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Farmer to Farmer with Chris Blanchard

The organic and sustainable farming movement has its roots in sharing information about production techniques, marketing, and the rewards and challenges of the farming life. Join veteran farmer, consultant, and farm educator Chris Blanchard for down-to-earth conversations with experienced farmers - and the occasional non-farmer - about everything from soil fertility and record-keeping to getting your crops to market without making yourself crazy. Whether his guests are discussing employment philosophy or the best techniques for cultivating carrots, Chris draws on over 25 years of experience to get at the big ideas and practical details that make a difference on their farms and in their lives. If you've been farming for a lifetime, are just getting started, or are still dreaming about your farm of the future, the Farmer to Farmer podcast provides a fresh and honest look at what it takes to make your farm work.
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Now displaying: July, 2016
Jul 28, 2016

Kristen Kordet farms seven acres of vegetables at Blue Moon Community Farm in Stoughton, Wisconsin. Located just outside of Madison, Blue Moon Community Farm markets through hyper-local CSA, as well as a farmers market in the city.

Kristen shares how she leveraged the organic certification process and the birth of her son to create systems that improved employee engagement to contribute to the farm’s success. And we discuss how her work schedule has evolved to support a sane and full life beyond the confines of the vegetable fields.

We also get into the history of the farm, including Kristen’s decision to take on debt and transition to full-time farming, and how Blue Moon’s market developed and matured with the farm. Kristen tells us about the market-style, on-farm pickup that has helped her increase customer loyalty and make her farm irreplaceable in the highly competitive CSA market in Madison. Plus, Kristen shares her experience with a challenging Canada thistle infestation on her farm.

The Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously supported by Vermont Compost Company.

Jul 21, 2016

Mark Cain owns Dripping Springs Garden with his partner, Michael Crane. Located in northwestern Arkansas, Dripping Springs has about four acres in production, with half of that in cut flowers. Most of the flowers are sold at the Fayetteville Farmers Market, while the vegetables are sold primarily to local retailers and through a small CSA program.

Mark shares the story of how Dripping Springs built the market for local, organic flowers, and how they continue to maintain a strong market presence in the face of increasing competition. We dig into the wedding market, practical farmers market strategies, pricing, and how to produce a high quality cut flower.

We also hear about Mark’s journey to starting Dripping Springs in 1984, including his encounters with some of the giant thinkers of sustainable agriculture in the early 1980s. And we dig into how Dripping Springs manages to farm on steep hillsides with a minimum of erosion and a maximum of water harvesting, as well as the well-respected internship program at the farm.

Mark also tells us about the work structures that they’ve put in place to maintain a vibrant quality of life more than thirty years into the farm.

The Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously supported by Vermont Compost Company.

Jul 14, 2016

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.

Jul 7, 2016

John Navazio manages the plant breeding program at Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Albion, Maine.

John takes us on a seedy tour of the early days of organic and local vegetable production, and his journey into the world of variety selection, horizontal disease resistance, participatory plant breeding, and why quality seed and quality varietal maintenance matters for every farmer.

We dig into the modern history of hybrids, why open-pollinated crops can be a competitive alternative,  and why some of your favorite hybrid varieties just up and disappear – as well as why some of your favorite open-pollinated varieties devolve over time, while others just get better.

The Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously supported by Vermont Compost Company.

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