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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Richard Wiswall owns and operates Cate Farm with his wife, Sally Colman, in Plainfield, Vermont. Cate Farm has sold produce through a CSA, farmers markets, and wholesale accounts. The author of Organic Farmer's Business Handbook, Richard is known for his solid approach to the business of growing vegetables. Richard and Chris dig into business development, cost of production and marketing, and ways of thinking about your farm as a way of making a living.
Linda Halley, Farm Manager at Gardens of Eagan in Northfield, Minnesota, talks about the logistics and management challenges of growing transplants for other farmers before digging in to the nuts and bolts of how Linda has learned to get real results from her employees, many of whom operate at a high level in the organization.
How do we define “community” in Community Supported Agriculture? Patty Wright and her husband, Mike Racette, have owned and operated Spring Hill Community Farm in western Wisconsin since 1992. In this episode, Patty shares some very practical methods that she and Mike have used to foster member-to-member connections and effectively engage with a core group to improve the farm and its impact.
Farmer John Peterson of Angelic Organics Farm in northern Illinois talks scale, farming time, and weed control with Chris. John is famous for his starring role in The Real Dirt on Farmer John, and this interview really reflects the unique but very practical and caring approach that John brings to his farming practice.
Midwestern Bio Ag soils consultant Allen Philo talks with Chris about his journey into organic soil fertility, from managing a monastery farm in West Virginia to pursuing a soil science degree at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Allen provides insights about soil nutrient balancing, simplifying your fertilizer needs on a diversified vegetable farm, and how vegetable plant physiology can tell you about how best to fertilizer your crop.
What does it take to make a living farming? Ecopreneur Lisa Kivirist shares her experience creating a lively-ness from a diversified income stream on her rural homestead in southwest Wisconsin. Lisa and her husband, John Ivanko, made a change from their mainstream, white-bread, suburban, commute-to-a-job world in Chicago twenty years ago, and now make an intentionally modest living from their homestead, with income streams from their small market garden, a bed and breakfast, writing, and contract work.
Liz Graznak of Happy Hollow Farm shares the story of her first five years raising organic vegetables in the heart of central Missouri’s conventional corn and soybean country. Liz and Chris talk about the rewards of getting to know your neighbors, geek out on organization and record-keeping, and discuss the ways a two-year-old changes a farmer’s life.