Stop Under Valuing Your Garden Returns

I snapped this photo when we went to our local Farm Boy to see what they had in terms of better quality Citrus fruits.  It like so many other things in that store make me stop.. pause and go WOW!

Clearly I am massively under valuing my horseradish roots. Those roots above are grown out of country, shipped across goodness knows how many miles and trust me when I say I should have grabbed a photo of the root itself.  They were 3 years at least in age.. if not 4 years. I know how much of that root would not be useable. The way it was taken and for sale at least 30 to 35% would be lost in the clean up.

It would be fair to say that a locally produced Horseradish root that grown on land that has no spray etc for 15 years now with such a smaller eco-foot print should be worth the same or even a touch more.

Dandelion greens are 6.99 a small bunch,  Burdock roots are ten dollars a pound..  3 oz of dried elderberries are 11.99. I have not been able to find sunchokes yet but the last time I did, I found them at 12.99 a pound locally.

We under value what we produce on our land and I think the longer we grow, the worse we are with this.. we can have plants that yield to us in volumes that are so given so freely that we forget their value..

Rhubarb is a outstanding example of this.. its is such a easy plant to grow and tuck away in a corner and enjoy so much. However locally, its also running between 8 to 10 dollars a pound for a little bunch.

The one year my rhubarb patch grew and I harvested over 3,000 dollars worth.. to me, it was just.. o my gosh.. am I ever going to be done canning rhubarb, rhubarb fruit and making rhubarb this or that and freezing bags of it..

Did I think I have put up lots of rhubarb of course.. did I have a value to it.. sure..  was it even close, nope.. I was way! WAY off..

We tend to have other “producing” friends and so we get a bit of a feedback loop on what our produce is worth.. most of the time, its always under what it would be at the farmers market or at the local stores.

While its fine to bring our prices under if we are selling, its NOT ok to under value them when we are figuring out what we produced on our land and by our own hands. I hear so many folks talk about how one of the biggest reason’s they started gardens and raising their own animals or having dairy animals is that they can control their own food.

The thing is.. very soon we stop putting the same value that we had that first time.. Sure we love that first sun warm ripe tomato.. but by our 300th tomato.. we are like, just pick it and throw it to the chickens..

I am in the middle of that right now with eggs, I mean I am pretty much bringing in 7 to 8 dozen eggs weekly and I am not willing to cull my hens so.. in a household of 2 adults.. THERE is no way to eat that many eggs..

I am cooking eggs and feeding them to dogs, cats and the pig..  They are reducing feed costs in that way but it still “de-values” those eggs when I am cooking up a dozen at time into scramble just to move them on.. because I know tomorrow another dozen will be coming in.

I am going to say the same thing in regards to extra baby plants.. we forget their value as well.. if we had to buy them, suddenly our “extra’s that we are like.. hmm.. I can move 5 or 10 here and the rest can be pulled out and put in the compost pile.

I have never thrown babies in the compost pile.. it makes me shiver at the idea.. I love my plant groups.. I can honestly say that I have given away thousands of dollars worth of plants and I am not going to change that..  I do think a percent of the bounty our yards and gardens produce should be gifted freely.

Having said that.. I stand by the fact that coming into year 15 here on the farm..

I will not under value what I produce.. I will not compare my produce to the “on sale” items in season in flyers.. we eat this amazing food year round..

Yes, we picked our Raspberries in the summer but if you had to buy them right now.. 5 oz for 3.99.. we are eating 12 to 16 dollars worth of raspberries when we have our little fruit bowl..

I will own it! I will start to understand that value.. the pantry value of our garden/farm returns!

This post is part of the Self Reliance Challenge 2019. To check out what the other bloggers are doing, there is a full time link on the side bar of the main website that will take you to a page with everyone’s listing, also check out my facebook page as I will be sharing them there and same on twitter..


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21 Responses to Stop Under Valuing Your Garden Returns

  1. Tuncay D. says:

    I agree I had three tomato plants last summer in our small backyard and we used a lot of tomato in the salads and stored the rest in the freezer.
    It is january, and we still have 5+ one lbs bags left.

    PS: Family of two, cooking at home mostly.

  2. Gail says:

    A very timely post. I am in the middle of planning the garden and yet trying to stay on budget. It is easy to forget those great big batches of spaghetti shared because we had a great tomato year, out of the garden and not the food budget.

    • Hi Gail, I know, we forget how much we eat during the summer because we in a way only look at what we put up.. but then we do the same in winter.. we often think.. well we had lots but we forgot just how costly our homemade salsa or our sauce would be if we had to buy and make it fresh again in the middle of winter(not that it would taste half as good!) Enjoy your garden planning!

  3. Silveryew says:

    We had something similar being written about in Norway, namely redcurrants. Many people have them in their gardens and pick them to make jellies and drinks with but don’t really think what they are worth.

    So many an eyebrow was raised when the supermarkets started selling them a strand in a pack (to decorate cakes, naturally), for the equivalent of 200 kroners a kilo (thats 31 Canadian dollars!). Naturally the newsreader who reported on this just shook his head and just said to viewers to find someone in the neighbourhood growing them and asking politely to pick some XD

  4. Marla says:

    Hi Valeria,
    This is a very good article I totally agree with you on people don’t realize how valuable their own garden or even buying local produce is. Sharing on FB, tweeter, and pinning.

    • Ah, thank you Marla.. its so true.. and sadly, there is a side line push that folks say if you want it cheaper, grow it, u-pick it and farmers market. and while I do agree, that I would also like to see everyone getting those saves overall, it has a flip side where it also gives the wrong thoughts that food grown in gardens, community gardens, or for farmers market is “worth” as much as in the big stores and it needs to get flipped on its head! It should be worth more.. It will come. It will come.

      • Marla says:

        To me the produce grown by my local farmer is worth a lot than what is in the supermarket. Your local food is so much healthier for you and when picked fresh instead of being picked green make it lose nutrients and flavor and you don’t know how they have grown it or how what they have put on it.

  5. valbjerke says:

    People have said to me ‘you should sell your extra (on Facebook/community connection etc)’. I never do – I couldn’t get what I think is a fair price. I watch people who do sell that way – some of the first comments had to do with ‘well they’re on sale at the store for xxx’. I get irritated with those who think it should be cheaper directly off the farm, but it seems a common mindset. I would rather toss it to the chickens/pigs.
    I hear you on the egg excess – we downsized this year to only enough layers for ‘us’ and still we have extra. I have co e up with a few people (farmers) that are happy to trade. One fellow comes down with his tractor and plows us out every time it snows – and all he wants is eggs. I give them to my neighbor as they are in a fixed income- and helpfully take all her extra plastic bags she saves for me (I don’t need plastic bags- but if I don’t ‘trade’ she won’t take the eggs – you get the picture). I also have her come over every fall to strip the last of my garden (on the premise that I’m sick to death of canning and freezing 😁). I feel good to give my stuff away to people who appreciate it.

    • I hear you Val.. Its strange because we do love to “share the bounty” with those we choose but on the flip side, we want value for our hard work and I am right tired of folks thinking that we can really compare the two results in many cases.

  6. candy says:

    I hate spending money on food I can grow and put up myself. It is the cheap person coming out in me. Planning ahead is key.

  7. Robin says:

    So well said! I wouldn’t afford the high-quality foods we eat if I had to buy them. Blackberries were $7 a PINT last year. A pint. My goodness do I go through blackberries. I think I have four gallons still in the freezer. I dig horseradish root and run after friends and neighbors with it like others try to give away zucchini. It’s worth the time and work. In addition to the value of our food is the value of our health thanks to our top-notch homegrown food.

  8. Lisa Lynn says:

    So true, Farm Gal! I am happy to give my extras to friends, neighbors, and family…it’s a good feeling to share! When we have all that produce, eggs, meat, etc from our homestead, and we aren’t buying it from the store, it is easy to keep thinking of it as costing the same amount we last paid for it. Prices sure go up quickly!

  9. homeandharrow says:

    We just recently had our power go out for more than 24 hours, and we decided that we had to go ahead and purchase a generator. It actually cost us less than losing a whole freezer full of homegrown food!

  10. Kristi@StoneFamilyFarmstead says:

    Wow, this is actually very enlightening! We have meyer lemons that I’d like to sell locally, and when I looked up how much to charge, I saw that online some sell for $35/5lbs! I would never charge that, but it really opened my eyes! Thanks for the reminder, I agree 100%!

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