Kristen Kordet farms seven acres of vegetables at Blue Moon Community Farm in Stoughton, Wisconsin. Located just outside of Madison, Blue Moon Community Farm markets through hyper-local CSA, as well as a farmers market in the city.
Kristen shares how she leveraged the organic certification process and the birth of her son to create systems that improved employee engagement to contribute to the farm’s success. And we discuss how her work schedule has evolved to support a sane and full life beyond the confines of the vegetable fields.
We also get into the history of the farm, including Kristen’s decision to take on debt and transition to full-time farming, and how Blue Moon’s market developed and matured with the farm. Kristen tells us about the market-style, on-farm pickup that has helped her increase customer loyalty and make her farm irreplaceable in the highly competitive CSA market in Madison. Plus, Kristen shares her experience with a challenging Canada thistle infestation on her farm.
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Quotes from the Show
I was attempting to manage pretty much all aspects of the farm myself, which, more times than I care to admit, meant that they weren’t being managed as well as they should have been.
Because everyone comes to the farm to pick up their shares on the same day, it’s much more of a gathering place and it’s an experience that’s a little bit more difficult to trade out for another CSA.
The needs of chefs and the needs of CSA members felt very different to me. [CSA members] don’t want Napa cabbage every week, but chefs do.
Once I had those essentials in place, that’s when we were able to start earning an income directly from the farm and I was able to leave my off-farm job seven years into running the business.
The idea that there are things that need doing and I’m not going to do them and it’s going to be okay is something that I was forced to come to term with.
[Now that I’ve got a three-year-old son] every year is going to be its own package from here on, and it’s going to greatly impact my relationship to the farm every year. But what it’s probably never going to be again is that the farm is my everything and that I give it everything I have. That chapter’s over.
The system Kristen uses to manage Canada thistle in her fields is described in further detail at the University of Illinois website and on the SARE website.
Kristen’s favorite tool on the farm is the Johnny’s hand hoe.