Mike Nolan raises about five acres of vegetables at Mountain Roots Produce in Mancos, Colorado. With a focus on storage crops, Mike has patched together a market in his rural marketplace that includes restaurants, grocery stores, schools, and CSA members in the Four Corners area of Colorado. Farming in Mancos for the last seven years, Mike has recently brought Mountain Roots into profitability, and no longer has to work off the farm to make ends meet.
We dig into the details of Mike’s operation, including how he has structured his tractor-scale farming operation for growing crops that are planted a limited number of times every year, and why he decided to start farming with a business model based on these limited-succession crops. Mike shares his challenges with weed control, how he’s used local resources to store his root crops with limited capital investment, and the changes he is making to prepare for the new marketing realities he expects as the Food Safety Modernization Act begins to take effect.
Mike also gives us an overview of water rights in the West, and how that influences the structure of his farming operation. Plus, Mike and his girlfriend, Mindy Perkovich of Early Bird Gardens, recently joined forces in Mancos, and Mike shares the details and realities of making the transition from a solo operator to being part of a partnership.
The Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously supported by Vermont Compost Company.