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Lesson Ten

The Business of Hydroponics 10-5


So a hydroponic grower has completed their daily testing, weekly cultur-
ing chores and grown a premium product. ..what do they do with it?
Sell it!

In most cases, the cost of growing a crop in a controlled environment is
higher than a field-grown crop. The farmer growing in a controlled envi-
ronment has maintained the ideal temperatures, humidity, light and feed
to the plants. In return, their produce should be of the highest quality
and, if marketed properly, should bring a premium price.

A hydroponic grower should be sure to emphasize what makes their pro-
duce special and what makes it taste so good.

Points that a hydroponic farmer might promote are:

bulletvine ripened
bullettastes, looks and smells great
bulletgrown in a controlled environment
bullethand picked and packed
bulletherbicide free
bulletpesticide free
bulletavailable most of the year
bullet higher nutritional value

Growers can sell their fresh produce in a number of ways, some of which include:

Direct to grocery stores
When you sell directly to grocery stores, you have the most
control over how your produce is transported and handled. The
disadvantage is that you need the expertise and time to effec-
tively establish markets and then deliver your produce on a
timely basis.

Sell to a produce broker
If you do not have the expertise or time to market your produce you may consider having a pro-
duce broker or distributor market your produce for you. A broker will usually charge 15 -20 % 
of the gross sales for their service. Broker marketing is convenient, but you will earn less and 
lose control over the handling and transportation of your produce.

Market through a co-op or grower network
A co-op is a compromise between you doing the marketing and having someone else do it for you. 
If there are several growers in an area, they may be able to share the responsibilities of marketing 
and delivery.

Roadside stand or farmer's market
A farmer's market or roadside stand allows you to sell di-
rectly to the customer. Since you are selling retail with this
means of marketing, you will probably have the highest prof-
its. The disadvantage is that you not only have to bring your
produce to the market, you have to stand there and sell it. For
some growers this is an ideal means of selling their produce.
For others, it isn't worth the extra time involved.

A commercial grower of hydroponic produce must always remember that they are selling a premium 
product and, as long as the quality is there, the market will follow.