Would you pay $21.95 for a box of tea bags filled with dried cow manure? Lots of people do, according to Annie Haven, who grew up on her family’s cattle ranch in California. As the housing subdivisions replaced cattle ranches and farms in her area, she had a hunch those backyard gardeners might appreciate a natural organic fertilizer in an easy-to-use form.
Her hunch paid off, and today she’s busy drying and packaging here cow manure in small brewing pouches used for tea. To make the liquid fertilizer, a customer simply drops a pouch in 5 gallons of water to produce a manure tea that’s a great booster fertilizer in the garden for everything from azaleas to vegetables. She sells the dried manure pouches locally and online.
Annie is just one of hundreds of small local entrepreneurs cashing in on the renewed popularity of gardening. In addition to cow manure, worm castings and dried kelp can be bagged and re-sold for a tidy profit. For example, a pound of soluble kelp powder, such as Maxicrop, can be re-packaged in tea pouches with a 1,000 percent markup, yet the consumer can make 5 gallons of foliar spray with each pouch.
If you grow for market and sell your crops at the local farmers market, think about adding manure, worm castings or kelp to your product mix. Growers who have tried selling these value-added products say that consumers love the idea of making 5 gallons of fertilizer from a little pouch of concentrate. At about $2-$3 each, they make a great “impulse” purchase.
You can easily find bulk organic cow manure in most areas, where most farmers are happy to get rid of it. Worm castings can be produced at home, and soluble kelp concentrate is available online, from many resellers on Amazon.com. Another value added product you can easily make and sell, with proven benefits, is compost tea, which is usually sold in 1 gallon jugs. Just ask customers to bring their own jugs and fill them on the spot.