Re: Starting an organic garden
Hello Frank and others interested in commercial production of
While the CSA model (community supported ag) with prepaid shares seems
very attractive (especially to the producer), I think that it is
absolutely the wrong model for a beginning grower...
My reasoning is this... the CSA model requires that the consumer invest
in the farm... i.e. speculate that the grower will succeed in providing
them with quantity and quality of vegetables equal to their investment...
this puts huge pressure on a beginning grower... an experienced grower
will have some crop failures most every year... planning from paper what
you will offer to consumers each week of the season is a great
excercise... however... it is only a real nuts and bolts excercise when
you can compare your actual yields and harvest dates with what you had
planned... all you need to do is talk to all the burned out CSA
managers... or talk to the frustrated CSA consumers...
My recommendation for the begging grower is as follows:
identify a few specific niche crops... mesclun is hot right now but the
market may be saturated and it is extremely perishable...
I recommend trying leeks, spaghetti squash, luffas, popcorn, dried herbs,
hotpeppers, garlic, jerusalem artichokes...
Iddentify all the marketing options... farmers markets can be very time
consuming but you will get to rub shoulders with lots of other growers..
Try growing small volumes of all the other crops but do not commit
yourself to large volume production in your first several years...
Aspire to a CSA... plan to be a CSA... visit CSAs...
But start out by selling what you have grown rather than trying to grow
what you have already sold...