Eric McClam and his dad, Robbie, own City Roots in Columbia, South Carolina. With eight acres of vegetables, mushrooms, u-pick berries, flowers, bees, agritourism, vermicomposting, and several high tunnels, City Roots is seven years into its operation and grosses about $650,000 annually.
We dig deeply into their operation and the relationship between Eric and Robbie, including how their different personalities have influenced the growth of the operation and the directions it has gone, as well as how they structure their communications and their relationship. We also explore how City Roots has leveraged marketing partners to extend their reach, how they manage so much diversity and three distinct production parcels, and their experience with no-till vegetables, organic certification, and GAPs audits.
City Roots has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the 2012 Green America’s People and Planet Award for Best Green Business, 2010 International Downtown Association Pinnacle Award, the 2010 Columbia Choice Award, the 2010-2013 Free Times Best of Columbia – Best New Green Business and the 2010 Farm City Award – Richland County, and 2015 Green Business of the Year award from the Environmental Education Association of South Carolina. After spending a couple of hours with them, I know why!
The Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously supported by Vermont Compost Company.
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Quotes from the Show
I’m less and less the farmer and more and more the accountant. [Eric]
If I underestimated anything it was the trouble that comes from weeds. [Robbie]
There’s two things on a farm that can do a lot of damage in a short time. One’s a tractor, and the other’s a
[Regarding no-till:] When it goes wrong, it goes wrong bad. [Eric]
Farm To Table Event Co.
Robbie and Eric used two Value Added Producer Grants to grow their business.
Eric really likes his Maschio Tarzan power harrow bed shaper.