Friday, November 12, 2010

Down To Two

Just two more markets left for the 2010 season. We still have a nice selection of produce left and my only concern now is that people come out and shop. We could use a couple of good weeks here to stay on top of things and maximize our sales for the year. Bills still continue to come due even when we're not making money. ( I hate that ) Feeling pretty good about how things went this year and already excited to start next year. We have our crew lined up already and we're going to hit the ground running. I have big ideas ( as usual ) for the new year. Lots of variety, more eclectic items, and more successions on some of our key items.

For all that is good I am trying to address our problem areas as well. The big one is continuous availability on salad greens. We always fall short right in the heat of the season and it seriously costs us thousands of dollars in lost sales. It's more of a planning issue than anything. There are other issues at hand, but planning to have the space available at the right time and planning the plantings out at about every seven days is a major part of it. Heat, water, pests, appropriate varieties, weed pressure and allergy season are other important factors to consider as well. Making this work is my main priority. We have other issues to address but this is the biggest and that's where we'll start.

I think part of being successful is being able to look at your short comings in an authentic manner. We all like to think that just because we did it, it's great. That's not always the case and being able to see, acknowledge and correct your short-comings although sometimes difficult is a neccessary skill to have.

Our experience in selling to the grocery store is turning out to be quite positive. In my opinion the exposure we are getting far outways the lower price we are receiving for the product. So many people are commenting on it. It's something I'd like to pursue more in the future.

That'l do for today. I have a busy day. Market harvest in the morning and an off island journey starting at noon. Crazy. Come see us at the market!

Farmer John

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Killer Weather

And I mean that in a good way. It's the first week in November and we're still working in the fields in our shirt sleeves. It was a balmy 59 degrees and sunny yesterday. Awesome, I love it. espescially when I was late getting our fall and over-winter crops in. Most of it is looking good right now and at least has a chance to make, although we have just entered the "12 week no grow zone" This is the period six weeks on each side of the winter solstice that not alot of growth happens. The Sun is riding lower in the sky each day and even when it is sunny the intensity of the suns ray are waning. So you can't expect too much right now. Just wait though, as soon as February comes around and we start getting some nice days, life will begin to return. Pay attention to what is happening in your garden. This is a good time to observe mother nature and learn by mimicking her. We'll take this nice weather any day of the week. Winter is coming and everyones all chatsy about how this is going to be a rough one. Only time will tell. I think we're ready for anything. Bring it.

Although we get a break from the farmers market this week it will return for the next two weeks after that and then we're done. We are still making restaurant deliveries but this is rapidly slowing down too. We are still making deliveries to the grocery store though. This is something new for us and so far it's working great. We've been delivering kale, swiss chard and parsley. It's great advertising for us and more people are getting our product because it's more convienient.

That's a pretty good topic you know; Convienence. It's a weak link for us. You have to make it easy for the consumer to buy your product if you have any hope in succeeding. There are more people that don't go to the farmers market than those who do. Reach those people and then you have a whole new market to sell to. We all talk about competition amongst ourselves and how the island can only support so many farmers. All I can say is head down to the ferry landing any given morning and you'll see about ten semis a day come off from America loaded with fuel, food and other supplies. That's our competition. Well that and our own brains and boxes we put ourselves into. Our number one job on the marketing side of things should be figuring out and implementing ways to make it easier for our potential customers to become our steady customers. Selling to the grocery store is a pretty good start.

I've been thinking alot about our operation here and how we can improve. There are alot of areas we can do better at and I'll be thinking about that this winter but the bottom line is we need to grow more food. We can't expand if we don't have the product to offer. I'm confident we could sell what we grow even if we added another five acres. We are missing sales every day due to fact that we don't have the product. It all sounds real easy on paper, implementing is a whole other story.

I'm headed off island today. hoping to get in a cou quick farm visits. My favorite!

Kepp well,