What should I plant for a road side stand ?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I always have a big garden for us to eat fresh and can for the winter .This year we plan on putting up a road side stand to sell produce and eggs . I was wondering if anyone did this and if so what sells well ?If you don't do a road side stand what would you buy at one ? What are your favorite varietys ?
-- Patty Gamble (email@example.com), March 31, 2000
I'd say it's hard to go wrong with red ripe tomatoes, big green bell peppers and perhaps some yellow summer squash or zuchini. In the fall it would be pumpkins and winter squash and maybe some stooks of dried corn stalks.
You don't say where you are and best varieties can vary a lot by region. For tomatoes I'd say Beefsteaks, Big Boys or Better Boys. For bell peppers I'd say California Wonders or Yolo Wonders. I like the Early Prolific summer squashes. Pumpkins I'd go with the sugar pumpkins for pie types. Winter squash would be Waltham Butternut.
Don't know whether you can make any money with this but those are what comes to mind.
The Prudent Food Storage FAQ, v3.5
-- A.T. Hagan (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 31, 2000.
Tomatoes, sweet corn, pumpkins, and melons are always top selling products around here. Hot peppers seems to be in demand as well. The local Farmer's Market almost begs for sweet corn producers to sell their product. Most homegardeners just don't have room for it. You should understand though, that they want a perfect ear of corn, that is well filled, and insect free. An ear of sweet corn around here in Kansas sells for about $.25 or $.30 per ear. If you have a plant population of 20,000 plants per acre, that yields a lot of bucks, also a lot of work. Be aware that pumpkins can be a bit tricky because of insects. Melons can be tricky if you aren't good at selecting ripe melons for the customer. My favorite varieties. For tomatoes I like Better Boy and Early Girl, however for sales I would add Beefsteak. For corn, I like the tried and true Kandy Korn. There are many that are just as good I'm sure, but it is my favorite. There are many good pumpkins available to grow, but I would include some of the mini pumpkins to sell for table decorations. Also some variety of minature corn for decoration. Melons--the Crimson Sweet always sells well in our area, also an ice box variety such as Sugar Baby sells well to those who prefer a smaller melon. For muskmelon, I find that folks prefer a smaller melon instead of the monsters that so many grow. Probably each area is different. Now with a screen name like greenbeanman, you just have to know that I raise greenbeans for sale on occasion. As a matter of fact the moniker came from an elderly customer and it stuck. Greenbean are very labor intensive when it comes to picking, and I don't find the demand that I expected, however since I like them so well myself, I couldn't exclude them from plantings.
-- greenbeanman (email@example.com), March 31, 2000.
I live in the middle of corn country so I don't grow it, buy it at the local stands. I'm growing extra onions this year (the stands don't have them) so when I put out my "Fresh Eggs Today" sign I might hang one underneath that says "onions" too. I usually get real nice onions. If I don't grow these, I look for the small sugar pumpkins (pie), Yellow Doll watermelons, mixed salad greens. All the other suggestions posted sound good and always sell well at the stands. Good luck!
-- Jean (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 31, 2000.
Good stiffneck varieties of GARLIC (yumm), daffodils, salad greens, sunflowers (esp. cut and let sit in dyed water so that the stems and blossoms change colors -- great sellers at the Minneapolis farmer's market), pickling cukes (hard to get a bushel all at once if a person wants to put up several quarts) and dill, hot peppers like Thai and Habernero, big red onions, white pumpkins.
-- Rachel (email@example.com), March 31, 2000.
How about some raspberries and strawberries in season? Jack-be Little pumpkins are easy to grow, you can save the seed and people love them for decorations because they are so cute. Also some jack-o-lantern pumpkins for Halloween. If you want to increase your profit you can paint halloween faces on the pumpkins. These are really attention getters. Sweet corn is a must and for something different how about tomatillos? (also easy to grow) You could make salsa with the tomatoes and tomatillos and let people try it. This is beginning to sound like a lot of work. I've always wanted to try this idea but we are too far off the beaten path to do it here.
-- Peg (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 31, 2000.
I'm a fan of many tomatoes other than the "boy" and "girl" varieties. Try mortgage lifter and West Virginia 63. And Amish paste or "sausage" tomato plants. Serrano Chili peppers are easy to grow and prolific. You can pick them when green or red. Pinetree Gardens has a great salad green mix. Don't forget herbs, a high profit easy to grow item. Try basil, peppermint, lavendar mint, chives, thyme and rosemary.
I almost always stop to buy apples and peaches.
Remember to check your state regs re: egg sales.
-- Anne (HealthyTouch101@hotmail.com), March 31, 2000.
If it isn't Patty stealing my answers now it is Anne. You also might want to grow young starts of herbs, just the common ones like basil, chives, oregano, marjoram and parsley, also sell a salsa kit! Tomatoes, garlic, onions, a jalapeno and a bunch of celantro. Vicki
-- Vicki McGaugh (email@example.com), March 31, 2000.
To paraphrase the real estate folks - "Location, location, location"! It all depends upon your locale. Here, I sell eggs to the farm market for $1.50, and they resell for $2.29. I make a little profit, as do they. But this is a niche for free range fertile eggs, which command a premium here, where store-bought eggs go for 99 cents. There is no way I could sell most produce, except for a few "specialty" goodies. Heirloom tomatoes, especially cherry and pear types sell well. Best profit for me is pumpkins. Remember, I am only 20 miles from a population center (Portland, Maine), and all munchkins MUST have a Halloween jack-o-lantern! Big profit, but for 2 years, I have actually lost money due to floods and drought. Hopefully, this is a profit year! So if you want to become rich - go somewhere else. If you want a GOOD LIFE, here we are! Fun is much more delectible than money. If you disagree, I laud your decision, but you are amongst really cool people who disagree (I think, but I believe rightfully!). To all - Good Luck!
-- Brad (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 31, 2000.
I put in a vote for cherry tomatos,on the vine looks realy nice for selling, two good varietys are sweet 100[red] and yellow pear, yellow pear produces well and you can eat them like grapes[ low acid].
-- kathy h (email@example.com), March 31, 2000.
I love green beans, yellow beans(wax) and my favorite is fresh black eye peas, if you have never tried them fresh give them a try you will love them. Another good idea for a road side stand is flowers and house plants. One last idea for extra income from a stand is to build a round bin from used fencing and fill it about a 1/4 way with aluminum cans you will be surprised how fast it will fill up from your customers "Donations".
-- Mark D. Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 31, 2000.
The best sweet corn my family has ever tasted IN THE WORLD is called, rightly so, "Incredible". It is available from Pioneer Seeds. They distribute through dealers. We have a friend that is one and so we can get a small package for a home garden. Don't know what is avaible otherwise. One drawback is that the seeds are coated with a chemical to prevent rot. We are organic gardners but we make this one exception because the corn tast SOOOO GOOOOD. It freezes very well and taste almost as good after 6 months in the freezer as fresh. I know it would be a good seller once the word gets out about how good it is. Ask around your Co-op for a Pioneer Seed dealer, they can probably tell you if one is in the area.
-- Vaughn (email@example.com), March 31, 2000.
fresh honey !!! i've heard the screech of tires as people brake rapidly to a stop upon seeing my sign, plus it creates great repeat business.
good luck in your endeavor
-- gene (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 01, 2000.
The responses are great...and right on! You might want to consider what you'll do with your time between customers. Knitting, crocheting, needlework, etc. You can listen to Books on Tape which you can get free from the library. Always sit with your feet propped up. GOOD LUCK!! Paulette
-- paulette mark (email@example.com), April 01, 2000.
Thats funny ,sit and read or knit between customers .We have 4 kids ,5 cows ,4 dogs ,3 cats ,50 chickens , goats and sheep to come .Plus weeding and the list goes on .the above would be a vacation! Out here a lot of stands are self serve which is great , it leaves more time for other things .Thanks everyone.
-- Patty Gamble (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 01, 2000.
My family had a small commercial (read chemically sprayed) orchard for years. All we have now are strawberries and asparagus. I've always made good money on berries, both U-pick and picked. Kids can handle a small U-pick patch, especially if you allow people to pick by appointment only. I get the boxes that beer and pop come in from the convienence markets for folks to take their berries home in. You can get 1000 strawberry plants of good quality for about $100, including shipping from Daisy Farms in Decatur, Michigan - I've dealt with them for years, they are good people. Asparagus hasn't made much money for me, just doesn't seem to grow well. I would try rhubarb (and probably will!). Sweet corn goes over good at the local market, as do peppers and tomatoes. Pumpkins, Indian corn and strawberry popcorn, birdhouse and luffa gourds and corn shocks are good sellers also. Bird houses and bird feeders are good winter projects. Honey sells well, but is a lot of work. Good luck!!
-- Polly (email@example.com), April 03, 2000.
I am planning to do the same thing, since there has been so much building in our area, I think we could build up a clientele. A few years ago, my parents had a small farm, mostly to grow veggies and fruits for themselves and for their children's families. My mother would sell her strawberry plants (those from runners) for 10 cents each, and she sold thousands every year. She had a good sized patch to produce them tho. Also sold raspberries, but they are labor intensive to pick. I am going to concentrate on corn, tomatoes, peppers and pumpkins this year, and see how they go. The rest of the veggies we will just grow for us. Good luck, and let us know in the fall what went well, and what didn't! Jan
-- Jan Bullock (Janice12@aol.com), April 04, 2000.
I know a whale of a lot more about marketing than I do about gardening, but here's my two cents. If you decide what to plant based on what is most popular at other stands, you're assuring yourself of maximum competition. If I were going to try to supplement my income with a roadside stand, I'd ask the customers at other stands what they'd like to buy but can't find. Then, from that list, pick the ones you personally would find most interesting or rewarding or even challenging. Marketing ain't rocket science, or people like me couldn't do it.
-- Rog (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 10, 2000.
Rog - if it ain't rocket science, then how come so many new businesses fail ?! We appreciate your expertise don't go away! One other thing that you can do, Patty, is to target a cetain type of client. Many of our clients/customers were senior citizens. They came to us instead of our competitors for several reasons: 1. We had places to sit down 2. We had polite kids, cats and dogs - always a friendly greeting from someone....or something 3. They were always welcome to sample a bite here or there 4. Free glass of cider, in season 5. No pushy sales people, trying to rush you out 6. Good variety, no price gouging 7. Respectful of their vehicles - newspapers available to put down in the trunk before loading messy stuff, etc... 8. We made them feel useful - ran contests with the prizes being our produce. I remember a weather lore contest one year......wooly bear catipillars and persimmon seeds and rings around the moon.....we would just draw a card, and then we posted them all up so people could read them 9. Growing what people asked us to - sometimes they brought us seed packets, even
I could go on, but I'm running out of time - back to work to earn the almighty $$$.............Oh wait, just one more thing - like I said earlier - get the kids involved. Does wonders for them. They learn to make change, speak respectfully, converse with adults, plan ahead, etc... Good luck!
-- Polly (email@example.com), April 10, 2000.
Polly wrote: "Rog - if it ain't rocket science, then how come so many new businesses fail?!", then went on to describe several business attributes that have contributed to her roadside stand's success.
Every one is excellent, beginning with "targeting" a specific market segment, i.e. seniors. In my opinion, and PLEASE keep in mind the value of free advice, most new businesses fail because they neglect one or more of the "4 Ps" of marketing: Product, Price, Place & Promotion. They sell the product (or service) they want to sell instead of what the customer wants to buy; they often set prices without considering all their real costs; they offer their product or service in places with an insufficient customer base (although the Internet is making "Place" less relevent for rural America), and they often think "Promotion" only means paid advertising. I would consider your "free glass of cider," Polly, a wonderful example of "promotion." Another is the "fresh honey" sign mentioned previously, although I might quibble and re-write it: "Fresh LOCAL Honey."
Anyone who isn't aware of his work, but is serious about making a living from what they raise/grow, should read the online papers of Dr. John E. Ikerd at the University of Missouri. Bright, bright guy. I suggest starting with "The Role of Marketing in Sustainable Agriculture" -- www.ssu.missouri.edu/faculty/jikerd/papers/stl-mkt.htm
This article by Dr. Ikerd is the best "introduction to marketing" I've found, and not just for rural people. He provides excellent advice on "differentiation" -- giving customers reasons to choose you over a competitor (just as you have done in so many ways, Polly) -- and "niche" marketing. No business really sells to "everyone," despite what they may say. Polly apparently has targeted active seniors with the mobility to drive to her roadside stand.
Sorry this is so long. My friends laugh it takes me 30 minutes to say Good Morning!
-- Rog (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 11, 2000.