The Q&A Archives: selling my veggies

Question: I would like to sell some of the vegetables that I grow this summer. I have a 200 square foot garden, and I always grow way more than my family of four can eat! I love gardening, and planting a smaller garden just isn't an option! I usually put everything I can't give away on a table on my front lawn with a sign saying

Answer: Since you want to do this as a commercial venture, I would suggest you check with your local county extension and see if they have any information about a local farmer's market or other outlet where you might be able to sell once or twice a week. You might also check with local grovery stores and see if they would be willing to purchase from you. Another option might be to sell to local restaurants. Or, perhaps you could identify your regular customers and ask them to purchase annual "shares" in your garden and then you would give them a portion of the produce every week. You ask them in general what they would like most of or least of, and plant accordingly. What they got would of course depend on what was producing in the garden each week, so it could be a lot or a little! Or, you might try changing your sign to state a specific price for each item and directing folks to leave the money in the can. Such a clear,direct approach might encourage folks to pay you more effectively than the gentle suggestion you have been using unsuccessfully.

Certification information should also be available from your county extension. If your sales are under $5,000 a year you may be exempt from some of the certification requirements, but overall it is quite complicated to achieve formal designation. I should mention that there will probably be a lot of record keeping involved so it may not be worth your while for only a small income, but certainly worth looking into. The following web site from the USDA will help you get started.

Best of luck with your project!

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