carrot pricing

randy41_1December 1, 2011

how do you sell carrots? $x per bunch? $x per pound of bunched carrots? remove the tops?

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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Depends on the season and market. I sell mine bunched in the spring/early summer. I usually grab the tops at the top of the carrot and cut off the tops above that. I charge $2 a bunch. In the fall/winter I break off the tops and bag them up in pound bags for $2 a pound.

Carrots from spring:

Carrots in the winter:

Jay

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 1:41PM
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randy41_1

looks like 7 in a bunch. i'll have to see how big they are when i pull some for saturday.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 3:14PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Yes, 7 to 9 carrots. It depends on the size. Most of these bunches were close to a pound. The reason I don't sell with tops in the winter is most of the time it takes up too much space in my fridges. Also, the tops start looking pretty bad after awhile. My online winter customers know they are getting fresh carrots, you have to prove it to some at the Farmers market.

Jay

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 3:47PM
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myfamilysfarm

I wish I could grow carrots that look like those. The smell of a 'real' carrot smells SO good. Just have the customers smell them, that should make your case. Those cellophaned carrots in the store have NO smell (unless rotten, I guess).

Marla

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 6:11PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I thought carrots would be hard to grow, but I have been very wrong with that. Carrots have gone from never grown them, to planting over 1,200 square feet of them. My yields will be down this winter, because of the relentless heat in Early August, but we have sold almost half of them already.

The key to good carrots is getting them to germinate and then keeping them weeded for the first month or so. I lost 4 beds of carrots in May, tilled them under, because of weeds. It stunk!

Work alot of compost into your soil, work it up really deep and loose. Plant your carrots. I use my Earthway planter. Then cover the bed with row cover on the ground. Turn on the drip and let it run 4-8 hours depending on your soil moisture. Wet down the row cover 2-3 times a day. Once you see them coming up, remove row cover. The weeding is up to you!

I also tried flame weeding this year before they came up. It worked ok.

Jay

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 8:29PM
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boulderbelt(5/6)

I charge $3 a pound for orange and $4 a pound for rainbow carrots (orange, red, purple, white and yellow). i always cut the tops off as I find they tend to get soft in about 2 days if the tops stay on and sell them in bags by the pound. I have rarely had to prove to my customers that they are fresh and that I grew them but when that has happened usually a satisfied Boulder belt carrot customer would be near by and would come forward and vouch for their freshness and goodness and a sale would be made.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 4:14AM
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cowpie51

I do not know how you get $3.00 a pound for carrots. I sell my Danvers 128 which are a great sweet carrot for 1.00 a pound bagged with about 1 inch tops left on. Even the local Amish produce stands get 1.50 a bunch (which is about 2 # in a bunch) and they grow some of the finest carrots I have ever seen.
No wonder more and more people are starting to quit shopping at farmers markets. You do not have to gouge people to earn a decent profit.
By the way are local grocery store sells Local Michigan grown carrots by the 1 pound bag for 79 cents a bag.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 6:52AM
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myfamilysfarm

Different areas, the local grower get $3.50 for a very small bunch, small carrots and only 5.

I've bought those Local Michigan carrots and they still don't smell or taste like fresh carrots, since I'm in IN they're not shipped far either.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 7:34AM
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cowpie51

I get it , they put gold in the carrots, right?
People shop at Farm markets to get inexpensive, fresh local food. It does not make sense to pay ridiculous prices because someone grew them in their garden whether 1 acre or 20 acres.
With the current economy most people would not pay 3-4 times more for produce at the so-called farmers market.
That is why my fresh farm stand at home and the local Amish farm stands at their homes are doing such a brisk business.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 7:47AM
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rustico_2009

I would rather have people charging too much for decent food and some hot air, than lousy produce at any price. I do appreciate down to earth and fair most of all,but it seems not wise to ignore higher prices if that's what the people WANT to pay. You can't sell cheap for the neighborhood, If you charge too little they will doubt it's any good.

Last week I was at a market in a more typical suburban neighborhood. The first stand to the public traffic had squampkins and tiny green butternut squash culls for $1.50 #. That, too me, is a disaster for everyone there. How motivated is a produce savvy shopper to go to that market?

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 3:18PM
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myfamilysfarm

Customers at my area markets, shop them for FRESHNESS, not cheapness. My home market prices are almost the same as the market prices, but no complaints. Customers realize how hard we work and appreciate us doing the work, so they don't have to. They pay for the convenience of NOT having their own gardens.

Most farm stands are doing a brish business.

My bulk buys are not near as high as the small purchases, and customers know it.

Marla

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 3:20PM
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boulderbelt(5/6)

unlike you cowpies i grow Organically and my customers really appreciate that fact and are willing to pay a premium for my carrots which that all say are the best they have ever had.

Gouging? I don't think so as there are other carrots at that market that go for less and yet i still sell out. Seems to me I am in a better carrot market than you.

Not that that will be an issue for me as I quit the farmer market biz and I am now a happy CSA farmer who no longer has to think about such prices.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 4:34AM
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cowpie51

B.B. Are you certified organic ? Many of us growers would appreciate it if growers would not use the word organically in their statements if they in question are not certified organic as it is extremely mis-leading to customers. If the parties are not certified organic then they are not any more organic than the rest of the growers that are not certified organic.
There is no such thing as taking someones word in the eyes of the organic rules, said growers are either certified organic or not.
It is possible that large commercial farms border or are very close to some growers edible crop area,s and use sprays or chemical fertilizers that would render their organic status useless, especially with all the rains and runoff.
Another thing is if anybody that grows & delivers produce is a smoker they can contaminate their produce by smoking in the vicinity.

Here is a link that might be useful: Contaminating the air and anything close

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 7:12AM
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myfamilysfarm

Cowpie, If you remember BB has been certified for years and just recently did not recertify.

I do wish you could get the prices that other growers can get in different areas. Evidently, your area is much cheaper than others. I try to keep near the top of the other vendors in my farmer marketS and people do not complain about the prices. If they think prices are too high for what they are doing with, such as preserving, I ask them if they would work for less than minimum wage to get FRESH good. I have had NOBODY offer to come out to the farm and work for their food at less than 1/2 of the market price. I have offered.

By the time, you add up all of the expenses involved growing, harvesting, and selling produce, most market gardeners are NOT making minimum wage. None of my customers, at market or at farm, want to work as hard as my family works to get so little in return.

As far as the commercial farmer and the sprays, I did have a 50-100' buffer between my neighboring farmer and my garden, with trees and berries to help keep some of the sprays away. THEN I had another 50-100' before you got into the gardens. I believe, Lucy correct me if I'm wrong, for certification you must a buffer for that reason.

Plus for certification, the certifying agency doesn't just look at your records of what is put on for 3 years prior, but there are also soil tests that are taken to determine, if you are lying OR if something has drifted across and is in your fields. Organics are not easy to keep, I've checked into it, and I don't claim to be organic, but I know that the records that you MUST keep is a full-time job without doing any other work.

You can get anything online to prove a point, hubby and I have been going to school this fall, and it is amazing the wealth of 'garbage' that people post online without any proof except their own opinoins. Next semester, we will be studying soil science and hopefully I'll know more of the subject.

Marla

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 8:49AM
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cowpie51

Family Farm, you said the magic word "minimum wage". That is all that anyone can expect in this small produce business (less than 20 acres) especially the fact that most of put in 80 hours a week or more during the growing season and are very,very fortunate to make 600.00 net profit which is around 7.50 an hour for your 80 hours worked ( more realistically is about 5.00 an hour ) My produce is of good quality and fresh picked daily and i get what are local market bears.

Some examples: Carrots 1.00 # -----beets 1.50 for a 2# bag-----sweet corn 3.00 dz.-----pickles 1.50 a Qt.------
Cucumbers 2 for a 1.00----Full size tomatos 2.00 Qt.----
Cherry Tomatos 2.00 qt.-----green beans 1.50 #-----new red potatos 1.50 Qt.------Mature potatos .75cent a pound----
Salad mix and spinach 2.00 for a 8 oz. bag.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 9:08AM
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myfamilysfarm

Mark? (cowpie), My area prices are 2x or more than what you listed.

And the 80 hrs and hopefully $650, did you add in all of those hours that we do during the off-season. I take my total sales, minus actual expenses, then divide by the total annual hours that I work/think/plan/pray/and anything else regarding the market. I need to add cry when I see the totals.

I just hope next year will be better for all of us. This is a wish that I make every year about this time, before I start in again. Wait, I've already started for 2012.

Was in Sams yesterday, and found their display canopy for less than 1/2 price. To say the least, it came home with me. Just in the right place at the right time, with just enough money.

Here's to a better 2012, and each year after.

Marla

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 9:27AM
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tulsacityfarmer(6)

Cowpie;My customers always tell me they can not wait for my carrots. They think as I do how much better they taste than the ones in the stores. I can sell all I can grow. I�m just too lazy to put the work hours in to growing, weeding, cleaning and packaging to produce large amounts. I sometimes think of not growing them. THE a customer asks when will I have some and yes I continue to make my customers ( as you call them over charged but happy customers) who beg to pay me $3.50 a bunch.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 11:22PM
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randy41_1

i had just a few bunches at the market yesterday. i bunched 7 for $2. these were small. no problem selling them even though traffic was slow. i could have sold more but i ran out of time and energy on friday to pull more.
there should be some use for carrot tops......

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 7:50AM
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alan-in-calhoun-il

You know that this is really about pricing in general not carrots. I have really mixed feelings about this whole topic. I want(NEED) to make a good profit and yet I also want to be providing a product at a good value to the customer. Here is my thought. I double the price of production. so here it goes for tomatoes I charge $2 a pound and always round the dollar amount down for the customer. For instance if they get $2.25 pounds I round that down to 2 and charge them $4. If they are geting 2.6 pounds I always throw in an extra tomatoe and that takes them to 3 pounds and I charge $6.00. I do put small tomatoes in Quarts and ask a set price such as $3.00. We have several vendors who are organic who sell tomatoes for $3.50 a pound and seem to do well.
I sell peaches by the 1/2 peck bag and get $8.00 and I make sure it has a rounded top. I sell 1/4 peck bags for $5 because two 1/4 pecks have more than 1/2 peck. Dont ask me why. It just works out that way. My good friend and mentor sells his peaches by the Quart for $3.50 and makes more than I do per bushel.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 12:27PM
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tulsacityfarmer(6)

alan-in-calhoun-il, I also round off and feel my cust. are thankful and remember. But some items like carrotts and cut lettuce mix you will go crazy trying to get your time above min. wage.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 5:11PM
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myfamilysfarm

I have always rounded down, but I round down to the nearest quarter usually. Sometimes, when I really need to make as much as possible, I'll round to the nearest nickle. That way I don't have to keep pennies in my money box.

Marla

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 6:26PM
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