John Middleton farms with his wife Lidia Dungue at Fazenda Boa Terra in Spring Green, Wisconsin. After years of working on other farms, and starting on an incubator program in Minnesota, John and Lidia started a vegetable farm on the farmland at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin estate. Three years into their tenure at Taliesin, they’re growing a little under ten acres of vegetables and grossing about ten thousand dollars per acre.
John shares some of the details of getting started at Taliesin, where an architectural apprenticeship program was already in place when he and Lidia started the vegetable farm – an arrangement that has been rewarding but has also come with some challenges. We discuss Fazenda Boa Terra’s strategy for investing in equipment and infrastructure, how they’ve grown their operation rapidly and what the future is expected to bring, and how they are dealing with the very full marketplace for local vegetables in southern Wisconsin.
We also dig into John’s weed control tools and techniques for both wide rows and solid-seeded beds, their year-on, year-off cover crop rotation, and the challenges of becoming a boss after many years of working on farms.
The Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously supported by Vermont Compost Company.