So, it is time to evaluate the profit/loss for this past year. I have been dreading this and putting it off but it needs to be done. I knew going in to this that I would be in the red. Mostly, because I made several larger purchases that were needed but now that I have them, I do not need to purchase again. For example, I purchased an irrigation system for the sunflowers, a new sign for the booth, and registered ReMARKable Farms with the state. Each of these things cost about/over $100 but I will not have to pay these items again for a few years (fingers crossed).
Here are the numbers:
They always say that the first 2 years are the most difficult for new businesses. I am just happy to be getting started and that we can finance these losses easily.
The good news is that I have saved up $480 in the ReMARKable Farms checking account to start for 2017. See, in the past, any deficits were paid from the Wetzel household. My goal for 2017 is that ReMARKable Farms be completely self-sustaining and it is a very doable goal. I have even set aside our first weeks Vendor fee for the Market and starting cash.
On a separate but related topic, I have been putting money into a savings account for Mark's egg business and we have now saved $2000. My goal is to have $5000 by the time he graduates from high school. He is now in his sophomore year...if I keep up with my savings, we will have the money all ready when we need it and can use it as matching funds to get other loans/grants to start our egg business.
Farmer's Market Lesson's Learned
The sunflowers did not seem as popular this year. I think that there were more vendors selling flowers this year. I had tried a bunch of new varieties and most of them them just did not work. So, next year, I am going to regroup and just focus on mostly the single stem varieties. The branching varieties just did not grow long enough stems to really be used. I will also try growing even more...I know I say this every year and I have been increasing the number. However, most of my experimental plants this past year just did not work. The past 2 years I have brought just over 300 sunflowers to the market each year.,,still thinking...
Jams and Jellies
I have applied for several low sugar jam permits and have received them. So, next year, I will have low sugar jam for sale. I don't think there are any other vendors that sell low sugar jam so this will fill a niche. Also, I have been approved to sell my sunflower jelly. This was very popular a couple of years ago.
Another idea that I had for the jams...start selling some pint jars. I already sell 1/2 pints and 1/4 pints. so there are 2 sizes to choose from. This past year, I had an old friend contact me via Facebook. I showed her the farm Facebook page and she said she wanted some huckleberry jam. She said she wanted 2 1/2 pints. I asked if I could just make a pint and send it to her because I was getting ready to make some more jam. She said that was fine so I started cooking. After it was finished, I went back on to our Facebook messenger conversation to ask for her address and she had deleted our conversation...so weird. So, I had this pint of huckleberry jam so I just took it with me to the Farmer's market and sold it right away...then, the next week when I made jam, I made another pint and also sold it at the Farmer's market. The other "jam" vendors at the market only sell one size of jar...both sell 1/2 pints. I was thinking that having different sizes may be a nice marketing strategy. It's like having more variety for people to choose from...another idea to try.
Dandelion Wine Salt
This sold well. I made some sunflower wine and I will use this next year so it will be Sunflower Wine Salt.
I was thinking about adding some sunflower lotion bars. Just not 100% sure about this yet...