The Farm-to-Table Lady

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E5My name is Marilyn Batzel Ison, and I am The Farm-to-Table Lady, and I teach people just like you how to turn your gardens, acreage, or small farm into money. I have been around farming and gardening of some type all of my life. Even though I was born and raised in the city, my parents put out a huge garden every year and all of my maternal grandparents farmed, as did many of my mother’s family. I spent summers on the farm and learned how to milk cows, both by hand and machine, care for chickens, and all things done on a farm. Then I married a farmer. We farmed over 1,000 acres of soybeans, corn, milo, and wheat. We raised between 200 – 300 head of beef cattle, and farrowed 20 head of sows three times per year, along with other things. Farming was in my blood and I loved it!

It costs a lot of money to farm that big, and we struggled for thirteen years with low pay for the grain, cattle, and hogs we raised and high bank interest rates before finally throwing in the towel. We sold out, moved to the city where I was raised and worked other jobs until we bought a five-acre place to live on and decided to see if it would pay the mortgage payment per month. That was when we tested the waters with market gardening and even though we had a horrible drought the first year we tried it, we made our investment money back plus a little more by selling at one of our local Farmer’s Markets. It made a firm believer out of me that I could really make it work, and it did when l was downsized from my job in town and dove in. I diversified each venue of the farm and ended up making a very good income. It wasn’t easy, but I learned how to make this work and want to help simplify your desire to make money from your garden, acreage or small farm.

Keep up with my blog: The Farm-to-Table Market Lady

My Motto: “If you want it badly enough, YOU will get it through PERSERVERANCE

MISSION STATEMENT : Help others with what I learned from other growers and farmers, and self-education through research and plain hard work so they may enjoy the fruits of their labors and make money.

PAST and PRESENT MEMBERSHIPS : Past Vice President of the Missouri Organic Association (MOA). Past President of the Southwest Missouri Chapter of the Missouri Organic Association (MOA)

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Beginning Market Gardening As A Career (Full Time or Part Time) Part 1

Planning and Research

When considering beginning market gardening as a career, and leaving the security of your current job, there are a lot of factors to research to see if this truly is for you. The  key word here is “Research” because like any other type of business a person decides to get into, a lot of research needs to be done. Too many people go out and plant a few seeds or transplant some plants they bought at the big box store, and they produce a good crop and they believe they are instant market gardeners. Some people actually go  to the local farmers markets in their area and try to get a booth or space once they have produce harvested to sell. That’s where the research, homework, or whatever you want to call it comes in.

When considering beginning market gardening as a career, you need to find your niche. Your niche is what type of market gardener do you want to be? Do you plan to deal  mainly in meat, one or more types? Do you plan to offer eggs and dairy products? Do you plan to have ready – made products that you produce from a commercial kitchen, e.g.  jams, jellies, baked goods, etc.? Do you plan to grow assorted vegetables and assorted fruits? Do you plan to grow flowers and if so, are they going to be fresh cut bouquets, or do you plan to incorporate bedding plants so you can diversify your market garden business for additional income? What do you plan to specialize in so your customers will know you and your particular specialty?

When considering beginning market gardening as a career, you need to first check if selling at a farmers market would be the way you would want to sell what you grow, or are there other avenues of selling your particular item(s). Do you like working long hours in all types of weather? Do you like going to bed with the chickens and getting up with them as well? Chickens go to roost at dusk because they can’t see in the dark, and they are up at first light in the morning. Believe me, I know. When I had to give up my market gardening business due to an illness, I had 2,300 laying hens free ranging over four and a half acres of pasture. Do you like hurrying like crazy to get all of your produce picked, washed, dried, packaged in to containers to haul, loaded to haul in your truck, trailer, or whatever vehicle you plan to use to do your market, get to the market and get set up, and hope you sell out soon because the weather is taking a toll on you and your produce? Or perhaps you choose to sell to restaurants, health food stores, or other venues, but the principle is still the same. You have to get your product(s) ready and loaded in your vehicle and make those deliveries on THEIR schedule, not yours. You have to
really like doing this day in and day out, week in and week out in order for it to work and make you money. Be sure to research that aspect of market gardening while you are
considering it as a full or part time career. Once you have decided this is exactly what you want to do, then keep doing your research because there is more to it.

When you join my email list then watch for Part 2 of Beginning Market Gardening As A Career (Full Time or Part Time). You will be notified when it posts next week. In the meantime, please enjoy my free report 8 MISTAKES OF SELLING AT FARMER’S MARKETS.

Copyright © 2016 Marilyn Batzel Ison

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