“The core group of customers who will pay the most for your locally grown produce are those who value local food; want to support the local economy; are looking for the health benefits of buying local; and value their relationship with you, the grower,” according to Dr. Tim Woods, who spoke recently to growers at the well-attended Illinois Growers Conference. These customers care about value, but are not primarily price shoppers. [Read more…]
OLYMPIA —The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is now accepting proposals for innovative projects to support the state’s fruit, vegetable and nursery industry through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Proposals are due to WSDA by 5 p.m. Feb. 28.
When four women moved to the Utah desert for a change of scenery, they really didn’t know what they were getting into.
The women had retired from other careers and were looking for a change. Pat Hosko, also known as ‘Mom,’ her daughter Cindy Dages and Bev Adair hail from Ohio. They purchased a piece of property in Beryl, Utah, sight unseen, after family members checked it out. Shari Thomas from Oregon became friends with Cindy via the internet, and decided to join the three women in Utah. Together, they quickly become known as ‘The Four Country Gals.’ [Read more…]
by Karl H. Kazaks
Earlier this year, Maine’s governor signed a law making The Pine Tree State the second state in the country (after Connecticut) to require food producers to label foods which contain GMO ingredients. Those laws only take effect, however, when five other surrounding states also pass similar legislation.
Such legislation has been proposed in over half the states. [Read more…]
CHINA GROVE, NC — “We saw the writing on the wall,” Doug Patterson said.
It was 2005, and as growers of 350 acres of tomatoes, Patterson Farm — a partnership between Doug and Randall Patterson and their wives Michelle and Nora — was being buffeted by a changing marketplace. Input costs were increasing and tomato prices were going down, thanks largely to pressure from Mexican growers. A business that used to be profitable was souring. Something had to be done to save the farm operation.
When most people see a greenhouse or high tunnel, they assume it is there to stay. In the case of Mike Roberts’ greenhouses (high tunnels) at Roots Farm in Tiverton, RI, that is not the case. Nearly 50 workshop volunteers moved two 50 by 30 ft. greenhouses in under 10 minutes during a hands-on NOFA/RI Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) Workshop called “Winter Growing with Movable Greenhouses.”
It took 46 years to accomplish, but Ohio State’s horticulture building finally has a roof garden. When Howlett Hall was completed in 1967, a roof garden was supposed to be part of it, but as so often is the case, the money ran out before this could get done. Now the $450,000 project is completed, at probably double the 1960s construction cost. At least one restaurant in Columbus also has a roof garden on top of their one story building, but the bulk of specialty produce for the restaurant is grown outdoors or via high tunnel in a greenhouse setting, located in a more rural location. The OSU site will be used primarily for research, especially on dry tolerant plants, according to Mary Maloney, director of Chadwick Arboretum and Learning Center. [Read more…]
Todd McWethy has always been interested in plants, and that enthusiasm led him to formal education in the field. He landed jobs in landscaping and as a nursery manager, and eventually returned to school for a second degree in plant science.
“While I was there, I took a course in hydroponics,” said McWethy, “I have a love for plants and growing things. Hydroponics intrigued me, and it was something I had played around with on a hobby level.”
At Royal Oak Farm in Harvard, IL, it takes a small fleet of equipment to manage the 16,000 apple trees plus the raspberries, peaches, sweet corn, pumpkins, gourds and other produce grown there.
Savvy businesspeople know that happy customers return and spend more money. Smart farmers ask loyal CSA, farmers market and restaurant customers what they liked. Smart businesspeople seek customer suggestions for the future.