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Small Farmers

You are not an urban homesteader (or suburban) Your farm is more than an acre and may be hundreds of acres. You grow sustainably. You might have livestock out on grass. You sell what you sow direct to your customers via CSA, farmers markets, etc..

Members: 32
Latest Activity: Mar 5, 2014

Boulder belt Eco-Farm's Fall/Winter crops. Lots of leeks and carrots under the row cover in the fore ground. Further back are strawberries, kale, collards and other hearty greens.

HOMEGROWN Discussions


Hey everybody. I just wanted to introduce myself. I'm Travis and my wife and I have 4.5 acres are we are looking into income generating ideas that we can do on a small property. How are you guys…Continue

Started by Travis Stinnett. Last reply by Carrie Seal-Stahl Jun 24, 2013.

Dealing with drought 3 Replies

How are you dealing with the drought?Do you irrigate? Mulch? Have a lot of organic matter? Or are you having a failure year and plowing it all under?Continue

Started by Lucy Goodman. Last reply by Rick Nichols Aug 29, 2012.

My Winter CSA 2 Replies

Today is the 1st pick up for my winter share members. I have been doing a winter CSA for the past 4 years in order to move all the crops we grow almost year round. This year is by far the biggest…Continue

Started by Lucy Goodman. Last reply by Lucy Goodman Dec 15, 2011.

Comment Wall

Comment by amanda richards on June 26, 2011 at 8:16pm

Anyone participate in their local farmer's markets?  I've been asked to participate, but the requirements make it almost impossible.  I have honey, eggs, goat milk, cheese, cinnamon rolls, candy, etc. that I could sell, too!  The only thing that I've found that I can do is something crafty, sewing or making goat milk soap.


Comment by Lucy Goodman on June 27, 2011 at 10:08am

see if you have cottage industry rules in your state-if so than you do not need any licensing to sell baked goods and most jams, pickles and other acidic or sugary canned goods.


The cheese will take around $5K to $20K of improvements on your part and you will have to work with your state dept of Agriculture very closely to get legal.


Eggs should not be an issue as long as you can keep them at 45F. Most states say a cooler with ice packs will do but i Va requires refrigerators (which you should be able to plug into a power source at market or you can get a 9 volt RV fridge and use your vehicles' power supply). There should be zero regs about honey (other than the USA laws about adulterating it). No state has regulations about whole produce but you might run into issues if you bag it.


You might find another market with lesser rules as every market runs under different regulations that are imposed by the market manager/board but have nothing to do with state laws (and there are virtually no federal laws that affect people selling at farmers markets other than the Organic regulations-if you are not certified Organic it is illegal to call your food Organic)


Doing something for the first time often seems to be a lot more overwhelming than it actually is.

Comment by amanda richards on June 28, 2011 at 11:55am

Unfortunately, all baked goods need to be made in a commercial kitchen.  I may be able to sell some strawberries and radishes, my peas are slowly coming in, too. 

I wish we had cottage industry rules in my state (WA).

Comment by Lucy Goodman on June 28, 2011 at 12:53pm

You should have no problems selling any produce other than some leafy greens that are packaged that you grew yourself.


It sounds as though the market manager doesn't understand all the rules and regulations around selling such things and it making it sound far harder than it really is. And they may have requirements that the state and county do not require. you should look around at other markets before committing to this one, perhaps.

Comment by Ray T. Goss II on November 2, 2011 at 4:17am

The tomatoes are all but done here in N.E. Missouri 2011 growing season...  That is in the outdoors...  I am blessed with a basement with 11' ceilings and have them going full tilt indoors under 1000 watt grow lights on light rail tracks.  With the light rail tracks I can grow and trellis 250 tomatoes under two 1000 watt grow lights.  I have the first run set up and have room to expand to 5 more runs each having 250 tomato plants under them.  I'm growing my favorite heirloom tomatoes all winter this year.  To say the least the customer's are lining up for their winter supply of "real" tomatoes.

Comment by Lucy Goodman on November 2, 2011 at 7:39am

ray, what do you have to charge in order to cover the costs of heat and electricity in order to grow those maters out of season?


I grow maters in unheated hoophouses until usually Mid December. But I find the market for the tomatoes really falls off after October plus the flavor and quality of out of season/indoor grown tomatoes is not much better than grocery store maters

Comment by Ray T. Goss II on November 2, 2011 at 11:39am

Lucy...  I'm using the digital ballast on the 1000 watt lights the 10 r.p.m. motor on the light rail track is 110 volt.  It'll run me about $70.00 per mo. from our intial "guess-t-mate".  The heat factor still remains to be seen.  All but a little over 2' is below sidewalk level.  Right now the starting price is $4.00 per pound being that we're a small rural area North of St. Louis.  For the 2 grow lights I'm setting 250 plants underneath them.  Each plant has 10 vines growing from the base that I'm trellising up which gives me more volume of tomatoes from the plant.  I'm trimming the remaining suckers off to start more plants for the additional lights.  We'll eventually have 1,500 plants growing in the basement with a total of 10 1000 watt lights handling them.  Right now with temps dipping to freezing at night I'm still running 60+ degree temps for my low.  The basement has 2' thck stone walls and a cement floor which absorb the grow light heat very well to radiate it at night time.  As time goes on I'll include pic's of what we're doing and will publish a manual on our over-winter venture this next spring.  The only other info I've found on people growing tomatoes indoors is in Japan.  The only way you get flavor in tomatoes during the winter months is with heirloom varieties, period.  The problem with tomatoes is you don't want the night time temps to drop below 60 degrees or they don't ripen properly.

I'm using 7 different heirloom varieties this winter.  I'm using a vibrating wand to hand pollinate them.  It imitates the "vibration" of a bumblebee's wings and you can literally see the pollen "spray out from the flower into the air.  I do this twice a day to insure proper pollination.

Comment by Ray T. Goss II on November 3, 2011 at 3:05pm
In regards to using the word "organic" if you sell $5,000.00 or more in a year's time you have to be "certified organic"...  If you sell under $5,000.00 in a year you won't get in trouble stating you grow things organically unless you aren't following the "rules" and using only OMRI certified organic products for your garden...
Comment by Lucy Goodman on November 3, 2011 at 4:30pm
I am well aware of thst rule. My farm used to be certified organic 10 years ago. i still grow that way and use all Organic/OMRI amendments though I don't always use certified organic seed as a lot of the seed I use is seed I raised and since my farm is not certified Organic (and I gross well above $5K in annual sales) the seed is not considered Organic.
Comment by Ray T. Goss II on November 3, 2011 at 5:34pm
Lucy...  Have you ever thought about going with the Certified Naturally Grown certification?...


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