Flowers are a great option to sell at the farmers market. Not only are they beautiful but you can make a fair profit on them. You have the option to sell loose cut flowers as well as making up bouquets to have on-hand. Other farmers at market might also be selling flowers but by making your bouquets unique will help you stand out and bring more people to your booth. Here is a list of the top 10 flowers to sell at market:
A showy flower that makes a lasting impression.
Growing tip: They like full sun and neutral PH soil.
A very easy flower to grow. They grow quickly and bloom heavily.
Growing tip: Do not seed until the last frost has passed.
A free flowering annual that is extremely easy to grow.
Growing tip: Don't over water.
A spring blooming perennial that grows between 4-28 inches tall in many different colors.
Growing tip: Plants the bulbs deep; 8 inches. Plant different varieties with varying bloom times.
A big, bright large stemmed flower and can grow over 16 feet tall.
Growing tip: Plant in full sun. They are heliotropic, and follow the sun through the day.
An oldie but a goodie.
Growing tip: Deadhead to keep them blooming and wear sturdy gloves.
A short-lived perennial that may not come back every year. They come in wide variety of colors and heights.
Growing tip: They prefer cooler soil so don't use a seed mat.
Also called bachelor's button. It is an annual that grows about 1-3 feet in height.
Growing tip: Drought tolerant once established they will benefit from mulching with bark.
A showy perennial flower that is either a bulb or rhizome.
Growing tip: Especially bearded irises do not like shade.
These can be a little challenging to grow but are well worth it once they get going.
Growing tip: Watch the watering. Too much can cause pythium.
If you have the space, adding flowers to your farm can bring a profit and make your market booth look more appealing as well. This list is a great place to start but keep your eyes out for types of flowers that no one is selling and bring those. Whatever you don't sell you can always take to the local florist to see that they might want as well.
Finding the right person for the job is hard for any business but it is especially hard to find good help on the farm. Here are a few tips to help you find the best workers.
1) Provide candidates with clear expectations
Give the low-down on the job and your expectations. If you're able to communicate what they need to accomplish and what is expected you can find out a few important things.
1.) Are they the right person for the job.
2.) Are they are going to be happy working for you.
3.) Are they going to stay (so you don't have to repeat this process as often).
2) Test for motivation
It's important that you find the person who is best suited for this job. That might not be a close friend or even a friend of a friend. Lots of people will tell you whatever you want to hear to get the job but you should make sure that they are motivated to work in this type of job and have the qualifications.
Possible questions to ask:
Of course you want to talk about the job and a potential employee is qualified for the job but there is a lot more that you can find out and save yourself many hassles down the road.
It's also good to note what questions you are not allowed to ask. Things like age and race are off limits. Here is a helpful list of questions that are off limits to ask. https://www.betterteam.com/illegal-interview-questions
3) Provide follow up
It's a good plan to know this before you start interviewing. When will you be getting back to applicants? What can they expect? What is the process? Here is a list of steps to take.
Steps to take before you have your first interview:
4.) Be prepared
There are many resources out there that give information on hiring and firing. Here is a link to a guide that covers farm hiring from A to Z and tackles many of the hard parts of hiring/firing.
The guide covers:
5.) Places to post jobs:
Here are a few places to post jobs that you have around the farm. If you have suggestions we would love to hear them!
Additionally, here is a blog post on hiring immigrants through the H-2A program. https://www.farmaid.org/blog/fact-sheet/immigration-and-the-food-system/
Finally be part of the team. Sure, you're the boss but it shows a lot if you work a long side your employees at times. You could also plan employee fun time (when there's time) to bond as a team and show your employees that you care.
Best of luck with hiring for the coming growing season!
Poultry and chickens can be a great source of income for your agricultural business. They can be quick money makers and help your bottom line. They are also characters and fun to have around. Here are a few ideas where you can add poultry to your business.
Selling broilers is a quick way of making money with poultry. They can take as little as 8 weeks to be ready. Check in your area for your butchering laws. If you do it yourself you can keep your costs low. You can provide your local area with a CSA or sell to local markets. Work on having these connections before you even buy the chicks.
Selling stewing hens:
After a hen has stopped laying you might choose to sell them as a stew hen. You can either sell them live or butcher them if that is allowed in your area.
Selling layers, pullets and day old chicks:
Some people do not want to bother with raising the chickens till they lay eggs. You can do the work for them and charge a little extra at the same time.
Selling table eggs:
A large amount of people eat eggs everyday. They are a great source of protein. They are also a great source of income. Sell your eggs locally in numerous ways and always keep them coming back. Try providing a CSA as well for this.
Selling eggs this way is a numbers game; 1 chicken, (roughly) 1 egg a day. Keep them healthy and with 14 hours of light to keep them laying through the year.
Selling breeding eggs:
Selling breeding eggs to other poultry enthusiasts or helping other farmers introduce new genetics into their flocks is a great way to make a profit. Keeping 1 + flocks each with about 12 hens and 1 rooster will keep this flock going and manageable at the same time. You can sell these eggs locally as well as on Craigslist and Ebay.
Other types of poultry can bring a profit if they are not commonly sold in your area. For instance; fancy chicken breeds, quail, ducks, turkeys, guinea fowl, and peacocks
Other forms of income:
A few other ways to turn a profit with poultry might be selling well aged compost to local nurseries and gardeners, feathers for crafters and selling bone broth locally.
There are many ways to grow your agricultural business with poultry. Start small and grow your way up as you make a name for yourself. Always remember that marketing your product is just as important a component as growing the product your selling.
Best of luck with you poultry venture!
So you want to have livestock, but you don't have a lot of acreage. Not to worry. There are many options out there for you. Here is a brief list.
Wonderful eggs and meat animals. On average they are about 10 lbs so they are too heavy to fly which makes them ideal to free range. They are fast growers and at around 6-9 weeks are big enough to eat. They are fair layers and will lay an average of 140 eggs per year.
The quail is a small pretty bird. They get to be an average of 3.5 ounces. They lay small speckled eggs and are primarily table birds but you might also sell the fertilized eggs to hatch. You can have a fair amount of quail since they are so small. On one extension site I saw the recommendation of 500 quail to make a good profit.
Small and a great option for small spaces. There are many options to choose when deciding a breed. They give birth to multiple offspring and grow fast.
This is a pretty standard animal to put on this list. You can raise them for meat or eggs or both. They are very easy to care for just remember to protect them from predators.
There are many types of goats to chose from but if you don't have a lot of space you might want to consider Nigerian dwarf goats. They are small in stature, have a sweet disposition and are easy to milk. Just like all the others this is another breed that you will need to protect from predators.
There are many options for breeds of pigs. One breed in particular is Berkshire pigs. They are both small and versatile.
You can have multiple hives with the added bonus of having the help around the farm.
Cows- The miniature kind
Depending on your land miniature cows might be a good option. If you have about 2 acres or more. Miniatures need at least 2 acres to utilize rotate grazing. Since these cows are smaller, about half the size, they consume about 1/2 the amount of resources of a standard sized cow. You can use them for breeding, meat, or milk.
Animals by acreage:
As farmers and small businesses owners the bottom line is we want to have a successful business. To succeed in this competitive market we have to be creative and find and grow things that sell, pay the bills, and above all keep us doing what we love, farming!
Here is a list of 12 of the most profitable crops. They won't work for everyone but they are worth looking into for your small farm.
1.) Gourmet mushrooms:
If your climate accommodates mushrooms you could grow mushrooms outdoors and offer gourmet mushrooms to your list of items you sell. But even if you don't have the climate in your favor you can do this in a very small space indoors and control the humidity, temperature to get a profitable harvest. From gourmet food item to medicinal purposes mushrooms can get a great price at market. Oyster mushrooms, chanterelle, shiitake and reishi and all highly valued mushrooms you can produce. Not only can you sell the fresh "fruit" mushroom but you can pickle, make tea, make tinctures, dry, or make jerky out of the mushrooms (for vegetarians). Crop cycles are short at about $12 per pound you can make a profit quickly.
This one you do have to have the right climate. Lavender prefers a more mild winter and a warm sunny summer with low humidity. You can harvest 3 times a year. After cutting the flowers and stems you can sell lavender bundles for 6-15 dollars per bundle. You can dry the flowers and sell them all winter long along with teas, soaps and other smell good items.
If you are able to grow hemp in your state it may be a beneficial crop to add to your list. With the legalization of hemp in over 36 states in the US it may be time to give this crop a second look. Hemp grows very vigorously and doesn't require a lot of fertilizer, water or other amendments. It can be used as feed, bio fuel, paper, building material, textiles and the seeds and oil can be collected and used industrially and for culinary uses. The profits range from roughly $130-730 per acre.
Growing cut flowers for market can be a very profitable venture. It's almost unlimited in what you could sell. Perennial flowers from bushes like lilacs or roses or something more annual like sunflowers or cosmos. The greenery included in floral arrangements is also profitable. You could also chose to sell woody ornamental like willow, red twig dogwood, or pussy willows are also a great perennial crop that you harvest year after year.
5.) Trees and shrubs:
This is ideal for a part time or side business. Some highly sought after trees are maple trees, fruit trees, nut trees, Christmas trees, fruit bushes and roses. Just putting in a few hours per week after your initial investment you could find some reasonable profit here.
You can sell both mature roots and young shoots to other growers and make a substantial profit. Seed is selling for about $150-200 a lb and mature roots are selling for $400-500 a lb. Mature roots do take a while to cultivate - 6 years so the payoff here is an investment.
Often used as a rotation grain it is also an ancient grain along side farro, quinoa, spelt, amaranth and millet. It boasts a high amount of vitamin C, protein and iron and has been a big hit with the health conscious and gluten free crowd. It takes the award for highest profit per acre. It averages about $1,600-1,700 a lb per acre.
Microgreens pack a tiny punch in the produce world. You don't need a lot of space and can make up to $50 per pound, and depending on your space and how you set things up you could produce 20-25 crops per year.
9.) Bonsai trees:
Small trees for small spaces. If you have a small space to spare you could start growing Bonsai trees. You can sell the starts that are untrained to Bonsai enthusiasts and the trained trees. The trained trees are usually 2-3 years old so do require some time commitment. The trained trees can go for around $30-hundreds of dollars depending on the amount of time and the specimen.
It doesn't take a large amount of money or a large space to get started in garlic. And with specialty garlic being purchased in local grocery stores, depending on your market, you can find a profitable crop to sell locally. Types of specialty garlic are Romanian Red or Carpathian. A lbs of garlic seed will produce 40-60 plants depending on the variety. Profiting about $16 per lb.
11.) Bamboo, ground covers and drought tolerant plants:
Droughts and fires and dry conditions are becoming the norm. Growing bamboo, ground covers and grasses in pots and selling all over your local area or distributing online. Growing drought tolerant plants and selling them to landscapers, nurseries, and homeowners is another way to generate a profit.
Wasabi is a highly sought after root that is more like a fine wine than a horseradish. Wasabi takes about 60-80 weeks to grow to a marketable size and has highly guarded secrets on how to grow it. Wasabi also gets the award for one of the hardest plants to grow on this list or even get a hold of. It does offer a nice prize for all that effort. Wasabi root goes for around $100 a lb in Japan and $45 a lb in North America.
There are many ways to grow your farm business. I hope that this list is useful and gives you a starting point to dig in and do your own research on what crops might be best for you.