At Bluebird Gardens in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, Mark Boen farms 320 acres with his wife, Diane, and a crew of ten employees. Starting with six acres in 1978 selling produce at a farmstand, they grew Bluebird Gardens to over 2,000 CSA members and 80 drop sites in far northwestern Minnesota and the Fargo/Moorhead metro
Mark is an enthusiastic farmer, and his zeal for the craft shows when he shares how he has transitioned the farm to include a year-on, year-off rotation of cover crops and vegetables. We get into the nuts and bolts of the Bluebird Gardens cover crop system, including the challenges, planning techniques, and the tools he’s using to establish and manage the cover crops.
Bluebird gardens is also in the midst of a marketing transition, and we delve into the changes Mark is making to make his food accessible to a wider swath of the population than just the customers who are able to make CSA work for their lifestyle. Plans include marketing Bluebird Gardens produce in local grocery stores and increasing agritourism opportunities.
We also get into some of the harvest mechanization Mark has used to manage so many vegetables with a small staff, as well as irrigation and crop planning.
The Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously supported by Vermont Compost Company.