Bountiful Blessings Farm Produce

  (Hinckley, Illinois)
Locally Grown - Quality Farm Produce at Affordable Prices

Posts tagged [crops]

Gearing Up for Another Season

We are gearing up for the upcoming growing season at the Bountiful Blessings Farm. With the addition of a new high tunnel this year, we will once again be able to provide local customers with top quality, fresh produce earlier, without the loss of flavor. High tunnels are season-extension technology used for producing a diversity of horticulture crops including vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers. Specifically, high tunnels are passively vented, solar greenhouses covered with 1-2 layers of greenhouse plastic. Crops are grown directly in the soil beneath the high tunnel, and the only external connection is the drip irrigation system. In addition to accelerating crop growth and maturity, high tunnels protect the crop from an erratic environment where extremes in temperature, wind, rainfall, pests and light intensity can severely reduce marketable yield and quality.

Tomorrow we start seeding for the new season! It's excting!


A Synopsis of the Produce Business

The success of any business depends largely on the clearness the entrepreneur conceives as to the aims and purposes which he is to attain. Many persons grow crops because their family grew them, because they know how to grow them, or because the land and locality are adapted to them. All three apply to me. This is okay; but it is better if the grower can also picture to himself the destination of the crops which he is to raise. That is, he should grow a crop for a distinct purpose. He should find his niche. At Bountiful Blessings Farm Produce, our niche is producing heirloom vegetables, sweet corn and locally grown food available for the local community.

Good farming, like any other business, is primarily a matter of ideals and principles. Vegetable gardening for an income is not an easy business. In fact, nothing is easy if it is worth the having. In the farm produce business, competition is great; the margin of profit is small; there are risks incident to season, diseases, insects, and marketing. Moreover, many of the products are quickly perishable. Most vegetables are used as staple necessities, not as luxuries; and the prices are therefore not high. Nearly every person who has a bit of ground in our rural area around Hinckley, grows a few vegetables. So when our tomatoes are in season, so are theirs. In most cases, earliness of crop is a prime requisite; and to secure the crop very early requires the closest attention to all the details of growing. One must find a dedicated customer; and this customer rarely takes pains to wait for the produce of one grower or to search for it in the market, for the vegetable supply is usually great: consequently, the small grower may have to work diligently to sell his vegetables.

In many cases, the vegetable farmer must keep long hours and must work hard, (Trust me, I work from no later than 7 in the morning till sometimes 9 at night). He must not expect much reward the first two or three years. He must learn his soil, market and climate. If he is a good grower and a good business man, he will succeed. If he is only a grower, he will probably not be very successful. Its like a good mechanic who opens a shop but knows nothing about managing a business; it many times results in failure.

There are many growers who make great profits from certain acreages of land, but they are usually old hands at the business, and they do not make equal profits every year on every acre. They know the market thoroughly. In certain cases, when competition is not severe, decent rewards may come to the novice; but these are exceptions. A niche crop well grown, or produced much ahead of the normal season or much behind it, may turn a handsome profit. High Tunnel and greenhouse products often bring fancy prices; but the risks are also great. Some of the best locations for small produce operations are in the neighborhoods of small cities, where competition is likely to be less severe than in the larger cities. Another great venue is a location or event where the grower may deal directly with the consumer. The grower who has a big farm, and enough capital to run it effectively, can set the market, and can grow sufficient product to bring a fair reward even at close margins. The person who likes the business, and who goes into it with a full appreciation of all the difficulties and discouragements, will almost always succeed. To this person, it is a most attractive business, for the returns are quick; and it is an inexpressible delight to bring forth a beautiful product at the exact time when it is desired by the consumer. Good vegetable production is an indescribable satisfaction.

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