Jen Campbell raises two acres of vegetables on Canada’s Prince Edward Island at Jen and Derek’s Organic Farm. She sells about $80,000 of certified organic vegetables per year primarily through a 90-member CSA, as well as to a retail store and a wholesale distributor.
Jen has been farming on Prince Edward Island since 2006, and she tells the story of growing her farm from a part-time operation to a full-time income. We talk about how she made the leap to full-time farming, including the decision she and Derek made to have Jen focus on the farm while Derek works off the farm. Jen also provides an honest look at her experience of having twins early in her full-time farming career, how she managed that in the early years, and the decisions she made around childcare and schooling.
Prince Edward Island is potato country, and Jen and Derek’s Organic Farm is located in one corner of a conventional potato farm. Jen shares the social and cultural strategies she follows to maintain the integrity of her organic crops, and how she fits into the community of conventional potato growers on the island. We also touch on her participation in a winter CSA program, including how to harvest roots on a small scale and the economics of winter storage, tractor farming on two acres, and how she’s adapted the food safety practices of her conventional, large-scale neighbors to her own operation.
Jen’s the real deal – I hope you enjoy getting to know her. I know I did.
The Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously supported by Vermont Compost Company.