Monday, January 9, 2012

How Much Are My Veggies Worth?

I am interested in knowing how much my organically grown veggies are worth, but trying to get an accurate price seems difficult.  I could always go to the farmer's market or scope out the produce section at the grocery store for the prices, but finding organics can be a challenge for a lot of veggies here.  (South Carolina has 122 acres of organic agriculture out of a total of 4.8 million acres!)  I could always search online, but the price I find might be in California or New Hampshire and may not be accurate for produce here. 

However, I have found the solution.. thanks to USDA.  They have a database of market prices and you can search according the region, type of fruit or veggie, organic or not, and dates.  You can also download the data as an Excel file, which will make it easy to sort.  This makes me very happy!  It allows me to get the most accurate price and if there's not an organic option for my region then I can get the national average.

Here's a screen shot of the database:

To test it out I had to look up my two whole weeks of harvest this year: organic broccoli for $2.99/lb, cabbage at $0.98/ lb, spinach $5.10/lb, romaine $2.99/lb.  I did find a limitation to this database.. it does not have all vegetables.  No turnips or rutabagas are included in the database, but it is definitely a great place to start.  My veggies for 2012 so far are worth $7.57 (excluding turnips).

Can't wait until the summer bounty comes in and I can find out how much my gardening habit is worth!


  1. Wow! This is amazing! Thank you so much for posting this!!!

  2. I'll start tracking, thanks for the info! My only problem is that if I chalk up the overall investment so far, I'm way behind... but lets not think about that, it will be fun watching the lbs and savings grow.

  3. Oooh I wonder if they have an Australian version. Although I am a bit scared to really work out the cost vs savings as I may discover that I am losing more money than I'm saving once mulch, the odd bit of seaweed fertiliser, seeds etc are all factored in.....

  4. Thanks for the link! I put a link to your post on my latest blog post (Lynn's Urban Garden Diary).


  5. That is a nice starting point. I tend to use the farmers market prices as that is where I would buy my veggies if I didn't grow them. Too bad they don't track more things. I got all excited when I saw the herb listing, but all they had was cilantro.

    I also enjoyed looking at it as you can look at how the prices of things go up and down with the seasons.

  6. Like Daphne, I want to compare comparable vegetables, so I use either the farmers market or the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association has a monthly organic price report. You might find it useful as another resource. You can see it here:

  7. ignorant gardener... I too am afraid to add up all my garden costs, so I think I'm going to ignore garden structures and focus on consumables like seeds, plants, and soil. My rationale is that the structure is part of landscaping and home value plus gardening is my main hobby, so if I didn't spend time (and money) gardening I'm sure I'd spend it on another hobby. At least that's my rationale (aka excuse) for not including all my expenses.

    Liz.. good luck finding an Australian database and good luck on having a profit! I bet you get a whole lot more veggies than you realize.

    Lynn.. thanks for the link!

    Daphne.. I've been disappointed in the variety of veggies the more I look too. Its a good staring point and I hope to find the other prices at the farmers market. However, the selection at my local farmers market may not be much better than the database.

  8. The price of those vegetables grow up with season. Because those cabbage can cost huge here, more than $2 or $3 per pound.