Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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edible investments

invest in small food producers and receive the dividend in food
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(+4, -2)
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I manage 350 olive trees in an olive grove in sardinia, italy. Each autumn we gather a small team of helpers to hand pick the olives which are then taken to the local oil mill in 150kg batches. The olives are then pressed and i collect the oil on the next trip to the mill. Over the last 4 years our average annual production is around 200 litres. Even with free help with the harvest the costs of producing the oil do not generate enough profit to enable us to consider buying a micro oil mill to enable us to make oil 'in house'. This year i have been considering launching a share issue to raise funds for the purchase of the mill. The shares will not take the form of a certificate but a numbered 100ml tin of oil. After one year each share holder will recieve a 'dividend' of a second tin of oil - a return on investment of 100%!

Update - thanks for all your comments, questions and advice - i will try to add some more details to the idea.

The olive grove was planted by spanish colonisers 500 years ago, over the years the grove has been abandoned and then cleared and pruned. When i took over 4 years ago the trees where in reasonable shape but there where areas that had not been pruned for a number of years and the trees were not producing olives. A good tree will give up to 15kg of olives. The yield depends on the maturity of the fruit - basically we pick early which gives oil that is strong flavored and long lasting but with low yields.

The idea with edible investments is threefold: to share the surplus food (olive oil in this case) produced, to fund the puchase of processing equipment (oil mill) and to 'pay' a dividend in food. I will expand on this later.

The oil mill i have in mind will cost around 11,000 euros - second hand mills are not available and it is not feasable to follow a diy route if i want to maintain quality.

This year i wanted to try issuing 500 'shares' at a face value of 10 euros which could raise 5,000 euros. As a registered italian farmer there are 50% grants available for amodernamento. So with a bit of luck next years harvest could be processed in-house....

carlobosa, Nov 18 2010

(?) Small Scale Olive Press http://www.oliveoil...pment/hobby-milling
[Boomershine, Nov 19 2010]

[link]






       Coult this “micro oil mill” be built or constructed or fabricated yourself?
Ian Tindale, Nov 18 2010
  

       I think pure sales and pure investment is better. If I want olive oil I'll buy it. If I want to invest I'll buy a certificate. I see no advantage in mixing the two ideas unless I would value the tin for something besides oil. I don't value a tin of oil next year more highly than 50 cents in the bank now.
Voice, Nov 18 2010
  

       I have an olive which I would be happy to donate.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 18 2010
  

       These olive trees sound like a hobby for you. Most people I know consider themselves lucky to have a hobby that comes close to paying for itself.   

       You didn't suggest a 'share' price, but in the quantities you are working with, I don't see how this idea will work.   

       I am surprised to learn that an olive orchard yields less than a liter of oil per tree. No wonder the stuff is so expensive!
Boomershine, Nov 18 2010
  

       You need bigger trees.
daseva, Nov 18 2010
  

       The millers are fucking you. Threaten them with knives.
daseva, Nov 19 2010
  

       I too have questions about why you get so little oil from so many trees. Perhaps an expert could help you with that. Perhaps you yourself are an expert and you can tell us more about it?   

       You do not mention the cost of such a small oil mill. I imagine it could be cheap, homemade or second hand and you do not mention for how much you sell the oil.   

       Suckers in western europe and america are willing to pay rediculous amounts for olive oil. You could market the oil as an exclusive product, stick a nice picture on the bottle, sell it in earthenware containers made in sardinia, sell it online, put sardinian garlic in it, put herbs in it handpicked from sardinian countryside. These are just some ideas, you're sitting on a goldmine here!   

       If all else fails I will invest if I get olive oil in return.   

       Good idea works for other foodstuff too.+
zeno, Nov 19 2010
  

       Proceed with extreme caution would be my advice. Shares, regardless of what form the dividend takes, give people part ownership in your business, so you could be entering a legal mine field (e.g. what happens if the oil mill burns down and you are unable to deliver on your promise?).

If that many people are interested in buying your oil then you would be better off just selling it to them as an advance order like a normal retailer.
DrBob, Nov 19 2010
  

       //You do not mention the cost of such a small oil mill//   

       Looks like around $2500.   

       [link]
Boomershine, Nov 19 2010
  

       Rather than attaching any ownership rights to the shares, you could make them promissory notes - in return for the face value, they get the right to an income (the oil). These notes could be transferred and traded, yes, but this would only affect the onweship of your output, not of the trees themselves. The risks associated with the promissory notes (e.g. a moustache-twirling and becaped DrBob burning your grove to ashes) could be apportioned, with a suitable "DrBob Clause" (as they are known in the profession) making clear that your obligation to provide the oil is only to the extent that you are reasonably capable of generating it.
calum, Nov 19 2010
  

       Just buy a few gallons of vegetable oil and do some yield boosting that way.
daseva, Nov 19 2010
  

       //a moustache-twirling and becaped DrBob burning your grove to ashes//

<Terry Thomas> "Oh hard cheese, old boy!"</TT>
DrBob, Nov 21 2010
  
      
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