[Market-farming] Business - Gross profits

Brigette Leach avalonfarmshomegrown at earthlink.net
Thu Feb 3 20:39:43 EST 2005

I am very interested in what you are studying with the market farms, hoping
that I can learn from the work you are doing. We are located in
southwestern MI, between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, zone 5. We added a
hydroponic greenhouse and market garden enterprize to our 4th generation
conventional farm operation nearly 5 years ago, adding our "hyrbid"  CSA,
three years ago. Production and marketing have been much easier than I
expected. Profitability is the biggest challenge that we have! Well, that
is besides not having enough hours in the day to get everything done. 

Being relative newcomers to market gardening I am skeptical that we will be
able to contribute anything substanitive, but I'm willing to share what I
do know and expect that I can learn a great deal. Surely there are others
on the list who are just starting their business, or contempalting doing
so, and would benefit from the information that would be shared. 

Brigette Leach
Avalon Farms Premium Homegrown
Have you checked out our "Share of the Farm"? Contact us for more
information. 269-746-4648

> [Original Message]
> From: JOHN A HENDRICKSON <jhendric at wisc.edu>
> To: Market Farming <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Date: 2/3/2005 8:18:23 PM
> Subject: Re: [Market-farming] Business - Gross profits
> I wholeheartedly agree on the complexity of discussing financials!  It's
> a messy topic to begin with and then you have to add that many people
> feel (justifiably) uncomfortable sharing certain numbers.  As Adriana
> pointed out, one big part of the complexity is the issue of definitions.
> This is another reason I was trying to keep it simple by only asking
> for gross income.  In fact, I was even keeping it simplier than that.  I
> did not inquire about total gross farm income...only for people to share
> what an average and peak daily take is at their farmers' market.  Such
> information would be more useful if people included:
> 1. Acres in production (not including fallow land in cover crops)
> 2. Product mix (flowers, herbs, bedding plants, mixed vegetables,
> berries, eggs, etc.)
> 3. The relative size of the farmers' market
> Anyway, I disagree that the complexity and definitional issues render
> the discussion meaningless.  None of us share the same frost free days,
> average temperatures, rainfall, pest pressures, etc. but we share
> production information and learn what we can from it.  The same can be
> true for financial
> information.  We glean what we can.
> It may be very difficult to agree to a set of basic definitions but I,
> for one, would be game to try if there was a subset of the list that
> wanted to tackle this.  I am in the 3rd year of a financial study of 20
> market farms (most in Wisconsin) and could share how we have decided to
> define things and collect and share data.
> -John
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