Friday, December 11, 2015

Fresh and healthy foods

     Many of us raise a few veggies that end up on our tables. Fresh foods are tasty and healthy. Plus, you get the fun of growing your own.
     It's common to find tomatoes and peppers growing in backyards in summer. And many people raise basil, parsley and other herbs on patios, decks, and windowsills. 
     Fresh vegetables and herbs represent business opportunities. It can be more than the farm stands and farm market possibilities that many farmers appreciate and take advantage of. 

     Lettuce farming -- Jean had a big backyard. She hired a handyman to construct raised beds in which she planted lettuce. Not just one type of lettuce, but two dozen different types. She planted the seeds, and while waiting for the lettuce to grow, she contacted several restaurants to arrange sales. Chefs appreciated lettuce harvested to their needs and delivered the same day. Jean was quickly in her own business, providing fresh lettuce of various types to restaurants, caterers, health food stores and others. She hired the handyman again to construct more raised beds. She now covers the beds to extend the growing season, and she has added more greens to her offerings. 

     Kale farming -- Ted had long raised many greens, herbs and other veggies. He sold his produce at his own farm stand, at farm markets, and to others. One popular green was kale, and he raised several different types. He noticed that last year's crop of kale then produced buds the following spring. On a hunch, he offered the kale buds to several chefs. They got excited about the possibilities and incorporated the buds into recipes. They now offer kale bud omelets, along with various appetizers. Ted now lets his kale crop overwinter, confident of extra sales in early springtime.

     Purslane farming -- Phil established an organic farm. He raised many veggies and he sold to specialty stores and restaurants. He had a problem with purslane--it seemed to grow everywhere. It was a big weeding problem. One day, Phil's grandmother visited. She was enthusiastic about the purslane, asking him to bring her several big bunches. Some she fried, some she put into omelets, and some she threw into a big pot of soup. Suddenly, Phil loved purslane, and he began offering bunches to his customers. He found he had to educate most of them, but the extra source of income was good.