Stephanie Spock raises two acres of vegetables and a whole lot of mushrooms at Rolling Hills Farm in Lambertville, New Jersey. She and her partner, John Squicciarino, gross about $165,000 with sales to a 200-member CSA, two farmers markets, and a smattering of wholesale accounts.
Stephanie digs into the inner workings of Rolling Hills’ mushroom operation, including the challenges and rewards of integrating that into a vegetable farm. We discuss some barriers to achieving profitability in the mushroom business, how they converted an old barn into a production facility, and the fickle business of mushroom grow kits.
We also discuss the ways they’ve modified the popular permanent-bed system to fit the needs of their operation and the heavy clay soil they farm on.
The Rolling Hills Farm CSA distributes vegetables through a market-style pickup and a points system, and Stephanie shares the nuts and bolts of how that works, from distribution through crop planning.
Stephanie also shares some details about their land rental situation, and how she and John work to keep the relationship with their landlords positive and mutually rewarding. And we learn about how Stephanie has managed Lyme Disease as a young farmer.
The Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously supported by Vermont Compost Company.
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Quotes from the Show
In the middle of the growing season when things get crazy, sometimes it’s hard to have the time to put towards the mushrooms.
We grow less of things that people don’t really care about, like kohlrabi.
Not everyone necessarily wants a CSA where you go and do u-pick for an hour.
Stephanie recommends Why Can't I Get Better? Solving the Mystery of Lyme and Chronic Disease for anybody suspecting or suffering from Lyme disease.
Stephanie’s favorite pepper is the bright orange frying pepper, Oranos.
Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, is the book that made Stephanie feel passionate about farming.