Your top sellers?

gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)October 3, 2004

I'm making plans for selling perennials, annuals, and herbs (and maybe some tomato plants) next spring. I've never done this before. Some questions-

1-What are your top selling perennials?

2-What are your top selling annuals?

3-What are your top selling herbs?

4-Which type of basil is used the most (I know there are several different types)?

Thanks,

Deanna

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reinbeaux(z8 WA State)

Areas of the country are different. In more citified areas (as I live in - the Seattle area) you will get people who have different tastes / culture / whatever you want to call it. Some areas you have people who want or are used to unique items (ie: "sushi") and in some areas you have people who only want the basics (ie: "meat and potatoes") Even though I am more of a "meat and potato" person I do love my plants - especially the unique / exotic / hard to find and grow to suit the "sushi" tastes of my customers (and put $$$ in my pocket) Some areas you would be better to stick with mostly the "meat and potato" type of plants - the basics that will sell in your area.

1-What are your top selling perennials? See herb answer too - I sell mostly herbs, small fruits, berries ---- top selling (other than herbs) : raspberries, currants, tropicals (banana plants, ginger plants, pineapple plants, cotton plants, anything unsuaul or impossible to find in the area)

2-What are your top selling annuals? I only grow VERY FEW annuals - all / most herbs : basil, basil, basil, parsley, cilantro, dill

3-What are your top selling herbs? besides basil - MINTS, lovage, thyme, oregano, rosemary . Mints definitely first - others not in order - it's cyclic - and ANYTHING martha stewart or emil (sp? - the french chef on the cooking channel) mentions on their programs I will be SWAMPED with requests the next several weeks - worth having someone watch them for you and take notes and bring LOTS of extras of those to the next several markets (or start them that day so you can say you will soon have them!) - also anything unusual / impossible to find such as: good king henry, lime balm / sweet cisely / etc. People who collect herbs will LOVE to find something they have been looking for and will ALWAYS return if you continue to have rare / hard to find herbs (they will also buy the commoner ones as replacements or for their friends)

4-Which type of basil is used the most (I know there are several different types)? Genoves, thai, purple, lemon in that order - I grow ten types of basil but those are the most I sell - the others I grow lots less of and some I grow specifically for nurseries that have requested them and take the rest I have left to market (lime, spicy globe, dwarf, etc.)

    Bookmark   October 3, 2004 at 3:53PM
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heidi41(z5 Mass)

Deanna: I don't sell at the farmers market YET(I will be next year) However I do have a roadside farm stand. Out here, we seem to have to "meat and potato" group of gardeners. I find that the basic everyday used produce sell the best. Big Beef and Jet Star Tomatoes. Bell peppers, Frying peppers and usually at least one type of jalapeno pepper. Yellow and green squash. The specialty ones don't sell as well. Heierloom Tomatoes do sell. I offer basil in both six packs and 4' pots. People tend to buy herbs in individuall pots more than in six packs. Slicing cukes sell better than pickling types. Flowering annuals sell quickly no matter what types are out. Just as long as they are in bloom. Most buyers won't buy flowers that aren't in bloom already. I am sure, however, that the Farmer's Market would draw in more diversity than my farm stand.(That is one of the reasons I am expanding) Good luck to you. HEIDI

    Bookmark   October 4, 2004 at 12:40PM
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annebert(6b/7a MD)

I sold at a couple of markets in DC metro area last year, and worked at the high end Dupont Circle market. This is a sushi market, but they liked meat and potatoes, too.

You can't go wrong with the bread and butter flowering annuals: petunia, impatiens, marigold, vinca, pansy, geranium. And coleus and dusty miller. Mums in big pots in bloom in early fall, which many people treat as annuals.

Things to try: ornamental peppers, calibrachoa, nemesia.

For herbs, lavender (use different named varieties, people will buy them all), oregano, lemon thyme, and rosemary sold well. If you combine culinary herbs like sage, thyme, oregano in an "herb garden", people like that, too. Large leaf basil sold the best. Thai and lemon do ok. Herb fanatics will also buy purple and cinnamon, as well as different kinds of thyme.

With perennials, it helps for them to be in flower, too. Phlox, different Rudbeckias and Echinaceas, and sedum (Autumn Joy and other like it) were popular. Baby butterfly bushes - easy to start from cuttings in spring - were big sellers for me.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2004 at 10:23AM
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reinbeaux(z8 WA State)

Yes - all sedums do very well here too. I forgot to mention cinnamon basil - that sells fairly well here - although probably wpouldn't do as well in a "meat and potatoes" type of market - unless, of course, martha or emil mentions it.

I forgot to clarify - even the "sushi" markets - you will sell all of the "meat and potato" plants well too --- just the "meat and potato" markets will not do well with the "sushi" plants --- although doesn't hurt to have some - there are people from out of town that visit and may turn their friends and relatives onto something new.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2004 at 2:41PM
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wbona(5b)

Well we sell only perennials, herbs and a few houseplants and here's our experience....

A plant can sit around in a pot for weeks or months and as soon as it's in flower...stand back! It'll sell. This is true from the earliest primrose to the final sedums. That rule aside, we have found that if we have a perennial that no one else has, that is, something rare, the serious gardeners will snap it up.

Something else we noticed is that if you have a whole tray of something, people are more interested than if you have one or two stray pots...
And then there's the unknowns...the tray of hostas that we bring week after week and don't sell one and then wham! Every one sells in the first half hour and then there's people looking for more! Go figure..

One plant that sold extremely well for us was lilies..they sold as bare bulbs, in pots, in and out of flower...didn't matter..whatever we brought in sold..and the more expensive varieties sold faster than the inexpensive...

On the houseplant side, lucky bamboo was very lucky for us...we consistemtly sell this week after week and people come back for more.

As soon as you think you've got it all figured out...something will happen to throw off your theories! That much I can guarantee.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2004 at 4:24PM
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reinbeaux(z8 WA State)

>>>Something else we noticed is that if you have a whole tray of something, people are more interested than if you have one or two stray pots... And then there's the unknowns...the tray of hostas that we bring week after week and don't sell one and then wham! Every one sells in the first half hour and then there's people looking for more! Go figure.. All it takes is for a popular cooking or gardening show to mention a plant or an herb then - WHAMO - it is the most popular sought after plant in the market. In the PNW we have Ciscoe on NWCN (North West Cable News) and ANYTHING he mentions as 'cool' is sought after - same with martha stewart or emil on the national shows. I don't get a chance to watch any of the shows (except maybe Ciscoe since they replay the show several times over the weekend) but I ASK people after about the third time I have been asked about a plant during a market why they are looking for it (especially if I've had it for several markets and no one previously wanted it) - 99% of the time it was mentioned on a popular cooking or garden show. My mints ALWAYS sell although I got a 1000% more interest after martha made an herb tea garden during one of her shows - and people wanted the different ones and I seem to be the only one that carries them (mints are a passion of mine and I now have 60+ varieties)

    Bookmark   October 5, 2004 at 4:35PM
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lushoasis(z8B/Coastal GA)

Perennials-tropicals--ginger lillies, bananas, bamboo or bamboo-looking plants

Annuals-interesting squash seedlings (8-ball, zucchetta, patty pan) did well this year accommpanied by pictures and descriptions

Herbs-basil and lemongrass

They buy whatever basil I happen to have...

One interesting tactic I used this year was to have "weekly specials" on plants I would not normally think of bringing to market. Those 3-gallon mystery cannas (the labels faded a long time ago) were swooped up for $4 each. And the bareroot variegated liriope I had to remove from someone's yard caught one person's fancy. I think some people are looking for a deal even if it's not your best-looking plant.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2005 at 11:26PM
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CorysProduce(z7 Maryland)

I only sell vegetables. Id have to say that my best veggie sellers are tomatoes and watermelons, and pumpkins in the fall. I plan to sell herbs next year though.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2005 at 1:29PM
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