Thoughts on sales of produce for canning
I've posted before on the dearth of local market gardeners where I live selling vegetables in quantities for canning.
You can easily stop in at any number of different farm stands near me and buy a few tomatoes for a salad, but I don't know of any where you can stop in and buy a bushel or two to make your own sauce. The same goes for pickling cucumbers.
On the other hand, the CSAs nearby are largely potluck. You buy a share or a half-share, and you get what you get. There's usually a mix of different vegetables, some of which may be unfamiliar, and usually not too much of any one thing. You won't get a large amount of "cannable" stuff all at once, and you can't select what you want.
Here's my thought: is there enough demand for a market gardener to offer a CSA pre-season-signup-and-pay model where the customers choose a specific "cannable" vegetable and order enough for canning purposes?
So a typical hypothetical customer might sign up for a bushel of tomatoes, or two bushels, or three, without needing sign up for other veggies that may not be wanted. Perhaps that customer would also sign up for a bushel of pickling cucumbers to make pickles. The bushel would be of a variety suitable for canning, and would come all at once so that the customer wouldn't be trying to keep the first batch from going rotten before getting enough to can.
The grower would then plant enough crops to have about an 80% chance of having enough to fill the order. In a good year, the customer might get a little more than ordered. In a bad year, they might get somewhat less, just like a CSA.
Has anyone on TGN seen local growers offering this type of arrangement for canning vegetables? Have you used it? Did it work well?
I know I would sign up for this if it existed! I don't have enough space to grow a year's worth of tomatoes for sauce.
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