Selling Organic Herbs at Farmers Markets
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Pamela Hatchett
Posted on: July 01, 2007

It was suggested to me, for additional income, to grow and sell organic herbs to farmers markets and such. I’ve never grown an herb in my life but enjoy natural, healthy living.

Can you suggest how I may begin this venture from basic learning/growing and if you think this may be a workable side income? I suppose growing in my home would be a good start. I live in Atlanta, GA (Georgia Clay).

Your county extension agent should have a bunch of brochures on how to get started growing fresh vegetables and flowers. Going to the local farmers market is also a good place to start, talking to various growers, and getting to know who does what in your community. You don’t want to compete with those already growing crops for sale for more than 200 years.

I always begin my farm with two acres for my garden. One acre is corn, usually seven plantings, and the other is everything else -- tomatoes, various beans, swashes, and other crops you can put up or preserve. What you sell is what you can grow extra as extra to your needs. Think of it as a "Victory Garden." Learn how to do a small one first, rather than try it as a business.

While I am a farmer, I wouldn’t want to grow produce for sale or have to work the farmers markets. And really, your best buyers for locally-grown produce are the local stores, rather than having to sit under a tent one day a week. I notice that my farmers market now only has 10 basic growers, and the rest are crafts (or worse = deep fried foods and pastries). I remember when it had more than 70 growers at any given day. Those days are gone.

I gue4ss what I am trying to say is I would recomme3nd you pass on this idea. Growing produce for friends and neighbors is in the ball game. Working it for a business at the farmers market is probably far more trouble than it is worth. Even the very best farmers in the world, like the Sikhs in British Columbia, have a minimum of 4 generations of doing it before they would even have any chance of making it work.

If you want to supplement rural incomes by growing something, think flowers. Two acres of baby’s breath is worth about $20,000 in labor. That’s what you really have to sell. Do not think crops, think value added.

and the article on niche marketing.

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