Mike Brownback farms at Spiral Path Farm in South-Central Pennsylvania with his wife, Terra, and sons Will and Lucas. Spiral Path farms over seventy acres on more than 300 acres of land that they own. Serving two farmers markets, and 2,000-member CSA, and a substantial wholesale business with Wegmans grocery store, they farm all of their acres organically, and have been certified organic since 1994.
Mike shares the recent history of Spiral Path Farm and the return of his sons to the operation. We talk about how they’ve come back to the farm, and how Mike and Terra have integrated them into the operation, including the unconventional details of how they keep the communication channels open and everyone headed in the right direction. Mike also shares how he, Terra, and his sons have divided up the responsibilities for managing employees, and the guiding philosophy and daily actions that have helped them retain several employees for over a decade.
We dig into the production side of the farming operation, as well. Mike digs into his strategies for growing nutrient-dense, flavorful foods, including the nuts-and-bolts of the composting and cover cropping techniques that work together on the farm to build carbon and soil life. We also discuss farming on the contours, how they harvest and make the most use of the water that falls on the farm, and their approach to salad mix production and large-scale season extension.