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Old May 31, 2017   #16
BigVanVader
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CSA is another option if you are going to be growing an assortment of things. Idk about your area but here chemical free strawberries are nearly impossible to find so I doubt you'd have any issue selling those. Also don't forget that a lot of bigger farms will buy stuff to resell especially if it is out of season. If your farm is conducive to a produce stand I'd start looking at that as a long term. You get to stay there and people come to you. Some vendors at my market did the FM awhile and once they got a customer base they opened a "store" at there house which is really just a little storage building with a few shelves and a counter. They do everything on one acre and didnt even know about the NRCS programs. I guess what I'm saying is don't worry, if they can do it so can we. Just have better stuff and people will seek it out.

Oh, and use Facebook and build a website! I can hardly believe how much attention/customers that has brought us.
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Old May 31, 2017   #17
PureHarvest
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I've been following the csa model for 12 years and never jumped in for various reasons. Mostly because I do not want the stress of growing the variety and keeping people interested every week.
Funny you mention networking with other farms. My wife talked to a woman that sells at markets and she thinks a stand of her own. Wants to buy garlic wholesale and my wife didn't even mention strawberries. I think the sky will be the limit.
As far as our own stand, we are way off the beaten path, so I don't think it'd be viable even if it was self serve. I'd still rather make a 100 lb drop off of berries at one spot even if it means I give up a little on price. I know about 3 produce stand owners pretty well and will approach them when I have samples and roll from there. I still think we will be able move an appreciable amount near retail through friends and family and word of mouth.

Last edited by PureHarvest; May 31, 2017 at 09:26 PM.
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Old May 31, 2017   #18
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Yeah most of the stuff these commercial farms sell is from other small farms. I was told by one guy that if I go the wholesale route for heirloom tomatoes he'd buy as many as I could grow. The place he gets them now only grows Chr. Purple and so he has to use multiple growers which cost him more money/time
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Old June 6, 2017   #19
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IMG_0571.jpg

First fruits. Taste is very good.
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Old June 6, 2017   #20
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Wow those are perfect looking! I would love to grow Strawberries. All the ones here smell like diesel fuel.
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Old June 7, 2017   #21
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really nice berries and they have a great flavor, huh? I was very happy with them... I just wish they would bear a but heavier but I am probably jumping the gun since mine is a new bed and I am used to june-bearing quantities. they are tasty though. On my way out the door to go pick mine.
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Old June 7, 2017   #22
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I need to sample more but I think the San Andreas is a little firmer than the Albion, and not in a good way. Flavor is really good on both.
I really was patient in not letting the Albion fruit too early so that I had a beefy plant to support flowers/fruit. I probably removed flowers for the first month after planting.
Also, I am fertigating the equivalent of 2lbs/acre of N every week (5-17-34 with all the micros). This is in addition to the 60 lbs/acre of N I put down preplant, along with 60 lbs of potassium.
I think this is the key to production. The plants are beefy and the flowers coming out are on thick stems.

Got one of the caterpillar tunnels covered last night. These things were a breeze to set up. Highly recommend.

IMG_0572.JPG

IMG_0573.JPG

IMG_0574.JPG
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Old June 7, 2017   #23
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Link? Looks great.
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Old June 7, 2017   #24
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https://www.farmersfriendllc.com/pag...rpillar-tunnel
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Old July 8, 2017   #25
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So we've been getting 8lbs every other day of marketable fruit. About another 2-3 pounds of ones we cut up because of minor bug damage.
But the last few days have been discouraging. It's either grasshoppers or crickets chewing a spot out of all the ripening fruit. I probably tossed 10-15 lbs of chewed berries today. Only got 6lbs marketable.
How the heck can you prevent this. It's discouraging, but farming for ya.

Edit: Duh, its not grasshoppers (even though they are everywhere, hence my assumption) it SLUGS. I can hit the beds with SLUGGO and see if we can reclaim our prize.
I guess the silver lining is that we had heavy rain this week, and the fruit that was edible was the poorest flavor of the season. So, perhaps all the slug damaged fruit we didn't sell kept us from putting an inferior product on the market with our name on it.

Here's the sticker my marketing guy came up with. They cost 5 cents each.

IMG_0752.JPG

Last edited by PureHarvest; July 8, 2017 at 01:30 PM.
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Old July 8, 2017   #26
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Love the stickers. For bug control your only option w/o spraying is protected culture. I'm sure you know that though. Great looking stuff, you'll be crushing it in no time.
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Old July 8, 2017   #27
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And by protected culture I mean screen houses.
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Old July 8, 2017   #28
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Yep slugs are a problem. put down slug bait as soon as we see new damage. we are picking about 10 pints at a time right now and they are HUGE fruits. GOURMET taste and size. I charge 2.50 a pint for them and no one even blinks.
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Old July 8, 2017   #29
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I'm moving them for $3 for a pound clamshell. The stand i supply is retailing for 4.99.
I put down slug bait this afternoon.
If that works, we should be getting around 16 lbs every other day. That's how offen we pick.
Been a great crop otherwise. Probably won't do again next year because it's too much work and perishability for the return.
If we could retail direct and do a half acre with employed help, it'd be a go again.
Always good to learn new stuff and I don't regret it even though cutting runners is getting old. Might be able to use this in the near future.
I am working on a location opportunity to set up my own stand next year that kind of fell in my lap. Unbelievable location with 2 acres to grow on. Unlimited traffic flow in a 25 mph zone in a busy beach suburb that is 2 miles from the main highway. It's the only piece of ground in a decent radius that hasn't been developed and is still zoned agricultural. The owner doesn't even want rent. She just needs someone to maintain the property. No problem lol. I'm kind of in shock right now.

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Old July 14, 2017   #30
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Lucky you for such a find! I don't market garden but enjoy reading how all of you guys do it! The caterpillar tunnel video was amazing at how quick 2 people can get one up.
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