Hans and Katie Bishop raise fifteen acres of certified organic vegetables at PrairiErth Farm in central Illinois, marketing about $250,000 worth of produce through a farmers market, CSA, and wholesale outlets.
With about fifty percent of their sales going through one farmers market in a mid-sized city, Katie and Hans had a lot to say about how they make that work, from the details of their display and market stand setup, their digital checkout system and the value its data brings to their farming operation, and their farmers market magic sauce – the passion Katie has to connect with their customers. Katie digs into the nuts and bolts of how she connects with customers at farmers market and through social media.
Hans started growing vegetables at his family’s operation in 2009, while he and Katie both lived in the city; over several years, Hans made the transition to full-time farming, and then Katie followed, and then they moved out to the farm. Hans and Katie share how they knew it was time to make the various transitions, how they prepared to make the changes, and how they’ve divided up the responsibilities on the farm. Hans and Katie also provide an honest look at the challenges of farming together, and of bringing a spouse into the operation.
We also dig into the shipping relationships that help PrairiErth Farm reach into the Chicagoland market, how they’ve mechanized their operation to retain and attract good help, and how they’ve changed and continue to improve their employee management practices.
I’m also excited to share that Hans and Katie were selected as the 2017 MOSES Organic Farmers of the Year, an award that recognizes organic farmers who practice outstanding land stewardship, innovation, and outreach.
Pictures, show links, and more at farmertofarmerpodcast.com/episodes/bishop.