Quality is by far the most important consideration that will determine your success. If you are growing hydroponi-cally, you are already ahead of the game. However, you will certainly want to perfect your method before considering commercial success. If you are totally new to hydroponics and gardening, take a few months getting your green thumb cause once you go commercial, you will be counted upon to deliver quality produce on time.
Another important factor in your success is product packaging. Assuming you have perfected your crop and production techniques, you should concentrate a good amount of energy on packaging. You will certainly want to use a visually appealing package for your herbs. Many commercial herbs are packaged in screen printed plastic bags with colorful logos. Since you are just starting out, and certainly shouldn't go throught that added expense, you should try using a clear zip lock type of plastic bag to which you can apply a simple self-adhesive label. It is a good idea to use a hole punch to make a couple of "breathing" holes in your bags to maintain product freshness. Give your herbs just a slight misting with some water before sealing the bags. Use a small kitchen scale to weigh your herbs to ensure uniformity from package to package.
Many patrons of gourmet markets will identify with a wholesome looking label that is indicative of the local origin of the produce. An excellent method of building and growing your herb business is to invest some time and money in creating a visually appealing label and "brand" name for your produce. By creating your own brand of fresh herbs, people will recognize your products and have a handy "name" to refer to when telling their friends how fresh and wonderful your produce is. Creating your own brand will also allow you to enter into larger markets because your following will already be familiar with the quality of your product and attribute it to your "brand". This is exactly how the Mega-brands are created and although you might not be thinking in terms of nationwide branding and becoming a "Mega" sized operation, it is nice to know that your hard work is building your reputation and at the same time positioning yourself for future growth.
Once you have some sample product available, even if it is only from your first round of crops, package a few bunches, apply your labels and hit the streets. It's a great idea to bring a cooler along with you, packed with ice and with your samples inside. This way when you introduce your local merchant to your product it will be fresh and appealing. This is especially important if you live in a very hot area and you plan to spend the whole day on the road visiting merchants. It is also a good idea to print yourself up some simple business cards that match the labelling on your product. Take advantage of the software available today that helps you design materials for starting a small business. There are literally hundreds of titles on the shelf that include templates and royalty free artwork you can use to get started. Remember, position yourself as a wholesome grower that only uses the finest nutrients, purest water and NO insecticides, fungicides or herbicides in the production of your herbs. This alone will sway people to trying your herbs over the ones that are field grown and contain who knows what.
fomv freiit tyerfa these fine herbs were grown locally in a soilfree garden with the finest nutrients and purest water which adds to their flavor and keeps them free from toxins.
Sweet Basil grown by: your name harvested: 12/12/99 123 main st. anytown, NY 11735
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