Interview with Clyde Bethel continued...
Q - You run the place yourself, right, you don't have any partner or anything?
A - I have Mark who helps here, he's here all the time, he has lived on the island for years, he's been coming here since he was a kid, he's from New York, and he's relocating here so he comes in and helps us all of the time.
Q - So, it's you and Mark who do a lot of the farming here?
A - Yeah and we have two other guys who help. Without them this wouldn't be happening, because what's happening is we are expanding and they do all the grunt work.
Q - Expansion plan is what?
A - To clear another 3 acres this summer, expand our plants, our ornamentals.
Q - What is the better business; plants or vegetables?
A - It's seasonal. We only grow our vegetables from October through May because then June - September is so hot, it's an exercise in futility is all it is. The stuff will grow but it will only grow so high, the fruit is small, all the greens won't even grow, it's just too hot. An example is tomatoes have to have a night time temperature of 72 degrees; our overnight temperatures are high 80s in the night, so it's hot and sticky. So that's when we focus on all of our ornamentals for landscaping and stuff because we're now starting to do a lot of that.
Q - So in other words, somebody builds a house here on Eleuthera and they need landscaping...
A - That's where we're going to.
Q - Competition?
A - There are a couple of other guys who do it. We don't advertise at all. Our business is drive-by and word-of-mouth. We do it right and... but the trick is having inventory so we don't have to get plants and other landscape products from other places. The trick is in growing all of our own.
Q - When it comes to the vegetable business, it's all drive-by as well?
A - For the most part, and we supply four restaurants on Eleuthera with all of their salad stuff and broccoli; all of that. But most of it is stop-in, homeowners and people who are visiting and renting homes on Eleuthera.
Q - It's all retail -- you don't distribute your landscaping and produce to any other places?
A - Not yet. We have been asked to supply some places in Harbour Island, and we could even hit a couple of the hotels in Nassau. The way Eleuthera is growing, we'll have more than eaten up here at this developmental stage of the business to sustain us and grow the business without getting into all of the logistics of shipping and all of that. We sell everything we grow. Like with the ornamentals and all of the plants, the longer they stay, the more they're worth because we keep stepping them up into larger containers so what's a $12 plant this fall once we step it up to that, we double the price. It's a larger plant and we've spent that extra time watering it and fertilizing it.
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