Friday, August 21, 2015

First Lessons in Commerce

Despite the happy looks on the farmhands' faces, it was a tough harvest at the start. With no pumpkins, we got no income from one customer.

Squash-bugs were a horror this year, and from 18 vines we harvested exactly 2 pumpkins. Only one went into the root shelter, while another one had a bad spot. I cut up the rest of it and froze it for our pumpkin soup or pies.

Lesson learned: to continue an organic regimen for squash and pumpkins in the garden, I'm going to have to start with insect netting over them and have diatomaceous earth down as soon as I put in seedlings.

Luckily, our little venture as an LLC has sold some cucumbers, lettuce, and now hot peppers. That said, even with these cash crops we'll not realize a profit this year. I must next year or will revert to "Hobby" status for IRS purposes. Thus I won't hire farmhands next year, my major expense, and do the picking myself.  My main helper does other work, anyway, on buildings here and helping to split wood, so he can be paid by me and not the LLC.

Next year will be interesting, however, as a new customer is about to open a produce stand just down the road. He's an Iranian with family who help him, and they'll sell produce from local farmers. He wants whatever we can provide.

It will be called "Garden of Eden," and I've high hopes for him and whatever I can contribute. The other lesson learned, then, is to have a couple of high-volume customers and diverse offerings. If the peppers had not come in so well, we'd hardly have any income for 2015.

Luckily, I still have a day job. For now.