Thanks for your time!
What resources do you have to invest? It usually takes some seed money, and/or a lot of creativity and scrounging, to get something started.
What I did for a few years was grow certified orgainic produce and free-range eggs. The certification and the egg license were both headaches but proved worth it. This was when certification was done by the states, though....might be worse now. I was blessed by having a restaurant buying co-op and a couple of good farmer's markets in the nearest big city. The problem after the first year was I couldn't keep up with the demand! There is an insatiable demand for high-quality food these days! That's where figuring in the worth of your own time and sanity comes into the equation.
The opposite tactic is well worth considering....how much do I really need to live on? Especially considering the work and trouble I need to go to to provide it. It's amazing what people will do when they want to or have to. Living in the US, I decided long ago that I would not submit to the ass-licking and the time necessary to hold an "ordinary job" I've lived on hippie communes, eaten many a meal out of dumpsters, and butchered rats and dogs for food.....
The biggest challenge is land access....which you seem to have secured. so if you don't have debt or bills, and have shelter, and you can feed yourself, then the need for income can be minimal......
for some ideas and education.
10 acres or less with no or little use of grid energy paid for...The only way it should be done! The house will be a 16x32 shed we intend to finish out to our specs. We will heat with a small wood stove, have solar and wind for power, have solar hot water in the good months and on demand propane for the bad.....
I will grow a garden in the back to eden fashion, grow mushrooms, raise free range chickens, have a few cows and pigs and travel to and from town regularly in a horse and wagon type set up.
I intend to sell veggies and mushrooms, eggs and occaisionally meat at farmers markets as well as give tours of the farm and Clinics($$$) on the back to eden gardening in large plots and in small plots and what can be done with that.
I also intend to take advantage of my talents as a fair to midland welder and "make stuff" to sell and repair stuff the community needs repaired for reasonable prices...you know little projects you'd like done but either cant go to a shop or don't want to pay their prices.... First project? Build a portable welding trailer!
Thats my plan...if it don't work and I need money for things like a well or pond or such then I will go back to work as an HVAC guy for a year to pay for the stuff I need! There is always an alternative option, you just need to sit and think on it a spell...it'll come to ya!
Some other things you can do is raise meat birds, chickens, turkeys, ducks, etc. they are easy enough to pasture, or in your case free range through the woods, there is no shortage of bugs grubs and worms in a forest as well as grasses and weeds they need. I have been working toward this end, and gathering a flock of laying hens to provide eggs to local folks as well. Maybe offer to pasture cattle for folks who don't have any land but want to have access to grass fed beef. One method for this is to get the customer to buy 3 grass calves, 3 months old or so. You raise all three and when they are finished, the customers gets 1 of them and pays for any butchering, cutting and wrapping fees. You keep 2 for your self, kill one for your meat supply and sell one for cash. I have 3.5 acres 2 of which are pasture, I figure I can handle maybe 10 head so everything X 3... Right now in our area (Idaho) grass calves are running about $365.00 a piece so your customer is in it for about $1000.00 plus cutting and wrapping fees a considerable savings over grocery store beef and they know where it came from and what it ate. Plus if they are "Animal Rights" types you have raised a happy animal that was treated humanely and killed humanely, that is getting to be a very marketable selling point.
An acre of sweet corn sold at roadside stands or out of the back of your truck would net you somewhere around $3,000.00-$6000.00 per acre and if you are lucky and cagey enough, you can pull this off without all the gubmint horse pucky...
Maybe check around your area and se if there are others who who like to co-op a crop with you, you have the land and a willingness to work, maybe they have a little investment capital and some time to invest as well, maybe a tractor or some equipment you may need... Squash is another good fast turnover crop and you don't necessarily have to plow for it. Roadside sales... Melons are excellent and easy to sell.
Hope this helps...
So, according to e-Organics Farming classes, first determine How Much Money you need to Make, be realistic.
Then, determine what the buildings, land and your time can do.
Options on a small land, might be high yield or high end products (strawberries can make $200K an acre if properly managed), mushrooms are a great option, chickens can be raised 6 times over a growing season, a tomato crop all comes in at once-when everyone else's crop is in so the price is down.
Actually I know a guy in Southern California who sells the Worm Tea too. He sells it in Gallons and Quarts at the Farmers Market.
Berries may already grow on the land, and you may want to leave patches of them if they do, such as raspberries or blackberries. They don't require the added amendments as much as other crops. Berries love a leaf mulch, and you can probably get that from your own land. Berries will grow in partial shade if they get full sun part of the day, in fact, most do better that way. You can always pick and market berries easily enough. I would probably add more domestic raspberries because they bear the first year after planting and you get a quick crop. They always sell well, but are very perishable.
Look at the land and try to visualize what it is trying to tell you. If nothing is growing on a patch, it needs microbes and nutrients or something is very much out of balance. What is already growing on it? If blackberries you will have trouble getting rid of all of them. If it is is raspberries, by all means, grow more raspberries there, the soil is already nearly perfect. It is a habitat they like. Blueberries, if growing in good soil, will produce pretty early and in a few years be a very good, dependable crop. I know a farmer who gets most of his income from blueberries, on a 5 acre parcel which is primarily vegetable crops, and he only has about 50 blueberry plants. He spends a lot of time growing other things, but people come and pick berries and he does all right, but not getting rich by any means. He also picks some himself to sell at the farmers markets and always sells out. Strawberries sell well but are more labor intensive and more can go wrong, such as too wet, too cold, slugs or birds eat them, etc. Strawberries rot easily when the weather doesn't agree with them. But they have their place. Have a backup plan, so if you get too many at one time or can't sell something, you can turn it into jam or jelly or pies or something. Even freeze them and sell to customers out of the freezer. Once you get a good customer base, and eventually you will, you will get a lot of repeat customers who trust you and are loyal.
You could also plant fruit trees and then wait a few years for them to bear fruit. Of course, the dwarf ones bear earlier. Hazelnuts bear young, at 2 or 3 years old. Chestnuts bear at 3 feet tall (a little). Read everything you can find on each crop to familiarize yourself with growing conditions and such before you jump in. Be honest with yourself as to how much time and money you can really invest. Some fruit trees just kind of take care of themselves, like canning pears which need no particular pruning or spraying, and grow fast. Is there a market for the fruit where you live? Look at what sells mostly at the farmer's markets. Everyone grows tomatoes, but the market is so strong, they sell lots of them, at a very good price per pound. Talk to people and find out what they'd like to buy at farmer's markets, but isn't available. There might be a strong niche market you could fill.
Livestock are more work than growing things, or can be. You HAVE to go out and make sure they have water and food every day. You can't go on vacation, or take a day off unless you have someone else to take care of them (usually paying them to do so) while you are away. However, they make a better system with rotation and you have manure to make compost and can feed chickens or rabbits with the extra produce from your garden, as part of their diet. In fact, I've raised rabbits exclusively without buying in feed, but it worked me nearly to death too. No one wanted to dress out rabbits, so to sell them, I had to do it for them. I have trouble dispatching any animal and that was the reason I finally got rid of them. I dried hay, cut by hand for them and harvested armloads of forage daily for them. They had to have the hay along with it so they didn't get diarrhea from all the green forage. They require a protein plant such as legumes (clover or pea vines). Also had to worm them regularly by giving them a bit of wormwood or some herbs for that. They thrive on good management and forage, and are so prolific, might be a good option if you have a market for them. You can always buy feed for them, but I tend to think of this unstable economy and possibilities of not being able to get livestock feed in the near future, for many reasons. For larger livestock you don't have much land to graze them and do rotation. Goats would work, but, also get out a lot, hard on fences, and require lots of management. Also, with livestock, you have to worry about the predator problem. Coyotes, Bobcats, weasels, raccoons, cougars, and more. I've lost nearly grown goats to Bobcats even with guardian dogs, but not lately. A cougar can take a calf. Hawks or eagles can get chickens, ducks or baby goats or sheep. I once had chicken tractors with chicken wire on the sides and something ripped it like it was paper mache and killed chickens. Do your research before embarking on this journey.
It really helps if you have skills that can be used to make money to pay for the farm start up. Once it is going, you can spend more time farming and enjoying the fruits of your labors.
Josh T-Hansen wrote:grow some garlic, you can buy seed in late summer/early fall from six circles farm (link in my signature). you can get 3 crops from the 'garleeks', scapes, and bulbs. try six circles 'Rosie's scape-a-moli' its fire and you could make it too.
How much can you make selling Garlic? Is it difficult? How much area do you need? This caught my eye.
They enjoy rich, well drained soil, ample sunlight, and steady moisture. Garlic does not compete well with weeds, so mulching will give you an advantage.
Break apart a clove, put the pieces in the ground, point up/roots down. It will send out roots and its first leaf within a week if growing conditions are suitable. Ideally, garlic is planted in the late fall. The cold of winter is what causes the single clove to divide. If started in the early spring, you may end up with small bulbs with few cloves. Even these can be replanted in the fall. If you have not put them in yet, you can store them in the fridge for a couple of weeks to urge them to divide later.
Your main crop is planted late summer/early fall (so it develops a good root system before frost lays it dormant).
In the spring. it will begin growing again, to be harvested in late summer.
Your 'half crop' would be planted in spring, and also harvested late summer...
...but much smaller bulbs, with fewer (& smaller) cloves per bulb.
Two crops, but still a single harvest.
Garlic is basically a 9 month crop for full sized bulbs.
If there is a good open market for it where you live, it is an easy money crop.
Jeremiah wales wrote:This Garlic Idea has me thinking more. I am going to live in a country area. I do not want to sell larger plants. But along with other stuff for income. If I can get three crops a year of Garlic and sell it at Farmers Market. Do people buy it? How much can you charge for it? Sells by the bag or how? Which is the best to grow?
We have sold garlic off and on for years. Two years ago I was selling small bulbs for fifty cents a bulb at our local market and almost double that for braids with some dried oregano added. I usually braided up the smaller bulbs and grew soft neck for this. We are a small town/small markt and everyone's garlic sold out before the summer was over.The size of my bulbs vary from year to year because I tend to plant it in less fertile spots...it's one of the few things that deer here never eat. It's important to dig it when the soil is dry and cure correctly. I would recommend a book called "Growing Great Garlic" by Ron L. Engeland. I had been growing for twenty five years before I saw his book and still learned a lot from it.
Luffa is something easy to grow, has a decent market, stores well and has lots of opportunity for "value added". You can grow open pollinated varieties and save your seed and sell seed also. It's anothe crop the deer don't touch here.
Talk about Different. One Guy out in Palm Desert would sell Worm Tea by the gallon at the farmers market. Soil needed a lot of help out there, so that was his product.
In a farmers market I can see selling short logs that are bearing shitake mushrooms, along with a pamphlet telling how to care for the log and how many flushes are common. But, I cannot imagine a grocery store touching something like that!
For a farmers market, I have seen honey, asparagus, blackberries, jelly, and flowers. How earlky does your farmers market start up? Can you sell daffodils or are they too early?
Jeremiah wales wrote:I see not much activity lately. Open Question. What do most of you think the best product would be to sell for a profit on a small amount of property. Something that would be fairly easy and has more than a fee week window to sell it fresh. Other than Pet Rocks!
As others have said checking out the markets would be the first step. I would also go for some diversity even on a small lot. Nice soft neck braidable garlic...braided with a few cayenne and herbs will sell for a lot more than individual bulbs. and luffa...easy to grow most places, store well and make a nice item with handmade soap and a drawstring bag. I think if my space were limited I would go for things that could go the direction of "value added". Maybe go for a theme, so everything was gourmet cooking related including handcarved wooden spoons/homemade potholders/herb blends or bath related...the luffa sponge, handmade soap and bath salts/herbs/oils. Anyway I wouldn't try for any one thing, in my experience thats the crop that will fail that year or the deer will discover it or you can't get a good price for it because everybody has it at the farmers market.
Arkansas does not require a certified kitchen in order to sell baked goods at farmers mkts (and school and church bake sales). I don't think this is the case in every state. Homebaked breads and cookies are one of the best sellers at our local market.
I think anything really easy is probably already in the market. I'm not sure I could use "fairly easy" and "profit" in the same sentence!
I have never raised jeruselum artichokes so I do not know about them. However, unless you find a wholesaler who wants to handle them, I cannot imagine that you will sell enough of them to get you an amount of money that is interesting!
Particularly, it is wise to investigate how starting a glamping business (a new and rapidly growing tourism trend), bed and breakfast or other tourism income models can help you.
This uses the assets you already have (e.g. land/acreage) and requires minimal investment to gain a return. For example, in the UK the National Farmers Union (NFU) reported that farms that had diversified into some kind of tourism activity had managed to boost their income by £21,000 (c $34,500) per year. I have since interviewed farmers who have set up glamping businesses and they have agreed with the estimate given by the NFU.
This innovative farming practice of diversifying land to increase income streams, resulting in a more profitable acreage, has been introduced across the world. Farms are a partifularly successful at introducing tourism into their business models because of the agri-entertainment factors, i.e. tourists enjoying their vacations being part of the working farm environment - often a significant leap away from their regular daily lives and something their kids really enjoy.
Starting a glamping business, or other similar tourism idea, is certainly worth considering if you want to increase the profitability, diversity and strength of an existing farm business, particularly if it is a small one. There's a lot more information available (including figures outlining what you could earn) if you want to investigate this option further and if it's right for your land / farm, via 'Inspired Camping' using this link to the business inspiration section... http://www.inspiredcamping.com/category/business-tips/ Alternatively there's a detailed course available here if you're sure it's the right option for you http://www.inspiredcourses.com/glamping
Hope it helps and good luck!
These people are SO INSANELY popular during holidays like Halloween and Christmas. All the kids within 30 miles go to callie's acre. My daughter is just old enough to enjoy it so we will be checking it out soon, so I cant tell you my personal opinion on what they do, but everyone else seems to love it! Maybe get some ideas from the website and come up with some of your own. I think they really make a ton of money!
Most restaurants who are sustainably minded are willing to talk about this stuff openly, because it is why they exist and they are proud of it. When you're not at work, grow the thing that you know they will buy from you. In my experience, we are thrilled to buy a product that is actually made by one of our family, in this case our restaurant family. When the Going's good, sell them the chicken or eggs or whatever-- so you're making money coming and going. When business sucks, well...you're still the dishwasher. (which can always lead to other forms of employ if they know you're flexible and curious.)
( by extraction, gather like-minded people around you and symbiotic things are way more likely to happen.)
It's a hell of a lot harder to grow the chicken, kill it, pluck it, bag it...then go make that awful cold call at somebody's back door.