Courtesy of John S., Blue Ribbon Eggs, Franklin NC
Babies plus anything else. BIG change. Give yourself and Viola the opportunity to get acquainted. Her patterns will emerge. I had one that never slept and one that never woke up and one in between…hard to say. She will rule your schedule for a while. Quite a while.
Fall is a great time to buy used tillers. (“Fred get that Damn thing out of the garage-you never use it!”) My vote is for the Troy built…parts are readily available, and 8 HP is a great size to start with. Unless your super tiny yourself you should be able to handle it as well. If it’s in great shape I’d offer $300 to start and go down from there if problems are present (dirty plug, old filters, dirty oil, hard to start, heavily used and worn, bent tines). If it won’t run I’d off the scrap steel price for the weight of the thing. It can probably be repaired. I’d offer more if it was ‘cherry’ and essentially new. Can’t comment on the others as I am unfamiliar.
Taking the high road by investing in a cooler is really important as your operation grows, as it evens out the labor load really well. But if you are starting with your own back yard, and perhaps pick up one or two more this season, you should be able to manage your first year without one. Check the SPIN guide for low road options.
The one thing you didn’t ask about is sales and marketing at the farmers markets in your area. Perhaps you’re experienced, but if not that is really a key area to focus in on for next season. As with most things in life, there is more there than meets the eye. Signage, display, salesmanship, product demand in your market…a whole raft of possibly new skills and knowledge. I would recommend that you spend lots of market days getting acquainted with the other farmers who sell…offer to help, make friends, ask questions, learn. What stalls are you attracted to (or possibly repelled by?). Why? Who is attracting a crowd and built strong relationships with their customers? What are the various vendors
doing (or not doing) to build their business? Watch the successful ones for voice tone, facial expressions, body language and social skills…those are the ones you want to learn from.
Most of the folks in this group are outstanding growers, most of them have always had an entrepreneurial attitude, but not all have had experience in sales and marketing and so there is a learning curve. There’s always a learning curve, isn’t there? Welcome to the party!