The Urban Farmer: Increasing Revenue, Dropping Crops, and Growing 14,500lbs of Vegetables on One-Third of an Acre – A Year-End Review (FSFS74)

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About one year ago Season 1, Episode 37 aired. It was us taking a look back at Curtis production for the 2015 season.

Today we will do something similar for 2016, because a lot has changed.

Let’s start by rewinding the clock and go back that previous episode from December 2015…

We are officially out of the main season and for the most part, Curtis is now done producing crops off of his farm.

In this episode we will take a look at what Curtis produced on the farm in 2016, and how much of it he produced.

And as a hint, he produced a lot.

All in Curtis produced about 17,500lbs of product off of his farm this year. That’s a lot of food coming from a small space. Remember Curtis is only farming off of 15,000 sq.ft. which is spread out over 5 plots. And this year he made the most of it producing over 17,000lbs of produce on those 5 plots. And we aren’t talking corn and potatoes here. For the most part many of the crops which he produced really aren’t that heavy, he simply produced a lot of product. 3000lbs of tomatoes, 2500lb. of radishes, 2500lb. of spring mix, 2000lbs of turnips. Big numbers for a small farm.

That was then.

Now let’s go to present day of December 2016.

And while a year ago the production season was over, this year, it’s not. We are still in production season, because Curtis’s farm now produces year round, with sales every week of the year.

That’s just one of the many changes that took place at Green City Acres this year.

As we look back at 2016, it was a year where Curtis farmed less land than 2015, cut back on certain crops, and added others. Part of those changes came as a result of changes in his market streams as he cut back on restaurant sales, eliminated the farmers market, and started selling a lot more to local grocers.

Big changes, that have had a big effect on what he’s growing and how much he’s producing…

Let’s jump into it and take a look at Curtis 2016 farm production… what was produced, what wasn’t, and why it changed…

A Recap of 2016 Farm Production at Green City Acres

  • Curtis farmed about 13,000sq.ft (1/3 Acre) this year.
  • He produced 14,500lbs of total product.
  • Biggest Crops by Sales Dollars:
    • 1. Spring Mix
    • 2. Arugala
    • 3. Pea Shoots
    • 4. Salad Turnips
    • 5. Sunflower Shoots
    • Those crops made up over half of the farm production in dollars.
  • Biggest Crops by Weight:
    • 1. Spring Mix
    • 2. Radishes
    • 3. Cherry Tomatoes
    • 4. Turnips
    • 5. Arugala

 Lessons learned in the 2016 farm season

  • Produced same greens in field, but sold more salad mix because started adding a lot of shoots to his mixes.
  • A lot less crops this year both in terms of numbers and cutting back a lot of crops (kale, summer squash, bok choi, swiss chard, beets) that just didn’t justify their space on the farm.
  • Sold less total pounds of product this year but made more money.
  • Want to try to increase sales – Attack the shoulders of the sales bell curve to try to make more money.  
    • In the main part of the season, it is hard to bring that up.
  • Dropping a bunch of crops and reduce production in 2017.
  • Ignore the many, many small things that don’t matter, while focusing on the few, few, few big things that do matter.
    • Means doing the hard stuff, not what’s easy.
    • Trying to increase sales, better production versus buying X to fix X.  Or upgrading X, or doing this to the soil.  All great, but are likely low on the leverage point scale, compared to the intangibles.

Learn More from Curtis Stone:

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