Siri Erickson-Brown and Jason Salvo own and operate Local Roots Farm, fifteen acres of diversified vegetables in the Snoqualmie River valley thirty miles west of Seattle.
With sixty percent of their sales to restaurants, and the remainder going to a CSA and a farmers market, Siri and Jason take a low-tech, high-touch approach to marketing. We get into the nitty gritty of how they manage their restaurant sales, from crop planning to receiving orders and managing shortages and overages. Siri and Jason also explain how their multiple marketing outlets work together to sell a high percentage of what they grow.
All three of us dig into our Latin roots (yes, that’s a pun), and Siri and Jason tell us about how that’s influenced their choice of chicories as a major focus of their wholesale operation. We talk about how they use QuickBooks and other data to drive business decisions, and how they monitor business performance throughout the season to avoid surprises.
Pictures, show links, and more at farmertofarmerpodcast.com/episodes/localroots.
John Good farms with his wife, Aimee, at The Good Farm in Germansville, Pennsylvania. Ten acres of vegetables serve 200 CSA members plus farmers market and wholesale sales. 2017 was their first year farming on this land under this name, after eleven years of renting ground at the Rodale Institute where they operated their private farm business, Quiet Creek Farm.
John and Aimee took a very strategic and long-term approach to getting onto their own land. John shares how they developed their farm business on their rented land at Rodale, including how they prioritized their investments and built the markets and off-farm equity that helped them make the transition to their own land. We talk about how they developed their new infrastructure on blank ground, how they financed their land purchase, and how they found a piece of property that met their needs.
Before they started Quiet Creek Farm, John and Aimee worked at Food Bank Farm in Hadley, Massachusetts. Food Bank Farm ran an incredibly efficient, intense, vegetable operation, and John shares how he and Aimee have adapted the systems they learned there for crew management and operational efficiency, but without the intensity. And John shares how he has carried that farm’s maniacal focus on weed control forward to his own farming operations without a bunch of fancy tools.
Pictures, show links, and more at farmertofarmerpodcast.com/episodes/good.
Heather Secrist raises two acres of vegetables, as well as pastured pork and lamb, on sixteen acres at Suncrest Gardens Farm in the rural hills of Cochrane, Wisconsin – and turns it all into pizzas and other value-added foods. With sales on farm during pizza nights and a new “garden café”, as well as to a farmers market in Winona, Minnesota, Heather has developed a business model that works for herself and for her family.
Heather returned to the region where she grew up on a family farm to start Suncrest Gardens Farm in 2003, and has been making pizza for on-farm pizza nights since long before it was cool. She shares with us how she grew the farm and value-added operation to provide her with a full-time living, including developing the infrastructure, marketing to regular and occasional customers, and how she’s negotiated the regulations for her small-scale processing facility, as well as how her marketing strategy has evolved through the years.
Pictures, show links, and more at farmertofarmerpodcast.com/episodes/secrist.
Will Reed and his wife, Amanda, returned to Will’s home in Tupelo, Mississippi, in 2010 to start Native Son Farm with a walking tractor and an acre of production. Today, Native Son Farm has twenty acres of produce in two locations, and markets through its 200-member CSA, an on-farm retail store, farmers markets, and restaurants.
Will shares the story of coming home to Mississippi, and learning to grow and sell organic vegetables in a climate where everyone said it wouldn’t work. He shares how they manage the long, intense seasons, their strategies for marketing non-southern produce in the deep south, and his involvement in the policies and politics around organic and local agriculture.
We also dig into how his farm team and community rallied during health and weather crises that came just as the farm was really scaling up, and how Native Son Farm has worked to reshape the land they farm on and the community they farm in to make organic, local agriculture a resilient reality.
Pictures, show links, and more at farmertofarmerpodcast.com/episodes/reed.