Todd digs into what a farm this size looks like, and the sorts of investments they’ve made in equipment and infrastructure to ensure that they can complete the large amount of work that often needs to be done in a short period of time. We talk about the low-density approach to cropping at Nichols Farm, the workflow they use to provide outstanding service to their restaurant and farmers market customers, and the ways their four different farming locations create advantages for disease management and coping with the weather.
Nichols Farm is certified to the Food Alliance Sustainability Standard, but is not certified organic. Todd shares his reasons why, how he farms differently because of it, and some of the other ways that Nichols Farm has taken a green approach to their agricultural production.
Perennial support for the Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously provided by Vermont Compost Company and BCS America.
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We find it much better to have extra and not have to harvest it than to run out and the lost potential in that way. In most cases, most of the cost of growing is in the labor of picking it.
You'll never escape the need for hand labor in this industry, at least on our level and our diversity.
It didn't take much to have too many sunchokes.
A lot of restaurants come and go, and chefs are still in the industry. We've got a lot of clients that were, if you look at it like the chef's the client, they move on and often move up.
It really is important to delegate and try not to worry about everything, because if you just stick your nose in every component of the farm, for one, you'll never get anything done. Two, you'll end up really frustrated that you couldn't do it all.
The thing about this is we grow crops and we take them personal and it's very serious, but at the same time, they're just crops.
You can never have enough cooler space… When you have 100 different crops on inventory, you really have to have the space to get in and get out and not unload the entire cooler to get something out of the back.
Todd’s pretty happy with his Oxbo Green Bean Harvester.
Nichols Farm is certified to the Food Alliance’s Sustainability Standard.
Todd’s favorite tool on the farm is the Ferris Farm Polyplanter, a precision seeder for sowing through plastic.
I’ve been to the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market EXPO that Todd discussed, and agree that it’s a great resource for education and information about the tools of the trade for vegetable growers.