows and weedwhacks between rows. Just weeded squash and cuke beds this AM (DS is off at camp so I couldn't go far until DD was up). I don't care if it gives the squash bugs and cucumber beetles a place to hide, I really have to mulch them b/c I can't keep up with the purslane and crabgrass.

My DD is 10 (and a half!) - maybe next year or the year after she'll be old enough to occupy herself (not TV!) while I'm busy. My mom does take her quite often during the summer but I'm wondering if I should just find something to do to earn money during the school year and forget growing for market - esp. since I've yet to break even financially.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 10:32AM
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I was going to ask the same question as ajsmama did - how do you manage it all?! 600 melon plants and 275 zucchini is a LOT! Well, that just means I have a new goal to attain! For us, the limiting factor at present is irrigation. The whole ~10,000 sq ft garden depends on one 4000 gallon tank (fed by municipal water and rainwater) and one 0.5 HP well pump with an air tank. I'm thinking of upgrading the pump, as well as installing another rainwater catchment system on a shed. The other option is to run an irrigation line from our pond but the ponds here tend to be alkaline and it would ask for about a half-mile of pipe.
It has been a rainy spring and summer here, but since we are on relatively high ground, this has been a blessing.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 11:15AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Just to clarify, those numbers are for the whole season, not all at once. I usually do 4-5 plantings of tomatoes, start big and reduce the numbers as we go. Squash and Cucumbers about every 3 or 4 weeks. Lettuce every 3 weeks, peppers 2 plantings, melons 3-4 plantings. I have a little variety called tasty bites and I will be planting them ASAP. If they get rained out tonight, I will start them inside and transplant them. They are very tasty and small. I charged 1 to 1.50 each for them and took to 35 gallon tubs of them to market for 3-4 weeks straight and never brought any home.

Over the last nine years, I have learned to grow what sells and keep it growing. Then have it when no one else has it. I quit growing green beans to sell and we don't grow sweet corn. Both are major intensive picking at the last minute and I don't have the man power to do it. We do plant some beans for fall, sometimes we sell those if we have plenty.

I know it sounds like a lot, but sometimes I barely feel that I can compete with the other vendors. We do what we can and that is all we can do.


    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 2:23PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

It is sure a strange year for almost everyone. It is a possibility that due to many people's yards being too wet to grow their gardens I may end up actually being able to sell produce at market. I hope I can at least sell tomatoes well. My garden could never be too wet so finally I have an advantage.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 8:14PM
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I don't know how people can handle the work of 3-4 markets a week, plus jobs and family. Preparing for one market is a lot of work, then being gone for most of a day to attend the market itself is tough. There's always so much that needs to be done in the field.

I've been scouting around this year trying to find a second market to sell at. I've expanded what I'm growing and my market just isn't busy enough to sell everything. There is one large market in my area but the vendors won't allow anyone new in, so farmers keep starting new markets on different days, but nothing can compete with the one big, well established market.

Can people comment on what constitutes a worthwhile market to them? With all the work involved, it hardly seems worth it to bring home $150-$200, and lately it hasn't even been that. If I have to do 3 markets a week to bring home $500-$600, I think I'll lose my mind. My current market is 30 miles away, and I think I'm going to have to start looking 50-60 miles out to find a busier market. If I can, I'd rather do one large market with a longer drive than 3 mediocre markets that are closer.

Finding the right market to sell at is the hardest part of all of this. I didn't get into this to get rich, but it's very frustrating to put all the work into preparing for a market and only come home with $100. I might as well bring all my produce to the soup kitchen for the tax write off.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 8:46AM
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For me, the dealbreaker would be $500 per market (I also work part-time). My first two years, I was only allowed to sell during the weekday market and I barely made $80 a week. However. I was able to use my established position there to negotiate successfully for a weekend market. The difference is pretty striking. It's a 35 mile drive.

The next major market is a 130 mile drive from here. It's something I am seriously thinking of targeting once my farm expands.

I have a friend who makes a 4 hour drive (one way!) to sell at another market - the only one that accepted her - and she makes $1000+ a week there.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 11:51AM
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for me $100 is enough to go to the market. for just that amount i can fit everything in the civic and then take care of things i need to do in town. it usually doesn't take the whole market time to sell that. this is to a market that's 20 miles away. i went to that market twice in june and my sales were about $600 total for those 2 days. not sure i could even sell $500 of stuff there in one day.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 12:27PM
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There have been weeks I've barely made the market fee ($20) forget about gas - this market is about 14 miles and I get 14 mpg so that's about $8 in gas. So I don't go now except once at beginning of season to get my face out there (consider it advertising costs), then again when I actually have lots of different stuff to bring and it's not 90 degrees standing on hot asphalt, or severe T-storms predicted).

But I'm very happy to make $100 - wish I could do that every week for 16 weeks or more. I too would rather do 1 large market where I could sell twice that (or more) even if twice as far away, but you never know until you try. And I'm too afraid to try (even another 15-20 miles away is 8 week season, half of that is my slow month, so I figure it's not worth it).

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 5:25PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Our Wednesday market is 40 miles away, our Thursday market is 40 miles, One of our Saturday markets (same town, different location as the Wednesday night market) 46 miles, and the other Saturday market is 3 miles (my hometown). Just to give some perspective.

We have talked about cutting out a market, but we aren't selling everything we produce at them all now, so we will keep going. We are well known for our tomatoes, those are just barely starting, so once we get them producing our sales numbers will go WAY up.

About selling at a few smaller market or selling at a bigger market. The next biggest town is over 1 hour away and they have a very strict market. Only certain producers can bring certain things. It really stinks. I could go east, 1.5 hours to sell, but I have heard from other vendors that they aren't the greatest.

This time of the year we are selling in that $150-$200 range at each market. When we get tomatoes, peppers, melons that total will go to 2x, 3x, or even 4x that amount. My personal goal is 5x that amount. I rather doubt I will make it, but we will see. I usually work through those low sales numbers from May to early to Mid June, then tomatoes start and sales go up. This year with the weather and everything else, they aren't ready.

So about the market question, do you keep going knowing your sales will increase (kinda like putting in your time) or do you just wait until you have what everyone wants and go then? I consider the low sales markets the time to build your customer base. It is easy to forget about that.


Yes it is hard being away from home to sell at market, it is almost impossible to get anything done but pick, then market and back home. But one has to do what they can to make things work. I try really hard to have all my fall crops in before school starts. Then I work on getting my winter crops in on Labor Day break. Once school starts, I am not sure how the Wednesday/Thursday market thing will work. I guess I will have to pick for two markets on Monday and Tuesday, sell Wednesday and Thursday and pick all evening and into the night on Friday to get ready for the Saturday markets. It will be interesting to see what happens.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 11:09PM
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when I went to larger markets $500 was my cut off. But now I am going to a small local market very close to home. So close that we can get away with my husband dropping me off and going back to the farm after helping me set up.

I have made as much as $250 at this market and never under $140. It has been badly run for years and now has real management that is interested in making some changes such as letting new produce vendors in and is thinking about getting music and a children's program started as well as changing some of the rules such as making this a grower's only market.I see a lot of potential and can see this market being a good money maker for me in a few years, especially if we can get a board together to govern the market and no longer leave it up to the city leaders and a few long term vendors (who kept any new produce vendors from participating for the past 7 years and are not at all happy this has changed).

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 7:49AM
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I've went to strictly jams, jellies and pickles. I have noticed that there are almost NO vendors with produce. What produce we have had is lettuce and other greens. Zucchinis are just beginning. One person had some tomatoes and green beans, she sold out of tomatoes, but had bagged up her green beans and they didn't sell well. A person couldn't see what was in the bags.

Everything is slow here.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 3:17PM
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It's very interesting reading about what everyone else is going through with their markets. Many of the other farmers at my market are kind of tight lipped about stuff like this. If I make a comment about how slow the market is, I might get a response like, "Oh is it slow for YOU? I'm doing really well today". This when there's not a single customer in the entire market. I can tell that the vendors around me aren't doing any better than I am. In fact I'm often busier than they are.

I think I expanded a bit too much this year; I'm feeling burned out and the main season has barely started. Until I have tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc. to sell, I just don't have a ton of produce to take with me to the market. I can't complain about not making much money if I'm not bringing that much with me to begin with. However, no one is selling out now. I rarely sell out on greens, and I've seen the fruit people bringing home big boxes of strawberries and blueberries. When I do have more produce, I need a better market to sell it at.

I've been putting in my time at the slower markets trying to build a customer base, but at the first few markets I also heard some complaints from the public about the scant offerings. It was such a cold spring that everyone was set back by at least a week or two.

It seems that I'm going to have to see which of the larger markets will take me and commit to the longer drive. Just try it and see how it goes. Many of the farmers I've talked to will not commute more than 20 miles or so, period. They'd rather do several smaller markets per week, which seems like so much more work to me than one or two big markets.

I feel like I've outgrown my market, but I'm not quite ready for the big city yet. But I guess the only way to grow into it is to try it.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 7:52AM
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grow_life(6A OH)

I've got 2200 sq.ft. in veggies, a 385 sq ft pvc hoop house, 100 row feet of black and red raspberries, 20 or so blueberry bushes, 15 currant bushes, and various other fruit trees and grapes. I haven't had enough to go to established markets, but I sell from home and I have a solid restaurant customer. The restaurant is 5 minutes from my day job, making delivery convenient. I'm selling beets, colored green beans, just finished with fava beans, still have chard, and finally the tomatoes. 'Ive got about 70 tomato plants in 30 varieties or so, all heirloom. I've been picking the ultra early varieties from the hoop house for the family for almost a month, but I just brought my first case delivery to the restaurant of the big ones yesterday. Mostly black krim and tye dye, a few black pineapple.
I sold plants from home, tomatoes mostly, this spring. Had a bunch of potted basil that were gorgeous, but no one was buying them. I couldn't even give them away. In the end, I cut what was good and composted the rest. My beets have done so poorly I may not do them again. They just won't bulb up. Chard has done great, Favas did great, although I definitely need to space out my planting of them, the harvest was one and done. All berries have been going gangbusters, even the blueberries that I do not have good soil for.
I've got a day job, a 1 year old and a 5 year old. It's not easy balancing everything. Weed free the garden ain't. I go around the neighborhoods after haloween and thanksgiving and pick up the decorative bales of hay, put them in the shed for the winter, and use them for mulch the next year. works great for weeds and holding moisture. I use all soaker hoses and 3' row production.
I had to go a few rounds with my municipality to get a variance for the hoop house this spring, and they decided I get to have one, but I can only have the cover on october 15 - may 15. better than nothing i guess.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 10:01AM
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My area is having "market wars." A group of younger people who demanded to join my market without being subjected to the same rules as everyone else, and was of course declined, got a sweetheart deal for free Saturday use of the high school parking lot. The woman in charge is collecting $500/yr dues for parking spaces she got for free. Her only advertising is on facebook, so she has no expenses.

And the town five miles away decided that they would not charge any dues at their market, in order to attract vendors.

The problem is that all three markets are on Saturday morning. What we've done is just split our customers three ways. Everyone is making less money now, because we all can't get along and play nice.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 12:00PM
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Here in east Tn its been as dry as i can remember. Everything in my gardens are at a stand still. Nothing seems to be doing good, hay is only a third of what it normally is.
Im taking my first load to the market Friday, not got a lot, beans, new potatoes and cucumbers. My tomatoes will need a few more weeks and a couple inches of rain wouldnt hurt, hope i sell out.
Any body selling beans or potatoes not real sure what to price them at?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:26PM
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Hey everyone!

I am new to GardenWeb, and actually came across the site while looking for a forum regarding Farmer's Markets. I wanted to touch base with other vendors and see if anyone had any insight on pricing? I have listed below what I am charging for my produce that is in season (or thinking of charging) and wanted to see what you all thought (too high? too cheap?). I don't want to rip folks off, nor do I want to tick off fellow vendors for undercutting them. I also want to get what the product is worth.


Okra- $3.00 a pound
Squash- $1.00 a pound
Cucumbers (small)- 3/$1
Bell Peppers- 3/$1
Corn (Yellow sweet, non-gmo)- 2/$1
Onions (large)- 2/$1
Green Beans (snap)- $1.50/lb or $32 a bushel
Tomatoes (Willie Box Cars)- 2/$1
Goats Milk- $3/qt
Eggs- $4/dozen

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:32PM
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Stilisodores, hello and welcome to the forum. Pricing varies wildly across markets, not only state to state and country to country (I am from Canada) but even county to county. So take my opinion with a grain of salt.

I think your bell peppers and green beans are too cheap - I would double the price,
For the squash, it depends on how large you pick them. If they are baby-sized, $1/lb is too cheap. For larger squash, it's just right.

The rest seem fine to me.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 11:05PM
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i agree with slimy about your prices SM. if in doubt i just check out what the other vendors are pricing their stuff at and go from there. tomatoes are always by the pound for me...tomorrow i'll look for at least $3/lb at the market.
its been very dry here as well billy. last year it was too wet and cool here. i got rain yesterday so that should help. hope you get some. beans are $4/lb, potatoes $2/lb. of course this depends on your market somewhat.
Cole-the same market wars are going on around here. the farmers markets are starting to look like flea markets and street fairs with all the craft vendors that sell at them these days.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 6:18AM
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Interesting reading about the Market Wars that others are dealing with. I had no idea how competitive farmers' markets would be - and the drama, anger, hurt feelings is worse than anything I ever experienced in office life.

SM, my pricing changes every week. I compare pricing at the local organic markets (I'm an organic grower), so I get a ballpark figure on where to price everything, but I make adjustments at the market depending on other vendors' prices.

Some of your prices seem too cheap to me, like peppers, cukes, tomatoes, but if they're widely available from other vendors at your market maybe not. Vendors at my market are just beginning to bring tomatoes, and are charging $4/lb. That will go way down once everyone else has tomatoes.

Eggs at my market are all over the place, from $2.50/dozen to $6/dozen, depending on feed (conventional or organic), egg color, etc. No one at any of the markets in our area sells milk at all, I think regulations make that tough here. The one dairy in the area trucks their milk to the big city markets, where they can get higher prices.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 8:30AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I made almost the lowest gross last night ever. Only once since 2009 did I make less. Yes it was a holiday week but the usual produce vendor next to me was gone and the amount of customers was normal. The TYPE of customer seems to make all the difference. I am sorry to say that watching the customers reminded me of one of those news reports that show fat people neck down. The customers were not inclined to be interested in vegetables, and you can infer the rest.
As for choosing your market- well I think there are more people growing produce, wanting to sell at market, than there are markets and customers to support them. It is very difficult to get into any decent markets. Only start up markets are taking anyone. So it makes it hard to be fussy about how much you want to make at a market- and yes gas is expensive and time is precious. I travel .7 miles from my field or 4 from my home to market.
I still think that around here come tomato time things will be different. Another person told me today they always plant a garden and did not this year. I just hope I can keep up at that time. I generally have so much to throw away. Feast or famine of course- never a happy medium.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 11:14PM
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Went to two different markets one on Friday and one today ,sales are way off, nobody showing up and those that do isnt buying much. Hope next week is better or its going to be a long summer.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 2:41PM
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Little Minnie, I know what you mean about the type of customers who show up at the market. There are a few bakers at my market, one right next to me. I watch them sell out every week and as customers walk by me stuffing pie and donuts into their faces, I wonder if I'm in the wrong business. These just don't look like the sort of people who will be interested in organic kale.

Sorry that you and Clinchbilly had slow market days. I took off today, as the 4th of July weekend was very slow last year and I don't have as much produce to take as I'd like. My sales will definitely go up once I have tomatoes - maybe not what I want them to be, but I'll be selling a lot more than I am now.

I also found a charity that will accept my extra produce on days when I don't sell out. The food banks here only take canned goods but there are a few charities that welcome fresh produce. At least it's a tax write off, and I won't have to throw it all into the compost pile.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 3:55PM
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Like pretty much any year, it has been good and bad. We were approached in late January (after all seeds and supplies were ordered) from a local store that wanted 14,000 plants - which doubled the amount of seedlings we planned on growing. Our plans to plant 2 high tunnels early went out the door, as we now needed the space to grow plants. That order pretty much dictated our season, as we spent most of our time growing the plants, loading the trailer, and delivering them. There were just not enough hours in a day / week / month to get everything done. I did manage to get some early zucchini in the high tunnel - they have been producing since May, but about 50% have blossom end rot. May not grow zucchini in the high tunnel again. Bunnies ate the early cukes in the high tunnel - I replanted and they are just coming in. Like Jay - we got our early tomatoes in about 3 weeks late. Customers keep asking, but all we have is a few baskets of cherry tomatoes - and those sell before the market even technically opens. Hopefully, this week that will change. EVERYTHING got in late this year, due to us being so busy and the weather. I'm embarrassed to say that I just - 2 days ago - got the last of the leeks in.... Priorities I guess.

That being said, our plant sales at the market have been our best ever - several days in May above $1000. Plant sales make or break the year for us - produce just covers payroll, and provides little extra. Things are slow now though, and until tomatoes start coming in, we will be lucky to pull in $250 at any given market. Our main market is about 3 miles from us - is strictly a growers market, and is one of the biggest in the area. They stopped taking "new" produce vendors 2 or 3 years ago, so thank goodness we got in 7 years ago. We are also the only certified organic growers there, so I think that gives us a bit of a leg up.

Like every other year - this one has been challenging. One thing I did learn - (or re-learn) is NEVER get the early high tunnel tomatoes in late!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 4:30PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Ekgrows: I am so glad I have someone else in the same boat. Come next February til March, you bug me about tomatoes and I will bug you! e This is the latest I have ever had tomatoes to start to sell, in the last 10 years. Even before I had high tunnels, I usually had some in production. I try to remind the customers that our last frost/freeze was on May 18th.

Today was an good day. Market was slow, lots of people in from out of town. Lots of the regulars weren't there. We have harvest 50 pints of cherry tomatoes this week and sold everyone of them. I am waiting for the 50-75 a market, those are the days I am missing.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 4:41PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Mdfarmer, maybe your state is different but here it is not a tax write off to donate produce if you have a produce business. Any normal citizen can deduct it but if you have already deducted expenses evidently you can't deduct the produce donation.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 9:48PM
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I've commented many times here about the types of things that seem to sell well at the 2 markets I've done in the past 4 years - people will buy kale chips packaged in little bags in a factory, but won't buy fresh kale (something has eaten mine this week while I was away - prob. loopers). Bakeries and italian ice, sweet corn, peaches and sometimes berries - but only those vendors that have 100's of quarts of berries.

Minnie - I was wondering about that, looking at fed instructions it seemed to me that if I was writing off expenses (seeds, soil, etc.) that there was no additional write-off for donating plants (every year to church, this year also to food pantry), produce, or even jams and jellies I've been giving to Historical Society. If I find out differently from the state coordinator for food banks (making clear I'm a farmer) I'll let everyone here know. Wonder what grocery stores do when they donate stuff they've paid wholesale for, or things made in store bakery?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 10:24PM
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Our local market has completely turned around and is a huge success. I just wish I had more to offer. We have only had 2 inches of rain in over 2 months. We're hurting. I have all 5 acres planted, but things just aren't growing. I got good germination w/everything, but rains have hit all around but missed us.

My surprise success this year was gooseberries--of all things. I always sell out of blues, red and black rasps, etc. This year, I had people weekly lining up to take my gooseberries--and I had a lot of them. By the third week, I was completely sold out of everything in 30 minutes. Even black currants were selling. It may be the drought, but bird predation on the berries has been a nightmare. Anyone know a good deterrent besides netting (just not practical right now)?

Pretty much all I have to offer now are a wide assortment of alliums.

I was also supposed to have a building up in April. They haven't even started. I guess the miserable cold spring has concrete workers months behind. Oh well, the woods will have to suffice again for all the onions to dry.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 10:50PM
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there is no tax deduction for donating produce or other food that you raised or prepared yourself. the tax deduction is in the cost to produce with no income to offset the costs.
my weather conditions are like yours this year brookw. some things i direct seeded haven't germinated because of no rain. my potato plants are kind of small. every year the weather does something weird that gets us turned around.
at the market yesterday there was one other vendor with tomatoes, which were hydroponic and tasteless. i had about 30 lbs of hybrids and heirlooms from the high tunnels that sold quickly. i also had a pile of green peppers, some lettuce mix, a little basil, a few zucchini i left at 8 AM and was home by 12:30 PM including a couple of stops after the market. i guess i made around $150. good enough.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 6:15AM
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Thanks for clrifying that Randy. Just wondering, since I think I'm at the point (3 yrs) that I can't claim a net loss, if I donate all my leftover plants can I write off all the cost of seeds, potting mix this year - do I have to break out somehow the cost (%) of those I planted and produced for market vs the ones I donated? Same with produce - if I donate tomatoes that don't sell at market, do I figure % (weight) donated vs sold and figure that same % of growing costs as the donation value, or do I just figure my usual price per lb?

As I said, in the past I haven't taken deductions for any plant/produce donations since I was taking all my costs as business expenses but this year I think expenses might be limited to my income and no more (not great since I've got costs for materials for the high tunnel this year and I don't have the market to make the tunnel pay for itself at the end of the season - hope to make up for it by having earlier harvest and more sales next summer though).

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 7:40AM
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there is no tax deduction for donating produce or other food that you raised or prepared yourself. the tax deduction is in the cost to produce with no income to offset the costs.

I knew if I looked, I could find a way around that. Leave it to the IRS to make complicated exceptions to every rule. Of course this one has a "work sheet." They love work sheets. I put the link below.

Iowa has a special state tax credit: Other states may as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: IRS pub 526, Food Inventory

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 6:00PM
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Oh yeah, leave it to the IRS to make things complicated and throw in all sorts of penalties for figuring it wrong.

Nothing about plants, but I took 25 heads of lettuce that was starting to bolt to the food pantry. Don't know if that met the requirements (cosmetic only? I ate some and it wasn't bitter yet - but had to be harvested that day). So if I sold it for $1/head (which was probably too little, that's why I sold out at market that week), and seeds were say $1 (ignore potting soil, grow lights, electricity for lights and well pump) then my basis is $1. Trying to do this in my head, hope I got the lines right (not going to print out the worksheet and write on it now), I think I'm coming up with line 9 being $23, so subtract that from the $25 and line 10 is $2 (which is twice my basis, same as line 6). If my net income from the farm is negative again this year, I enter the smaller amount and I OWE the IRS money to donate food? If I just break even and net is zero, I have no deduction?

Now let's say my net income this year is a whopping $100, 10% of that is $10 and you take the smaller of the fair market value or 10% of your income so I can deduct $10?

This post was edited by ajsmama on Sun, Jul 6, 14 at 22:01

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 9:49PM
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i think the reality is that if you do this on a small scale as most of us do that the actual deduction isn't worth the time to figure it out. you have to itemize to take a contribution deduction. if you have no net income from this venture then you don't get a deduction.did you get a receipt for the donation?
the local food bank here gives out coupons to poor elderly folks to use at the farmers market. i have $12 of those coupons in my money box. my plan is to instead of turning them in for cash to return them to the food bank and let them use them again. i think those people need the $12 more than i do. i'm not counting it as income as i never received any cash.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 5:38AM
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I didn't get a receipt for this donation, I thought I might ask for receipt(s) for other donations this year but doesn't seem worth it.

Our state does the $3 checks (a number of programs, WIC, FMNPP, and senior FMNP though I think the last one ran out of money this year). I haven't had the training, I don't want the training or the crop inspections or the hassle with depositing $3 checks into local account (and penalties if you cash it before or after certain dates). If someone has to use assistance to buy produce I'd rather give it to them (and have) rather than taking checks - or the new EBT card.

You might want to see if those coupons have expiration dates - your plan might not work, might be better to just let the customers keep the coupons so they can use them.

As far as deductions (sorry for going OT), I'd just like to break even - or get tax break (about 25%) for what I do put into this. I don't know, if I stop doing this as a "business" since I am not succeeding, can I at least get a tax break as an individual to help put towards the cost of growing the food for the food bank? We itemize every other year, though of course I know the need is continuous so would grow and donate produce every year. I've "donated" produce in the past to the community dinner - never enough or in time to be used for the dinner, but handed out to the people who come. That could change if I stopped doing markets. A group at the church who runs the dinners started a garden last year and I've been helping them (more advise than anything, I only had time to help get blueberry plants in this spring), but it's a very small garden, more ornamental than productive, I'm going to help them expand in the fall but could donate more of my produce - just the problem that the dinner is same night of the week as market and they don't (AFAIK) have overnight refrigerated storage, they have to pick up all donations of fresh food that day, can use the fridge in the church kitchen for a few hours but not overnight (a couple of weeks ago they had cartons of cracked eggs donated from grocery store, they had to wash all the (plastic) cartons out, dispose of the cracked eggs, wash the good ones, repackage, could store in fridge (I hope) that day but had to hand them all out that night).

I started market gardening to try to earn enough to pay taxes on the land, that's not working out, but the past few years at market as I've met people in the area on assistance and realized that not everyone has the land (or physical ability) to grow their own food if they can't afford to buy it my focus has changed. A tax deduction won't help pay the real estate taxes but if I could get back 25% of what I put into seeds, potting soil and daylight CFLs each year that would help. Getting rid of the truck would eliminate the bulk of my expenses. Though in a drought I'd lose just about everything without the truck to haul water out back. If I didn't have to drive on the road (buy gas in cans and bring it home to fill), I could save a lot in gas and over $500 in insurance, could keep it just to run on my property?

I'm thinking if things don't work out with the HT making the "farm" more profitable, then forget "plant a row for the hungry", I might just plant 1000sf for the hungry in 2016!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 7:55AM
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Just curious, what size tank do you use to haul water and what kind of pump do you use for irrigating your garden from the tank? Our local county is offering irrigation water to be hauled away for just $1 for 350 gallons but I've never needed to haul water and not exactly sure what is involved here.
Also, am I correct in assuming that a 1/2 ton truck can haul about 250 gallons of water?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 1:46PM
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My short-bed truck has a GVWR of 6010 lbs and a payload of 1540. I have 4 50-55gal rain barrels, I only use 2 at a time, they're very lightweight, I place all the way at front of bed near cab and strap them in so they don't tip and I fill them with a hose then attach a short section of hose to hand-water. I do have to buy a small pump, it would be easier to use than gravity.

110 gal of water weighs 880 lbs plus maybe 20 for each barrel so 920 lbs nowhere near the payload my truck can handle. You have to check all the various ratings (GVWR, GAWR, and payload) for your truck, 250 gal might be too much esp. over bad terrain like our old logging trails. A half-ton truck used to have a payload capacity of 1000 lbs but now the term is used rather loosely so a new truck could handle more, but I don't know about a ton (250 gal) of water plus a couple hundred lbs for driver, the tank, etc. A 3/4 ton truck *might* be able to handle 250 gal but a 1 ton would be better (and might even be able to carry the 350 gal).

If you're towing the tank rather than mounting it in the bed that's a whole 'nother ball of wax.

This post was edited by ajsmama on Mon, Jul 7, 14 at 16:13

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 2:22PM
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Thanks, ajsmama. That was very informative. I might purchase a used 1 ton just for farm duty. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with nightmares about my irrigation system failing and the garden drying to a crisp!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 3:57PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

but you can deduct what you use for samples. So maybe just give out the food and call it samples? roll eyes

I am still fuming about the customer last week who thought I was the wife of the guy usually next to me because he was gone. I have been selling one spot over from this guy for 5 years and this customer never noticed me?! still pissed.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 11:17PM
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How can you deduct what you're giving for samples? You're growing it same as the rest and deducting cost of growing.

That would make me mad too - has this guy never bought from you before? Don't you have a sign with your farm name? I assume the absent vendor had. Some people are clueless.

On getting it all done - I tied up all my tomatoes along the fences yesterday, counted I have 200 in ground (plus 1 volunteer that will have to be pulled b/c it's too close to a transplant - I didn't notice it among the weeds along the fenceline a month ago). 4 dwarf varieties trialing in 13 pots on the porch (plus 2 Cosmonaut Volkov in half gal pots that look leggy but healthy, I may put in 5 gal buckets to see what happens).

Planted 16 more sweet (non-bell) peppers in east bed of tunnel to see what they do, that makes 96 in tunnel, 6 (5 of them superhots) overwintered in pots and need to be potted up, did just put 8 Hinkelhatz in 4" pots b/c they looked so good in cell pack and seeds are rare I'm hoping to sell plants. Have 3 Black Krim in 4" pots that look good, don't know if I can sell them now but I hate to compost them. DH didn't water the plants I moved into garage to shelter from Arthur so the rest are being composted.

I didn't count the bean plants but have about 70ft of pole beans, about that of bush beans. Melons really aren't growing (do watemelon plants need LOTS of water when they're 3" across?), cukes are slow, squash is growing but no male flowers yet. Cilantro is flowering - I'm leaving it to seed and attract beneficials, will sow more, dill is just starting but I need to sow more, have to sow basil I never got around to.

Been pulling bolting lettuce - trying to let kale flower (couldn't find Red Russian this year and used all my seed starting in March, got 2 plants in the garden and they're being skeletonized). Curly kale doing well but I'm going to seed more. Going to try carrots in tunnel since I have 36ft (x2ft) beds left on east side and that is nice fairly sifted fine composted manure (hope I don't get all tops, it tested Low in N but tomatoes and peppers like it).

So I talk to my sister (now down from Boston staying with my parents) yesterday, make plans to take kids to my uncle's pool (1/2 mile from me) in afternoon weather permitting. I said I don't like DD to be out from 10-2, so after 2 sounded good. Said I'd probably just work til noonish b/c it was going to be too hot, call my cell I'll have it in the truck. She said she'd call after lunch. I don't have any missed calls when I knock off at 12:34 after frantically working (not even watering peppers in, not pruning tomatoes, no weeding or mulching that needs to be done out back). So I eat lunch, go pot up those Hinkelhatz in garage, run back in, no messages on house or cell phones, prune blackberries, weed in house garden, general putzing, at 2:30 I try mom no answer at house, call sis's cell no answer leave message but it's starting to sprinkle so I don't know if they decided to go to movies or something. Hop on GW and post on a few boards, read weekly Ag report from state, etc. 4:45 no answer my parents' house, call cell, my sister answers and says they're at pool, just ready to leave! My mom told her not to call b/c l"ikely I was busy". If I was busy I wouldn't answer, or I'd tell them I couldn't meet them! She had said she was going to call after lunch and I piddled around the house waiting, then was getting a little anxious if they'd been in accident or something (with my DD) b/c no one was returning my calls!

We've got plans to go to concert at park tomorrow night, I have to get DD today to bring to fife and drum practice tonight, but I told them I was going to be busy today b/c it was supposed to be better weather than yesterday, I had things I needed to do that I had put off. How do you deal with people like this? My mom thought I'd be working and wouldn't have time but my sister and I had made plans to at least discuss the weather/pool/other ideas between noon and 2. If I had an office job and said I was going to take the afternoon off to be with them, even if the activity was dependent on the weather, wouldn't they have called???

I should have just gone back out and started seeding carrots.

This post was edited by ajsmama on Wed, Jul 9, 14 at 7:59

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 7:42AM
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Stuff like that happens all the time to us too (we've been selling for four years now). Things like:
1. "Is this your first year?" (from customers we've been seeing walking by every day for the last four years).
2. Taking a product and trying to pay a neighboring vendor for it.
3. Asking me if I'm really the farmer.
4. Asking me if I grew it (no I purchased it from the grocery store!!!).
5. Asking me if I'm the employee of another vendor, selling their products in a different stall.

I try to be amused rather than annoyed - what else can you do?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 9:56PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I hear ya! I am working on letting nothing put me in a foul mood. I did much better this week. Sold out of a lot of stuff and made way more than the 4th of July week. The farmer next to me got a kick out of hearing someone thought I was his wife.

I like to sell strawberries in containers -reuse plastic ones- but I never use strawberry containers because people think I am just reselling them. I got sick of showing my red fingers. So dumb because if you were reselling wouldn't you want to get them out of the strawberry containers? I explain that they are so fragile it is better to keep them safe in a container.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 11:01PM
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after taking all those tax courses over the years, I decided not to worry about any deductions for charity or samples. It's not enough to worry about. Sometimes it's just not worth the effort and worry. after all, you do donate $1,000 worth of food or even $2,000. You only get a % of the donations, and federally, it's still more cost effective, for me, to take the standard deductions. I don't have a mortgage or interest enough to do that.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 3:29PM
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