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Cash from Square Foot Gardening question

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Cash from Square Foot Gardening question

Post  browngm57 on 3/20/2010, 12:06 pm

Hi Everone,

I started 2 SFG's last year and just loved them!! I was thinking about making a more this year and following the steps in Mel's book Cash from Square Foot Gardening to start a small business with my garden. Has anyone on the forum done this? How has it worked out for you? This book is pretty old...do you still find you can expect about $5 profit per square foot or has it changed? Sorry for all the questions but I didn't see this info any place.

Thanks for your help,
Amy in Illinois

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Re: Cash from Square Foot Gardening question

Post  choksaw on 3/20/2010, 5:28 pm

Not too sure on the profit margin but if you have small little roadside stand in front of your house and provide better produce and better prices then the super market im sure you will probably be able to turn a profit if anything you can use the money to subsidise your next garden project

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roadside stand

Post  SirTravers on 3/20/2010, 8:10 pm

Here in southeast New Mexico its a yearly tradition to go up into the mountains and make stops at all the roadside fruit and veggie stands. I say if you start a small "truck patch" with your SFG's you could be creating a monster! hahaha! I say go for it and tell all your neighbors about it. They'll pass the word on to their relatives and so on.

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Re: Cash from Square Foot Gardening question

Post  happyfrog on 3/20/2010, 8:52 pm

i am interested in selling my produce as well.

i contacted the local farmers market several months ago and rec'd the packet in the mail last month sometime. $10/week; 16 weeks prepaid gets you a discount. even homebaked goods are acceptable.

not a bad deal and it's legal. here if i were to sell at my house/street w/o permit i would be fined.

this year i'm going to focus on expanding the garden and seeing how much 'extra' i get - sharing freely.

next year, theyoungest kid will be older so it'll be easier to spend several hours at a market stall space and sell the overages. and i'll even sell my gluten free baked goods - they're a big hit with friends - so i'll hit that niche as well. you don't even need special locations to bake and sell from what i saw in the packet of info.

we'll also regularly go to farmers market this year and i'll take pics of stalls to get an idea of what looks good/sells, layouts, etc so i can plan ahead for a great looking and selling stall. Smile

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Re: Cash from Square Foot Gardening question

Post  LupinFarm on 3/21/2010, 1:17 am

You do need to consider in most places it is not legal to sell off-farm, unless you are selling at a farmers market.

Here we can sell from our farm-gate, and produce/fruit, crafts, etc. at the farmers market (eggs have to be graded, thus home-grown cannot be sold legally at the farmers markets). I have considered selling my extra tomatoes and lettuces this summer at the farm-gate. Or, taking the risk, and selling them out of the back of the truck at the end of the road Wink

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Re: Cash from Square Foot Gardening question

Post  Kabaju42 on 3/21/2010, 11:15 pm

@browngm57 wrote:Hi Everone,

I started 2 SFG's last year and just loved them!! I was thinking about making a more this year and following the steps in Mel's book Cash from Square Foot Gardening to start a small business with my garden. Has anyone on the forum done this? How has it worked out for you? This book is pretty old...do you still find you can expect about $5 profit per square foot or has it changed? Sorry for all the questions but I didn't see this info any place.

Thanks for your help,
Amy in Illinois

Amy: Shortly after I read the main SFG book, I also read the cash from
square foot gardening book. I think the best way to answer your
question would be to do what Mel says in the book: prepare a basket of
your food, go to the local restaurants and ask them if they'd be
interested in you supplementing their produce supply. You can also
check your local city hall about any legalities, and you can just see
how much the produce costs in the store, guess that you can sell it for
the same amount, and calculate it from there.

I seriously considered trying it myself. Even though the book is old,
based on my experience in the restaurant industry, all of the ideas
sounded like they would work today. Local resteraunts like to support
local and they always love to get good product in (of course they need
it to sell good product). The only reason I didn't go for it, is
because I just don't have the time.

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Re: Cash from Square Foot Gardening question

Post  gettip on 3/24/2010, 8:58 am

"not a bad deal and it's legal. here if i were to sell at my house/street w/o permit i would be fined."

Happy Frog,

I notice that you live in Ohio, as do I, I also inspect and regulate Farmer's markets and cottage foods, (baked goods from a home). It is not illegal to sell your produce at a road side stand on your property with out a food permit, from your local health department or Ohio Department of Agriculture, so long as it is rough cut, ie., taken directly from the plant and sold. Cottage foods can also be sold at the roadside stand without food permit so long as you follow certain requirements. The same requirements are also followed at a Farmer's market for produce and cottage foods. I suggest you check with your local health department.

That being said, there may be a local county, city, or township ordinance about operating a roadside stand from your property.

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Re: Cash from Square Foot Gardening question

Post  happyfrog on 3/24/2010, 9:15 am

just called the health dept.

they told me tomatoes fresh from MY vine (for example) could be sold on my property without a permit. however, zoning laws might override that, so i'm waiting on a call back for that as i'm in a very old residential zone. he was encouraging me to sell at local farmer's market, but with young children, not really a good idea as there's no place for them to play during those hours.

cottage licensing has very specific information that he's going to email me.

i was concerned that this was like selling household goods - here where i live if you don't have a valid permit, you can (and will!) be fined if you have items for sale at your house. . . there's also a limit to the number of permits any one street can have for the month.

so this could work out for us! the kids and I will figure out a way to have a nice little table set up whenever we have surplus of fruits/veg. (if we are ok zoning wise)

for baked goods, that might be a cool thing, too, esp as a celiac, i cook everything gluten free and i've been told my stuff is amazing. low shelf life though because there's no preservatives, but hey, fresh is better, anyway! Smile

well thanks for making me explore this - esp on a cold BRRRRRRR day like today! Smile

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Re: Cash from Square Foot Gardening question

Post  happyfrog on 3/24/2010, 9:21 am

Are all farm markets exempt from a Retail Food Establishment (RFE) license?
No, the exemption to an RFE license is based upon the
types of foods being offered for sale at the farm market
and registration with the Ohio Department of Agriculture's Division of
Food Safety.

What types of foods may the farm market offer for sale and still be exempt from the RFE license?


A farm market that only offers for sale the following types of food items is exempt from the RFE license:


  • fresh unprocessed fruits or vegetables;

  • maple syrup, sorghum, or honey [properly labeled];

  • properly labeled products of a cottage food production operation;

  • cider and other juices manufactured on site at the farm market [properly labeled];

  • eggs on the condition that the farm market operator is selling eggs from his own flock of five hundred or fewer birds;

  • poultry on the condition that the farm market operator offering to sell
    the poultry annually slaughters one thousand or fewer chickens
    of his own raising;
  • non-amenable
    meats (rabbit, bison, etc.) on the condition that the non-amenable
    meats that farm market operator is offering to sell are
    raised by him; and
  • Commercially
    prepackaged food that is not potentially hazardous, on the condition
    that the food is contained in displays, the total space of which equals
    less than one hundred cubic feet on the premises where the person
    conducts business at the farm market.



Ohio Department of Agriculture June 22, 2009
Fact Sheet --UPDATED
Cottage Food Production Operation
What is a Cottage Food Production Operation?
A “Cottage Food Production Operation” is defined in Chapter 3715 of the Ohio Revised Code to mean a person who, in the person’s home, produces food items that are not potentially hazardous foods, including bakery products, jams, jellies, candy, fruit butter, and similar products specified in the rule. These foods must be labeled properly or they will be considered misbranded or adulterated.
"Home" means the primary residence occupied by the residence's owner, on the condition that the residence contains only one stove or oven used for cooking, which may be a double oven, designed for common residence usage and not for commercial usage, and that the stove or oven be operated in an ordinary kitchen within the residence.
What Foods are Permitted to be Manufactured for Sale or Distribution by a Cottage Food Production Operation?
Bakery products (such as cookies, breads, brownies, cakes, pies, etc.); candy (including no-bake cookies, chocolate covered pretzels or similar chocolate covered non-perishable items); jams; jellies and fruit butter as defined in Chapter 3715 of the Ohio Revised Code.
The new cottage food rule has expanded allowable products to include: granola, granola bars, granola bars dipped in candy; popcorn, flavored popcorn, kettle corn, popcorn balls, caramel corn; unfilled baked donuts; waffle cones; pizzelles; dry cereal and nut snack mixes with seasonings; roasted coffee, whole beans or ground; dry baking mixes in a jar, including cookie mix in a jar; dry herbs and herb blends; dry seasoning blends; and dry tea blends.
What Foods are Not Allowed to be Manufactured for Sale or Distribution by a Cottage Food Production Operation?
A “Cottage Food Production Operation” is not permitted to process acidified foods, low-acid canned foods, potentially hazardous foods or non-potentially hazardous foods not listed above. Low acid food means any food with a finished equilibrium pH greater than 4.6 and a water activity greater than 0.85. Acidified food means a low acid food to which acids or acid foods are added (Ex. Beans, cucumbers, cabbage, puddings, etc.). Potentially hazardous food means it requires temperature control because it is in a form capable of supporting the rapid and progressive growth of infectious or toxigenic microorganisms (Ex. Raw or cooked animal products, cooked vegetables, garlic in oil, cheese cakes, pumpkin pies, custard pies, cream pies, etc.).
What are the Requirements for the Labeling of Cottage Food Products?
A “Cottage Food Production Operation” is required to label all of their food products and include the following information on the label of each unit of food product offered or distributed for sale:
1. The name and address of the business of the “Cottage Food Production Operation”;
2. The name of the food product;
3. The ingredients of the food product, in descending order of predominance by weight;
4. The net weight or net volume of the food product;
5. The following statement in ten-point type: “This Product is Home Produced.”
Note: If a nutritional claim is made (i.e. low fat, salt free, etc.) federal labeling requirements must be met. Specific food labeling information is available at the ODA web site: http://www.agri.ohio.gov/divs/FoodSafety
Allergen labeling must be followed as specified in the federal labeling requirements.
What Does the Statement “This Product is Home Produced” Mean?
The statement means that the food product was produced in a private home that is not subject to inspection by a food regulatory authority.
Where may Cottage Food Production Operations Sell Their Food Products?
Cottage Food Products may only be sold in Ohio. Cottage Food Products that are properly identified and labeled may be sold directly to the consumer from the site where the products are produced; sold through grocery stores, farm markets, farmers markets; and sold and/or used in preparing food in a restaurant.
Does A Cottage Food Production Operation Need to Acquire a License to Process and Package Food Products?
No. A “Cottage Food Production Operation” is exempt from inspection and licensing by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. However, all food products, including those produced and packaged by “Cottage Food Production Operations”, are subject to food sampling conducted by the Ohio Department of Agriculture to determine if a food product is misbranded or adulterated.
Questions? Contact ODA Division of Food Safety: 1-800-282-1955 Ext 4366; Email: foodsafety@agri.ohio.gov

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Re: Cash from Square Foot Gardening question

Post  gettip on 3/24/2010, 10:02 am

I didn't think I would look closely at those regulations until nearer to Farmer's market time. It is easier being a SF Gardener than a regulator. I buy many of my eggs from a gentleman who has 12 chickens and they lay a dozen eggs a day, he tells me. Good luck with your endeavor this year, Happy Frog.

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Re: Cash from Square Foot Gardening question

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