Foundation for profitable growing
(This bulletin features a number of extracts from a recent publication titled “Top 10 Vegetable Crops for Anglesey,” written by Geraint Hughes under Medwyn and Alwyn Williams’ authorship for ‘Arloesi Môn’ in 2017.)
Quality + Passion + Knowledge + Relationships = Profitable growing
When it comes to growing crops, underpinning everything is quality. Quality can be defined in many ways, including appearance, taste, colour, texture, cleanliness, shape, size and healthiness. Successful growing starts with producing quality produce consistently, week in week out.
Another key ingredient for succeeding is a passion for growing crops. Selling micro crops will generate cash in a short period of time, which will aid cash flow. However, the task can sometimes be hard, and problems along the way are inevitable. Passion, combined with good knowledge can take a grower through these tricky periods,
“There are no short cuts in growing. A good grower knows how a crop behaves and can manipulate that to his/her benefit.” Medwyn Williams, well-known and award-winning grower from Anglesey.
Establishing a growing system that will produce a regular supply of crops needs knowledge from the offset, of how and when crops are sown. When putting a growing plan together, the challenge will be to gauge the supply and demand pattern. Having a regular supply of a crop is important to develop a good relationship with a customer. However, there will be times of unexpected over-supply. Growers should therefore build their base of alternative selling channels for their produce. Growers don’t necessarily need to get involved in adding value themselves. With a vibrant food sector in Gwynedd and Ynys Môn, there are several condiment makers and chefs who may be interested in stocking up or producing a pea shoot pesto. They may even end up becoming an important regular customer.
Finally, a successful growing enterprise needs to be willing and ready to invest time in building good relationships with other partners in the supply chain. Customers – be they hotels, restaurants, shops – are key partners for a growing business, as are suppliers, fellow growers and family and friends. Everybody has a role to play, and regular communication is essential to ensure everybody understands what’s going on. This can be priceless when a grower faces an unexpected problem. A restaurant will not easily forgive a grower who fails to deliver without notice. However, if they are informed of a supply issue in advance, the vast majority will understand and adapt accordingly. Very often, these kinds of episodes can strengthen the trust between a grower and his/her customer.
High-end eating venues and chefs are always on the lookout for exciting produce to experiment with and to add a point of difference to their own menu. Using microgreens can make them stand out from the crowd. Having a good relationship with all partners and knowing what the latest in food trends are is vital intelligence when it comes to achieving success and profitable growing.