[Market-farming] Pricing for Direct Sales

mf at austinfarm.org mf at austinfarm.org
Tue May 13 07:00:06 EDT 2003


> I hate to admit it, but I still have a lot of trouble pricing direct 
> sale items. This probably sounds strange to those of you who are 
> spending hours in markets each week, but as a CSA farmer, I just 
> don't get to town very often, so it's hard to keep touch with what's 
> going on.

In setting prices, I suggest that you skew your attention to covering
your  costs and creating a profit margin and pay little attention to 
what similar products are selling for elsewhere.  With hired labor,I 
get somewhere between 3 and 7 times the harvest and packing cost back
in sales.  If a crop can not be sold for at least three times harvest
and packing cost, I avoid it.  I am happy getting 5x and thrilled to get
7x.  Of course, there are many other costs that have to be covered by
that 3x to 7x factor.  For  most crops, my experience is that the
growing costs are relatively minor.  I use the harvest/packing costs as
a guide primarily because they are major costs and can be more easily
determined than many of the other costs.

For new products, you can justify selling at a lower than desired price 
to get the product established.  I have several crops, now 
profitable, that started out as unprofitable tests.  Both increased 
volume and higher prices have made those crops more attractive.

I am most interested in seeing comments from the guy in New Jersey 
on this topic.

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