One difficult issue farmers face with their products is the size of the item they want to sell. We planted loads of lettuce heads in our hoop houses in March and April. Lettuce can take about 60+ days to form a full beautiful head, so we were planning to have lettuce heads from late April through June. Lettuce is really happy between 50-75 degrees and when it’s hotter, they often send up flower stalks (bolt) and turn bitter. The last two weeks have been unusually warm for Michigan this time of year. It has been sunny and 80 degrees outside, but that means it is over 100 degrees in our hoop houses. Thus our lettuce has not been very happy.
In a scramble to not loose these heads and have to feed them to the chickens, we have been harvesting lettuce not only based on size, but also on whether it looks like it is about to bolt. So we have heads from the size of a softball to others the size of a beach ball! Pricing these heads and selling them has been a head scratcher, but this week I have had LOTS of conversations with my wholesale accounts and managed to develop a strategy to sell them all. HURRAY!
Ok here’s what I figured out:
This week was a great reminder that having a conversation with my customers about price can be a win-win for my farm and my customers.
Recommended Reading: It is garden planting time and the New Kitchen Garden book by Adam Caplin is full of beautiful photos, garden planning tools and tips and great seasonal recipes.
Did you know up to 75% of some farm products are wasted because the crop does not conform to a standard size or perfect appearance? For example, a Striped German heirloom tomato can weigh between 0.5 to 3 pounds!