Posted on September 14, 2017
Growing and selling tomatoes can produce a nice income but only if you approach it as a business. If you sell them without regard for what they cost you to produce, you may end up losing money without realizing it. For growers serious about making a profit, you need to understand what your costs are, who your market is and how you can reach your buyers. Once you have these basics down, you’ll find it much easier to realize a profit when you sell your tomatoes.
Figure out what it costs you to produce a crop. Using a set amount, such as 10 pounds, makes it easier to estimate costs. Add up everything it costs you to produce 10 pounds of tomatoes, including seed, fertilizer and labor. Next, figure your costs for selling 10 pounds of tomatoes. Factor in harvesting, packaging and delivery. You also need to include overhead costs, such as any money you have to pay for taxes, trucks or other farm equipment. Add everything to come up with your total cost.
Be competitive, which means the price of your tomatoes must compare favorably with what your competitors are charging. Investigate what other sellers are getting for their tomatoes, both wholesale and retail. Set a price that is in line with the competition but still allows you room to make a profit. If your costs are too high, review them and see where you can cut expenses, such as automating part of the process or changing your pest control method or fertilizer.
Identify Your Market
Decide if you want to retail your tomatoes directly to the consumer or if you’d rather work with wholesale markets. Retail selling can bring higher prices, but it generally takes up more of your time. Typical retail markets include farmer’s markets, roadside stands and field sales. Wholesaling requires less time, but also brings lower prices, though the drop in price is often balanced out by large, consistent orders that take relatively little time to fulfill. Grocery stores and other sellers’ produce stands are some possible wholesale outlets. If you have the time, you can do both.
When selling tomatoes, one of the most important things you can do is to offer the buyer the best possible produce. Sell only high-quality, ripe tomatoes that don’t have blemishes, wrinkled skin or other cosmetic problems. If you’re selling your tomatoes at a farmer’s market or your own roadside stand, create an attractive display that invites people to stop and buy. Giving out free recipes for salsa, preserves or other tomato-based foods can also boost your sales. When selling wholesale, always pay close attention to what your customers want in terms of quantity and packaging.