[Market-farming] May Produce

Gary Scott twinspringsfarmva at gmail.com
Sun May 10 12:15:09 EDT 2015

I am in Central Virginia. We experienced the coldest lows on record all the
way down to - 9 and I survived many nights of between 0 to 10  I have two
unheated 96' x 24' high tunnels in full production throughout the Winter
and Early Spring. My main market opened April 14th and I was fortunate
enough to have the most product when the market opened. My top three cash
crops for early Spring (April-May) are Carrots, Beets, and Lettuce. I also
have Kale, Turnips, Spinach, Braising Greens, some Asian Greens and
Kohlrabi. Kohlrabi has become a good revenue source for early season and is
in high demand by restaurants.  I direct seed carrots in November and
December, and transplant Beets as well during those months. I will seed
earlier this Fall, Sep. or early Oct. I have been taking 35 to 40 LBs of
Carrots to the market since April and getting $3.50 per LB, I could EASILY
sell 50 LBs a week if I had that much. I have been selling 20 to 25 bunches
of Beets each week and could easily sell 25 to 30 bunches. If you have not
tried the Baby Beets from Johnny's Seeds do so, they produce faster, nice
round fruit, and thin skin.

I have standardized on Covertan 19 row covers for use inside my high
tunnels, buy 500' rolls. Again, I have no heat in my tunnels and even
successfully grew New Red Fire lettuce (one of my favorites) wanted to see
if it would survive being that it is a summer crisp. I had full size heads
when the market opened. I pull multiple layers of the row covers on cold
nights up to three layers depending on the lows. I have allowed my Carrots
to be exposed to very cold temps and they do just fine.

I believe that if you come out of the gate with a good quality/quantity of
produce when the market opens you will OWN many of those early buyers
throughout the season. People are lined up when the market opens to get my
early season root crops. Last fall I seeded a row of late beets (late Sep)
and had row covers over them on cold nights, they did very well harvesting
them into late December.

I also had a Winter CSA for the first time where I supplied produce every
two weeks from November through March. I signed up a maximum of 20 the
first season to make sure I could handle supplying 20 people and keep two
restaurants supplied. Yes it is continuous work but it was not as bad as I
thought it was going to be. I was worried that I would get to burned out. I
already have 30 people wanting to do be Winter CSA customers this coming
Winter, planning to sign up 35. This has giving me a nice cash flow at the
end of the season, through the Winter and more importantly helps me retain
those customers for the coming market season.

Good luck and keep at it.

Gary Scott
Twin Springs Farm

*Gary Scott*
twinspringsfarmva at gmail.com
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