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FFC004: Lightbulbs

growing farms podcast

Topics covered in this farm podcast:

  1. John & Scott do not like Skype
  2. Windows 10 might reinvent how we look at garbage
  3. John’s going on vacation, Scott too has gone on vacation
  4. Is there valor in working long hours?
  5. Hours Tracker App on iPhone for logging work hours
  6. Accepting that things will not be perfect
  7. How many things would fix themselves if I did not touch them?
  8. John uses an iPhone 6+ to shoot, edit, and upload videos
  9. Lower polish and increased iteration
  10. Adjusting what you grow to suit your needs and the needs of your market
  11. John goes camping in Canada
  12. Why take time off in the summer?
  13. Things are going to go wrong, and that is OK!
  14. John speaks nonsense…
  15. Mabel is the 4th generation going to this camp ground in the Suscovich family
  16. Sugar Island of the American Canoe Association
  17. Does camping losing its’ novelty when you live on a farm?
  18. Scott loves to take trees out of the ground, very exciting.
  19. Flame weeders are not sophisticated
  20. Work-life blend vs. work-life balance
  21. Finding work that you love makes everything easier (surprise)
  22. Four lightbulb theory: family, friends, work, health
  23. Getting to the core of why John & Scott work together
  24. John strokes his ego and thinks he’s super-human
  25. How easy is it to “check out” and quiet the chatter in your brain?
  26. The E-Myth Revisited
  27. Diego and Curtis on The Urban Farmer: Systems
  28. John recaps the Farm Crawl, it was a success

Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show.

July Farm Finance Reports

Opening Farm Sales Channels

Both Berube Farm and Sandia Pastured Meats saw a boost in their marketing this month. Dan Berube’s CSA started and his other channels, uncluding wholesale accounts and a farmers’ market, are in full swing. Colby Layton has had some great experiences networking with Chefs who are highlighting his pastured protein in several of their dishes. Colby is also planning a farm dinner in Septemberwhich defintely takes planning starting now.

Both farms have made efforts to diversify their income streams while concentrating on a particular niche product, either vegetables or protein.

 

Speaking of Chefs

I had the opportunity to realize a life-goal 18 years earlier than I thought I was going to achieve it. I got to supply food for a fancy dinner featuring beer from a brewery that I’m affiliated with. How good is that? Mid-July The Birch Hill Tavern in Connecticut used our farm food and our farmhouse beers to put together an amazing dinner.

It has been a business goal of mine from the start, and here I got to experience much earlier than expected.

Following some of the same motivations that Colby has in hosting a farm-to-table dinner, Camps Road Farm is hosting a Hop Harvest & Pig Roast. Working with a local Chef we are going to roast one of my pigs, harvest some hops, and have a great time. One of the single greatest parts of it is that when we pick the hops we’re going to walk them right to the brewery where a batch of beer will be waiting for the fresh hops.

 

Links to Finance Reports:

Berube Farm

Berube Farm

  • Vegetables including squash, tomatoes, and beans
  • Gross Income: $1,522.00
  • Expenses: $571.45
  • July Report
Bird Creek Farms

Bird Creek Farms

  • Organic vegetables, 200 chickens, and alfalfa
  • Gross Income: $3,771.42
  • Expenses: $2,702.61
  • July Report

 

Camps Road Farm

Camps Road Farm

  • Hops, apples, pasture-raised poultry, and events
  • Gross Income:$2,352.00
  • Expenses: $7,858.00
  • July Report

 

 Little River Eco Farm

Little River Eco Farm

  • Grass-fed beef, fowl, and free-range eggs
  • Gross Income: $3,371.00
  • Expenses: $3,454.00
  • July Report

 

 Sandia Pastured Meats

Sandia Pastured Meats

  • Dairy, eggs, and livestock
  • Gross Income: $1,482.82
  • Expenses: $4,729.10
  • July Report

 

 Sugarwood Acres

SugarWood Acres

  • Maple syrup, wood, and hay
  • Gross Income: $3,175.00
  • Expenses: $2,478.14
  • July Report

 

GFP079: How to Start a Hop Yard

growing farms podcast

Topics covered in this farm podcast include:

  • Mistakes made when startinga hop yard
  • What hops are
  • How hops are grown
  • How many plants can you fit per acre for production
  • Sometimes there’s just no choice but to spray
  • Insight into the Craft Beer Industry’s effect on hop production
  • Where do you find good farming information

 

Interview with Geoff Keating of The Hop Yard

Geoff has spent the majority of his life as a Maine resident, leaving only to earn his bachelor in Communication and study the principles of marketing at colleges and universities in Vermont, New Hampshire and London England. He returned to Maine in his 20’s to co-found Level8 Design Studio, a design and development studio focused on innovative web solutions.

Beyond internet technologies, Geoff’s passion and curiosity has led him into the world of craft beer. Captured by the allure of beers intangible flavors, and retained by the continuous exploration of craft beers industry pioneers, Geoff has embedded himself into this exciting field.

hop farmers

hop bines

hop farm

hop flowers

 

Items mentioned in this farm podcast include:

 

Farm Quote of the Episode:

“The basic thing is that I want to do the best work possible, and I can only do that if I’m relaxed and have a lot of energy. And that can only come from taking time off.” – Jason Scott Lee

 

Take aways:

How can you help spread useful information for other farmers?

What mistakes have you learned from that you wish you knew when you were starting out?

 

Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show.

FFC003: Talking Nonsense

growing farms podcast

Topics covered in this farm podcast:

  1. Scott’s microphone is marginally improved, though slightly robotic
  2. John’s feelin’ good post-meltdown and the farm’s running smoothly
  3. Bears! A bear on the farm
  4. There are B.S. artists out there. Dr. Oz is one. The Food Babe is another
  5. The Food Babe makes some pretty outrageous claims
  6. John gets questions about “chicken hormones” at the market
  7. Among other things, worrying about food trends (e.g. uh oh, eggs are bad for you again) encouraged John to pay closer attention to food
  8. John read a book about how information spreads on the internet, Trust Me I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday
  9. Generating ad revenue from content tends to dilute credibility
  10. A portion of the internet runs on “Google University
  11. John started Food Cyclist Farm as a result of reading about how approachable and profitable farming can be
  12. We think Joel Salatin is great…
  13. … but his is one of the books that paint a rosy picture of farming
  14. Poultry farming was tough, but it resulted in an opportunity to manage Camps Road Farm
  15. The “farming is easy” content seems to mostly homesteading-skewed
  16. Young people getting into farming use the blog posts and books as a means to convince them it’s easily achievable
  17. Call to action: share your story. Share your insights with the farming community
  18. YouTube has become the great source for how-to; a major change from 10 years ago
  19. Hacking/remix culture has been a great way to iteratively improve methods over time

 

Right click here to download the MP3

Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show.

GFP078: Commercial Kitchen on Farm

growing farms podcast

Have you considered diversifying with a commercial kitchen?

Diversifying your farms’ offerings is always a good idea. Many of the guests who have been on this podcast have talked about it, and it is a large part of my business model. Have you considered diversifying with a commercial kitchen?

On today’s episode Laura McKinney of Riverbank Farm talks about how her kitchen got started. She also talks about life on farm, how she got started in AG, and where she sees it all going.

Right click here to download the MP3

In this farm podcast you will learn:

  • triumphs and failures from an experienced farmer
  • pros and cons of starting a commercial kitchen on farm
  • good advice for farm apprentices
  • great advice for dealing with farm apprentices
  • perspective on why we toil

Riverbank Farm

Since colonial times, the farm has passed through the hands of four different families who raised crops and milked cows. Currently, Riverbank Farm grows a diversity of certified organic vegetables, cut flowers and hay. Nourished by the fertile bottomland soil of the Shepaug River, the farm uses no herbicides, synthetic fertilizers or synthetic pesticides.

Laura & David, Farm Owners

laura mckinney riverbank farmDavid Blyn founded Riverbank Farm twenty years ago and was joined by his wife, Laura, in 1996. David originally moved to the farm in 1989 in hopes of running a carpentry business. Although, the barn and house were in poor condition, David was drawn to the landscape and river bordering the farm and decided to call it home.

As David began to work on the barn, he also decided to grow a half acre of vegetables. The half acre increased each year until David began farming full time in 1991. He continued to farm on his own, jumping from tractor to tractor as he managed his small, diversified operation with old cultivating equipment and an array of farm machinery.

In the summer of 1996, while delivering produce during a full moon in Long Island, David met Laura. She had come east for the summer after finishing sustainable agriculture studies in Santa Cruz, CA. Laura knew she wanted to farm, but never anticipated being on the east coast. Their love for farming and each other blossomed into a bountiful farm.

Through hail storms, deer damage, late work nights, frosts, unpredictable weather patterns, and bug and weed outbreaks, they have learned to build a resilient farming operation and truly enjoy the harvest. They now have three children, Lily(8) and Alice(5) and Stella (2) who add love and laughter to each farm day. David and Laura believe that once you eat vegetables from the farm, the farm becomes part of you.

Items mentioned in this farm podcast include:

 

Take aways:

How can you add value to your unsold harvest?

Do you have an “apprentice guide” that you have new workers sign? Could save you a lot of headaches.

 

Farm quote of the episode:

“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.” – Masanobu Fukuoka

Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show.

June Farm Finance Reports

Itterating Year to Year

Dan Berube – Berube Farm June Farm Finance Report

zucchini

Zucchini on June 20

Income on a farm does not always come steady. Sometimes you can manage to earn something each month and some times you have a high season where the majority of your money comes in all at once.

This month Dan did not post big numbers, but they are certainly bigger than last year. Last year he learned a valuble lesson when he got burned taking orders when he didn’t have product.

Find out how he changed his practices in his report this month.

 

 

Bring on the Pork!

Austin Martin – Squash Hollow Farm Finance Report

pastured porkAustin is a heck of a marketer. When there is a need in his market, some kind of opening, he fills it. Seeing how his customers have reacted to past pig orders he has adjusted his offerings and has several repeat customers because of it.

Being nimble and ready to pivot is a big part of doing business. It may make sense to you to stay the path but the market wants what the market wants. Adjusting your plan will help keep you afloat, keep your customers happy, and keep your finances in the black.

Check out Austin’s June report for how he changed up his business plan.

 

Remember Why You Are Doing This

John Suscovich – Camps Road Farm Finance Report

farm babyIn June I began to lose sight of why I am farming. I got caught up in my own self-inflicted rat race that I forgot to enjoy it. Sure the summer is the high season in the NorthEast, but that’s not news. So what was the big deal?

I thought to myself, “If I only work a little extra here, push harder there, it will all come together and I can back off.” That’s just not the case. And if it is, you’re certainly not going to be able to do it alone.

With June now past I can see the errors of my way of thinking and I truly am enjoying farm life once more. The hours are no less, the work isn’t physically easier, but I have a sound peace of mind and a fresh perspective.

Check out my June finance report for the rest of the story.

 

Links to Farm Reports:

 

 

Berube Farm

Berube Farm

  • Vegetables including squash, tomatoes, and beans
  • Gross Income: $360.04
  • Expenses: $403.46
  • June Report
Bird Creek Farms

Bird Creek Farms

  • Organic vegetables, 200 chickens, and alfalfa
  • Gross Income: $3,023.75
  • Expenses: $4,503.62
  • June Report

 

Camps Road Farm

Camps Road Farm

  • Hops, apples, pasture-raised poultry, and events
  • Gross Income:$7,720.00
  • Expenses: $3,590.00
  • June Report

 

 Rockin' H Farm

Rockin’ H Farm

  • Vegetables, fruit, livestock, eggs, and honey
  • Gross Income: $642.71
  • Expenses: $1,047.84
  • June Report

 

 Sandia Pastured Meats

Sandia Pastured Meats

  • Dairy, eggs, and livestock
  • Gross Income: $1,100.47
  • Expenses: $4,915.64
  • June Report

 

 Squash Hollow Farm

Squash Hollow Farm

  • Pastured pork and chicken
  • Gross Income: $2,738.91
  • Expenses: $1,472.00
  • June Report

 

 Sugarwood Acres

SugarWood Acres

  • Maple syrup, wood, and hay
  • Gross Income: $100.00
  • Expenses: $2,324.73
  • June Report

 

FFC002: I Call Shenanigans

growing farms podcast

Topics covered in this farm podcast:

  1. Scott traveled to Iceland and Denmark
  2. John tailoring FMS to different situations than New England farming
  3. John disliking possessions/responsibilities as it relates to travel
  4. Scott taking stock of possessions while moving, realizing there’s very little
  5. Micromanagement and preventive measures to extend the life of possessions
  6. Having “your name on something” resulting in high standards
  7. Soylent follow-up: John had Soylent, Scott might not rebuy, case closed
  8. John’s getting a root canal, Scott hadn’t been to a dentist in a long while, Dr. Oppenheimer
  9. Mini excavators versus regular ones
  10. Dr. Oppenheimer wants some chickens
  11. We’re not yet very good at segues
  12. John’s still post-meltdown
  13. Recycling doesn’t matter? Sustainable farming doesn’t matter?
  14. Chipotle is great. Scott even had it three meals in a row

 Right click here to download the MP3

scott and john

 

Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show.

GFP077: Permaculture Voices

growing farms podcast

What we are about at Permaculture Voices..

How can you change the world if you can’t make a living in the process?

It’s too common for people within the permaculture and sustainability movement to do work that they care about, but scrape by financially.

And the reality of that is, at the end of the day that type of lifestyle isn’t sustainable – the values are there, but the economics are not.

Can you make a living from a career that aligns with your values?

We believe you can.

Our mission at PV is to help people who embrace permaculture’s ethics to make a profitable and comfortable living doing work that aligns with who they are and what they stand for.

This means doing work that is financially profitable, and looking beyond the numbers to make sure that the work is environmentally, social, and emotionally profitable.  Think of it as whole systems business.  Without looking after each of these components the whole thing falls apart.

And we believe that when more people start doing that type of work, then we change the world.

We are at a point in time where there is a lot wrong out there. And we can either complain about it and accept it and live with it, or we can step out of our comfort zone and change it.

Permaculture Voices is a catalyst for that change.

Many times that change comes in the form of business. Whether we work for someone else or for ourselves we spend a huge part of our lives doing work.

Does that work matter? Does the world care about your work? And more importantly do you care about your work?

On the flipside, are you doing work that matters to you, but is it financially sustainable? Not just now, but into the future. Will the work that you love support the life that you want to live?

These are important questions to ask, and difficult questions to answer. We are here to help you with that process.

We want to see you align your work with your values and grow your business, revenue and impact so your life both purposeful and sustainable.

diego footerIt’s totally possible.

Stick around for a while and you will hear the real stories of people out there doing it.

Cheers,

Diego

Founder & Head Story Teller

 Right-click here to download the MP3

 

In This Farm Podcast You Will Learn

  • Ideas evolve, keep them in check
  • “Behind the Scenes” of Permaculture Voices
  • “You are not going to achieve great things flying close to the middle.”- Diego Footer

 

Resources Mentioned in This Farm Podcast

 

Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show.

FFC001: Farm Fantasy Camp

growing farms podcast

The Growing Farms Podcast was started to share my journey into agriculture. Like most journeys this one has been made more enjoyable by sharing it with others. One of the people I share my agriculture experiences with is my good friend and business partner Scott.

In this every other week podcast series we talk about the kind of things that come up when one friend lives in the City and the other in the Country. Scott works in advertising in New York City and I manage a 52 acre farm in Connecticut. The dichotomy of our lifestyles is married with our shared values for a better world.

This is an experiment for us without a clear ending. We are counting on you, the listening audience, to provide feedback, share your stories, and if nothing else enjoy being a fly on the wall for a conversation between two good friends who are trying to make sense of what it all means.

If you have opinions about the show or would like us to cover a specific topic please let us know in the comment section below.

Links mentioned in this podcast:

Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show.

GFP076: Burnout Follow Up

growing farms podcast

Losing your sh** is not an easy thing to talk about. No one is really proud of not being able to keep it together under pressure, yet as small business owners it is something we all go through.

While I do not feel comfortable being this open and vulnerable (yeah, even me) I think that it is an important topic to merrit a few episodes about the different elements of why burnout happens. I am bringing on some guests to discuss the topic and we’ll keep it light.

There is a community that has formed around Farm Marketing Solutions of honest hard-working people. You are literally and figuatively out in the weeds just as I am, and you know what it is like to be in my shoes.

Right click here to download the MP3

In this farm podcast episode you will learn:

  • Contributing factors to burnout
  • What to do if you feel yourself in the “tornado of negativity”
  • How deep the politics can go at a farmers’ market
  • How Humble Hill Farm has developed over 15 years

Interview with Courtney Sullivan of Humble Hill Farm

humble hill farmHumble Hill Farm is a family-run farm in New York’s beautiful Finger Lakes region, close to Ithaca.

For almost 15 years we’ve been growing flavorful food which is totally free from pesticide residues.

We passionately practice sustainable agriculture by relying only on natural methods to increase our soil fertility and never use chemical fertilizers.

We offer affordable accommodations in the hills of Spencer, just 18 miles south of Ithaca, NY. In less than 30 min you can trade the constant construction, traffic and heat of the city for a peaceful stay in the country.

Humble Hill Lodge is one of the Ithaca area’s longest running culinary agri-tourism destinations.

Fuel up with our delicious breakfasts made from farm fresh foods. If you have special dietary needs or preferences please let us know in advance so we can meet your needs with excellence.

Items mentioned in this farm podcast include:

 

farm marketing patreon

That’s right, you have the opportunity to support and sponsor the podcast. Patreon is like a recurring KickStarter where you donate $1-3 per episode that I publish. That way it is a little easier for me to keep generating content which makes everyone happy.

How do you do it?

  1. Visit the FMS Patreon Page
  2. Create an account
  3. Choose to donate either $1 or $3 per episode
  4. Walk through the rest of the set-up (it’s easy)
  5. Wait for me to publish new episodes

By supporting me on a per-episode basis it encourages me to create more of the shows you have come to enjoy. By having flexible support options (like putting a monthly cap on your donations) it keeps me from abusing our relationship. That, and you can quit any time.

Scott and I plan on maxing out at a once a week podcast to ensure we keep the quality up and to make sure we do not detract from the farm. That’s 4 episodes a month tops.

You support will:

  • Pay my hosting fees
  • Help me repair my equipment
  • Help me purchase new equipment to produce better content
  • Compensate me (and Scott) for the many hours we commit to serving you
  • Help to keep the content free for those who need it but cannot afford it (farming is a tough gig)

 

Take aways:

What repetative stress injuries, physical or mental, can you avoid with a slight shift in your work or mindset?

When is the last time you took time for yourself?

Farm quote of the episode:

You can do anything as long as you have the passion, the drive, the focus, and the support.” – Sabrina Bryan

Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show.