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slim34

....make money from 1.75 acres?

Hi

I'm moving into a property in a matter of weeks (in Bucks) which has stables and fields.

A horsey friend has told me that DIY livery won't make any money for me, and that I don't have enough horse knowledge/experience to offer 'part' let alone 'full' livery.

Any other ideas about how I can make money from my land?

I have an allotment but no farming experience. I could invest a little and I'm not afraid of hard work if I can make the land pay it's way.

I like the idea of growing stuff and my local towns have both weekly and regular farmers markets.

Are there any sure fire ways to make a respectable income from  this much land (with a bit of investment and graft?)

I'm not short of a little capital, energy and enthusiasm. I'm just lacking in ideas?
slim34

by the way I love brewing beer!
Border

If you like brewing beer plant your land with hops, I'm not saying you will make a fortune, but you will be happy and contented drinking your own beer.  
slim34

i already have my own fuggles pgrowing in a pot.

microbrewery? with local hops?

hmmm....
bodger

Welcome back Slim.
To make a useful contribution to your income, whatever you choose will probably have to be pretty specialised. There's a big difference between saving yourself some money by growing your own stuff and actually getting a land based business going.
The list of possibilities is pretty endless, its a matter of finding out what suits you and the area you live in. I'm sure that our fellow members will have some ideas.
Justme

On a small acreage it will have to be very intensive to make much money. Think market garden, nursery, soft fruits, vines, eggs (get a lot of birds on 1.75acres).
slim34

there are lots of posh restaurants nearby too!

'market garden, nursery, soft fruits, vines, eggs' sounds good. All of them or just one or two thjough?

I had thought about herbs and similar. Fancy ones, fresh and dried etc. packaged nicely.

I also thought I could even focus on the latest fashion for edible flowers.

e.g I asked one organic farmer at farmers market which garlic he was selling and he didn't know!
Lorrainelovesplants

If you think of any good ideas tell me.....weve got 1.2 acres and its hard.

Thinking now that my teaching course has 4 days to go (yes, Im counting) that ill start up "Old Tarts.com"   for elderly rich gentlemen who want a bit of fun before they die....

Obligatory signing away everything in their will before the fun and games    
midlandsman

...ere I just went to "oldtarts.com" thinking that you were having a joke - it wasn't a nice sight: or site for that matter!
Butterbean

I agree that specialization is the key.  I think you really need to identify any "unfair advantages" you may have over your competition.  I'd say the presence of posh restaurants is one for sure.   Free supply of horse manure could be another.  With these two advantages I'd be hard pressed not to look into growing container mushrooms that could give you a year round steady income.
Lorrainelovesplants

You mean someone has already stolen my idea?......
Im off to have a look.....

OOps!
Not really what I meant.....feel rather embarrassed now.....
dear, dear...should have known such sites do exist...sorry about that!
slim34

container mushrooms!

Thats a great idea , I would never have thought of that!

The added bonus is that I love them!

glad i posted the question.

there are local delis too who i expect would be keen.

I might also go and ask a few restaurants, delis etc. what sort of things they'd like from local producers.
Butterbean

slim34 wrote:
I might also go and ask a few restaurants, delis etc. what sort of things they'd like from local producers.


Yes, but I'd but I wouldn't suggest being the grower but would want to be the retailer.  The problem with produce is - if you are to make money - you must be one of the first to make the crop.  For instance, the market just fell out of our watermellon crop Monday.  Can't afford to pick them.  Acres of mellons are going bad in the field.  Only money to be made is the fella who will load them himself and sell them direct to the public.  So I would think a marktet that gave producers an outlet for their produce would be a win win deal for everyone involved especially if you built a reputation for having quality and not cull farm products.

I think, given your "unfair advantages" I'd look at producing something that comes in over time during the season and with as little manual maintenance as possible and plant this around your market.  I'd try to make your place a "destination to see".  Something relaxing, inspiring and inviting.  Maybe a market landscaped with herbs that could be picked either fresh or the surplus dried and prepared for the kitchen.  I'd think it would be very inviting to have herb beds bordering your walks to beds of berries such as strawberry, blueberry and blackberry.  Berries, such as hybrid blackberry will bear for several months and the acre return (wholesale) is nothing to  scoff at.  Retail or nearly retail would be phenominal.  You could set up a U-Pic deal as well as the pints you sell on the selves.  Besides that, they have beautiful rose like blooms and are easily cared for.  

If you are successful in creating an inspiring destination you could expand your marketing to things like local home made crafts such as wind chimes and bird houses as well as offering garden supplies to others.

As I see it the key is going to be diversification and specialization with the diversification not only being for your sources of income but also for the diversification of your labor.  If you can beat the feast or famine that comes with agriculture I think you could make a go of it.  This is at least the thoughts I have and the path that I'm on.  Good Luck!

Here is a pic of some of the berries we grow.



You can see a few blooms in the picture but two weeks ealier it looked like a snowy rose garden.



Results of 20 minutes picking.  Looks like my daughter ate more than she picked.  Or maybe that was me.



Here is some jelly we made sitting beside some twenty five cent cantelopes. (wholesale)  I hope to build a certified kitchen shortly so I can sell the jelly at retail.  

Butterbean

A picture of some of those worthless melons.(Tomcats and Magaritas)



Sure don't look or taste worthless but I doubt I could eat the other 75,000 in the next few days but I don't see another option.  With temps reaching 102 today eating one next week would be about as good as drinking several pints.  

slim34

wonderful response! thankyou!. Really got me thinking about what my advantages are, in the broader sense.

The property is 'picture postcard'. Stone thatched cottage, stream, lovely countryside etc. so making it a place to visit sounds good.

What do folks think of my current idea?

I'm an experienced designer and artist and thought I could turn that to my advantage somehow.  we had thought of making the stables into a workshop and offering craft based workshops e.g. jewellery making, bookbinding, painting etc. for groups and individuals. Using the pretty environment for inspiration/materials e.g. using own herbs to make scented crafts or flowers to make paper and flowers environment as subject matter for photographs/paintings.
At other times we could create our own original crafts/jewelelry/ paintings/cards/gifts etc. to sell through local gift shops and online (e.g. etsy.com)

Being an ex designer doing my own brochures, packaging and website would be cheaper and easier than for most.

My wife has senior management/business/retail and marketing experience so I wouldn't have to put a tie on, ever! She like this idea because she could still have some contact with the 21st century and I like it because most of the time I could go back a couple of centuries.

I'm thinking that guests would get lunch in garden or cottage using lots of home produce etc. It 's the sort of thing townies love. I know this because I used to be one. There are plenty of local B&B's, restaurants and pretty local town etc. for weekenders.

Any thoughts, criticisms?

I know it's not very veggy but I had hought I could use the 1.75 acres to create an inspirational environment for customers. e.g. permaculture area, pond, wildlife garden, sculptures etc.
bodger

Butterbean, those pictures of your really got my taste buds going.

There's a guy up the road from here who grows Shitake mushrooms on logs. All he's got are a couple of lorry containers that he uses and he seems to be doing very well. He says that he wouldn't touch 'ordinary' mushrooms because of the tons of cheap imports that make it uneconomical to try and compete with.
Butterbean

Thanks Bodger.  This year's crop was bountiful for sure.  Problem is, everyone else's vines are the same and there is always someone willing to sell them a little cheaper or below cost like you point out with mushrooms.  But I think a key to Slim's business plan is to diversify as much as possible, grow things everyone else isn't growing and direct market anything and everything you can. For instance, the berries in the picture are worth $30 wholesale but $128 retail.  Slim's location sounds like its perfect for something like this.  I'm envious.

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