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Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Posted by ajsmama (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 6, 12 at 11:49

I'm thinking of selling new potatoes at market, might even have a wholesale (?) customer interested (if we can work out the handling/transportation issues - I don't want my produce to get a bad rep b/c they're bruising it).

So, to start off with, how much should I market a quart (app. 1.5 - 2 lbs?) of new potatoes, dug that day and NOT washed to preserve the skins, for? Then, how much of a discount should I give the town Dept of Ag to include them in 30 "sampler" baskets (kind of like a town-run CSA without the risk sharing b/c if I don't produce I don't get paid)?

I tried looking for new potatoes in grocery stores, but of course couldn't find any. Closest was small mature potatoes packaged in 24-oz bags for $2.99 ($1.99/lb). Should I stick with that, or think I can ask more? I don't know if many people know the difference between a small potato and a "new" potato.

Second, should I even sell new potatoes (other than perhaps a few to neighbors, maybe some at market - bring a few quarts to test the waters next month)? Or should I wait and sell mature cured potatoes (at $1/lb) for bigger yield and less damage, even though they're later and would be less per lb (or quart or 1/2 peck)?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I have always sold my potatoes as 'new' potatoes. I washed mine, since people wouldn't buy them otherwise. I got between $1-2.50 per lb. The $2.50 lb price was more recently, 2 years ago. My potatoes never got a chance of maturing, so sold out long before that.

You will need to educate the customers between 'new' potatoes (dug while plant is still alive, and less than 48 hrs ago) and B sized potatoes (skins not peeling upon rubbing-less than 48 hrs from digging). There is a big difference.

I would not sell any for less than $1 per lb, even wholesale.

Tip: don't try to sell the pea sized ones, mine were acidicy tasting.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I think we were at $2.50/QT last year. I washed them in a tub to get the bulk of the soil off - the vegetable washer would have been too rough on the skin - and sorted them somewhat by size. I always put them next to the green beans on the table just to boost people's thinking.

Your missing the best part of those little pea sized spuds, Marla. They work great for teasing Mother's cats with a slingshot. Of course I, um, "lost" that toy over that trick and have not seen it in years. Go figure.

Tom


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Didn't think of that. Are you going to try to sell them for that putpose, along with slingshots?

I'm surprised that you didn't have a warm bottom also.

For sorting, use chicken wire on a screen. the big ones will stay on top and the little ones (smaller than the holes in screen) will drop. Be sure to put a catching tray under.

Marla


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I'm thinking about walnut (or slightly larger) size. I was really hoping not to wash, just let the dirt dry and *maybe* brush them off, since I know the skins are so delicate,I'd like consumer to wash them just before cooking. I know it'll take some education, but there is just such a difference. I can't wait to eat them myself!

Just wondering if was worth the hassle of trying to educate consumers again, maybe take some to test the market, but forget about selling them to the town for their "sampler"?

I did just cut a few leaves here and there (beets, chard, arugula, kale, mizuna, dandelion, red leaf lettuce) and a whole head of Salad Bowl greenleaf lettuce for the neighbor. I had stopped by this AM to drop off some tomato plants, grandma was home and asked what I grew, I told her all I have are greens right now - she didn't know you could eat baby beet greens w/o cooking. She wanted 3 heads of lettuce but said things often went bad b4 they ate them, so I said how about 1 head, and you can get more later - it'll keep in the garden better than in the fridge! But I explained to her SIL what each type was when I dropped them off, told him to let me know what they liked.

I figure if I have neighbors who will buy even just a few things from me several times a week, I might eventually be able to start a CSA (one neighbor said they used to do a CSA 10 miles away but they doubled the price this year so I might pick up some business from them - esp. if I deliver - she's 8 mos pg and grandma from the other family is housebound and the only one home during the day).


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I would still wash them. I've never been able to sell them without being washed at least a little bit. I usually dig, but in 5 gal bucket, fill bucket with cold well water. Swoosh around, pour out onto screen (if available). Only 'washing' the ones with dirt really stuck to them.

Yes, if you can get enough neighbors to buy regularly, it will be great. I don't.

Keep in mind, if you deliver to everyone, a lot of time will be taken up with the deliveries. Maybe group the deliveries? If they have already been used to gathering in 1 place to receive, then it won't be a problem for them. Offer someone a discount if they arrange others to pick up at their place. Maybe 5-10 people in one spot??!

People these days want produce that need minimum cleaning. Washed potatoes are good for up to 2 weeks if refrigerated (if they last that long before eaten).

You might find that 'new' potatoes will be the only potatoes that you grow. Be sure to plant both red and white. Remind people that the red potatoes are lower in startch (especially the momma-to-be or any diabetics).


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Doesn't the screen tear up the skins?

I have Red Norland, Yukon Gold, and Red Pontiac. I know I should wash them for market, was hoping I wouldn't have to for neighbors (I brought grandma unwashed greens right out of the garden, told SIL to wash them). Don't new potatoes have to be used within a few days?

I don't mind delivering to people within 1 mile of me as long as I group them (or drop "special orders" off as I'm heading out somewhere anyway). We'll have to work out pickups vs deliveries. I'd rather do that than have everybody coming to my house all at once (no parking and no place to pull over if you meet someone coming in opposite direction down the driveway). Anyone farther away we'd have to arrange for them to pick up at market or something (I'd just have it all packaged up for them).

Back to one of my original ?s - do you think the new potatoes are a specialty item I should just market myself (very small blue-collar town) or might it work out to package them for the (more affluent) town's sampler? I just worry about handling.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Reading the answers, I am reminded of what a hostile climate I live in. There are only a couple of vendors at the market who sell new potatoes (a lot sell storage potatoes though) and the going rate is $6/lb. I kid you not. Storage potatoes are about $2-3 a lb.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Why's that? AFAIK, if you can grow "storage" potatoes, you can grow new potatoes, since they're just the baby potatoes. Or are the ones you grow for storage some special short-season type that matures quickly? Around here, the "storage" potatoes are the late (long) season varieties like Kennebec.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I'm not sure (not much of a potato grower myself) but I think it's because so many rely on selling potatoes and other root/tuber crops at market to carry them financially through the long winter. So a huge premium on new potatoes.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Yes they do not sell when unwashed, but be gentle. It really only matters for storage potatoes that you do not wash.
I sold by the quart but forget my price since I didn't sell any last year and gave the CSAs taters by the pound not quart. Was it $2, 2.50 or 3? hmmm I try to bring fingerlings to market since no one else has them and the guy next to me has lovely potatoes for people who want the same varieties as the store. But fingerlings are late and prone to potato bugs.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Minnie - are you saying storage potatoes will sell unwashed, but new potatoes won't?

Slimy Okra - I guess that makes sense - and I was kind of asking the same thing - how much would you have to charge per lb (actually per spud) for new potatoes to make up for loss of yield (weight-wise) in the mature part?

Has anybody got any opinion on letting other people handle/pack new potatoes? I would deliver packaged in quarts and wrapped in plastic (or if I could find 30 plastic clamshells) so I don't have to label with weight, but others would be taking the quarts out of the box and putting into each subscriber's box for pickup laster that day (or next day - they haven't told me when I need to drop off). Not sure about refrigeration (do you refrigerated new potatoes or do they turn sweet on you if you do that?).


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Yes, storage potatoes will sell unwashed versus new potatoes will sell better washed.

The screen will only sort, you don't push them thru. Just let them gently move across the chicken wire, the little ones will drop, then remove the larger ones.

Yes, there is different varieties for new potatoes versus storage potatoes. Red Norland, Red LaSoda are 2 shorter season potatoes that don't keep well. the varieties that don't keep well are used for new potatoes. Yes, you can have new potatoes from ANY variety, but most people will use the longer keeping potatoes for storage potatoes.

I have sold new potatoes both by the pound and by the quart. Mainly I sell by the pound, unless they are 'gravel' size (small enough to fall thru chicken wire). I have had people pick those small ones out. When I sell gravel potatoes, I get a higher premium, since I sorted them out. Usually $3-4 per quart. A quart is enough for 1-2 lbs of green beans, along with some smoke sausage or pork.

If you are delivering, then do package in quarts covered. I wouldn't put them in plastic bags, since the plastic bags will draw condensation and cause the potatoes to rot faster.

If you were closer, I bought 1,000 clamshells earlier this year for $75.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I have never sold storage potatoes. I would not have had the quantity. Picture little me out there digging 50 pounds for every customer's winter larder! LOL. I am saying storage potatoes should not be washed but new potatoes can since they will be eaten fresh. People want them bright and clean with lots of color. I recommend Red Gold. I was doing my first hoeing today and accidentally unlodged a little potato already. That is as much as 6 weeks earlier than I usually get new potatoes- which is the week of the county fair.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I planted late (everything seems to be running late this year, same last year though the weather hasn't been quite as bad). Mine aren't even starting to flower. Yeah, I agree digging storage potatoes from 60 plants without having harvested new potatoes would be time-consuming - not to mention the room required to cure them! I'm just going to leave a few in the ground for me.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Minnie, when did you plant, you should be able to find some small potatoes approximately 7 weeks after planting, or 2 week after blooming. Blooming does not always mean that the plant has produced.

We used to plant regularly between 100-500 lbs by hand, and dug by hand. You just don't dig all at one time, thank goodness.

For storage potatoes, I made contact with a larger potato farm. Never claimed that they were mine, just gave my customers an option to buy at less price (less middlemen).

Plus, if you don't know. You can move the moist dirt away from plant and harvest some potatoes, then put dirt back and water well. the plant will sometimes continue to produce. This only happens, if you don't disturb the roots too much and the ground is NOT dry. I've done a few times, it's more time consuming, but to get an idea if the plants are ready it works.

Storage potatoes around here are dug AFTER Labor Day, and by that time, the tomatoes are almost done. More time.

Marla


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

My potatoes have not bloomed yet. I planted maybe 6 weeks ago. The earliest farm fields are starting to bloom since it is very early this year here.
I dig all everything, and grow everything, all by myself. Digging sweet potatoes is the worst! I dig potatoes one morning per week and distribute them to the CSAs throughout the week. If I have no scab this season and have enough harvest, I am definitely saving for seed.
BTW I live in a potato community with thousands of acres of potatoes. It is not worth selling storage potatoes or normal potatoes at all because the farms sell sacks really cheap. that is why I specialize for market and make sure to cover the CSAs.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Minnie - it's just me here too (mostly - DH helps with the heavy stuff like pounding in stakes - yesterday while I was "strawing" potatoes with hay he "helped" by pulling all the tender young dandelion greens I was going to try at market on Friday with my lettuce).

Some of my potatoes are just starting to get flower buds - funny, it seems like it's mostly the Red Pontiacs and not the Norlands, some Yukons are budding. I've got flea beetles though (not many, I'm keeping an eye since I don't use pesticides).

Finally got all my tomatoes planted - on to peppers today (if it doesn't rain - looks like it, of course my dad cut and tedded his hay yesterday so it probably will rain today - BTW, Marla, did it rain there yet? I know you cut the other day too!).


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Minnie, scab CAN be caused by too much of fresh manure. Only very well old compost should be used on potatoes. I usually plant them the year AFTER I've used manure compost on that spot. Of course, since you're in an area with several potato farms, you may be more susceptible to it.

I've always planted green beans between my rows of potatoes and have not had any problems with bugs on either beans or potatoes, without using any pesticides.

As far as rain, the radar is showing that it might give us some in about 2 hrs, unless it goes just south of us (as it's been doing every time recently). Cross your fingers for us. Good news, son got all the hay that he cut, baled and in, and found more people to cut on. He's hoping to cut Wednesday, which should be after any rain that we might get is over.

Marla


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Marla - will green beans grow in really acid soil (pH 5.0)? I was thinking of planting some but didn't know.

Minnie - besides manure, an "ideal" pH will also cause scab - so plant potatoes in acid soil (5.0 - 5.2). I planted potatoes b/c my soil is so acid it didn't need much lime to bring it up (ahem) to 5.0. Of course you're supposed to rotate, so I'll lime in the fall and then will have to find a new place to plant potatoes each year, since everywhere I have amended is over 5.6 already and has grown other crops in same family.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

My ground is right at 7.0 and I can grow potatoes just fine as long as I don't manure too soon.

Green beans are alittle forgiving for acidy soils, some varieties down to 5.8, but 6.0 and above is great.

Another thing that like acidic soils are beets, if I remember from last semester's class. We studied soil science and the teacher really worked on everything that is important to soil.

Marla


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Beets and Swiss Chard may grow in soil that is slightly acidic but do not grow well at very low pHs. Glib and pnbrown offered some details recently in a veggie forum thread....their comments are down the page a bit. I remember the post because I especially respect their gardening knowledge and have had some trouble with beets in the past. I've seen photos of awesome chard growing in the holes of cement blocks used for raised beds. Lime leaching from the concrete raised the pH and helped the growth along.

Here is a link that might be useful: Beets and pH


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Now town is back saying they can take "plantings" July 26 (and some later dates). I don't know if they're talking about the edamame or the potatoes. I emailed again with prices, said I can't deliver that much edamame until end of Sept now (have to plant it, my 2 small plantings growing now won't be ready the same day and are not enough for 30 families) but can deliver new potatoes July 26 since they are flowering now.

I should be able to get 30 quarts off 60 plants, right?


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

From what I'm hearing, I don't think the town knows anything about growing and harvesting.

I'd walk away.

Flowering potatoes now will have large/medium new potatoes in 1 month. Most people do not recognize the larger potatoes as being 'new' potatoes, they expect small/medium size.

Marla


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I know - you'd think when I emailed 3 weeks ago and said edamame took 90 days they would have gotten back to me sooner, looks like they still want edamame between July 26 and Sept 6 and I already told them that wasn't going to happen unless they told me the beginning of June (and even then Sept 6 was pushing it). We'll see what they say about the potatoes.

I did tell them July 26 the potatoes would be larger than I really would like but if they can't take them 2 weeks earlier they get what they get. I don't have any tubers yet that I can feel so maybe they won't be too large in a month.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I think they are expecting too much, IMHO.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Well, I don't know if they are continuing this program next year. I have to see how the other farmers are dealing with it. Last year they had more subscribers but they split them into 2 different pickup days (same week) so it wasn't quite so hard to harvest enough. 30 in 1 day is a lot for a small farmer. And I don't know if everyone else has established fields and no problem harvesting that much, maybe they just won't have any of that item that week for their farm stores. No one else in town brings stuff to market - they all have stores. But 1 family that grows a lot of berries did say that it was too big an order to fill for raspberries last year, they were looking for someone to fill in the gap.

Potatoes really look like late blight - extension didn't get back to me today after I ran in leaf samples Friday, but I cut as much foliage as I dared, it's back. Just picked up copper fungicide and a sprayer, was going to spray today but T-storms all day. I'll spray tomorrow, starting with tomatoes, but it will really be a miracle if the potatoes last a month.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Eeek. Glad we just have scab around here. I know what causes scab and had years of it because I saved my own seed if it looked ok. Now I buy fresh. We have thousands of acres of potatoes and a ph of neutral to just above. Yes that is right. I have experimented with dropping ph with sulfur for the taters and it didn't do anything. My harvest was much worse but that might have been a fluke. It was not better however. This year I just sulfured half the potato beds. Guess which are doing better? The non-sulfured ones.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Well, I think my 99-yr old great uncle was right and this was just drought stress (maybe some gray mold and insect damage mixed it) b/c my plants are still alive and standing tall and quite green - a little brown and withered leaf margin here and there but the heat is coming back. I sprayed mid-week, and watered (about 1/2 gal per plant instead of the quart I gave them in the last heat wave) today - watering has been taking all day, even with the drip hose near the house (lettuce and snow peas - covered with tarp again for shade). Everything's looking really good except my bell peppers which haven't seemed to have grown at all. Still have lots of tomatoes in 4" pots starting to get rootbound - too late to sell at market so I guess I'll put them where I was going to put edamame - just wait til after the 90's leave (for a bit) on Monday.

I might even try feeling around again on the 4th for some new potatoes - would be nice to have for salad that night.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

  • Posted by magz88 5a - Central Ontario (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 2, 12 at 22:11

Glad this thread was made. We sold ours this past weekend at $3 per paper bag. I weighed them to 'around' 1.5 lb. So $2/lb. I probably should have charged more since they sold out quickly. Will keep them at $3 for next week but next year I will charge somewhat more.

I didn't wash them.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Thanks for reporting back magz - I will try to check this week for some but might be next week b4 I can get them to market. Never heard back from the town.

How many lbs per plant did you harvest, and when did you plant (of course you're in a colder zone than I am, but not by much, maybe I should ask when they flowered)? I'm thinking lbs per plant new if the average is 10 for storage? Maybe I'm counting my tubers b4 they're formed LOL but I'm looking at 300 lbs of new potatoes this month??


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

  • Posted by magz88 5a - Central Ontario (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 3, 12 at 8:44

Ajsmama,

This was the first year I had ever grown potatoes so I didn't keep great records and hadn't been planning on selling them at market - it was a trial run and I barely took care of them. I imagine there would have been a much better yield if I had watered them - it has been very dry. Here is what I can answer:

Planted April 21
Bloomed around June 19-22?
20 foot row of plants - not sure how many plants. I brought 12 lb to market and then we had an estimated 3-5 lb to eat ourselves.

I hope you get the 300 lb you are hoping for!


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I planted May 13, bloomed around the same time as yours (still getting blooms on red ones, Yukons have started yet), but I felt around a few more plants today, just roots, no tubers!

I'm going to assume you planted close together, so maybe 15 plants in 20ft row? Roughly 1 lb per plant then - so I'll just get 60 lb not 300 but that's OK, this was my first year too (bought about 10 lb of seed potatoes, roughly 110ft of row, 60 plants). That's IF we get any at all - I'm a bit worried now, it's been 7.5 weeks since planting, watering has been a bit inconsistent with 1-2" of rain at a time, but when temps were in the 90's I did water. Nitrogen was just "Medium" and I am getting flowers (though available P was Low, so I added rock phosphate). Is there any reason flowering plants getting at least 1" of rain per week would not form tubers? Is it the heat?


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

90 degree and better heat stops blights. i have it on some of my outside tomatoes as well as potatoes but now that its been so hot the blight quit. i did spray with copper so maybe it wasn't just the heat.
we planted 200 lbs of seed potatoes in 1200' at 1' spacing.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Well, whatever it is seems to have stopped, whether from the heat (though we have had rain too) or the copper. But why can't I find any potatoes?


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

  • Posted by magz88 5a - Central Ontario (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 3, 12 at 13:55

Maybe they need to be in the ground longer even though they bloomed a week ago? I think 18 - 20 plants on the 20 ft row I planted sounds about right.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I hope it's just going to take a little more time (and water?). The plants look so healthy, and I'm sure there's not an excess of N.

I just realized - though I counted 60 plants (separate stems) the expected yield for storage potatoes is 10-15 lb per lb of seed, so if say half that for new, I should only get 50-60 lb of new potatoes from 10 lb of seed potatoes. That's OK - I didn't know how I was going to dig, package, and sell that much anyway!


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

you should wait a few weeks at least from bloom to start digging new potatoes.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Saw the market master of my Friday market today, she said she figures 3 weeks from start of flowering, and says some people say at least a couple weeks from *end* of flowering. so give it another 10 days for next Friday market, or do you think longer since they started flowering about mid-June?

She also said old wives' tale that if you uncover any roots they won't form tubers - I thought if you covered them back up it would be OK (of course have to be careful not to damage roots)? I did a lot of feeling around last week, only a couple of plants today.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I usually get 6 lbs of new potatoes from each pound of seed potatoes. I wait 2 weeks after blooming to start to check. I have checked the potatoes and then covered back up with no problems.

This year is strange, our new potatoes are sprouting in the ground before we can dig them. Too hot? Too dry? Who knows, anyone else having this problem? They are Kennebecs. Usually grow Norland, Red Lasoda or Pontiacs, but this year couldn't get Reds only Whites.

Marla


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

OK, 60 lbs from 60 plants started from 10lbs of seed sounds right then. I'll check them again end of next week for market.

Sorry, no idea why yours are sprouting - maybe inconsistent watering since it's been so dry and then you did get some rain? Like they went dormant when dry and then when there was moisture they came out of dormancy?


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

don't know, that's why I asked.

I've been told that a "good potato farmer" will get 10lbs of storage from 1 pound of seed. 60% sounds good for new potatoes. I never did count on get a certain yield, every time I did, it backfired on me.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I've noticed that the new potatoes were sprouting here as well. I assume it's from the dry weather. I know that they are not sizing well compared to past years and even the folage is smaller in size. I am almost done digging the first planting and suspect that the second planting will be smaller yet. The ground is hard as concrete but once you get it broken open it just crumbles away so harvest is pretty easy (compared to mud). Guess just have to take the good with the bad.

Tom


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Thanks Tom, since we are basically in the same area, it's good to know it's not just the kids. Their first year of market gardening with advice from mom and dad.

Everything around here is smaller, field corn is tassling at about 4' instead of 6-8'. Beans not near as dense, Zucchini's are not even doing as well.

Marla


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

It was just a guess. I'm thinking they wouldn't have sprouted if it had just stayed dry/hot.

Tom - did it rain, or did you water after a long dry spell?

It hasn't been as dry or hot here, but rain/watering has been inconsistent so I'll let you know what I find (if I find *anything*!).


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

No rain of any account in ten weeks here - less than 1/2 inch. I do not have the spuds (or the onions for that matter) on driptape as the early crops (first planting of potatoes went in March 18th this year) under normal conditions are out before things dry up too much. Rather wish I had dripped them this year but hindsight you know. As of last Thursday (last time I dug potatoes) there was still some moisture deep (had the plow down about 14 inches) but just moist.

Marla, it looks like you have gotten some of that funny wet stuff from the sky in the last few days. I thought sure that we were going to get a nice rain Monday - started fireing up just to the west and built but for all the pretty red and yellow on the radar I got just enough to wet the sidewalk. The field corn here is like that - much of it about four feet tall and tasseling. Some of the fields are starting to burn up - there is one just west of the house where the leaves are browning. It will never make a crop. Beans have not closed rows yet - some are just eight or ten inches tall. The wheat crop was good and a lot of farmers second-cropped beans but I have not seen any of those fields germinate. Think it might have been a waste of seed.

The zukes have done OK until the last week or so - just too hot for the flowers to pollinate except for the yellow zukes (Sunstripes) which are going like gangbusters. So is the yellow squash - we actually sent a couple bushel to the auction last week instead of composting it). They are on drip.

Tom


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

The kids have been sending yellow squash, cukes and pickles to the auction weekly for the past 3 weeks. Make enough to cover the gas.

We got 1.5" one day, don't remember when, but that's all. There was rain that went south, and some that went north, but not us. Might have been a good thing, we were able to backfill around the house yesterday/today, so now it can settle.

Sheila, both Tom and I haven't had enough rain for crops to produce without some type of watering. I bought that drip tape, but haven't got it installed. Did get the landscape fabric down on several rows and that's helping some. Keep hoping for a good 2" rain, but not in the forecast. Good news, weather forecaster is calling for the 100s to leave around Sunday, and highs to be only in the 80s. We may have to bring out the sweats.

Marla


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I am in southern Wisconsin. We have not had rain for what seems like forever. Tomorrow will be the fourth day with temps above 100. I have all of my potatoes on drip tape. We have been putting on around 1.5 to 2 inches a week. We planted early-mid May and are taking out new potatoes. We dugg 17 plants and got 17lbs of Red Norland-New Potatoes.

We are charging $3/lb to our chef customers and no complaints. I put in 100lbs of Red norland spaced at 1' apart. We dug about 15-20ft of row. There is around 100ft of row.

If I would not have had them on drip tape I would have been SCREWED. The only good part about no rain is that there are very few weeds in between rows. There are some starting, but I am done weeding. I will be taking out all of the norlands over the next few weeks. The Kennebec and Yukon Gold were planted at the same time and are almost done flowering.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

The last rain that we have received in west central Indiana was June 16 after 2-3 weeks without. This has been so dry that we're not getting weeds to grow either. Unfortunately, that means the cows don't have them to eat, since the grasses have almost died out.

Today it supposed to be record heat, hotter than the 1930s dust bowl years, and i believe it. Another 100+ day tomorrow, but a cold front is promised(LOL) for saturday night. Next week is supposed to be 85 or so for highs, sure hope so.

Marla


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

How have you been watering if no drip tape? Overhead? Inconsistent watering causing dormancy/sprouting cycle was my best guess.

I watered today since we had 0.30" of rain the past week and it was 90 again yesterday. This week supposed to be more moderate (lows int he 50's again!) but only 10-20 chance of rain each day. I pulled 1 Pontiac the potato beetles were pretty much defoliating (they moved over a row - started with Norlands, Yukons are in that row too but they seem to be leaving alone). Got a couple good-sized new potatoes (upper left in picture).

Checked others as I was watering, didn't look like Norlands were done flowering either, and 1st one I pulled only got some tiny nubby spuds - any idea what's going on with those (center of pic)?

The next few I felt around for were Yukons - the plants are taking the heat much better than the reds, I was surprised to find them so big, but the skin scratched with just my fingernail - very delicate. Will people buy them "new" this size, and with the pink spots? Will the pink spots go away if I leave them in the ground longer?

Tried 1 more Norland just to see - instead of pulling plant I dug around like I did with Yukons and found some full-sized ones! Quarter for reference. Do I dig these all Friday for new potatoes, or do I cut off the plants and let them cure since they're so big already (I know Norlands aren't a good storage potato, but I'm wondering how to market these).

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App

Not sure what the market master had (they were reds), but hers were all scratched up - must have used a fork, and/or the skins on her reds were as delicate as my YGs. She was selling $1.49/lb. I bought a used scale off eBay, don't know if it will be here this week - should probably plan on selling by the quart or "bag" for now.

One more question - do I have to protect these from light? MM didn't - had hers all in 1 big basket, but maybe they weren't exactly "new" (she planted earlier) and had cured a little?

Thanks


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Nice looking spuds. We have been digging as needed - about 1 bu/week. I personally think they keep better in the ground than in the air. Once they are dug we wash then store in the shade (either on the screen porch or in the trailer). The ones smaller than a golf ball in general go into pints at market and the larger ones in a crate next to them and sell by the pound. We mix the Yukons and the Pontiacs together and it does not seem to affect sales and the combo of red and golds looks nice. The Yukon's skins are very tender but a little pealing does not seem to put off buyers. I've never noticed pink spots on the Yukons so do not know what that is all about - does it effect only the skin or is it also in the flesh? I suspect that it would not be a huge problem.

Tom


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

The skins are supposed to be fragile, like you posted. That's how a customer can tell that they are 'new' and freshly dug.

Don't know about Yukons (never sold well for us).

Yes keep in shade. The whites will turn green in sunlight, and the other colors will turn also, just not as noticeable.

I've never heard about cutting the plant and letting the potato cure in the field. We've always dug AFTER the plant has died, storage potatoes are done that way. Even the big new potatoes sell.

Marla


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

The YG are just more fragile than the reds it seems. As big as they were, I thought maybe the skins would have toughened a little. Any way to keep from shredding the skins when digging/handling?

I guess I will have to package these (at least the YG) in paper bags and let people peek but not keep them out at market, so they don't turn green? Don't know how well "hidden" produce will sell. My scale won't be here by Friday so I have to package somehow anyway. I do have a transparent but green-tinted underbed box I was going to use for transport, solid green lid, can I put quarts/pints in that and put the lid on in the truck, then uncover but keep under EZ Up at market?

I did email the town again and said I was digging the Norland this week, YG could be dug this week or could wait a couple of weeks and I'll dig them with the Pontiacs. We'll see if they want 30-60 lb at $2/lb.

I'm a little disappointed in market last week - I took twice as much lettuce as I did last time (when I sold all but 1 head) and have over half left. Even at half the price (trying to get rid of it before it bolted). So it seems 5 gal of lettuce is the limit per week for this small market. One customer commented that he doesn't normally get off work til 6pm, was a little early this Friday so could make it to market.

How many lbs of new potatoes should I try? Hate to be stuck with them - though if they don't sell with a sign on the road this weekend I guess I can always make potato salad.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

  • Posted by magz88 5a - Central Ontario (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 9, 12 at 13:03

Are your nails cut short? I don't know if the skins are coming off more due to them. If its just from your skin touching the potato skin their probably nothing that you can do.

If you have them in bags put one bag on its side on the table and have the contents sort of spilling out so people can see it. You are right - hidden produce is harder to sell, although some people will still ask for it if they see it listed on your price sign.

How many heads of lettuce did you sell? Maybe bring the same # of units of potatoes plus 10% when you first bring them.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Town wants them - said all Norlands but I don't think I'll have enough, just offered them 30 quarts of mixed red and gold for $3/qt if they want them I have to dig Wed night and deliver Thurs. Pushing to package in paper bags with an adhesive seal/label to protect from sun and spillage. So I may not have many for market on Friday, but there will be more next week.

A quart should weigh about 1.5 lbs, right? I just dug 6 potatoes, they were just over 14 oz.

My nails are pretty short, I also found today even the reds are ripping a bit from pushing the dirt off of them. No running water down there so can't hose them off - going to have to live with it. If the town will take them "dusty" then they might not be too torn up when the consumers get them - I hope.

Hard to tell how many heads I sold last week since I cut them loose, but not many - 5 or 6?


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I sold several pounds of new potatoes each market, especially I taught the customers about 'new' potatoes versus small potatoes. The fragile skin is how to tell. I don't have long fingernails, but even short nails can remove the skin. That's a good thing when you can show them how thin the potato's skin is.

The white/gold potatoes will work just fine for a few hours, but don't try to keep them in direct sun for more than 4 hours. I always had my EZ Up up, so I had shade and I made sure that the potatoes and beans were in the shade. Tomatoes usually got the sunnier side.

Glad you got a scale and EZUp.

Marla


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

OK, they said they'd take 45 lbs of mixed new potatoes in 30 paper bags - I figured about 1.5 lbs per bag for a good family-sized serving, want to sell $3/bag but they keep talking about lbs and I don't have a certified scale yet. I know 32 qts is a bushel and a bushel of potatoes should weigh about 60 lbs but I don't know if I can get 60 lbs (or 56 lbs) in 1 day from 60 plants so might not be able to make a full 30 quarts. So how do I label/charge for these? I could ask the PO to weigh a bucket full for me and then just divide by the number of bags I get out of the bucket? Town wants to buy in bulk, but if I am packaging I have to put weight or volume on package.

Should I just sell the town 3 pecks of potatoes for $30/peck and let them package them, give them bags and address labels?

Oh, and how to dry them if I pick and wash on Wed afternoon? Lay on a tarp in the basement overnight, and go down early in the AM to move them and dry with paper towels before covering/packaging to protect from sun (we do have 1 small east window and a larger south window in the basement)? Dehumidifier running or not (our basement is pretty humid if not, good for storing potatoes but maybe not for drying)?


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I would let them package them. Also drying them by letting them sit overnight single layer should be enough. I wouldn't try to use the paper towel.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Thanks - I was just afraid of wet spots causing rot (and soaking through the thin paper bags causing them to rip). Maybe I can gently pat (not rub) them dry with an old beach towel before putting them back into the (dry) covered buckets to deliver them in, if I find any are still damp. Run the dehumidifier or think that will dry them out too much? I think DH is trying to keep it 50-60% down there, but I can tell him not to run it tomorrow night so it climbs to 80-90%. Fine line b/t trying to dry them off and making sure they don't shrivel, with their thin skins!

Can't wait to get that scale - it'll probably come Sat when I'm gone (getting my PC gauge tested), or early next week. Plus the guy sent it Parcel Post not UPS like he said, mail carrier isn't allowed to come down driveway so I'll get a notice, then have to go pick it up at PO a day or 2 later...might have in time for next week's market!


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

OK, advertising help needed here - how about this wording for (big, only fit 6 on 8.5 x 11 sheet) bag closures (don't want to call them labels) the town will apply to seal the bags?

"Gourmet Mix New Potatoes

Red Norland and Yukon Gold potatoes, grown without chemicals on our 100-yr old family farm in (town running the program, also where my fields are located), CT. Thin-skinned and freshly dug while the plant is still blooming, these potatoes are a gourmet treat available only for a short time each year. Lower in starch than mature potatoes, these little gems are best boiled, steamed, or roasted. Try them in potato salad, for a clambake, or simply tossed with olive oil or melted butter and your favorite herb. Store in dark, cool, humid, well-ventilated area and use within 1 week. Wash before use, be careful with the skins!

(Name) Farm
mailing address and phone number in different town (put physical address in sponsoring town in parens?)
Proud CT NOFA Member"

Do I need to give a volume or leave room for town to write weight?


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

  • Posted by magz88 5a - Central Ontario (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 10, 12 at 11:00

I work in packaging. Your content is good but a bit wordy for a bag tag.

I would keep the first sentence and add 'new' in front of potatoes.

Delete the second sentence.

Keep 'Lower in starch than mature potatoes.' and delete the rest of that sentence.

Delete sentence 4 and possibly sentence 6.

What you would be left with would still be a bit wordy - but not so bogged down.

My 2 cents.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Thanks - I just don't know if people know what to do with new potatoes, and what makes them different from "baby" potatoes they see in store. I could tell people that came to market, but since I won't be seeing these "CSA members" the town is distributing to, I don't know how to get the message out.

How about "
Gourmet Mix New Potatoes (Red Norland and Yukon Gold)

Grown without chemicals on our 100-yr old family farm in (town sponsoring the sampler), CT. Thin-skinned and dug while the plant is still blooming, new potatoes are available only for a short time each year. Lower in starch than mature potatoes. Store in dark, cool, humid, well-ventilated area and use within 1 week. Wash before use, no peeling necessary.

Name, mailing address, phone and email of farm (should I also put our tax address in town, though we don't have frontage on that road so can't get here from there?)
Proud CT NOFA Member"


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

  • Posted by magz88 5a - Central Ontario (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 10, 12 at 12:03

Sounds good.


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Tax address

  • Posted by magz88 5a - Central Ontario (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 10, 12 at 12:05

I wouldn't bother with the tax address.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Just wondering b/c this is supposed to be a "sampler" from farms in town, and my mailing address is in another town. OK since I mentioned we grew them in town?


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

The plants should not be blooming. The plant is still alive, not died off like storage potatoes.

You will be surprised how many people know exactly what to do with new potatoes. I'm really suprised that you don't. Ask some older person. Alot of them will use new potatoes with fresh shelled peas or green beans. Just cook together with a piece or two of bacon or smoked sausage. One customer stated that if you didn't have either leftovers to last the week, you needed a bigger crock pot.

Marla


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Marla - I never had new potatoes, I've never grown them before and neither did my parents. Plus my mom is not known for her cooking. I gave her a few of the first new potatoes I took pix of to cook for DD to try since DD doesn't like potatoes, I thought these would change her mind, and my mom let her try one RAW! Now I'll never get that child to try another potato - though she wants to help me dig.

My grandma used to make green beans with bacon (and bacon fat) but never put potatoes in the mix. I've had small potatoes with peas before (and love pasta with peas), so that sounds good, even if the new ones aren't as starchy. I don't eat bacon nowadays, but we eat lots of turkey kielbasa, so if I find some fresh green beans maybe we'll try that ourselves.

Both "recipes" would have been way too wordy for a "label" as magz pointed out. I was just going by what I found on the internet as best general methods of cooking - steaming, boiling, or roasting rather than baking or mashing.

Oh, so far as digging when blooming - some of my plants are still blooming, so I put that rather than "alive" b/c I didn't want to gross some citified people out by implying that you dig mature potatoes when the plant is dead (which of course you do). I know it's technically incorrect, we won't dig the ones that are still blooming though I am going to feel around everywhere to try to get the 45 lbs I promised today. I can take that sentence out if you think it's misleading.

OK, off to dr's and then to digging! Thanks for the help.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

That explains. Raw potatoes, are great. I've found that 'new' potatoes sell themselves, maybe it's a regional thing.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Maybe it is. I think people here will think "new" means "small" as you mentioned early on in this thread, since you don't see them in the stores (I've been looking for price comparisons). Of course all the restaurants advertise "new" potatoes but they really aren't, so I figured people would just cook like small mature potatoes.

I've seen my mom eat mature potatoes raw - just a slice- while cutting them up, but those are starchier and frankly I've never heard of anyone else eating them that way. Neither had DH. Is that actually a wide-spread practice? I mean, people don't typically munch on a bowlful of raw potatoes do they? Maybe it's an acquired taste - but it was a mistake to give the kid who doesn't like veggies a raw potato. I just figured that was my mom - she also used to peel summer squash and cook it to mush, and the first time she made refrigerator pickles she peeled the cukes. So if she had cooked the potatoes she probably would have peeled them - but she just gave DD one of those little "nuggets" and she popped the whole thing in her mouth.

So forgive my ignorance - I grew up in a culinary-challenged environment LOL!


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I only got 12 lbs of Norlands and 8 lbs of YG. 4 lbs of Pontiacs (plus one huge one that looked like it had gotten slashed - from a sharp rock? - when I was feeling around earlier and ants had started eating it).

Town may not take them, the coordinator wasn't happy though after I dug the Norlands I emailed and she said to dig the rest, she'd call around to fill the rest of the orders since she'd already emailed subscribers to tell them what was in the basket this week. I warned her I'd be lucky to make 30 lbs total, not 4, since almost half the seed potatoes were Norlands.

All the potatoes seem to be growing very close to the surface and clustered near the stems. Found some maybe as far as 6-7" away, but nothing deep and nothing far out. Soil is sandy loam, not clay - but is it too heavy? Nothing growing in the hay I piled around the stems (I don't know how deep DH hilled, when the first leaves came out I just pushed dirt up the stem a few inches, when the plants were a foot tall or so I asked him to hill and as they got taller I just piled mulch hay thickly around them). I did plant within a foot of each other to try to get smaller potatoes but it just seems I'm getting some pretty big ones, just not many.

I'm not too disappointed in the Norlands, 12 lbs of new potatoes (and I left the smaller ones in the ground) from 4.3 lbs of seed isn't too bad for a first-time grower, the YG are still looking good (if they don't give up the ghost from all the rooting around today), and it's still early for the Pontiacs (ditto). But I thought potatoes put out tubers pretty far out and deep?


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Ok, the first question, do people eat a bowlful of raw potatoes, not that I know of. No you don't need to peel new potatoes, I don't like the taste of storage potato peels, but I don't mind 'new' potatoes skin and all.

Raw potatoes are good for 'pulling' infection out of a cut or anything. Old wives tale that works. Be sure to put 'cut' side on skin. It will turn black, replace as necessary, when potato does not turn black, infection is gone. It will take overnight for each potato.

Your potato that has a large dent or split, probably did try to grow around a rock. If ants are trying to eat it, you will need to dig the rest before they eat them all.

If you have been as dry as we have, you're lucky to get 12lbs out of 4 lbs of seed potatoes.

You did 'hill' the plants several times over the season, right? You need to cover each plant and only leave a few inches of 'tops' each time. If you didn't, that will explain part of the lack of production.

Irish potatoes do not go deep and far, but sweet potatoes do. Totally different plants.

the reason your mom peeled the cukes was the skin on older cukes are tough and will get tougher after pickling. I've always have cut most of the skin off, even prepping in a restaurant.

I don't class myself as a 'great' potato grower, but I have been growing and digging for the past 50 years. Grandpa always had us grandkids help when he dug the taters. He said, we were closer to the ground, and he planted 50# or more EVERY year, usually were the pigs were fenced the previous year.

Marla


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I thought you meant raw potatoes were great to eat. I know you don't have to (or really want to) peel new potatoes.

We haven't been extremely dry like you have since mid-May when I planted these, June was really close to normal rain but we have had some really HOT days and so far July has been dry. I've only watered 3x, thought if plants looked green they were OK and some of the tubers were really big as you saw in picture so ??? But no, I was trying to use hay instead of soil to "hill" them (a la Ruth Stout method) but nothing grew above the soil line so maybe the hay wasn't wet enough (just kept the ground moist and cool enough to let those few grow). Live and learn - next year we hill way up with soil. If I grow them next year - have to find a new plot, everywhere else I've been growing tomatoes and peppers and/or soil pH is too close to neutral.

Haven't washed them yet and there is condensation in the covered buckets - guess I should wash them even if not selling them til Friday? Or lay them out to dry but don't wash til tomorrow (AM if town wants them at 3, PM if selling at market on Friday)?


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

close to neutral is just fine, but potatoes will tolerate more acid soil more than other plants. Yes you should not plant in same spots as tomatoes/peppers/eggplants were the previous year. I've done it without any problems, but there again, I've done alot of things that you aren't supposed to do.

Raw potatoes are great to eat, a few at a time, not a whole bowl full.

Take those potatoes OUT of the buckets ASAP, and spread them in the shade on a non-plastic/rubberized cloth. You don't need to take to basement. Go ahead and wash them before you lay them out, it's easier to get clean. Just hose them off with garden hose, you shouldn't need to scrub them. Just keep them in shade to prevent the greening problem. I used to pick up potatoes from a farmer friend on Friday, he dug on Thursday for sales on Saturday with no problems. I did have to make sure that the potatoes didn't stay moist/wet. I packed them in cardboard boxes with lids.

He sold 100s# of potatoes each week, mostly to me. he would mow the plants off, then run a middle-buster down the row, pick up the taters, rinse them off over a chicken wire screen placed on concrete blocks, then put them into the cardboard box for me to pick up. He kept the boxes in a darkened garage til I picked them up. I would pick up sometimes 10 boxes of 30-40# each for each weeks order. I ordered on Wednesday and he picked to order.

I got alot of stuff from him, up to 1/3 of his 28 acres of produce. Plus I learned alot from him. Thank you Mike.

marla


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I'm learning a lot from YOU, Marla. Thanks.

I did get the spuds out of the buckets and spread out to dry on cardboard in the basement even b4 you posted last night. Turned them over and look dry today. Will have to wash them later.

I could rig some shade up, but basement is probably best place for them, so the turkeys (and chipmunks, etc.) don't get them anyway. I think wild turkeys will try anything.

Town doesn't want them (after they told me to dig the other half!) so now I have 24 lbs to sell tomorrow at a market that doesn't start getting customers til the last hour, and the MM selling her potatoes for 2x what I plan on asking for these (like I said, hers didn't look as nice, and I think they were small storage potatoes since she planted earlier, though if I have to drop my price I will). DH is going to ask around at work today.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I'm glad I've been able to help, wish I could be nearer to be able to 'see' and help.

Price the same as hers, or more, that way you're not upsetting her. Most likely her's are new potatoes, just planted earlier. Storage potatoes don't get harvested until late summer/early fall, around here after Labor Day. Your leftovers, if you have any, first try them yourself. Next, refrigerate them, and take them to market next week. They will still be 'new', just not as new. If I can peel the skins, by rubbing my thumb against the potato, I stay with 'freshly dug new potatoes' otherwise, just 'new'. Storage potatoes are dug and cured in the air for at least 2 weeks and the plants were dead when dug. Just watch out for soft spots and don't sell them (but the chickens will love those).

You will need to dry your potatoes AGAin, since you didn't when you dug them. then dry again, the drying time could be as much as a few hours (most likely less than 4-5 hrs). The ideal drying rack is an old screen window or door, so air can get all around the potatoes. If you wash them this morning, by afternoon, they'll be ready.

Marla


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I was out watering this AM, just got back in to check forum. I have an old screen door and faucet in the garage, will see if I can put screen up on cinder blocks to wash/dry in the shade and away from critters. Just have to get them out of the garage b4 DH comes home and drives into them! Thanks

If MM is still selling hers tomorrow and still $1.50/lb, I will plan on starting mine at $2.50 (I told town I'd start at $3/lb but that was before I had so many in 1 week!) and lower it to $2 if they don't sell quickly. It's odd, people around here will haggle over produce and say they can get it cheaper at the grocery store (even if it's not the same thing - e.g., compare my chemical-free produce vs conventional instead of organic) but then have no problem spending $50 for a few bottles of olive oil (truffle oil is the most $$ they sell), $8-10 for jam, or $5 for a loaf of bread at the same market. The bakers probably make the most money - they certainly have the most business. Of course, they have to have commercial kitchen which is big $$$ too.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

  • Posted by magz88 5a - Central Ontario (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 12, 12 at 11:59

Why do you have to sell quickly?

At our market that runs from 8-12, it is busiest from 9:30-11. If I based my prices on what sold between 8 and 9 I would be selling very cheaply.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I figured they wouldn't keep well, didn't want a bunch for next week. So if they don't start selling AT ALL (I know it's slow from 3-4:30) by 4:30, I should lower my price to sell by 6? Or keep it the same but lower next week? Will I have to find fridge space for all these for the next week or will they be OK in basement (in cardboard box)?

Screen pulled out of the splines so I've got spuds drying on the wire racks of my baker's rack style greenhouse, with EZ UP side draped around to block light, had to put newspaper on some shelves to keep smaller spuds from falling through. seems a little warm and humid in garage - think I should move them all back to basement?

Keep half in cooler tomorrow, and other half out on table (use sidewalls to block sun)? DD noticed the YG don't look as "pretty" as the red ones - should I separate or mix?


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

The basement should be fine, just sort them.

I thought you said her prices were 1/2 of what you wanted to charge. No $2.50-3.00 is a good starting point. If you don't have any splits, be sure to market them as 'hand dug' along with the freshly dug. You should be able to get that. Also remind the customers that if the skin can be rubbed off, THAT'S what a 'new' potato is, truly thin skinned.

don't lower the price until the LAST hour of market. and after tasting these spuds, you might not want to lower it at all. People can't buy 'new' potatoes at the grocery stores, the potatoes have been dug for too long for them to be 'new' (unless they have a local source and change them every 2-3 days).

While you are at market, don't worry about the sun (unless you don't have your canopy). I would definitely separate the varieties, not so much the 'prettiness', but some people prefer the YG over Reds

Again, I bet, you'll be sold out before you know it. New potatoes are ones of those things that sell like 'hot cakes'.

I would put those ones that fall thru your rack, into qt/pt baskets and sell them separately. Maybe mixed red/yk, but little ones. They will sell faster.

I think you just need some hand holding...don't worry about things, it's easier on you.

Marla


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

  • Posted by magz88 5a - Central Ontario (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 12, 12 at 17:42

I would suggest not to lower your price at all during the same market. You don't want people thinking if they wait until later in the day that they can get a deal from you. Plus, I think it may give off an air of desperation - especially since you are fairly new (I think - unless I am confusing you with someone else).


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I have lower my prices occasionally, not on a regular day. But I have changed the prices, calling it 'today's special'. By waiting til almost the last, you can get the best price for as long as possible.

Another thing, how quickly does the MM sell out. If she sells out quickly, her price is too low. If she doesn't sell out, then her price is about right. Always check other vendor's stand AT the END of market to see what's left and what the end of market prices are. Of course, you are also comparing equal quality. You might also ask, how many/much did they buy.

2,000 lbs of potatoes wouldn't sell out as fast as 20#.

Pricing is one of the hardest part of marketing.

Marla


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

No magz, you're not confusing me. It's only my 2nd yr in business, and (obviously!) my first growing potatoes.

Marla - thanks for hold my hand. I do tend to be a nervous nellie. I saw the MM at a different market last week with the potatoes - at Friday's market I was too busy setting up b4 market to look at her stall, and she came by and took down the market sign 15 min b4 end of market, then started packing up, before I was willing to call it a night at 6pm on the dot. I will look tomorrow to see what/how much she has. So think I can start at $3/lb (ish, still waiting for scale)? DH just got email from coworker I sent a tomato plant and last week's lettuce (I picked through to make sure no soggy bits) for free this AM - he wants 1 lb each of YG and RN for $3/lb, will send in with DH. But this is a 6-figure salary guy. Market is in much lower income town.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Keep the price at $3, and tell people that you have other people that you have other people willing to buy them at that price sight unseen.

We had a MM that was taking the signs AND the road closed sign before the end of market ONLY because he wanted to go home. It made things bad and dangerous for the rest of us. If the sign isn't too heavy, volunteer to remove the sign if she wants to go home.

Marla


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Yep, I can sell them to white-collar workers in Hartford for that! I misunderstood DH - I thought guy wanted 2 lbs total, 1 each of RN and YG. He wanted 2 lbs of each - including the Pontiacs! I had DH email him again and ask if he really wanted that many (I think 3-4 lbs total is enough unless they're having company this w/e), 6 lbs seems strange for an empty-nest couple, I wanted to make sure they knew these are NEW potatoes and not storage!

The sign is a banner, and it's right near my stall (let's see where I end up this week, they have 3 new vendors). So I can easily take it down for her so she doesn't need to cross the town green. I can't believe your MM was taking down the ROAD CLOSED sign before everybody had packed up and was clearing out!


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Yep, cars even drove down the road afterwards and before market was done or vendors were packed up. He is no longer MM due to his age mainly.

You may have more sales in Hartford than your farmers market, you might consider doing baskets for those people and make 1 trip per week. Many people are doing just that.

To me, 6# would be enough for a month, but the new potatoes are so good that people will eat them each day, and sometimes more than 1x per day.

Marla


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Good thing I checked - though it's a smaller sale for me. He didn't realize they weren't storage, so only took 2# of YG. Good choice - I cut up a couple of the largest ones for us last night (along with some RN) and OMG those are even better than the RN we ate the beginning of the week! I'm tempted to keep the other 6 # for us but I know we won't eat them all this week, but I am seriously thinking of keeping those separate and charging more for them. I stopped by USDA organic farm yesterday to check their prices, they hadn't set them yet (still digging, said they had to wash in tumbler - thought that would bruise them?), they should have them today so maybe I'll take the long way to market to check again and buy some of their dill (and parsley?) to go with my potatoes.

Good idea about the baskets -I did lurk on the other thread, was thinking of CSA next year, but baskets may be a better way to ease into that. I'd have to ask DH where most of the people he works with live. Of course there is a huge regional (wholesale too, not all locally grown, lots trucked in) market in Hartford but the office workers can't get there, it's such a pain. But this may be a start - at least for this one guy - he's already asked what else we have, and what we'll have next week (I have 1 baby zuke that I am so tempted to pick, but it's a little on the small side yet and only one, so I will just tell people zukes and yellow squash coming next week). He wanted cherry toms to go in the salad "B/c it's going to take a while to get anything off that plant you gave us" but I told DH to tell him all I have are tomato blossoms right now!

Maybe if the others see DH making a delivery to one person every week, he'll start getting more inquiries. I know one guy (gotta think - maybe he retired) had a garden and used to bring in excess to share, so maybe there won't be any market for my stuff if most people are growing and/or sharing. I just don't have a huge variety right now, in fact, I don't even know about later in the summer, nothing unusual, just typical high-season stuff, no corn and so many people grow tomatoes.

I guess I should start some seed for fall crops soon - just hard to start thinking broccoli and beans when it's 90 degrees out!


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Just packed all the potatoes (except the 2lb of Norlands I already had in bag, that the guy didn't take)in quart fiberboard baskets. Roughly 1.5 lb each (most slightly over). Got 2 quarts of YG (plus the 2# DH took, that makes 5# and I swear we only ate 2 big ones last night, maybe 1/2lb). 6 quarts (plus the 2lb bag) of RN, for total of 11# (plus we ate some last night so maybe I did dig close to 12#), 2 quarts (3#) of Pontiacs (don't recall eating any of those last night). Plus a pint of tiny ones, mostly RN but a few YG (1/2#).

My bathroom scale must be really off. I trust my kitchen scale, have used it for postage before. New NTEP scale should be coming today, though maybe too late for market (and I'm sure even if inspection sticker is current my state will want to certify it before I use it "for real").

I really have to check that other farm to see how much they're asking before I price mine - of course will have to see if MM has brought any today too.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

Just price per container, if scale isn't in. Sometimes they'll sell faster that way. Do sort to size and try to keep the same sized potatoes together (they will cook some evenly if about the same size).

I've priced qt boxes at $3-4 without any problems.

Marla


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I did sort by size, took 6 qts plus 2 lb bag RN, 2 qts YG, 2 qts RP, and a pint of marble-sized mixed, sold the YG right away, 4 qts plus the 2lbs of RN. People at the end were saying "oh, let's take the chance (?) it's 2 of these boxes for $5" I had to correct them and say no, that's 1 box for $5, these are quart boxes. So they said "Maybe next week" when I warned I may not have them next week the man joked "So next week they'll be OLD potatoes?" so I said yes. MM still had hers $1.49/lb, and I had 3 people tell me they had new potatoes at home. The ones who bought them were very glad to get them though. Certified farm told me they were going to start theirs (putting them out this afternoon) around $3/lb and fingerlings $5/lb. I don't know if MM sold out, didn't go over at end, was trying to get packed up b/c DS was starving

Not a real good night - sold my 4 beets and 3 qts of arugula but still have lots of lettuce and only 1 pint of blueberries out of 4 sold. And I had the berries priced right between the 2 other vendors'. Made $50 and spent $25 on Chinese - not the way to run a business!

Scale came today and I left note to leave it with next door neighbor but carrier was a substitute and left a note he didn't know which neighbor that was (I didn't leave last name, just first). So will be at PO after 10am tomorrow and PO closes at noon, plus I have a canning class (taking my PC to have gauge tested, I don't really need class in jellies and pickles but since the 1 extension agent who does testing will be in this county tomorrow I'm going to meet her at the BWB class, save me the drive to New Haven) so DH will have to try to make it over to get it. Guy was supposed to send it UPS, sent it Parcel Post instead. Would have had it by now with UPS.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

The true way to run a business is to eat what you didn't sell, we've never did that either.

At least the berries are easy to freeze.

I don't know what it is about the $5 mark, you can mark something for 4.99 and it will sell much faster than 5.00.

sounds like you did pretty well, but selling in a rural area, it seems like everyone else has what you have. You have to have things BEFORE everyone else, or just hope there are enough customers that DON'T have gardens.

Marla


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

We've been eating a lot of potatoes and lettuce lately - and both DH and DS have to have meat with their potatoes. Guess I could have made kielbasa. DH got the date of the church pig roast wrong - that's next week - he was supposed to pick up DS at market and go serve at the church, save me a plate of leftovers if possible. I just figured since we were in town, we'd get Chinese - we don't get Chinese (or pizza) often since no one delivers out our way.

I have been freezing berries for more than a week, I'll just freeze more and make jam (or Wild Blueberry Syrup -yields more and sells for the same price as jam!).


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I noticed DIL didn't sell out on potatoes, pepper, cukes,or tomatoes today. A BadLand's event and humid warm day.


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RE: Pricing - (real) new potatoes

I noticed DIL didn't sell out on potatoes, pepper, cukes,or tomatoes today. A BadLand's event and humid warm day.


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