Lydia Ryall raises fifteen acres of vegetables at Cropthorne Farm, located on a small farming island where the Frasier river meets the Pacific ocean, just twelve miles outside of Vancouver, British Columbia. $600,000 of produce is marketed through three farmers markets and a CSA, as well as through wholesale accounts and a farmstand on the property.
A third-generation farmer (and maybe more), Lydia farms on a fifty-acre property owned by her family. In addition to her operation, family members raise flowers, grains, and eggs in two additional businesses operating on the same piece of land. Lydia also hires family members as part of her operation. We discuss the nitty-gritty of how they’ve made this work, including their experience bringing in outside help to work on the details of their business agreements and how they can better work together.
Named the British Columbia and Yukon Outstanding Young Farmer for 2014 http://www.oyfbc.com/recipients.html, Lydia has operated her farm since 2009. Her depth of experience and business and horticultural acumen are apparent as we discuss the ways she has mitigated the heavy clay soils in her wet climate, the challenges and opportunities of the recent addition of migrant workers to her farm crew, the changes a new baby has brought to the farm and how she prepared to accommodate those changes, winter roots storage and ongoing harvest, the tools she uses to track harvest, packing, and sales, and more.
The Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously supported by Vermont Compost Company.