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Is any one else surprised that Rhubarb is 4.00 a pound at the farmers market?

That's more than tomatoes that are more labor intensive!! I found it several places at that price but finally found it for $3!

asked by LauriL over 3 years ago
26 answers 3987 views
092efd1a f34b 461d 89b1 f3e76e0ce940  dsc 0028
added over 3 years ago

Where are you?

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added over 3 years ago

Northeastern CT!! Grows like weeds here!

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Trena Heinrich

Trena is a trusted source on general cooking.

added over 3 years ago

That does seem expensive. I'd suggest you talk with the farmer about it and see what he/she says. There may be a reasonable explanation as to the high price point.

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added over 3 years ago

Well, I did ask her and she said they had to fertilize it. Last time I looked manure was pretty cheap....as in free!! I have lots of friends that have patches (don't live close enough to share)that say they don't do a thing to it and they've had there's for 15 years!! I know the farmers need to put food on their own tables but I would feel better paying 2.00/lb. After all the stalks are all water!!!

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added over 3 years ago

It may be a case of "whatever the market will bear," especially if you live in a more affluent part of CT. I find here in Annapolis, MD, prices at our local farmers' market seem awfully high, but there are a lot of folks around here with deeper pockets. If the farmers can get what they're asking, well..

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Trena Heinrich

Trena is a trusted source on general cooking.

added over 3 years ago

I hear your frustration. Here's a link to a seed company that specializes in heirloom varieties. This will allow you to save the seeds year after year. This way you won't have to pay $4 a bunch. Lots of luck! http://www.rareseeds.com...

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added over 3 years ago

Thanks Trena! It's a perenniel so after it gets big enough I won't have to worry about replanting!! And I've always wanted my one patch...especially now that I want to try the rhubarb buckle with the ginger crumbles on this site!!~

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added over 3 years ago

What about their labor. Isn't it worth something? They are growing it and getting it to a place that's convenient for you. Perhaps you should find a place for it in your garden. I don't think farmers should do what they do simply for the love of it and their satisfaction.

6f611b78 35b4 4186 89ad c38b035b32f3  08270410avatar messbrasil
added over 3 years ago

We've had the same problem im Brazil last month with tomatoes.They were the equivalent to 5,00 dollars a kilogram,an increase of 130% in the last year.

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added over 3 years ago

Woah! That is a bit steep for tomatoes but here we pay 3.00 dollars for 2.2 kilograms. Can they substantiate a 130% increase? Do they top dress the plants with gold dust? LOL

8a5161fb 3215 4036 ad80 9f60a53189da  buddhacat
SKK
added over 3 years ago

Rhubarb is easy to grow and takes space. Plant it, and don't harvest until the second year. There really isn't much labor. Grow it yourself.

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added over 3 years ago

In addition to the all the lessons on economics that I got with my initial question.....I like your answer the best! Also, Trena gave me a good seed source!

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added over 3 years ago

More likely your farmer's market folks with the high price are reading websites like this and seeing that rhubarb is "cool." So based on the cool factor upped the price. Since you're in CT where rhubarb grows, plant some (or several varieties) and enjoy it as it really is a low maintenance plant. I will sit here in coastal Virginia and stew (take that as a pun if you like) in envy as it doesn't grow well here - I've tried, and I think the winters are too warm. Enjoy!

4798a9c2 4c90 45e5 a5be 81bcb1f69c5c  junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 3 years ago

Did you ask the farmer how much they have to pay to bring their produce to that market? Here in New York it is a lot! Plus their transportation costs. That adds to the price of anything they sell. However the quality and the extended shelf life of those products may be worth it to you...

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added over 3 years ago

The farm is 5 miles from the market. I thought that part of buying local was to help the farmer NOT to have to go long distances to save on transportation costs!

67da29df 0253 44dd 98a1 250b49e519a4  hilary sp1
added over 3 years ago

yikes! It is definitely a lot of work to farm-work to transport to the market, work to set up the tent, break it down etc. At my market, I paid $3 for a large bunch of rhubarb this morning. I weighed it--it was about 2 1/2 pounds. Ohio is cheap, though-- and I find my food costs are substantially less than my friends in the west and northeast.

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added over 3 years ago

Rhubarb is very east to divide, so next time you're visiting your friends who have rhubarb patches, ask them if they plan to divide their clumps (good to do periodically to maintain vigor/productivity). It's best in the early spring (at least here in OR) and takes a sharp knife or spade. Pretty soon, you'll be dividing clumps for your friends (or planting even more...). P.S. $4 seems about a $1 more than our stores are charging (more if it's organic). However, in my experience there are very few pests and compost/manure is the best fertilizer.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 3 years ago

Remember that the part you buy is just the edible stalk. That's small part of the plant. The farmer has to cut it, wash it transport it and compost whatever isn't salable. A pound of rhubarb is a pretty big bunch.
I suggest you but a plant or two. It is easy to grow, pest free and at least here in Maine, requires almost no attention, no fertilizer, rarely needs supplemental water.

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added over 3 years ago

The other thing is that some of the farmer's other crops may not be doing so well this year and he/she hasn't been able to bring a lot if the usual product to market. The land, planting, feeding, harvesting, transport and life in general still costs as much as it always does (or more), so if the rhubarb is good and people are buying, that additional dollar a pound could really make a difference.

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added over 3 years ago

I do still think this comes back to market demand. If they weren't selling enough at that price, they'd lower it. When I go to the farmers market each week, I first scout out all the booths and then circle back. I usually find price discrepancies for equally good produce. Perhaps someone else says it for less?

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added over 3 years ago

Here's another factor: commercial farming, especially on the 'agribusiness' scale, is government subsidized, plus they benefit from economy of scale and low wage labor. Rhubarb may not be the best example to justify pricing, but their real costs are reflected in the prices they charge. The rhubarb sold at a higher price may allow them to charge a little less for the labor/material intensive crops.

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added over 3 years ago

That is, real costs to small scale farms.

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added over 3 years ago

$4.00 a pound does not seem unreasonable to me. Someone had to 1)plant it 2) weed it 3)fertilize it 4) cut it 5)remove the inedible leaves and 6) transport it to market. Sure, it's mostly water, but that's true of most plants. And if you start your own patch, which will last forever with some care, don't waste time trying to start it from seed. Get some roots from someone with an established bed; also, any reputable seed company sells the roots.

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added over 3 years ago

In my local small grocery in NH, local rhubarb is $.50 per stalk. Let's face it, there's no free lunch -- or dessert.

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added over 3 years ago

I just bought a jar (8oz) of freshly made strawberry/rhubarb preserves from a farmer in my home town of Ashford CT and it was only $5.00!! And that included the jar!! Obviously he did not pass along his labor or gas costs to the consumer! I must ask him next week how he breaks down his costs.