Fern Steficek

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Farming Status and Plans

Years actively farming:

2-5

Description of farming status, plans, and practices:

This profile is for both myself and my partner Abraham. We are not farming currently, leaving the educational farm we were working on in the Hudson Valley in October 2020. We live in Sunnyside, Queens and we are looking to farm full time with relocation very possible and desired. 

Description of marketing method:

We feel confident that we can sell to existing farm stores that sell products from a variety of farms direct to consumers. We feel that the lamb and mutton niche has not been met yet as well as sheep dairy products in the future. Fiber dyed and spun on the farm would be sold on Etsy. All products except for eggs would be able to be sold long term as we would freeze meat after processing. Eggs would be sold locally via farmstand or a collaboration with another farmer to boost their CSA offering.

Does this farmer have a business plan?

No

Farm Characteristics

Preferred location:

  • Hudson Valley
    • Columbia
    • Delaware
    • Dutchess
    • Greene
    • Orange
    • Putnam
    • Rockland
    • Sullivan
    • Ulster
    • Westchester
  • Long Island
    • Nassau
    • Queens
    • Suffolk
  • New York City
    • Bronx
    • Kings (Brooklyn)
    • New York (Manhattan)
    • Richmond (Staten Island)

Desired acreage:

1-5, 6-10, 11-20

Infrastructure required:

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

Description of infrastructure:

Onsite housing is required as well as a sheep barn or moveable structure to protect them. Chicken coops would be nice but not required, water is required but fencing is not.

Description of buildings required:

Housing is required as we need to be close to livestock that we tend. Ideal buildings would be multiple chicken coops and a barn with electricity for sheep housing. A larger moveable shelter is also acceptable.

Description of water access required:

Water access in the form of a no freeze pump would be best but water access on the property is the only thing we need.

Description of fencing required:

Permanent wooden fencing around fields that collectively add up to a ~10 acres is ideal but not required.

Crops and Livestock

Primary crops:

Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Hay

Primary Livestock:

Goats/Sheep, Poultry

Description of livestock/crops:

We would be growing out heritage varieties of grains, vegetables, fiber and dye plants, and fruits as well as raising sheep and laying hens. We are dedicated to growing older varieties of the foods we already eat and creating holistic systems that mimic and integrate natural systems. The sheep we will be raising for meat and fiber. 

Farmland Tenure

Tenure options desired:

Farm Management, For Lease, For Sale

Description of tenure options desired:

We would love to be living and working on our farm, so leasing would be the most ideal. Being able to manage another farm would be desirable as well because we love to farm and every experience will feed our end goal of starting our own farm.

Additional Information

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

Yes

Experience & education:

On farm work experience, Farm internship/apprenticeship

Experience description:

Fern:

Education: Sterling College VT- Place Based Education BA- Graduated May 2019

2 seasons at Eden Village Camp -NY- Educational farm with ~2 acres of diverse organic vegetable production, 2 acre orchard, goats, laying hens, geese, meat chickens. Worked every job from starting seeds and forming beds to putting farm to rest at the end of the season

1 season at Clear Brook Farm -VT- 45 acre organic vegetable operation, crew member working to harvest, wash, package, weed, organize produce

Few months at Sterling College -VT- Livestock chores, feeding and watering cows, goats, chickens, and sheep on a daily basis

Few months at Permaculture homestead in New Zealand- Learning permaculture systems thinking, tending the orchard and animals- pigs, ducks, chickens, processing produce for storage.

Abraham:

Education: CUNY Queens College- Biology, Fine Arts/Ceramics 2012-2015

Manager at Eden Village Camp -NY- One season- Planned and executed garden for donation, maintained 2 acre mixed orchard, reared chickens and geese for eggs and meat, managed 3 person farm team

Harmonic Farms- Costa Rica- Manager- Planned and managed 200 acre property for Agritourism developer, maintained trails, cared for herd of white Bramha cattle, planted and maintained fruit trees and grape vines

Treiber Farms- NY- Co-Manger- 2 seasons- Managed and maintained 60-acre farm, tended chickens, turkeys and geese for meat and eggs, planned, planted and tended vegetable, herb and flower garden

Surrey Lane Vineyard Orchard- NY- Manager- 2 seasons- Promoted from farm hand after 6 months, managed 25 acre vineyard, 4-acre apple orchard, 1 acre berry farm, 5 acre annual field production