While at Mobile Farmers Vegetable Farm James Jackson, steadily used and experimented with compost and fertilized with manure of different kinds. The most important things with manure usage is to eliminate the viable weed seed drawback by thoroughly composting the manure, to add enough cellulose on product to bring it to the proper ratio and to bring its water content to proper levels. A properly composted manure product has no seeds that will germinate and proliferate in it. Additionally, a properly composted manure product has something a chemically formulated synthetic fertilizer does not have: enzymes. Enzymes are critical for producing a truly nutritious and superior flavored product. Research has shown that the superior flavor of a fruit or vegetable is closely related to vitamin content and folic acid content in green vegetables.
The state-of-the-art vegetable equipment starting up in the new location utilizes revolutionary harvest designs that:
Farmers Group's first line of production will be the green vegetable and red vegetable. During the summer months Farmers Group will be growing carrots, romaine lettuce, leeks, red onions, summer squash, and spinach. In the fall, production will center on pumpkins, winter squash, globe beets and winter greens. With the growth of the popular organic food niche, and the federal government's new organic labeling policy, Farmers Group will focus its produce on the intermediate organic label. This means that approximately 70% of the food production process will be organic and all foods produced by Farmers Group will be eligible for the "contains organic ingredients" label. The company's farm will have a capacity sufficient to produce in excess of 200,000 lbs. of vegetables per year.
The company's more technical horticultural aspects include efforts to utilize traditional and more advanced plant technologies to produce new cultivars of crops such as strawberries and lima beans with locally-adapted superior characteristics for the Gulf-South growing area. Flavor, disease resistance, adaptability to green-house culture, fall and winter season production are factors being combined in greens cultivation to tap into the $2.99 pint berry market of the fall and winter.
Farmers Group's strategy is a combination of the two technologies during the cool winter months which will allow the utilization of normally wasted space in the greenhouses for the high price winter greens production. This will allow double cultivation of the greenhouses with almost no additional heating necessary in this climate.
The company is currently seeking contact with Alabama universities in order to learn about and acquire new hybrids of strawberries and vegetables that are hardier and grow faster in our local microclimates. These and other available species and systems will be constantly tracked.
In addition to the above, the company is seeking contacts at Universities in Italy and Germany that are involved in greens, and will continue the quest for the best flavored, large, and firm fall and winter strawberries.
Currently, Farmers Group is conducting research to test certain clay-sand-manure mixture levels to obtain better, cheaper bedding and agronomic soil mixtures that are more effective than the standard used in the industry in Alabama (Pine bark mulch-composted).
In the meantime, the company would like to explore the possibilities of crayfish production. Farmers Group believes this to be a high revenue venture with retail prices running in excess of $15.00 per pound in most places. The company also believes that if crayfish production is successful then it could become the number one endeavor of Farmers Group.
Currently there is a defunct fish farming production facility with all the necessary capital equipment approximately two miles from the current farm. Purchase of this facility would allow Farmers Group to begin production and to capitalize on this higher margin product. What makes this most attractive is the two ventures have significant joint cost potential, allowing for a reduction in marginal costs for all products and creation of real economies of scale that would provide Farmers Group with a competitive advantage.