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Old February 27, 2018   #10
Cole_Robbie's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Illinois, zone 6
Posts: 8,288

I was one of the first vendors at my market with "heirloom tomatoes." I was also the first to mix colors of cherry tomatoes in one box. Now it seems like all the other vendors are selling the same thing. However, many of them are growing the newly popular "heirloom-type" hybrids, which are basically imposters. Customers think any tomato that isn't red must be an heirloom, and seed companies that sell to market vendors have taken advantage of that phenomena. It has thus become even more difficult to compete when you are growing legitimate heirloom/OP varieties.

My cousin has now become interested in the family market garden and built his own high tunnel. I tried to talk him out of attempting to grow food to sell. In an age of global competition, trying to compete on price...or even just be in the same foreign competition is swimming against the current, to put it mildly. I've done a lot better with flowers and plants than I have with tomatoes, less work for more money. I think it is because those are items that do not ship well, and are difficult to transport internationally, thus making them command enough of a price to be worth growing.

Automation is the next step for me. I have one wholesale landscaper client from last year who bought me out entirely. If I can largely automate a high tunnel and have it squeal out a net profit each month, even if only a few hundred dollars, then I can start building more of then.

Good luck with your market garden adventure. It is a journey, not a destination
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