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How close to your market do you live?

 
Gerald Henderson
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Location: Grand Rapids, MI
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We are looking to buy as many acres as possible, which typically means quite a haul to the nearest city.  Does anyone make a commute to sell their goods like this?  Would you recommend it to others?

I also like The Permaculture Orchard guy's approach.  He does not live on the land and uses it as a CSA style market where people pay yearly and drive out to the orchard to harvest themselves.  Anybody doing something more like this?  Seems easier this way, but more reliant on the honor system and missing out on actually living in or near your orchard.

I can predict the basic pros and cons of each way, but I'm sure reality is more nuanced and I would love to hear from people about their experience with choosing how and where to market.
 
Mike Jay
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Are you sure you need to buy "as many acres as possible"?  I can certainly understand the desire to have 40 acres or more, but how many acres do you NEED to farm in the style you want to?   Thinking through your NEEDS and WANTS could help you find a spot much closer to the city. 
 
Gerald Henderson
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Location: Grand Rapids, MI
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Thanks for pointing that out, Mike.  I should clarify - as many acres as possible, within our limited budget.  While 40+ acres would be amazing, it is pretty much out of the question.  We are probably going for fall somewhere in a range between 5 and 20 depending on how far out we go.  I am thinking at this point it is best to be flexible and keep options open and then to narrow in on details based on site specifics.
 
Mike Jay
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Yeah, most of us are in that same boat.  I wanted 40 acres for firewood, privacy, hunting and playing.  All I needed was an acre for a house and garden.  Ended up with 8 acres of wet woods and 1 acre of great garden and homestead. 

Keep an eye out for undesirable land that has a small part that is tillable and buildable.  Swampy, marshy, spring flooding, etc
 
Gerald Henderson
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Location: Grand Rapids, MI
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Congrats on getting the homestead, Mike.  Do you do market gardening on the 1 acre then?  Have you found any ways to obtain a yield from the wet woods?  My parents have some wet woods as well and the only things we've come up with so far is hunting and plugging some mushroom logs.
 
Su Ba
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I'm 10 miles from two markets, opposite directions. They're small local markets but both good for selling veggies. A superior veggie selling market is 30 miles away, so it's not worth my expense to go there. Instead I've developed a local trading network plus sales to a local restaurant. I also set up a table at a local coffee place whenever I have perishable excess. And though I haven't done it yet, a local CSA has requested doing some trading. I've had several local shops ask for fresh veggies on consignment but I don't have excess to go that route yet. I plan to approach the active local B&Bs if I get to the stage where I have extra to market.

I plan to keep things as local as possible so that it doesn't take up too much of my time and gasoline. I'd rather be working in the field.
 
Mike Jay
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Thanks!  I mainly grow our own food but we do sell our excess at a small farmer's market.  For some reason I don't really hunger for mushrooms so I haven't tried to grow them.  They would do well back there though.  The primary yields are water, firewood, venison and maple syrup. 
 
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