You know I like to talk about turning plants and flowers into a source of income. Probably one of the reasons why I focus on this is because for most of us, we need to find a simple, yet interesting way to generate a few extra dollars.
Whether you are on a fixed income already or are about to enter your retirement years one of the most popular vegetables available can be the cash crop you’re looking for. I’m talking about tomatoes. but not the ordinary red or green ones you see in your supermarket.
I’m talking about a specialty tomato product that has collectively been grouped under the category of heirloom tomatoes. An heirloom tomato may be quite easy to spot in a farmer’s market or in an organic farmer’s field. They are the tomatoes that are not always red in color. In fact, some of them are in unusual colors such as purple or brown and the can come in shapes that don’t always resemble the kind of tomatoes you may be accustomed to seeing. For example, some varieties are smaller and rounder while others are chubby.
There’s even heirloom tomatoes that look wrinkled, dried and as if they were spoils that someone forgot to toss out. The interesting thing about these odd looking tomatoes is that they contain a rich flavor and taste that is missing from the plump red ones sitting in the crisper in your refrigerator.
The appeal of heirloom tomatoes is still only just catching on with some varieties returning profits in the range of $100 per plant.
The demand for heirloom tomatoes comes from chefs and specialty dining establishments that cater to a specific kind of clientele. The desire to create unusual and outstanding dishes and meals that are not only pleasing to the eye, but are as pleasant to taste has pushed unique varieties of food, such as heirloom tomatoes, into a place where they are in more demand now by chefs than they were as little as ten years ago. Today, more individual “foodies” are discovering the wonderful taste of these delicious heirlooms as well.
Let’s do the math. Because heirloom tomatoes are one of the best income producers you can grow in your backyard garden you don’t need to have a huge plot of land to cash in. If you allow an average of six square feet per tomato plant and factor in an approximate yield of 25-pounds per plant at a price of $4.00 per pound you can easily see a return of over $16.00 per square foot of garden space.
Let’s assume you are on a fixed income with a limited amount of available cash for the start up of your heirloom tomato growing patch. Suppose you spent $50.00 on seeds you could see $6,000.00 worth of tomatoes in your garden within three months.
The best part is that there are so many different varieties of heirloom tomatoes you will certainly be able to find kinds that will grow well in your particular climate. One heirloom tomato grower started with only 20 plants and within the first year produced four-hundred pounds of varieties that sold out which proves the demand is there.
The varieties this grower had the success with included Brandywines, Green Zebras, German Johnsons and Costoluto Genovese but be sure to keep your choices to the varieties that will grow in your gardening climate zone.
You can find out more about the proper tomato seed to plant for your climate zone at TomatoFest.com where they sell seeds according to the color of the tomato it will yield including pink and bi-colored.
One important thing to remember about heirloom tomatoes is that they don’t travel very well. This means shipping orders to far off destinations should not be part of your business plan. In fact, since heirloom tomatoes are mostly a ‘buy local’ product, this provides you with a garden-fresh vegetable you can sell at local farmers markets, direct from your home/yard and other opportunities that focus on locally-grown, fresh, natural produce. You may even be able to supply your product to a local health food store or small scale grocer with a section dedicated to locally-grown produce.
For more details on how to get started growing these profitable heirlooms, visit www.ProfitablePlantsDigest.com.