Type: Fruit and Vegetable Farm
Years in operation: 16
Annual revenue: 100k-250k
(Average over last three years)
Our farm began over 50 years ago when my great-grandparents settled in Clinton, NY from Poland. Over the years our family farm has transitioned from a roadside stand, selling sweetcorn with only a little pail for customers to pay using “the honor system”, to a fruit and vegetable farm with a brick and mortar farm market open seven days a week during the growing season. We grow our crops and sell directly to the customer. Our farm is approximately 125 acres and we grow a variety of crops including asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries, sweet peas, beans, sweet corn, pumpkins and more. This farm has stood the test of time and has changed a lot over the years. I know we need to find forward thinking ways of keeping the farm alive for years to come. I learned from my ancestors the art of growing crops and fixing machinery, but the most valuable lesson I have learned is a love of the land. Farming is in my blood and I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life or raising my family anywhere else.
Inside the Farm
How is your approach to farming different than other farms in the same category?
We have learned that our farming practices must evolve with the times in order to grow and thrive. We are taking the tools and wisdom that we have learned from our family about growing crops and applying them to modern-day farming. We know that our customers are looking for a more natural approach to farming. Therefore, in recent years we have started using biodegradable plastic in our fields for weed and moisture control. We have also recently installed a hydroponic system for growing strawberries along with other crops. We believe that we are unique because we are willing to think outside the box and take risks for the benefit of our farm, our customers and their families.
How does your different approach contribute to a long-term profitable growth strategy for your farm and other small farms like yours?
Our family has created a successful business growing fruits and vegetables and we have a reputation for quality in the community. However, over the past few years we have plateaued in our revenue. In spite of our hard work and diligence we are still susceptible to Mother Nature. The factors that we cannot control, such as weather and animals, all too often decrease our profit. It is extremely disheartening when the strawberry field that we worked on for months becomes overrun with birds and the only thing to do is to stand by and watch as the hard work and profits are decimated. Or when we spend hours planting peas in the field only for them to dry up due to lack of rain. We recently found ourselves at a crossroad. We decided that we could dig in our heels and continue on the same course hoping for a different outcome year after year, or we could do something different. We decided to do something different and venture out into the world of hydroponic farming, while at the same time keeping our field crops as well. We have recently installed a 10,000 plant hydroponic strawberry system. Hydroponics is not something that we just jumped into. We have been researching hydroponics for years and even created a test system at one point. We knew it was the future in farming. By using hydroponics we now have a little more control over our crops. Now if we become overrun with birds we can easily net over it, as our plants are growing vertically on towers in a fraction of space. At the same time, we also have control over the amount of water the plants receive. We believe this is the nudge our farm needs to achieve maximum profit.
How would you specifically use a Mortgage Lifter Lift or Mini Lift?
Expanding our hydroponic system will require more funding. We plan to make adjustments to our current system and then begin to expand. We would mainly use funds to improve our water source. Our current water source is well water, but this water has a high salt content. We plan to use funds to install a reverse osmosis system which would neutralize the salt content of the water which would improve the quality of our plants and increase profits. We would also improve our fencing and add on netting for bird control. We also plan to expand this system out to June bearing strawberries and other crops as well. Finally, a large part of our strawberry system is to provide a “pick your own” operation as well, where families could come to our farm, see how the berries grow and pick them themselves. We would use the remainder of the funds for improvements to these operations.
Please share why you are so passionate about your farm and/or farming in general.
I am passionate about this farm because I grew up here. My grandfather, my great uncle and my father have showed me that planting a seed in the ground and watching it grow and thrive is a simple but satisfying experience. As any farmer knows, farming is not a job but a lifestyle. I am so fortunate that my wife and children have embraced this lifestyle as well; it truly brings our family together. Some of the best times we have on this farm are spent bringing our children out to the fields. They get excited to pull a peapod off the plant, pop it open and eat the peas inside. It’s in these moments that I realize while I have been concentrating so hard on growing healthy crops my own children are growing and thriving on this farm too; just like many generations of children in our family have done before them. This farm is my life and I am determined to continue its legacy of success.
Share & Support
Want to spread the word about this small farm? Here are some ways to connect and get the word out. And be sure to tell your friends to vote for this farm using the button below. The eligible farm receiving the most votes will be awarded our Readers' Choice prize.
Link to this page: