[Market-farming] High Value CRops was CSA start-up

John Ferree john at seldomseenfarm.com
Mon Nov 26 16:32:11 EST 2007

define high value. . . what is high $ for a 20 acre farm would be wasted
labor on a <3 acre farm. 
we're ~2.5 a and looking for 30k/a on veggies and 50k/a on annual
flowers.  We cut back to two full time owner/operators this year and
only hired people for specific jobs, making bouquets and market.  In the
end we worked more, but I was less of a pita (almost happy) without
labor to manage.  In the end, we made up for a disasterous year in 2006
and found a footing for future years. 

salad for us does ~140-150#/1750sf.  8.5 or 10$/# at market (depending
on the volume a market can do)  rest sales @ 5.5/# kill our average
dollar per acre, but separate arugula (byproduct of mesculn) brings us
out of the $ hole.  without reducing your standard of living
significantly i think a small, diversified veggie farm has to push the
dollar limit per acre to 30k or higher.  you get down past 20k and
you're just working to keep your hands busy.  (if you don't hire people)

checked out that Wisconsin Grower to Grower publication. . . nice.  We
need more frank discussion about the $ and sense of market farming. 
there isn't much info out there for a startup farm plan.  but making a
living in 6-8 months is nuts unless you have a handle on risk and cost. 

Allan Balliett wrote:
>> We don't do any wholesale sales or restaurant sales, only direct to
>> consumer sales - that consumes everything we grow.
> Alison  -
> How many beds (of what size) of spinach and mesculn do you keep going 
> at a time to keep up with your markets? For what sort of weekly 
> harvest?
> I've been working with 100x3ft beds for salad mix, but think I'll 
> start working with 50 or 33 ft bed lengths per seeding (for market) 
> The CSA pretty much takes up TWO 100ft beds per week. I normally cut 
> a bed twice.
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