Paul and Sandy Arnold hosted growers and customers at their farm in Argyle NY this past Sunday. The Arnold's have been perfecting their approach to diversified market farming over the past 20 years. They farm 6 acres of organic vegetables for farmers' market and csa shares. Take Homes:
- Planning for successive plantings is essential in increasing production and profit on limited acreage
- Irrigation is incredibly important for improving yields (Paul feels it has been his most important infrastructure investment and what really allowed for growth of the farm)
- It pays to "run the numbers." This goes for time management (really understand man hours and where investment in equipment will pay off), crop management (calculate profit per square foot AND yield per acre depending on planting intensity, aisle and row widths), etc.
- High Tunnels, especially when automated, can substantially add to season extension and yield.
It was interesting to hear Paul's perspective on new farmers. It sounds like the Washington County NY markets don't have many new commercial growers joining them. Is Rutland County unique in its addition of new farmers at our markets in the past couple of years? Is it just a blip, or are there more folks currently interning on local farms that are planning on beginning their own commercial operations over the next few years? What do you all think?
Paul is very interested in sharing his knowledge and experience and has mentored farmers in our area (like Paul Horton of Foggy Meadow Farm). He also hosts interns each growing season. If you are interested in learning from Paul and Sandy, contact them through their facebook page.