Shannon Jones, from Broadfork Farm on the New Brunswick – Nova Scotia Border, reflects on selling hope and other values with your produce, shares her experience with caterpillar tunnels, and talks about her political activism on the farm. Shannon and her partner, Bryan Dyck, raise two acres of vegetables and cut flowers on a 15-acre parcel, and sell to farmers markets, restaurants, and retail food stores.
Theresa Podoll owns and operates Prairie Road Organic Seed in Fullerton, North Dakota, with her husband and brother-in-law. Prairie Road Organic Seed is a small organic seeds company where Theresa and her family grow all of the seed they sell – the seed sales go to gardeners, farmers, and seed companies. We talk about the history of the farm and how the seed company came about, the importance of breeding and selecting seeds in an organic production environment, and how Prairie Road has created a brand that is synonymous with quality seeds adapted to northern conditions.
Ellen Polishuk manages one of two locations for Potomac Vegetable Farms – hers is the “west” location, in the exurbs of Washington, D.C. Potomac Vegetable Farms has been around for about 50 years now, but Ellen joined it in the late 1970’s, first as a farm worker, and later as a manager and co-owner of the farm. Potomac Vegetable Farms runs two farmstands, attends farmers markets in DC, and has a CSA. We cover a lot of ground in this episode, including how Ellen got adopted by the farm, the weed control rotation she uses, making over 200 yards of compost on the farm each year, and how organic mulches work for Ellen as a weed control and labor-management tool.
Paul Arnold and his wife, Sandy, own and operate Pleasant Valley Farm in Argyle, New York. Started in 1988, the 8 acres of vegetable production at Pleasant Valley Farm have provided Paul and Sandy Arnold a full-time living since 1992. Paul and Sandy market their produce to several farmers markets in upstate New York, including increasing amounts of winter growing and storage crops at year-round farmers markets every year. Paul and Chris talk about the farm’s history and development, decision-making and record-keeping, and the keys to building a successful small farm that involves and enriches the family’s life.
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Steve Pincus owns and operates Tipi Produce in Evansville, Wisconsin, with his wife, Beth Kazmar. Tipi Produce grows about 45 acres of certified organic produce, and markets to 500 CSA members and makes nearly year-round sales to stores in Madison and Milwaukee – in fact, the last carrots will be delivered the same week this episode goes live. Steve has incredible employee retention from year to year, with many employees having worked on the farm for nearly twenty years. Chris and Steve talk about taking the long view with employee management, cropping systems, and business investments, as well as harvesting and storing lots and lots of carrots.
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