Farm Market Shopping Tips

When I am not selling, I really enjoy shopping at a farmers market. Other than knowing you’re getting fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, it is one way to relieve stress. As they say, “it is a feast for the senses.” Sure, shopping at the grocery store is pretty convenient, but there’s always something about those tables spilling over with fresh meat and green vegetables. Plus, you can get quality products at a very reasonable price. So, how do you skip the weekly trip to the supermarket? Here are my shopping tips to help you sort things out.

Tip #1: Make a meal plan

Before you make a trip to the nearest local market, it is best to list down the weekly-meal-planningthings you need to buy. Make it a habit to do a daily or weekly meal plan. Knowing the stuff you need to buy, makes it easier for you to shop around. As much as possible, be flexible with your meal plan. For example, if you’re planning to make chicken enchiladas with roasted vegetables or salad, you should have at least prepared a backup plan in case they ran out of supplies of your main ingredients.

Tip #2: Find the most reputable farmer in your area

The best way to find a reputable source is to visit every farm market in town. Check out the products and compare them from other stalls. Ask them if the items they are selling are self-produced. If you have time, you may try to visit their farm as well.

Tip #3: Get enough stocks

Restocking depends on the size of your fridge. But as much as possible, get enough stocks for the week so you wouldn’t have to minimize your trips to the marketplace. Load up on shelf-stable pantry items like canned goods, pasta noodles, grains, or beans. It is also a good idea to stock your freezer like fresh meat, fish, and nuts. Again, always check the fridge or freezer and make sure there’s enough space for perishable items.

Tip #4: Be creative and have fun!

515d948f70f09.preview-620Shopping at the market should always be fun. Try to figure out what to do with your bounty. While having a shopping list is a good idea, you don’t really have to stick to it as long as you have the budget for other ingredient you can use for the week. Don’t be afraid to discover new things. The fun part is to do some experiments in your cooking. You can tweak your previous recipes by adding new spices or invent something entirely new. Just go with the flow and have fun!


Farming Business 101: Making Smart Decisions

In almost every article about farming business, experts would always advise to avoid debt. Even you think you have a bit of savings in your bank account; it is still advisable to do your homework before buying a land.  The problem with most people is they tend to be “aggressive” once they see the hidden value of the prospect properties they want to buy. Don’t forget to evaluate every move including the rehabilitation or renovation projects, maintenance, and many more.

Keep in mind that you should also have an allotted budget for start-up expenses like equipment, materials, transportation, energy and power development, and marketing to build up a customer base. Yup, the start-up phase is crucial—you haven’t started yet and you’re now thinking about how to repay your loan. This is why you need to be firm financially to increase your chance of running the farm with less hassle.

But is there any other way?

Of course, yes! Take note that those who were successful in this industry had their ups and downs as well—from developing the land, raising livestock, maximizing the profits, and paying debts. So, to help you out, here are some of the things you should consider to avoid debt when running a farm business. Read on.

Focus on income producing investments

Tom-Blacklock1Wait, what? Running a farm is already an investment, right? Yes, you’re correct, but it is also more sensible to say that you should know your priorities. Again, a farm won’t magically produce a yield by itself. Every successful farm owner would definitely agree to this. Even the most efficient farm strategy still requires re-valuation, especially in the early years.

The key here is to choose the assets carefully. Get updated with the local market. What are the products with the highest return of investment? After weighing your options, and starts to build up a steady cash-flow, you can start investing in other assets like land or other products.

Own your farm without the burden of debt

Let me give you different scenarios of three soon-to-be farmers with $10,000 savings, and want to start their own farm.

Scenario 1 – He gets a sizable loan amount of $90,000 to buy a parcel of land and a small herd of cattle. The problem is he didn’t include other important expenses such as adding new fence and equipment maintenance. As a result, he had a hard time paying the $700 monthly loan. These are costly mistakes. Again, this investment is a huge commitment. If you don’t do your research and analyze your budget carefully, you will end up giving up everything in the future.

Scenario 2 – Then there’s this guy who knows a farmer approaching retirement bruce-penstemonwilling to lease him a parcel of his land at somewhat desirable spot. He spends $7000 of his savings to buy a small a small herd of heavy calves, and puts the rest of his investment into the lease, and other basic needs. At the end of the season, he manages the whole herd, and makes an agreement with the farmer to lease more land. With his experience, he is even more prepared to start a new investment.

Given these scenarios, how do you plan to start your own farm?

Starting a Farm: To Lease or Buy a Land

I have read an article providing tips for beginners when starting a farm. And it covers some of the basic things you need to know like raising farm animals, harvesting crops, and other maintenance. In this post, we will discuss other important things when running your own farm. This includes the risks you need to anticipate, searching for the perfect location, and maximizing your profits.

The first decision you need to make is whether you are buying or leasing a land. iStock_000018764690XSmall (2)Many successful farm owners advise to lease before they buy the land. This is to allow you to observe and analyze the area before you go all in. But take note that there are also disadvantages when you’re leasing.

First, you need to follow the landlord’s policies. This can lead to conflicts, especially when your plans do not match your landlord’s priorities. One good example is the Winters Farm. They used to run another farm before Hill Hollow. They were only leasing a parcel of land in Vermont. At first, the issues were manageable until the landlord decided he didn’t want farm animals on his property. And just like that, they got booted from the land they were farming.

Coin to money ,Business idea

Once you decided you’re ready for a bigger commitment—buying your own land that is—make sure to weigh your options carefully. Study the demographics and topography. Keep in mind that the price range may vary depending on the location. Of course, a farmland near a desirable city may cost you more. For example, you may notice competitive prices for wider customer base. And, yes you need some populated nexus if you want to sell your products easily. Farm owners call this a delicate balance. For starters, many would advise that buying a land nearby another farmland. This is because they anticipate already that young farmers may need to be in a place where there a lot of people with the same lifestyle. The advantage of moving to a less desirable land is you could be the main source of their local food movement. It may sound complicated—this is why you need to weigh your options carefully. Are you going to play it safe, or you’re willing to take the risk?

Even with a formulated strategy, finding a piece of land would still take some buying_the_farm-resized-600time. If you search online and refer to websites like Craigslist or other forums, you may see high-end boutique properties on sale or for lease. Before you seal the deal, it is best to do some research. Visit the place personally and get to know the farmers in your desired area. Be familiar with the local market. Let them know you’re scouting for land. You may also consult a property management firm to help you find the right property.

These are the points you need to consider when starting out a farm. Now, let’s talk about maximizing your profits. The first thing you need to know is to identify your target market. For beginners, it is best to focus on one product at a time. If you want to raise a cattle farm, then concentrate on how to raise them. You should also know what products are in demand. Monitor how the price changes for each product. This will help you choose which products you should focus on.

Keeping your Home Clean & Safe

Every responsible homeowner knows how important it is to conduct regular maintenance. Keeping your home clean and safe should always be on top of the list. In fact, it should be part of your daily routine. Jot down the regular tasks for each week. To help you out, here are some of the tasks you need to accomplish:

  • Check out the HVAC filters. Some experts recommend changing the filters ever Carolina_Filters_21_2month, but that’s not always necessary. For smaller families without pets or allergies, you can install new filters every 2-3 months.
  • Clean kitchen sink disposal. You need to do this regularly since kitchens are one of the most functional areas in your home. You can use a liquid solution to remove debris that can cause clogging. Some people also ice cubes with vinegar to freshen the kitchen sink.
  • Clean range hood filters. You can simply use a degreaser mixed with hot water to clean the hood filters. Let the filter sit for a few minutes and rinse it off.
  • maxresdefaultCheck the exterior drainage. Never leave puddles around your home for more than a day. This can cause a lot of damage to your home. Check the gutters for bad spout or loose connection. For major issues, it is also advisable to hire professional mold cleaning services.
  • Get your house inspected. It is best to get your house inspected by a professional to make sure everything is in order. Hire a reputable service provider that can help you improve the overall condition of your home. There are thousands out there. If you are not sure who to trust find a reputable realtor – they know everyone and most and happy to point you  in the right direction.20130713-painting-01
  • Consider a new paint job. It is always better to see your home with a fresh coated paint. This can enhance the curb appeal of your home and may increase property value. Use a primer before applying the paint. Consult a professional and do your research. If you have stucco, have it inspected for repair before painting – in the long run it will save you thousands in re-painting. Don’t just try to cover up problem areas with a little extra paint. In the long-run it will come back to haunt you!
  • Clean those Carpets. Carpets are home to so much pet dander and dust (more specifically dust mites and their droppings) but most people do not realize just how unhealthy carpet can be. I believe Scandinavians who have mostly hard floors have it right. A hard floor doesn’t harvest all of the above and is far easier to clean properly. Anyone who has moved from carpets to hard floor will likely tell you how fast the build up of dust and dirt becomes. Carpets hide the evidence from us- and we wonder why asthma and allergies are increasing? It doesn’t take too much common sense to figure this one out.

It’s a lot of work, so you need to start working on the task list immediately. Maximize your efficiency by making your own home maintenance calendar.

3 Rules when Running a Farm Business

So, you decided to start a farming business—growing livestock not just for yourself, but for the greater community. You think you’re ready because you know how to work with the soil? Have you seen the risks of dealing with intellectual challenges? Are you ready to face uncertain finances? Are you really willing to give up the corporate world, switch in your suit and tie for sturdy boots and a dilapidated hat?

farm-businessFirst of all, I want to congratulate you. The world needs more people like you. According to reports, there are currently more bus drivers than farmers in the United States today. At first glimpse, it might seem like a subjective statistic. Just try to ask which is more likely to happen first, a bus driver who needs to eat, or a farmer who needs to ride a bus? Of course, food comes first in the human physiological needs.

Everyone deserves to eat nutritious food. This is why you need we need well-established farms. And to reach these goals, you need to do a lot of research. Owning a farm is a commitment. Before you make a decision, you should understand the risks. Many farm owners become successful not only because they are good business people, but they also have the passion to what they are doing. So, before you make a decision, try to anticipate the consequences. Again, it may take a while for you to get the cash flowing.

If you are really serious about this path, here are some rules to remember. Following these guidelines may not guarantee your success, but they may put on the right path to economic and agricultural sustainability. Read on.

Rule #1:  Pay your debts

For over the years, debts have tanked more farms than drought, pestilence, and farmer-calculatorplague combined. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not just about learning how to raise farm animals. It involves financial management as well. Even those who are top producers are experiencing financial crisis due to finance mismanagement. So make sure to pay your debts on time.

Rule #2: Allow yourself the opportunity to fail

Wait, what? This was supposed to be about not failing, so why am I saying failure is an opportunity? Well pretty ironic, right? Just hear me out. The problem with us is that we are so obsessed with failure to the point that we are already terrified and have adapted to the concept.  And because we are so afraid of failing, we tend to not do anything at all—meaning, we just play it safe all the time even if you know you have bright ideas that can cultivate your assets. This is why I strongly suggest to everyone out there, take the risks! If you think you have better ideas, then get out of your comfort zone.

Rule #3: Know your market

Just like any other business, you need to identify your market. At first, you need to decide on which animals or plants you want to raise—whether cattle, cucumbers, or start a sauerkraut business.  Check the products that are in-demand in your area. Observe the community. What do they need? What are the top selling products? This will help you determine your target market.

Again, running a farm is not that easy. It takes a lot of will to be successful with your goals.


Go Green: Importance of Proper Waste Segregation

Despite the countless news about global warming, many people are still ignoring the importance of proper waste disposal. In this article, I will discuss some vast information about one of the most important methods of waste management.

Up until today, many people are still forgetting the importance of proper waste disposal. Today, advocates have come a long way to educate residents how to dispose their garbage properly. Be responsible and start protecting your own shelter!

Waste segregation

One of the most important methods of waste management is segregation. This process involves grouping or dividing waste products to increase recycling rate and efficiency. Segregate biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes using bins and garbage bags. Advocates also recommend implementing colour-coded bins to indicate recyclable and non-recyclable wastes.

waste segragation


You can also be more specific when segregating or disposing your waste. Look for eco-friendly trash bins and coordinate with your garbage collector agency for better waste management system.

Use this list for your reference (bins colors may vary from region to region):

  1. Wet waste – You may use yellow bins to dispose wet waste like left-over food or rotten fruits and vegetables. Don’t forget to discard or remove spoiled or expired food from the package. You should also drain the liquid or any fluid from the container.


  1. Sanitary waste – Sanitary waste such as used panty liners, napkins, tissue papers or diapers should be wrapped properly in newspapers. Make sure to put label on it before handing it over to garbage collectors. Most people use green bins to specify sanitary waste.


  1. Dry waste – You may usually see blue bins for dry waste disposal. This is where you dispose various papers, cardboard, bottles, tetra packs, or plastics. Consider having a separate bin for fragile or sharp objects for safety.


  1. Hazardous waste – Take extra precautions when disposing hazardous household waste like air fresheners, paint, thinners, expired medicines, batteries, CDs, and just anything with chemical composition. Use a pair of gloves for your own protection. It is ILLEGAL in California to dispose of hazardous materials in regular trash, so consult your local county or city website for information.

Efficient waste management disposal promotes health and environmental awareness.  Enough with the lousy habit and start doing your part now!