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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: August, 2016
Aug 25, 2016

Stephanie Spock raises two acres of vegetables and a whole lot of mushrooms at Rolling Hills Farm in Lambertville, New Jersey. She and her partner, John Squicciarino, gross about $165,000 with sales to a 200-member CSA, two farmers markets, and a smattering of wholesale accounts.

Stephanie digs into the inner workings of Rolling Hills’ mushroom operation, including the challenges and rewards of integrating that into a vegetable farm. We discuss some barriers to achieving profitability in the mushroom business, how they converted an old barn into a production facility, and the fickle business of mushroom grow kits.

We also discuss the ways they’ve modified the popular permanent-bed system to fit the needs of their operation and the heavy clay soil they farm on.

The Rolling Hills Farm CSA distributes vegetables through a market-style pickup and a points system, and Stephanie shares the nuts and bolts of how that works, from distribution through crop planning.

Stephanie also shares some details about their land rental situation, and how she and John work to keep the relationship with their landlords positive and mutually rewarding. And we learn about how Stephanie has managed Lyme Disease as a young farmer.

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

Aug 18, 2016

Don Lareau raises about four acres of certified organic flowers at Zephyros Farm and Garden in Paonia, Colorado (in addition to an acre of vegetables, plus fruit trees and pasture). He and his wife, Daphne Yannakakis, emphasize quality flowers and exquisite design to cater to florists and farmers markets in the resort communities of Telluride and Aspen.

Don digs into how Zephyros gets excellent visual quality and shelf-life without the preservatives that most flower growers use, as well as how they market their certified organic flowers. Don shares some tips and techniques for maximizing sales to florists, as well as the nuts and bolts of how they set up and run their farmers market stand to generate a buzz that really helps them move their blooms.

We get into the challenges and advantages of producing flowers in the desert western slope of the Colorado Rockies.

Don and Daphne have a strong emphasis on design, and Don describes the ways they have worked to maximize the results they get from their design work, from training employees in the art of flower design to the business structures and marketing processes they’ve implemented.

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

Aug 11, 2016

Daniel Allen raises fifteen acres of vegetables at Allenbrooke Farms, just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. He and his wife, Stephanie, market all of their produce to 367 families through their free-choice, market-style CSA.

While many farmers are intensely focused on maximized dollars per acre, Daniel has taken a perpendicular approach, grossing just $200,000 on Allenbrooke’s fifteen acres of vegetable production – but he does that with no season extension, and just one hired hand.

Daniel digs into the details of production and distribution at Allenbrooke Farms, and how the free-choice distribution system enables them to maximize efficiency and minimize complexity in the production side of the operation. We get into the details of their rapid harvest system, simple-but-effective production systems, weed management, and how Daniel keeps his mind and body in condition during the production- and off-seasons.

He also shares the colorful history of his farming operation, where he and Stephanie jumped in with both feet and sold their car to pay for seeds in 2011, their first year in production. And we hear just a little about Daniel’s career as a high-fashion model in New York City before coming back to the family farm.

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

Aug 4, 2016

Conor Crickmore grosses a little over $350,000 on just over one-and-a-half acres in Claryville, New York, with his wife, Kate. Marketing through farmers markets and restaurant sales, Neversink Farm has developed a reputation for meticulous, thoughtful, and simple production.

Conor shares the history of Neversink Farm, including how he simplified production and marketing and increased his income at the same time. We discuss how he and Kate found the time to make decisions and improvements in the hectic and critical early years, and the whys behind the choices and investments they made.

We dig into the details of Neversink’s no-tractor production system, and why they’ve eschewed tillage, plastic, and more. Conor tells us the details about how they’ve made everything from weed control and irrigation to harvest and washing the produce easier, and how they relay that information to their employees.

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

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