Chris digs into the details of weed control without tractors on Two Onion Farm, with an emphasis on prevention and reducing the bank of weed seeds in the soil. We also explore details of the farm’s use of drip irrigation to make the most of a limited water supply.
We talk extensively about Two Onion Farm’s organic apple production, including how they manage that alongside of the vegetables and incorporate it into the marketing for their CSA shares.
Chris also gets into the ways that Two Onion Farm has managed their worker-share program, and how that has changed over the years as their employee management has gotten better. And given that they’ve improved their employee management, Chris talks about how he has improved their hiring process and employee engagement.
We also hear about Two Onion Farms’ new transplant-production greenhouse, and the energy savings and automation features they included when it was constructed last year.
The Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously supported by Vermont Compost Company.
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Quotes from the Show
Very quickly within a year, well, within one to three years, we eliminated all the fruit except for the apples. Some of the reasons were kind of specific to the individual fruits, but overall the reason was it was just too much to manage.
I think the productivity of our paid employees has really increased with our experience. We didn't improve as much in managing members. I'm not sure there's as much room for improvement.
There's not a whole lot you can do with a really bad, or mediocre employee.
I think that giving over responsibilities has improved the satisfaction of our employees with the job, and also the quality of the work that's been done in pretty much every case.
Most employees, they don't want to screw up. They want to come here and do a good job. I think realizing that, and then doing our best as supervisors to make it crystal clear to them what constitutes a good job here on this farm, that's really what we have to do as employers.