Aaron from High Spirit Farm had been pounding the pavement,
talking with chefs and grocers about buying his produce. It was
early March when we sat down, and he was pretty sure that he had
five commitments for purchasing throughout the season; he felt
confident he could sell $45,000 worth of produce.
We took a top-down approach to understanding the numbers.
“Bob, the chef over at Foley Restaurant, said that I was the only
local farmer he was buying from. I bet I could sell $15,000 worth
of produce to him”
“Really?” I asked. “That’s almost $700 a week. How many cases
of produce is that? 14?”
“Yeah, that’s about right,” he responded.
Aaron called Bob to better understand his commitment. In the
beginning of the season, when all Aaron was growing were greens
and radishes, 14 cases would be ambitious. At the height of the season,
14 cases seemed about right.
With the insight from his customer, Aaron could adjust his sales
projections. Either he would need to find more wholesale customers
to sell to in the spring in order to meet his projections, or he would
need to scale back his sales estimates.
For more tools, tips, and templates, check out Julia Shanks book The Farmer’s Office in the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Store.
This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from The Farmer’s Office by Julia Shanks and published by New Society Publishers, 2016.