Garden to Market

Farmers' MarketAre you one of those gardeners who grow a large garden and end up giving away a large portion of your harvest so it won’t go to waste?  If so, that’s money down the drain, and money in the pockets of those who reap the benefits of your labor and expense.

Or have you considered selling your products but didn’t know where to begin or how to market them?  Help is at hand, from the people at the agricultural extension office nearest you.  They will help you learn everything growing produce to selling it.  They will provide all the information you need to stay within the laws of your state.

Agricultural extension offices provide all the information you need to process your produce and market it as canned goods, dried, or other packaging.  Imagine growing cucumbers, using great grandma’s pickle recipe, and selling them at the farmers market.  Anything you can grow, you can also turn into another product and sell it.

Cottage industry such as home canned goods is making a huge come back in local economies.  There’s no reason you and your garden can’t be a part of that.  If your garden is certified organic, you can add that extra punch to your product labels.  “Suzy’s Organic Pickles” might just be a hit, not only locally, but regionally, and if you work at it, you might land a distributor to go national.

To help you on your way, contact your local extension office or master gardener club.  They will provide you valuable information about available services and publications.  Some garden clubs have published books specific to their own regions.  They contain information and instructions not available in books written for the national market.  If a regional garden club book is available, grab it before it is sold out.  Usually, when they are sold out, that’s the end of them and they probably won’t be available at online stores.

With your garden in the ground and your produce growing, set about finding where you wish to market your produce and when.  Farmer’s markets are great, but also consider venues other than farmers markets such as flea markets and mini-malls.  Some local businesses might carry your products. Make friends with the people who own the stores you frequent.

When looking for information to help you market your products, don’t limit yourself to only the state you live in.  For instance, people in every state can get some useful information from this Wisconsin publication  New Directions in Marketing for Farmer’s.  It is free as a PDF file and available in print form for a price.