Susan Mitchell

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Farming Status and Plans

Years actively farming:

6-10

Description of farming status, plans, and practices:

Currently I run my own farm business, growing certified organic vegetables, herbs, and flowers for a robust CSA program in addition to sales to a few restaurants and the local food co-op. I would like to continue a CSA program at my new location with the goal of increasing my acreage and moving more toward wholesale via small distributors. My goal is to find a property to invest in and steward for the long-term while establishing perennial crops and building high tunnels needed for year-round production. I grew up in New York State and am now considering returning to the Hudson Valley.

Description of marketing method:

I have had to very creatively market my vegetables to possible consumers. I moved my farm from one location (owner sold land I was leasing) to another location, where I currently am. I have had to create a new customer base when this move was made. I also expanded my CSA distribution area to include a remote drop-off at a brewery 30 minutes away to tap into an additional customer base. 

Does this farmer have a business plan?

In progress

Farm Characteristics

Preferred location:

  • Eastern
    • Albany
    • Rensselaer
    • Saratoga
    • Washington
  • Southeast
    • Columbia
    • Delaware
    • Dutchess
    • Greene
    • Sullivan

Desired acreage:

11-20, 21-50

Infrastructure required:

Onsite housing, Barns or other facilities for storage of equipment, livestock, and crops, Water access, Electrical Access

Description of infrastructure:

I am looking to purchase a property to steward and care for using sustainable growing practices, as such I am hoping to find a complete farmstead: house, outbuildings, and high quality farmland suitable for vegetable production. Vegetable production requires a water source (well or above ground) and access to electricity to power a greenhouse.

Description of buildings required:

Small but liveable house, barn for storage of equipment, parking for farm vehicles, and indoor storage for supplies plus space for at least one walk-in cooler.  Space will also be needed to create a wash station, either outdoor but under cover or preferably indoor in a temperature controlled space.

Description of water access required:

Potable water for washing produce and drinking. Water suitable for irrigation purposes, with FSMA, this will most likely need to come from a well. 

Crops and Livestock

Primary crops:

Vegetables

Primary Livestock:

Poultry

Description of livestock/crops:

The primary focus is on production of organic vegetables, which is where my experience lies. Prior to starting my own business, every farm I worked on also had livestock and I would lie to return to this scenario if possible, with the addition of a large laying flock for certified organic eggs, using a rotational grazing system. If acreage allows, I would also like to start trialing small cereal grains and expand if there is a suitable market.

Farmland Tenure

Tenure options desired:

For Sale

Description of tenure options desired:

Having leased land for many years, I am now very ready for ownership. 

Additional Information

Will this farmer's operation qualify an eligible landowner for an Agricultural Assessment?

Yes

Experience & education:

Farm owner, On farm work experience, Farm internship/apprenticeship

Experience description:

BS Geology

MS Education

Formerly a high school earth science teacher who started growing food with my high school students, then apprenticed on a diversified farm. I moved into an assistant manager position for a 25-acre mixed veg operation, then managed a 2 acre farm, after which I started my own farm business. Over this time I have attended many workshops and conferences to educate myself and started an organization for beginning farmers in CT. Over the years I continued to gain more experience as I moved from one farm to another, learning from others and developing mentors and a farming community to lean on.