Jack Hedin owns Featherstone Farm in Rushford, Minnesota. Farming 132 acres of certified organic vegetables (out of 250 total planted acres), Featherstone Farm provides around two million dollars of produce directly to stores, restaurants, and distributors in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, to a produce warehouse in Chicago, and 900-plus summer CSA shares – in addition to seasonal add-ons.
Featherstone Farm got its start twenty years ago on 5 acres in a narrow valley in the bluff country of southeast Minnesota, before devastating floods and continuing growth pushed the farm to relocate to flatter ground in the midst of an industrial park. Jack shares his lessons learned about land selection and farm location, from soil conditions and airflow to logistics and transportation. We delve into Featherstone Farm’s distribution system, which includes using hired semi-trailers to move produce one hundred miles from the farm to the Twin Cities, and a fleet of their own trucks and cross-docking arrangements to get the produce to the final customer.
Jack also shares how, after years of running the farm on intuition and duct-tape, they worked to create systems to run the farm. We get into the nuts and bolts of how Featherstone Farm has structured and documented standard operating procedures, policies, and goals to make the farm work, and the paper-based systems they use to manage day-to-day operations.
The Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously supported by Vermont Compost Company.