Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Restaurant buyers - do you have basil to sell?

I've decided to follow the conclusions that I drew in a paper I wrote about aquaponic business.

I am actively pursuing (and now have two clients set up) for restaurants that are interested in getting micro-herbs and basil. I will begin selling in another few weeks, once I can pull a harvest on the micro basils I have going (cinnamon, thai, and purple). I can find more chefs, but with only 2 sq ft of grow area, I'm going to be limited on production, and I'd like to be able to offer a more consistent supply.

Are there aquaponists in Colorado interested in marketing basil or other herbs? I am working through established relationships with local restaurants, and chefs that I'm friends with. If you have produce that you're growing that you're certified for (or seeking certification - the food safety certification process being what it is) can you please contact me. I can move product. What I'm doing now will be small scale enough that I'm expecting to use the funds to improve my certification. I'm serve-safe certified, and I'm taking a much more aggressive management approach to the system. I will be getting tilapia into the tank asap, but as for microgreens, I believe I can establish a first harvest with the meager 80 ppm nitrates I'm currently running in the fishless tank.

I've got a potential buyer for the fish too, so that's a marketing aspect I'd like to help others develop. If any of you are familiar with "Fish" in Fort Collins, I've spoken to the owner and he avoids farmed fish like the plague because of the filthy production involved with traditional aquaculture, but he's open minded about Aquaponics. I can help with branding (if you'd prefer to avoid that headache) or you can sell the product to me, and I'll carry it on my label and LLC, Hydrorium Sustenance. (After seeing your facilities, aquaculture and aquaponic management, and under the assumption that you're not using chemical cheats, although I've decided that sustainable is a better tag than Organic, due to the issues with non-organic feed, I'm still recalcitrant to flatly refer to it as organic, sustainable is more honest for the time being.) As a former Executive Chef, with a 25 year history with food, I can make critical judgements as to quality and determine what restaurants want to see. FYI - current basil price is floating at about $20/lb retail (meaning I can afford to buy it for about $12), could you use that money?

As it sits now, I do not have a reefer truck or distribution facilities, but am applying for loans to create those components.

This is a very real business opportunity, or at least a chance to make a little money off your systems. If you have herbs to sell, feel free to contact me directly by email, as I could market products as soon as yesterday. I know that this will build from two clients upward, but as with anything, I must prove it's possible, and generating a larger, steady supply will more easily help achieve that end.

BTW - I seeded yellow tomatoes as well, I'm aiming for a high dollar return when I harvest them in January. $45/lb (retail) for high grade heirloom tomatoes in January...

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Comment by Dan Brown on October 22, 2010 at 10:51pm
JD - I sent you a PM, but feel free to call or text or email. 3/241- 4527.
Comment by JD Sawyer on October 22, 2010 at 9:37pm
Hey Dan,
Would like to chat with you more about providing some food. We just brought Tilapia in yesterday to our aquaponics system at the GrowHaus. We'll be growing herbs and microgreens through the coming months. We have some facility heating and cooling challenges which may slow production a little but we are in the process of fixing those up. I might be nice to meet up in the next week or two when you have some time. JD
Comment by Dan Brown on October 15, 2010 at 10:56am
Margaret - the certification process is complex. The first thing I would advise is getting serve-safe certified (for food handling). I know that you'll have to demonstrate following basic HACCP (Hazards Analysis of Critical Control Points) standards, the national food safety standard, so that's a good place to start.
Comment by Margaret on October 15, 2010 at 10:10am
Just curious right now... only beginning to get my set up going. However I will be having tomato and herbs with in just a couple of weeks. I don't know anything about certification or what I might need to get something going with restaurants. I have both red and yellow pear tomatoes going right now.
Comment by Dan Brown on October 14, 2010 at 7:55pm
Thank you for the question Sahib, regarding deeper specifics on pricing, I'll relegate those conversations to one-on-one.
Comment by Sylvia Bernstein on October 14, 2010 at 6:54pm
Dan, please supply me with the message you would like me to send out to the group. Thanks
Comment by Sahib Punjabi on October 14, 2010 at 6:53pm
Oh Daniel...if only we were in the same State. From the results that I have started getting, I could supply you a huge quantity of all that you are looking for (in due course). I have posted some update photos of progress in my Aquaponics Research Fish Farm.
To date, I have sold a few pounds of Large Italian and Genovese Basil to a fine Italian restaurant. The Chef was so impressed after the initial sample tasting and subsequent first delivery of 3 lbs that has placed an open weekly order of 3 lbs. I supplied 2 lbs last week and informed him that is what I will commit to initially for the next month until my other seedlings start to take off. After that...well let's see :-)
I was not sure what to price the produce for. Also with this type of larger basil, there is one price if on stem and another if only leaves. Thank you for you insight.

If you have any contacts in Central Florida...hint hint :-)
Naturally you are welcome to visit any time and check out my Aquaponic Research Fish Farm and share a "cold one...or two".
God bless
Comment by Dan Brown on October 14, 2010 at 5:06pm
I don't have admin access. Thank you for your help Sylvia.
Comment by Sylvia Bernstein on October 14, 2010 at 5:04pm
You might not be "allowed" through Ning unless you created the group, but when you go into Colorado Aquapons do you see Admin Options? If so, Group Message is the last option. If not just send me the message and I'll broadcast it to the group.
Comment by Dan Brown on October 14, 2010 at 4:53pm
Please advise on broadcast email, thank you Sylvia, I'm excited about it too!

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