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Old January 21, 2014   #76
huntsman
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Hey Mrs J -

None that I know of but I'm out in Africa, so you might well have one in your area but I doubt it. I imagine that you will have to basically create your own, after researching what prices are available for the items that concern you.

Once you build up that data base, you can decide what you will charge.

Bear in mind, however, that fresh produce is a dynamic industry, and as such is changing constantly, but don't worry; if you don't know what the ideal price is...neither does your opposition.
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Old January 21, 2014   #77
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Hey Mrs J -

None that I know of but I'm out in Africa, so you might well have one in your area but I doubt it. I imagine that you will have to basically create your own, after researching what prices are available for the items that concern you.

Once you build up that data base, you can decide what you will charge.

Bear in mind, however, that fresh produce is a dynamic industry, and as such is changing constantly, but don't worry; if you don't know what the ideal price is...neither does your opposition.


Thanks & Funny Advice.

I think I felt like a wholesaler for farmers who lost the crops last year. So I was thinking last week: If I feel like a wholesaler than I must act like one. So the smartest thing I did last year were to save my seeds first before I opened to avoid hurricane crop damage in August. Thank God We Had No Hurricanes!!!!
So I saves pounds so seeds. I started selling my seeds wholesale last week. http://www.ebay.com/itm/131097803011...84.m1555.l2649

Before I open this year in August:
1. I will save seeds first like last year.
2. I will properly use my Beautiful Baker Racks and cold storage for my supply of winter vegetables before I open in August.

Before I would use the Month of December after I close for my front Market, for my own winter food supply and others Farmer Markets.

Well At less I am learning from the high priced hybrid's in the stores, I am also glad they are selling organic fruits and vegetables too for these winter months.
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Old June 3, 2014   #78
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Wow. Thanks for all of the informative posts. I will be retiring, next June and have given some thought to selling heirloom tomatoes. We have a marvelous, new, covered farmers' market nearby. If I can get enough production out of my very limited growing area, I might just rent a stall and see what happens. I am also considering marketing Ghost and Trinidad Scorpion peppers, along with the tomatoes. I cannot advertise as an organic grower, because I haven't paid for the USDA inspection but I suppose I can say my tomatoes are naturally grown, since I use absolutely no pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers. I was wondering if there is a greater interest in local heirlooms and whether they would command a higher price. I have some really good ones to select from, here in Tennessee, including: Cherokee Purple (supposedly), Cleota Pink, Tennessee Heirloom, Tennessee Britches, Snag's Pride and Mary Huddleston, among others.

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Old April 14, 2015   #79
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Hey guys! I have been reading everyone's posts and I'm curious to how many plants and/or pounds of tomatoes would one need to plant to sell tomatoes to restaurants? When I grow up (hahaha) I want to be a tomato farmer and heirloom tomato plant grower. So I'm thinking about all of this information and trying to take note for when we actually buy a farm. I'm thinking about the logistics... How many acres, how many plants, etc,etc Thanks everyone! So much GREAT information!!!
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Old April 14, 2015   #80
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Hey guys! I have been reading everyone's posts and I'm curious to how many plants and/or pounds of tomatoes would one need to plant to sell tomatoes to restaurants? When I grow up (hahaha) I want to be a tomato farmer and heirloom tomato plant grower. So I'm thinking about all of this information and trying to take note for when we actually buy a farm. I'm thinking about the logistics... How many acres, how many plants, etc,etc Thanks everyone! So much GREAT information!!!
Depends on the restaurant. Best to ask the chef or manager what they will need first and work your way backwards from that. The last thing you want is 5 acres of rotting tomatoes in the field waiting on you to find restaurants to supply!
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Old April 14, 2015   #81
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Originally Posted by AZGardener View Post
Hey guys! I have been reading everyone's posts and I'm curious to how many plants and/or pounds of tomatoes would one need to plant to sell tomatoes to restaurants? When I grow up (hahaha) I want to be a tomato farmer and heirloom tomato plant grower. So I'm thinking about all of this information and trying to take note for when we actually buy a farm. I'm thinking about the logistics... How many acres, how many plants, etc,etc Thanks everyone! So much GREAT information!!!
If you look at this sticky you can see that I was the one who started this thread and I have already answered your questions in some of the earleir posts since I sold fruits to many restaurants as well as selling fruits and plants at a large nursery.

Decide which restaurants you might want to sell to and then ask if you could meet with the chef to discuss it. At that meeting offer to bring a tray of some fruits you've selected so he or she can have a look. and most important ask the chef what he or she has in mind for the use of the fruits.

This has to be done a year ahead so you know how many plants of each variety you need to put out. And you also need to know which varieties you grow do well in your area Chefs can be sometimes difficult to work with, and I had to drop one b'c all he wanted were German Red strawberries and was unable to understand that rain and mud impact the ability to deliver, and so many other variables.

When selling fresh fruits at the nursery I prepared some sheets listing the varieties, where they came from and other pertinent data and that helped a lot. It's your responsibility to cull fruits that go bad and the way we did that was that the trays I would bring were weighed, and then any fruits removed from sales were also weighed and subtracted from the initial weight.

I also sold pints of fruits, small ones, some with all one kind and some with mixed fruits.

And at some of the better restaurants in exchange for money I took credit towards food and wine.

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Old April 14, 2015   #82
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Hello all
I am a chef in NYC and I use a tremendous amount of tomatoes, In season, I purchase a lot from the Union Square Market were prices are $3-4 a lb
I am always in touch with the local farmers, and I am willing to pay a premium for this quality of tomato. Cherrys are always a great idea They are a multitude of colors, easy to grow and have a premium price and look great on the plate Most customers have never seen a stripped cherry or a blush tomato
Don't sell them without a premium! They are worth it and Chefs are willing to pay it " If it is more expensive it must be better"

My 2 Cents
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Old April 14, 2015   #83
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Hello all
I am a chef in NYC and I use a tremendous amount of tomatoes, In season, I purchase a lot from the Union Square Market were prices are $3-4 a lb
I am always in touch with the local farmers, and I am willing to pay a premium for this quality of tomato. Cherrys are always a great idea They are a multitude of colors, easy to grow and have a premium price and look great on the plate Most customers have never seen a stripped cherry or a blush tomato
Don't sell them without a premium! They are worth it and Chefs are willing to pay it " If it is more expensive it must be better"

My 2 Cents
Old Chef
Brother you struck a nerve with me on this one.

A few years ago I thought I would use someones property to grow tomatoes as I thought she knew what she was doing.

I had close to 400 plants on that spot of land.
She got in contact somehow with a local chef.
He offered her less than market value for my produce and she though it was a good deal.
When I told her to tell him I would throw every tomato in the trash before I sold for anything for less than market value she said I was being greedy.

Keep in mind I paid for everything the water and all.
She got to keep and eat what she wanted.
I asked her to keep track of what tomatoes came from what plant so I would know what did best and so I could save seeds.
It didn't happen.

I had drip irrigation set out under mulch and she used lawn sprinklers and sprouted every weed for miles around.

The cucumbers and squash were over sized and seedy and I couldn't eat them myself.
I told her that if she thought I was going to sell a brandywine or some other heirloom for less than a stinking store bought cardboard tomato the so called chef was nuts.
This ended our relationship with the tomato farm.

Well any who this thread reminds me of that experience so I rarely come here.

Worth

Last edited by Worth1; April 14, 2015 at 10:55 PM.
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Old April 15, 2015   #84
AZGardener
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Thanks guys. I'm on not quite half an acre with raised beds. I could definitely quadruple my production with the space I have... I also want to try and sell the transplants, which is a different thread in itself. I could totally understand why your relationship went to the pits worth! I would have been upset too!! Chef- Thanks for that comment. I think for fall I will concentrate on cherry tomatoes and see how they do. All colors, shapes, and sizes. Plus my kids love them anyway.... Yellow Submarine and Peacevine are both new to me varieties so I will throw those in with the Artisan varieties and see what happens Thanks Carolyn! You gave me some great insight. Like always
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Old April 15, 2015   #85
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This is a funny thread I have to reply. A couple years ago I was day dreaming to sell tomatoes to local restaurant because I grew about 100 plants that year and no one in the family eats tomato. Only high-end restaurant will pay premium for heirloom tomatoes. I took deep breath and started to call several local famous and popular restaurants (no chain stores). Most managers were very nice (Purchasing managers, not chefs to buy tomatoes) and they all told me "We have special suppliers and we have contracts with them that we can't buy from others". I talked to five managers. So I didn't sell even one tomato. They went to friends, teachers and food bank. It is also very difficult or expensive to get a farmer market booth nowadays.
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Old April 15, 2015   #86
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This is a funny thread I have to reply. A couple years ago I was day dreaming to sell tomatoes to local restaurant because I grew about 100 plants that year and no one in the family eats tomato. Only high-end restaurant will pay premium for heirloom tomatoes. I took deep breath and started to call several local famous and popular restaurants (no chain stores). Most managers were very nice (Purchasing managers, not chefs to buy tomatoes) and they all told me "We have special suppliers and we have contracts with them that we can't buy from others". I talked to five managers. So I didn't sell even one tomato. They went to friends, teachers and food bank. It is also very difficult or expensive to get a farmer market booth nowadays.
I had a guy come by the house with a pickup and a freezer in the back.
He was selling frozen meat like steaks and such.
He told me he sold meat to all of the 4 and 5 star restaurants in Austin.
Really I asked him, 'Tell me who you sell to and if they buy frozen meat out of the back of a pickup truck.
Please give me your name and company name so I can call them and confirm it.
He wouldn't say.

I told him I didn't want any frozen meat, he presisted I go look, I told him I didn't have time, he continued to bother me and got mad and started yelling at me.
That's when I told the guy to get the devil off my porch and get off my property.
He walked off calling me the F word and other names.

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Old April 16, 2015   #87
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We sell 95% to restaurants. We may be selling a few items to small regional "chains" this year for the first time but nothing is cast in stone yet. And that is a key thing to remember when working with any food service establishment. Nothing is cast in stone. Most chefs follow trends with one or 2 signature dishes. if you want to get their attention and the premium dollars out of them you need to offer something they cant get any where else which normally isn't that hard to do. Keep the quality up. They appreciate service and relationships and love being asked what you should be growing for them. It can be a difficult market as the more creative the chef the more ummmmmmmmm interesting the personality. Look for places that offer seasonal or daily menu changes and find the new restaurants as they often havesous chefs from other kitchens who are now the executive chef and looking to make a name for themselves.
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Old April 16, 2015   #88
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Newgardener and Worth- funny stories! I need to double my beds in order to have room for more tomatoes. Right now I have about 43 tomato plants. I don't think that's enough if I wanted to sell. BUT in a couple years I intend to buy a farm and then I will have a tomato farm Big dreams... I know '
Reddeheddefarm- How many plants or acres would you say you have? I'm just trying to get an idea of what is needed... Thanks!
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Old April 16, 2015   #89
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We do a lot on one acre. It doesn't seem like much but with 50+ beds mostly 6x30 it adds up. One bed can hold 40 tomato plants (Florida weave) and we can reach in without stepping in. This year we are going to all landscape fabric for tomatoes, cukes, squash and melons. Crop rotation and interplantings are a must as is aged horse poop. Cukes and most beans are grown with a trellis system.
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Old April 16, 2015   #90
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Wow that sounds pretty amazing!!! I'd love to see pics! Can you post some or do you have a website? My problem is, I only have raised beds and all are full of tomatoes. So I cant rotate at all. I amend the soil, turn it, and amend it some more. But our weather here is pretty great for growing, so I grow all year except late June to early Aug when our heat is 110-120 daily.
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