Many farmers are looking for a way to produce extra income on the farm. Sometimes adding a small-scale cash crop can help increase farm profits, or even become a major source of on-farm income. Here are 3 crops worth considering as an add-on or main crop for your farm:
Gourmet mushrooms. Mushrooms can be an ideal second crop for Canadian farmers, as they are grown indoors and produce a high return per square foot. The two gourmet mushrooms varieties with the largest demand are oyster and shiitake. Oyster mushrooms can yield up to 25 pounds per square foot of growing area every year. At an average price of $7 a pound, a 10 x 10 space can generate $17,500 in a single year. Oyster and shiitake can be dried, or sold fresh, allowing for flexibility in distribution and timing.
Garlic. The 3 types of gourmet garlic can provide a great boost to farm revenue. Rocambole, Purplestripe and Porcelain varieties offer superior flavor and command a premium at retail. These gourmet varieties can sell for as much as $10 a pound. In good soil, an acre planted with garlic can yield 15,000 pounds. Garlic is a hearty crop that tolerates a wide range of soil and weather conditions, and that’s why many growers rely on it to provide dependable income year in and year out.
Herbs. The biggest herb demand is for fresh culinary herbs. Growers can supply customers directly at farmer’s markets to maximize revenues. A great way to add value is to package 4 herbs into a windowsill size herb garden. Dried culinary herbs can also be packaged to sell at the farmer’s market, extending shelf-life. With hundreds of choices, including a broad range of ethnic herbs for serious cooks, growers can focus on mainstream and niche herbs to cater to a variety of clients.
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