Apex Orchards in Shelburne, MA is known for the distinctively tasty quality of their apples. Owner Tim Smith credits climate and high magnesium in the soil for the taste of his apples that he wholesale to valley stores, farmers and PYO. 18,000 bushels worth. [Read more…]
“Charge them and they will come” was the provocative message delivered by Kurt Alstede, owner of Alstede Farms in Chester, NJ, to growers at the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Conference at Hershey, PA. Alstede Farms has about 300 acres of tree fruits, small fruits and vegetables, which they sell 100 percent retail at their farm market store, extensive PYO, and 1,300-member CSA. [Read more…]
The general consensus among many east coast migratory pollinators is that as long as they stay in business, there should be enough bees for east coast pollination. The beekeepers will do what’s necessary to make up the previous year’s hive losses (averaging 50 percent plus last year,) by making splits in Florida and ordering queens from Hawaii, so that when pollination time arrives, the hives will be there. Some, however, have had such deep losses that they expect to need to lease some bees to fulfill their pollination contracts. [Read more…]
Jim Gilbert, of One Green World Nursery in Portland, OR, has devoted 35 years of his life to tracking down, studying, and working with unusual, very cold-hardy fruits. He has traveled to Siberia, China, northern Japan, Germany, and the Ukraine, among other countries, to find promising cultivars and confer with breeders about very cold hardy unusual fruits that would do well in the Midwest. [Read more…]
Families who operate successful farm businesses often hope that their children or other family members will be interested in continuing the farm. However, the process by which the transition occurs isn’t easy, and can be awkward and difficult.
Communication throughout the transition process is critical, and can prevent worry and extra expense. Many families avoid the planning process simply because they don’t know where to start.
Sisters Hill Farm uses innovative washing equipment and storage systems designed by head farmer David Hambleton. His height-adjustable farm equipment accommodates his 6 ft. 7 in. build. With a quick adjustment, the pallet jacks, root washers or wash tables can be set for ergonomically-correct use by all his apprentices, including those closer to 5 ft. tall. Hambleton described his efficient washroom equipment, layout and practices at the New England Vegetable & Fruit Growers Conference. [Read more…]
Thriving farmers markets have loyal customers and great vendors. The customers spend money, return regularly and bring friends. Successful vendors bring great products, friendly smiles and the right pricing, week after week.
During the Rhode Island Farmers Market Manager Conference held at Mount Hope Farm in Bristol, RI, a brainstorming session revealed contribution to a successful market and what may be holding it back. [Read more…]
The “Young Nurseryman of the Year” award was presented to Melissa Minto of Watson Farm by the Rhode Island Nursery & Landscape Association. Shannon Brawley, RINLA executive director said, “This prestigious award is given to promising young people in the agricultural and plant based industries.”
Jean Cotta, co-owner of Portsmouth Nursery in Portsmouth, RI, presented the Award to Melissa at the 2014 RINLA Winter Conference held at the University of Rhode Island.
Melissa was born and raised at historic Watson Farm in Jamestown where she spent her childhood immersed in farming, animal husbandry and exploring nature. Watson Farm is owned by Historic New England and provides sustainable agriculture education. Melissa has a spirited commitment to working landscapes and the beauty of nature. Her upbringing nurtured her passion for agricultural education and encouraged her to pursue a career in environmental stewardship. [Read more…]
When Jason and Amy Ladd received a phone call from a young stranger who confessed his friend had stolen from their business, they were floored. The Ladd’s own Lucky Ladd Farms, a petting farm in Eagleville, TN. The alleged robber was their 19 year-old employee who, in the nature of the young and invincible, bragged about how she was skimming from the Ladds’ till and spent the stolen cash on flashy items like a Mustang convertible and multiple iPhones for her and her friends. Eventually, one of her friends was bothered enough to say something. [Read more…]
“It’s not about us. It’s about the mutineers!” This was the sobering advice of Steve Wiley, noted leadership training specialist, to hundreds of attendees of the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Hershey, PA, in his keynote address titled “Performance in a Rapidly Changing Environment.”
At the heart of Wiley’s message were the results of several studies about marketing and personnel. The first study involved the purchasing decisions of a sample of 10,000 customers, who bought a variety of products, from fruits to festivals to limos. They were asked what factors were most important in their purchasing decisions. The key factors that emerged were the reputation of the vendor’s company, the details of the product or service, and the quality of interaction with the salesperson. [Read more…]