Jeremy Mueller and his wife, Ashli, operate Excelsior Farm, just outside of Eugene, Oregon. Together they raise produce for restaurant sales, retail grocers, and a small CSA to make a modest living on less than two acres. Jeremy and Ashli are starting their fourth year at Excelsior with the recent birth of their daughter.
Jeremy shares the story of how he got started with Excelsior Farm, which is owned by the owner of Eugene’s Excelsior Restaurant. We get into how he has worked with the scale that’s available to him, using a small tractor to keep up with bed preparation and weed control. Jeremy and Ashli have a reputation for achieving excellent weed control and working efficiently, and Jeremy tells us about some of his favorite tools and adaptations for minimizing labor while maximizing production.
We also delve into the challenges of getting started in the already crowded local foods scene of Eugene, including evolving choices about markets and product configuration that have helped them to grow their business.
The Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously supported by Vermont Compost Company.
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Quotes from the Show
[The farm’s owner] took a chance on me, and I took a chance on him.
When you’re getting frustrated with something, it’s the best indicator of where to start improving the process.
Jeremy mentioned Eliot Coleman’s book, The New Organic Grower.
The first tool Jeremy bought for his farm was the five-torch flameweeder from flameweeders.com.
We discussed process mapping, as described by Ben Hartman in The Lean Farm.