Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sunday Reading - Market Update

It certainly was a perfect day for a farmer's market no doubt about that. Plenty of traffic as well and sales were very brisk at times. I am still trying to get a handle on what a prime mover would be even in my honey sales as each sale seems to favor a different size or type of bottle between plastic and glass. It's very confusing honestly.

For instance I had been filling up one or two 40 oz. sized bottles each time I harvested and no one seemed to want that much honey at one time. I still had three bottles of it left over from other harvests. One bottle was even still the late Spring honey that is much lighter colored. This morning right off the bat someone walked up and bought all of them and then I had three other people ask if I had larger bottles available.

Ya just never know. Also glass bottles I have to tack an extra buck unto the price because glass is so much more expensive. All my other sales this Summer people were balking at that extra dollar until today everyone wanted glass.

Very confusing.

Veggies sales were actually pretty good but at the prices the competition is forcing on the market right now you have to move some heavy volume to really make it worth your while if that was all you had to sell. As a side attractor to the honey however the veggies are working out well giving me an extra 25% or more in over all sales total.

As things appear to be working out if I had about three or four times the producing hives I managed to save over Winter I would be making at least as much as I made working 50 hours a week at my last low end job.  That knowledge of course is not going to get me anywhere right now no matter how much I contemplate it. It's going to take at least the rest of this year and a Winter without losses to even think about getting the new hives up to production status of those numbers. That volume would also require weekly trips to at least two other markets I know of nearby as well so would increase over head some as well.

One item I have found that moves fast are bagged up hot peppers from Jalapenos to Anahiems, people seem to love them. I guess that surprises me because other than growing em I have very little use for peppers. Oh I guess selling them now is a use.  I have also found that having little recipe sheets for off the wall items that I like to grow like say pattipan squash and such get's women really interested in them :)

I can't say I am seeing any real profits yet but I am seeing the real long term potential and as I have pointed out I believe this is where the real future of agriculture is heading for us as a whole. The trick is going to be getting the volume needed on a regular basis.

Right now I am waiting for the girls from South Faulkland hive to go to bed. A large number of them are just hanging out on the front of the hive and I need for them to all go inside so I can close em up and move them. That is the hive that has decided to turn pirate on it's weak neighbors so I am going to move them off to the West Apiary where they will be the weak neighbor.

Believe it or not the towel over the little nuc worked to stop the robbing and the bees that had left went back in and began building comb. I inspected them this afternoon and actually saw the queen this time but they are in sad shape with very depleted numbers. I really don't have any brood to give them right now anyway but maybe things will shape up in the next few weeks. More than likely there is no way I am going to get them built up enough to survive Winter but I can't just not try especially after finding the queen today.

Well off to check and see if the girls went to bed yet.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!


  1. We usually buy honey in pint mason jars, I guess I should just buy a larger one and pour it in my own jars. Maybe the guy who bought the large ones is going to make some wine. I didn't sell vegetables this year as it is hard to get what they are worth so I just feed my extra to the animals, people can buy mexican vegetables if they want cheap.

    1. SF - I been sticking to the smaller jars simply so I have more to peddle. Without the Honey taking the veggies to market really is not worth my time. As it stands right now my production is way more than I can peddle anyway. I am simply testing the market and gearing up more than anything else.

  2. PP - i loooove pattipans - yummeh! slice 'em and fry them up in some butter, salt, pepper - deelish! i would eat them every day! sadly enough, i have a lot of flowers on my plants but no signs of those little yellow happy things!

    we buy our local honey in bulk - and the bigger container, the better! we have told some of the local honey guys here at the market that we take huge containers home and then re-package them. one guy says that he started telling customers to do that and it saves money for him, and for his customers.

    oh printing little recipes is what is going to make you stand out from the other guys at the market - plus, yer good-looking! that helps too! congrats on your good market day!

    your friend,

    1. kymber - My pattipans are white this year. The yellow ones I grew two years ago were called sunburst. I like em cooked like twice baked potatoes. Scoop out the innerds and blend it with bacon bits and cheese then rebake em. I also substitute pattipans for green peppers when the Mrs. and the son have their stuffed pepper night. I just stuff a pattipan for me :)

  3. My first post had typos like crazy. I hate commenting from a cell phone.

    Like I first Said.. When we move to the Country estate, going to market is one of my goals. I have all ready been nosing around them looking to see what sells and what doesn't.
    Honey is real big, but what I don't see a lot of is baked goods...

    I too like the recipe go with that as well.

    1. JuGM - No one around here so far has tried to sell honey in my little territory in about three years. I have been keeping my prices low to discourage competition to a point as well but as it stands I think I could quadruple my production and still have no surplus to worry about. Bees and honey are not generally something the states screw around with like they do baked or prepared foods. There really is very little they need to with honey so I feel safe selling it while I would never even think about selling prepared stuff. Still there are plenty at the market I sell at who do :)

  4. Our farmers market stand was removed this past week. I guess with kids heading off to college they packed it in until next year.

    I wanted to stock up and dehydrate for the winter, but with the problems with the R.M. I didn't do it.

    1. Rob - The one here stopped last year in August but this year they will try and go to October I think. Just depends they will stay as long as people ahve stuff to sell I guess.

  5. I buy Jalapenos and put them on almost everything from sandwiches to eggs. I often wonder if it's because I smoked for so many years. Peppers are about the only thing that really seem to make my food have a lot of taste.

    1. HF - See now I smoked heavily and still smoke some even now although my son has made me promise to quit after he takes his ASVAB test next month.

      And I still cannot abide peppers :)

  6. Pioneer Preppy, a good year here will produce about 35 pounds of liquid honey per colony but usually it is closer to 20 pounds. We went a couple of years without being able to harvest because there wasn't enough honey to rob. When the bees produce enough honey, I provide one pound plastic skep bottles. The skeps satisfy almost everyone and my bees don't make enough liquid honey to bottle large amounts unless one of my friends makes a special order.

    Glass jars are too expensive in my area also although the specialty stores that cater to ladies like the glass skep jars or mason jars with cloth under the band. They do add to the cost for the consumer. The fancy jars also win ribbons at the county fair.

    You may want to take a small smoker to the farmers market with you to see if shoppers in your market like fresh smoked peppers. One of my Texas buddies did well selling smoked jalapenos and other peppers at local events.


    1. Dave - I have had two hives that have already produced two full medium supers of capped honey each this year. Usually one medium is about the most I can expect and I make it a point to never take more than 1/4 of the Fall flow honey off the hive.

      I also do not harvest honey from a hive that is smaller than two full brood chambers. Once they fill up the second brood box I put on a medium with a top entrance hole. At that point I will harvest no more than half of any capped honey from that medium. If the hive is large enough that I add another or even a third medium the top two are fair game all Summer. Come the end of September I will try and leave each hive with two full brood boxes minimum and at least half a medium if possible for Winter.

      I have never had a hive die with two full brood boxes although one did get close this year.

      I use the glass because as you said the women sometimes demand it. I just tack a dollar onto the price which covers the higher glass costs.

      The smoker idea is something to think on. I am not sure if the market I go to allows burning though. I need to check.



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