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Author Topic: farmer's market and peas  (Read 14248 times)
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docwaldo
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« on: March 20, 2011, 02:51:46 PM »

does anyone have any experience with peas at a farmer's market.  i have heard that if they are not shelled, then they absolutely won't sell.  got a guy that i went to highschool with that has a huge farm up the road and he grows hundreds of acres of peas.  i kinda thought since i don't have enough space to really grow peas like is needed for a farmers market, i might buy some from him and then shell them myself and resell them.  but  here is my question for the experts.....

how many shelled peas do you normally get from a bushel??

what is a reasonable price for a quart sized bag of shelled purple hulls??  is this the size that folks normally sell??

thanks,

doc  Smiley
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2011, 04:08:38 PM »

Doc I sold a few unshelled last summer, at small local markets, but I kept them in small baskets and never took more than a bushel to market.  I think I could have sold more if I had them.  A few people asked for a bushel of them
but wanted to pay market price for a bushel.  I sold them in small baskets for more than market price.

This year I have a sheller and plan to take it to market and sell a small basket of hulls and shell on the spot.  I think once I get a sell or two I should get attention and sell out.  I am planning a much larger pea
patch this year.
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mhpgardener
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« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2011, 05:44:01 PM »


This year I have a sheller

What kind of sheller did you get? Have you tried it out? How fast is it?  I know, I know...lots of questions. Inquiring minds wanna know.  Grin Grin

Bobby
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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2011, 03:16:00 AM »

Bobby I got a Taylor Little Sheller for Christmas.  I haven't tried it out yet.   I heard you can get a good deal

on them right here from Donald. My daughter drove all the way down to the plant to buy it and could

only order it.   So there was no advantage on shipping charges by driving there.  Heres a link to check out

how it works.   

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnVFZVtjtQY
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GWDawg1
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« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2011, 04:18:08 AM »

My neighbor probably grows 25 acres of purple hulls.  He has a large commercial sheller that you dump 2 bushels at the time in the hopper.  It is called a Rotofingers sheller, but the cost is around $4000.  He sold 10 lb bags of shelled peas last year as a bushel for $26.  Website -  http://www.rotofingers.com
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« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2011, 04:29:12 AM »

 docwaldo,

I would say you are going to have to test the water on this in your area.

In our area people will not buy peas, as you said, if they are not shelled. I did sell a few pounds in the hull, but I could probably count them on both hands. I did have a couple of elderly ladies that wanted them in the hull. One told me she just liked to shell peas. Imagine that. I mainly quit taking them in the hull after I almost dehydrated a bushel in the heat.

Now to the price, I know some of you guys might think this is outrageous, but crunch the numbers from breaking ground to the shelled pea and then add in packaging, transportation and handling cost. Most of us here sold our peas and beans in sandwich bags and one guy would sell them by the pound loose. A sandwich bag was also a pound. Last yearís going rate was $5.00 per pound. Iím just going to have to see about this yearís with some of the costs going up. I will use the wholesale market to help me price them this year. You can use this site:  http://marketnews.usda.gov/portal/fv. There isnít much in the way of peas being reported right now, but check the site.

Now for the volume, I think I can get you close. I usually just pick mine and have them shelled and then bag them up. Occasionally when Iím between plantings I have been known to buy some. The ones I buy are bagged in 27 lb. sacks. Thatís the market standard today.

I think a bushel of peas is supposed to weigh 28 lbs. So, we will be in the ball park. Out of the 27 lb. sack I could usually get 10 sandwich bags. So, you could gross about $50.00 per bushel. I paid $24.00 per sack shelled. Making a fraction over 50% gross profit. Depending on what you have to pay per bushel you might be able to do better.

I would also test the water on volume. Donít go overloaded to start with. It sounds like you will be the new kid on the block. The people will have been use to dealing with the old timers. You will have to work your way in. Just hang in there. If you have or can get other produce take more than peas. Donít leave money on the table. Plus, a variety draws people more than a single item. I learned that when I started. Besides you might draw a person with tomatoes and sell them peas while they are at your table.

Sometimes things run in cycles it seem. People will also tell you I want this or that. I would say generally ignore that. It has been my experience you will never see them again. Ex.  Last summer a lady wanted green lima beans. I told her I would get her some and have them on a particular day. She said great, Iím off on that day, I will be there. Needless to say I never saw her again and like to have never gotten rid of those beans. Just over a week ago I was set up on the roadside a guy stopped and bought some turnips or collards from me and we were talking and he wanted kale. I told him I had plenty but I just didnít have any that day. He wanted to know if I was going to be there the next day and I said yes. Well, he wanted two bunches and almost swore he would be back the next day. I havenít seen him yet. I should have known better.

Now let me cover the handling and Iíll quit. I was taught this when I first started by an old produce man. If you put them in a bag keep the top open to let them breathe or the will get rancid in the heat closed up. Caution people, because they are touchy/feely. They will pick them up and spill them all over the place.

I put one on display and rotate it out with the ones I have in the cooler. I also have a sign letting people know I have shelled peas. I keep them cool until I sell them. Most people will appreciate that. I have even gone so far as vacuum packing them to be able to hold them longer if things are slow. It also keeps the water from the ice chest from getting into the baggy and it will.  If you decide to venture into speckle butter beans definitely vacuum pack them. When that cooler water gets on them they look terrible.

Hope this helps a little.                                   
 
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mhpgardener
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« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2011, 07:41:58 AM »

Bobby I got a Taylor Little Sheller for Christmas.  I haven't tried it out yet.   I heard you can get a good deal

on them right here from Donald. My daughter drove all the way down to the plant to buy it and could

only order it.   So there was no advantage on shipping charges by driving there.  Heres a link to check out

how it works.   

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnVFZVtjtQY

Thx WD....I saw D post about being a dealer shortly after I had asked the question. I mentioned it to my wife this morning, and her response.."it'll be well worth, even if costs a couple hundred bucks.." I didn't tell her a couple hundred bucks would only buy HALF of one.  Shocked Grin Grin

Just ordered 10# of TP PE PH from Twilley's along with some Candy onion. Oh boy...gonna be a lot of pea shelling going on. Hopefully S Claus will bring me a Little Sheller for Memorial Day !  Grin

Bobby
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« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2011, 07:51:10 AM »

sounds like ya need to plant some more taters to sell...to cover that other half...LOL... Grin
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« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2011, 10:36:26 AM »

Doc ... This is what I found out:  If you're planting "Top Pick" they will shell out around 50%.  A tightly packed 5 gal. bucket gives approx 5 lbs. of shelled peas.  If canning peas it takes about a lb. per quart.  A 20 ft. row will produce between 4-5 lbs of shelled peas.  Plants are spaced 4-6 inches apart.  I pick when the pods are approx half way to turn purple.  You can shell the same day you pick but Taylor recommends waiting a day.  I really didn't see that much difference.

Donald




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mhpgardener
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« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2011, 03:00:01 PM »

sounds like ya need to plant some more taters to sell...to cover that other half...LOL... Grin

Yep...taters or maters....gotta raise some cash ASAP.

But, I think my best shot is to find a market for ferret skins.  Grin  Grin

Bobby
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« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2012, 12:39:05 PM »

I plant and harvest close to 200 acres of peas and butterbeans a year. We put 8.5# per bag. The national standard is 8#. We use a pixall bh100 harvester and 6 taylor commercial shellers. They are made by the same people who make the "little roller" sheller in Moultrie, GA. We have 2 cleaners made by Thompson industries in Cario,GA, but don'y use them as much as the Eliminator cleaner from Wellborne Devices, in Laurell MS. We plant primarly the "Top Pic" Cremes and Pinkeye. We also plant Longhorn peas, Sa-Dandy (Original strain) and quite a few Golden Eyes. 99% of our peas are sold at the local farmers markets and grocery stores.
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« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2012, 10:16:39 PM »

We have a couple of customers each year who want to shell the peas themselves. This is mainly because they believe that pea shellers mash most of the peas. Most everyone else wants the peas shelled and they buy by the bushel.
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« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2012, 06:04:29 AM »

mhpgardener and whiskey dog: How about an update on this seasons pea experience with peas, the sheller and the market.

My peas have been a disappointment this year as the plants don't look like Donald's and the output of peas has been dismal. No need for a sheller! Sad
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« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2012, 07:43:55 AM »

Well I quit the local markets, I have customers that come to the house to buy.  I plant peas late here to

avoid weevils and they aren't fully in yet. I did sell 10 pounds yesterday they shelled out to about 5 pounds.

I do have customers waiting for peas buying by the bushel, and they want them shelled.  I don't think I have

enough to cover all that want them.  I have to hold planting space for the coles, greens and okra.  I planted

peas after squash.  Space management is one of my problems.  This is the first year I have branched out

from a main crop of okra.

Corl sorry to hear about your peas, we all have good years and bad ones.  its part of the gamble..
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To be a gardener, you must learn to dance to the music nature plays.  I'm doing the jerk and the monkey to a waltz right now..  Not unusual for me. 

Dallas, Georgia    zone 7
beehappyfarm
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« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2012, 01:34:08 PM »

A question on top pick peas, are they are hybrid type, or can the seed be saved and replanted?
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« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2012, 09:05:51 PM »

Thanks Hil, that's good to know!
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« Reply #16 on: September 01, 2012, 09:24:22 PM »

I just realized that I don't know of any hybrid cow peas.  Is there such a thing?  All the research seems to have been done by the state universities and possibly the USDA but mostly just handed down through the generations.  That must mean that there's such a multitude of good OP varieties that the seed people don't think they can make any profit on improving them.  I can't think of a single other vegetable I can say that about.
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