Jess and Brian have gone from raising four acres of vegetables in 2015 to eight acres now, and have expanded their on-farm CSA to cover 48 weeks of the year – all with just the two of them, plus the recent addition of a part-time employee. In the past year, they’ve gotten out of the livestock business to focus on their produce business, standardized their farming operations, and made significant investments in machinery and infrastructure on their farm. We dig into all of these changes and the rationale behind them, as well as how the changes are helping them to face the extreme wet-weather challenges they’ve faced this year.
When I interviewed Jess and Brian the first time, it was clear that although they were working insane hours, they found ways to emphasize and build their personal relationship, so we also come back to how they’ve continued to nurture their love for each other alongside of their professional and business development.
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Quotes from the Show
Jess: My family lives in the East Coast. In order to go there, you have to have somebody who's able to watch the farm and so that was never a possibility [with] the animals as the herds grew.
Brian: Raising a variety of different livestock, as well as doing the CSA, has forced Jess and I to become really efficient.When it's time to harvest, it's time to harvest. When it's time to plant, it's time to plant. When it's time to cultivate, you get out there and do it and you make sure all of your equipment is ready to go when you need it.
Brian: After so many years of meeting financial goals for our farm and having sound financial projections that we feel like are accurate, at some point you have to believe in yourselves and believe that the proof really is in the pudding. If the projections are working, then there's nothing to say they shouldn't work going forward into the next year.
Jess: I think after you get to a certain point in the business where you're doing it going into your eighth season, it feels different. It's not as scary as when you're in year three or whatever when things just either sink or swim. Now it just feels like we're steady.
Jess: Now it feels like we're kind of settling into a groove that, there's just more balance and there's more laughter, and there's more systems and it's ultimately just making our lives that much better and we can kind of see each other in that same light that we once saw when we first met each other.
Chris mentioned Michael Gerber’s book, theE-Myth Revisited, about growing a business to be more than just its owner(s).
Jess and Brian talked about the garden cart designed by Josh Volk that they are using on their farm.