We discuss their long, slow, roundabout journey through homesteading and small-scale production to having Landis full-time on the farm. Landis and Steven share how they made the decision to acquire new land a few miles from their home farm, and the challenges they experienced in making the change from growing on one small piece of land to growing on two very different pieces of farmland with two very different farming systems.
Landis and Steven also share the whys and hows of expanding to a larger marketplace, and how that drove their pursuit of scale. We also dive into how they’ve expanded their CSA through the expansion of seasons and products, rather than raw member numbers.
Hermit Creek Farm has integrated hogs and now sheep into their vegetable and cover crop rotations, and use native prairie strips for pollinator and biodiversity inoculation in the vegetable fields. Landis and Steven share details about how they make this work, and why it matters to them and to the farm overall.
BCS America: BCS two-wheel tractors are versatile, maneuverable in tight spaces, light-weight for less compaction, and easy to maintain and repair on farm. Gear-driven and built to last for decades of dependable service on your farm or market garden.
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Quotes from the Show
[Landis] It's amazing how much easier things get when you're not plowing through a lot of trouble.
[Landis] If we hear five complaints over a period of time or either five different complaints about the same thing or five complaints about the process, that it's time to address that
[Steven] 1% of any given population gets the idea of local fresh food and that it's very hard to bump above that
[Steven] If people ate the way we probably should eat, which is more fresh food, more local food, we wouldn't have to market that far out of our farm’s area.
[Landis] We're taking crop ground out of production as far as commercial production but it becomes this value-added piece to the farm. It's hard to quantify but it's hugely exciting to see it in action.
[Landis] The first moment [young employees] come on the farm, they're very enthusiastic and they're going to farm and it's so exciting for them, and then you give them this lecture about no, we're producing product and we gotta do it, so many units per hour and it's kind of shocking to their system, to their idea, and then you have to reconnect that enthusiasm again.
USDA has published guidance regarding National Organic Program standards for natural resources and biodiversity conservation.
As frequently happens on the show, Landis and Steven both referenced the MOSES Organic Farming Conference.
Steven talked about the time he and Landis spent teaching through the Farm Beginnings program put on by the Sustainable Farm Association of Minnesota.