I have access to a market stall in order to sell surplus produce and plant based crafts, I am hoping that this will in the future help generate some extra cash from fruit, veg, plants, preserves and eggs. Today I spent the morning preparing items for the christmas market tomorrow, I have made 10 christmas table centrepieces. These cost me about 40p each for the dishes and candles etc and will be sold for £4.50 -£5. I have to pay a commission to the group who run the stall but if they all sell it will make a nice christmas bonus, I will be helping man the stall in the afternoon too so will be able to help sell my items as well as the other members produce. Some sell veg, some honey, we have a resident willow artist and a cheesemaker too, there's lots of plants too both decorative and edible and one of our members does Bonsai trees which sell really well.
I have also made a dozen jars of wholegrain mustard and a dozen of spiced apple chutney, these sold really well at last months market and I hope to sell them all tomorrow. There's no market after this one until March and I am already planning ahead, I have a dozen baskets of mini daffodils growing in the potting shed and have stocked up on sugar ahead of the marmalade making season. I have lots of pots of forgrt me nots and strawberry plants potted up and ready to sell too, the veg garden has been designed to generate a few high value cash crops too (cut flowers, Soft fruits, rhubarb, asparagus, early new potatoes and tomatoes) . All the money I make goes into a jar and is used for things like plants and seeds, this money will also be used to pay for hen feed and any bedding materials we need after our hens arrive next week.
We are rehoming a dozen ex batts and are excited at the thought of bringing some livestock onto our land for the first time, it's been a while since we kept chooks and have never had ex battery hens before so am a little apprehensive but excited all the same. We just need to put bedding in their coop and check all the feeders are clean before we collect them next Saturday, I hope the weather is good or we won't make it out of the farm never mind to to the rehoming centre. It has been nice watching the neighbours hens (pictured) from our window but will be even nicer to watch our own and eat their eggs!
We have been talking about having a sign at the farm gate with a list of things we have for sale, the gates a bit too far away for an honesty box so we will direct people up to the house for, eggs, veg, logs, sticks honey etc. Hubby has been talking about having a christmas tree nursery area on the farm too, it wouldn't have anything to sell for a couple of years but may be a big return on not much outlay if we can keep the rabbits away. I am about to embark on some mushroom growing experiments using waste materials as a growing medium too but more about that another day.
Can you suggest any other cash generating ideas for smallholders?