Doing Well and Doing Good

We charge top dollar for all of our products.

Note first that that is top dollar in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire: our prices produce gasps in Missouri and Manhattan for exactly opposite reasons.

We’ve decided we like to farm, so it needs to pay. Bringing in the dotcom dollars from away is more work and less fun every year. We’re farming here. We can’t sell out and move anywhere else better. Even before the great recession it didn’t make sense to start again someplace else, giving up twenty years of knowing the land and knowing the neighbors. Moving back the the city after all these years is not plan C, but more like plan Q.

So, we’re animal farming. There are too many rocks and not enough soil even for a CSA. We have a great raised bed garden. We hope to double it next year. It will cover its cash cost and feed us very well. But, no taxes, no fuel for the truck or tractor, and really not a balanced diet.

So there we are. We also simply can’t compete on price with the factory farms. A few people manage to sell eggs at supermarket prices, using bought feed, but I question how much money they are actually making. Therefore we must sell top quality for top dollar.

We personally have never gotten any flack for that business plan, but I see others catching it all around. We are producing really good food, but it’s only available to the comfortably off. Certainly, we’re doing nothing for the really hard up.

First, that’s only partially true. There are many people choosing to eat factory food and spend the extra money on something else, whether ordering pizza or having the latest smartphone and its $150/month service plan. Second, the local/high quality food system is still being built. Industrial organic food has only reached critical mass in the last few years. Fresh and local still has a long way to go. It will become more affordable as the infrastructure grows, just as industrial organic has.

But the real issue is that people who raise good food need to be able to make a living at it, or it won’t happen.

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One Comment

  1. Nebraska Dave
    Posted December 30, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    It is as you say with the great recession upn us budgets need readjusting. I find it most curious that what gets cut first is the food budget. While you state the cell phone, cable TV, Internet access continues to erode the family funds, the food eaten will be cheaper and of less quality. I also find it curious that as folks find cheaper food to eat it gravitates toward more processed nutritionally void menus. In my humble opinion, over the long run it is not a good idea to cut the food budget first.

    Have a great winter day

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