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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: October, 2016
Oct 27, 2016

Lucila de Alejandro owns and operates Suzie’s Farm with her husband, Robin Taylor. Located three miles from the Pacific Ocean and three miles from the Mexican border, Suzie’s Farm got its start in 2004, and has provided fresh, organic produce to the San Diego area through a CSA, farmers markets, and sales to restaurants and grocers.

As a 70-acre urban farm, Suzie’s Farm provides a rare blend of tractor-scale farming just minutes from the urban core, and Lucila and Robin leveraged their geography and scale to grow rapidly as the local food scene in San Diego took off – but when that local food scene leveled off, they were faced with making hard decisions to save the farm and their relationship.

Lucila shares the process they used for making those hard decisions, including a technique with the acronym POEM. We also dig into how she and Robin have created a loyal workforce that carries Lucila’s energy and enthusiasm out into the community, how they use farm tours to engage the community and build their customer base, and how vegetable farming works in the Mediterranean climate of San Diego.

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

Oct 20, 2016

David Hambleton manages Sisters Hill Farm in Standfordville, New York. David says he has five acres in production, but it’s worth noting that with what seems like typical attention to the details, that’s five acres of ground actually growing vegetables – he figures he’s got another four acres in field roads and other grass areas around the farm. All of Sisters Hill’s produce is sold through a market-style CSA.

Sister Hills’ CSA program has maintained an 80% retention rate by selling the farm experience as well as the vegetables, and we dig into the details of how he’s created a farm that provides a peaceful, relaxing, and community-oriented experience for its members, as well as for David and his apprentices.

David shares how he’s designed the farm so that it serves him rather than him serving the farm. We dig in to his apprenticeship program, how David has created his own tools to solve little bottlenecks, his design for weed control from soil prep through mechanical cultivation, and more – including how the management and teaching structures he has put in place helped the farm survive David’s two surgeries in the past year.

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

Oct 13, 2016

Lily Schneider and Matt Mccue raise fifteen acres of vegetables at Shooting Star CSA in Fairfield, California, just 35 miles from Berkeley on the edge of the Central Valley. Along with four employees, they provide vegetables for a 250-member CSA plus three farmers markets.

Matt and Lily have a couple of unique twists on their CSA operation, making the unusual choice in their area to not operate year-round, as well as to focus on guiding members towards purchasing a full-season, rather than monthly, CSA share.

We dig into these choices, as well as their  histories before starting their own farm, how they found land and why they’ve chosen to stick with leasing, how they’ve worked to distinguish their CSA program from box-schemes, and how they use field preparation, bed layout, and a couple of cool tools to stay on top of the weeds.

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

Oct 6, 2016

Simon Huntley is the founder and developer at Small Farm Central, a technology company focused on farming business success with a website builder designed for small farms, a CSA member management and sales solution, and more. Simon is also the author of the new book, Cultivating Customers.

Small Farm Central grew out of Simon’s work with an expanding CSA program in western Colorado. Simon got into online marketing before e-commerce was cool, and definitely before its use was widespread in the farming community. And serving over a thousand direct-marketing farmers, Small Farm Central and Simon have a lot of direct contact with what’s working and what isn’t in the direct-to-consumer marketplace.

We dig into the world of marketing and relationship-building for small farms, including how to apply the marketing funnel concept in your farm marketing, how to build trust and create a sense of authenticity with your customers, what to do with your website to get customers engaged with your farm, how to get your customers to open your email newsletters, and much, much more.

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

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