Ep 131: Sweet Thistle Farms

Have you ever been to a flower farm? I sure haven’t! It’s an often overlooked part of the agriculture industry, but flowers are a huge part of horticulture and account for billions of dollars every ear across the US. Today on the show, I’m interviewing Sarah Shoffner with Sweet Thistle Farms, a cut flower and pumpkin farm in the Central Valley in California. In our interview, Sarah and I chat about her background, how she grows flowers and pumpkins, the fall rush with customers, and a loooot more!

Sweet Thistle Farms Website

Sweet Thistle on Instagram

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Show Notes

  • Sarah’s Background
  • Growing pumpkins and flowers
  • Goat dairy
  • central valley California, Fresno
  • Growing flowers from plugs

Question from a listeners:

  • Mildew control in pumpkins…
  • Best way to market flowers besides a farmer’s market?
  • What kind of soil do pumpkins grow well in?

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Call to Action

Want to stay up to date on the show, consider following our newsletter.  As a thank you for signing up, you’ll receive a FREE guide on 5 simple steps you can do to support farmers.  Sign Up HERE!

Transcript

Ep 130: Is the Food Supply Chain broken?

Can we fix our food supply chain? Yes, we can! And companies like SIMPLi are going to be at the front of that fight. Today, I’m joined with Matt Cohen, co-founder of a company called SIMPLi that is revolutionizing the food supply chain. Learn more how Matt and everyone at SIMPLi are working directly with farmers to bring better products to consumers while also helping those farmers as much as possible.

SIMPLi, an ingredients company whose mission is to bring the best, most nutritious and delicious single-origin ingredients (quinoa, extra virgin olive oil, beans, etc.) from around the world to your kitchen.

Matt and co-founder Sarela Herrada

EatSimpli.com

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Show Notes

  • Matt’s Background
  • Entreprenuers
  • Metaverse
  • Start of Simpli
  • Normal Supply Chain vs SIMPLi
  • Fraudulent food activity?
  • How has Covid impacted these small farmers?

SIMPLi, an ingredients company whose mission is to bring the best, most nutritious, and delicious single-origin ingredients (quinoa, extra virgin olive oil, beans, etc.) from around the world to your kitchen.

  • Eliminate fraudulent activity in the supply chain + create sourcing transparency on a global level. Food fraud is estimated to cost the industry between $30-40 billion per year. By working directly with growing communities in Peru and Greece to consolidate all the middle parties (co-ops, broker, exporter, importer, distributor, etc.), they have been able to create a fully vertical supply chain for getting products from farms to consumers, preventing 100% fraudulent supply chain activity.
  • Combat climate change. Agriculture emits an estimated 10.5% of greenhouse gases. SIMPLi’s partners use regenerative organic farming in order to grow the most nutritious ingredients possible and to minimize the harmful effects that conventional agriculture has on our environment. Simpli has helped 560 farmers and 1,060 acres transition from traditional to regenerative organic working farms.
  • Supporting global farming communities. After harvest, ingredients will touch about seven steps in the supply chain before landing in the hands of a business or consumers. These middle players can trigger a number of transaction fees, taking money directly away from farmers. Because of SIMPLi’s simple supply chain of “Farmer – SIMPLi – You”, they are able to pay above market price and improve the livelihoods of their farmers.

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Call to Action

Want to stay up to date on the show, consider following our newsletter.  As a thank you for signing up, you’ll receive a FREE guide on 5 simple steps you can do to support farmers.  Sign Up HERE!

Transcript

Ep. 93: How FarmTogether is Changing Investing

Curious about learning more when it comes to investing? What about investing in farmland? Then you will find today’s episode very helpful.

This week I sit down with Artem Milinchuk, founder and CEO of FarmTogether, an online investment platform that makes investing in farmland as simple as it’s ever been. In our interview, Artem will explain why farmland investing is usually safer than the stock market, what returns are like, and how a reduction in available farmland might lead to greater profits for investors. Be sure to check out FarmTogether at the links below!

Check out FarmTogether at the links below

FarmTogether Website

Listen to the episode on the apps below:

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Show Notes:

  • FarmTogether
  • Artem Milinchuk
  • Farm land investing basics
  • Why farmland investing is a safer bet than stocks
  • Investment returns
  • Long-term vs short-term investments
  • Investing strategies
  • Process of farms selection with FarmTogether
  • Availability to US/International Investors

Call to Action:

Want to stay up to date on the show, consider following our newsletter.  As a thank you for signing up, you’ll receive a FREE guide on 5 simple steps you can do to support farmers.  Sign Up HERE!

Ep. 92: What Makes this Hawaiian Chocolate Special?

Just in time for Valentines day, let’s talk about chocolate!

My guest today is Daeus Bencomo, from Lavaloha farm in Hawaii. Today, Daeus will walk us through chocolate production, from cocoa bean to chocolate bark, the role volcanic soils plays in giving their chocolate a unique flavor profile, and how their farm tours are a huge hit with tourists.

Check out Lavahola at the links below

Lavaloha Website

Listen to the episode on the apps below:

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Show Notes:

  • Lavahola Chocolate
  • Growing chocolate on the side of a mountain
  • What is “single-origin” chocolate?
  • Growing in volcanic soil
  • Harvesting cocoa beans and turning it into chocolate bark
  • History of chocolate
  • Difference between dark, milk, and lite chocolates
  • Farm tours
  • COVID-19’s impact on the farm
  • Misconceptions on farming

Call to Action:

Want to stay up to date on the show, consider following our newsletter.  As a thank you for signing up, you’ll receive a FREE guide on 5 simple steps you can do to support farmers.  Sign Up HERE!

Ep. 91: Boyd Farms Fresh

We are continuing this unintentional streak of meat companies by interviewing one a bit closer to home here in the Florida Panhandle. Boyd Fresh Farms is a 7th generation farm that specializes in beef cattle. Recently, the Boyd family has transitioned to selling direct to consumers here around North Florida. For those familiar with the Boyd name, you might remember Alan Boyd, the former State and US congressman is owner and operator. He, along with his wife Jeannie, daughter Suzanne, son David, and David’s fiancé Kelly, are continuing the tradition of this family farm will transitioning it into a key sector of the food supply chain.

Straight to consumer business are booming now in the age of the pandemic, and with we have seen just how frail the food supply chain is. Now, more farmers and ranchers are doing the work of processing and distribution to keep their food closer to home and costs down for themselves as well as the consumer. This change in supply is huge and has the potential to change the industry as we know it.

This week, I sit down with Alan and Suzanne and talk about the history of Boyd Farms Fresh, transitioning the business to selling direct, and if Alan prefers working with cattle of politicians. This was a super fun interview and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did recording it.

Check out Boyd Farms at the links below

Boyd Farms Fresh Website

Listen to the episode on the apps below:

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Show Notes:

  • Boyd Farms History
  • Suzanne and Alan’s backgrounds
  • Types of Beef Cattle
  • Inspiration being consumer direct business
  • COVID-19’s impact
  • Bottleneck of U.S. livestock processing
  • Farmer/consumer relationship

Call to Action:

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Ep. 90: Honest, Sustainable Meat – The Honest Bison

When was the last time you had Bison? It was probably at a Ted’s Montana Grill or a fancy restaurant. Honestly, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve had a bison burger, time I change that! Our guest today, is bringing one of the most high-quality meats out there, bison and even veal, straight to you door. Sean Lenihan is the founder of Honest Bison, a meat delivery company focused on suppling consumers with healthy, sustainably grown meat. Sean and I will chat about his background and the start of Honest Bison, how they work with ranchers of bison, and even discuss the concept of farmers and ranchers developing costs of food based on nutrition instead of weight.

Check out Honest Bison at the links below

Honest Bison Website

Listen to the episode on the apps below:

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Show Notes:

  • Sean’s background
  • Working in marketing with companies like Aston Martin and Activision
  • Building a valuable brand
  • The Honest Bison story
  • The popularity of bison
  • Working with ranchers
  • Sustainable ranching and meat production
  • High demand, low availability meats
  • COVID-19’s impact
  • Adjusting cost of food on nutritional content INSTEAD of by weight
  • Benefits of organ meats
  • Ordering from Honest Bison

Call to Action:

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Ep. 89: Michelle Martin – Jack of All Trades

Today our guest is a farmer. She also has a magazine. She ALSO has a TV Show. SHE ALSO is working on a food label called “Farmer Who”. Talk about a full plate! Michelle Martin is my guest today on the show. Michelle is a farmer, along with her husband, on South Texas. Michelle publishes AgMag which highlights Texas agriculture. Probably my personal favorite project she is working on is a label called “Farmer Who” which allows consumers to scan a QR code on the food label and see a quick video of Michelle and the actual farmer that grew that crop. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!

Michelle and I chat a lot about ag education and misinformation we see in the industry as well as how she balances all these projects.

Check out Michelle at the links below

Michelle on Instagram

AgMag Webiste

Michelle’s YouTube Channel

Listen to the episode on the apps below:

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Show Notes:

  • Michelle’s background
  • Her farms methods
  • Biggest misconceptions with agriculture
  • “Farmer Who” 
  • Michelle’s show “Ag on Wheels”
  • Michelle’s magazine “AgMag”
  • How the heck does she manage all these projects?!

Call to Action:

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Podcast Episode 85: Pesticides 101

Today our guest is an expert when it comes to pest management in agriculture. Dr. Norman Leppla is a Professor of Entomology and the founding director of UF/IFAS integrated pest management program. IPM, or Integrated Pest Management is one tool farmers use to eliminate pests on their farms. Dr. Leppla is going to explain the process of IPM, how chemical sprays are only one small part of the equation, what consumers should know about pesticides, and how these chemicals work.

Check out IPM and IFAS the links below:

IFAS Website

IPM at IFAS

Listen to the episode on the apps below:

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Show Notes:

  • Dr. Norman Leppla’s Background
  • Working at the University of Florida IFAS (Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences)
  • Basics on pesticides (IRAC, FRAC, HRAC).
  • How do pesticides work?
  • Organic vs conventional pesticides.
  • Regulating pesticides – EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • What is IPM (Integrated Pest Management) and how is it incorporated?
  • What should consumers know about pesticides?
  • How UF and IFAS educate both farmers AND consumers.

Call to Action:

Want to stay up to date on the show, consider following our newsletter.  As a thank you for signing up, you’ll receive a FREE guide on 5 simple steps you can do to support farmers.  Sign Up HERE!

Podcast Episode 84: The Rise of the Farming Simulator

I am a HUGE fan of videos games. Since the dawn of the PlayStation 1, I’ve been gaming for well over two decades. Halo, NCAA Football, Spyro, and the list goes on. Don’t judge me, because pretty much everyone enjoys games nowadays with the rise of mobile gaming.

One game taking the world by storm in Farming Simulator, which has huge followings around the world as well as a popular e-Sports league! Our guest today is Martin Rabl, from the developers of Farming Simulator, Giants Software. Giants Software is a German based gaming company that has been working on the popular farming sim since 2013. The game features countless, name brand tractors and various farming equipment, crop management, livestock, and much, much, MUCH more! I’ve played it for several hours now and the depth of this game in incredible.

In our episode, Martin and I will talk about the development behind the game, how real to life the simulator is, how they work with farmers to stay accurate, and how they manage ongoing content for the game as well as their huge fan base.

Check out Giants Software and Farming Simulator at the links below:

Giants Software

Farming Simulator Website

Listen to the episode on the apps below:

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Show Notes:

  • Martin Rabl
  • Giants Software: Farming Simulator #FS19
  • Developing a game
  • What goes in to Research and Development for a simulator?
  • Staying accurate with real equipment and technology
  • Working with name brands like John Deere, Case IH, and others
  • Crop and Livestock Management
  • Downloadable Content (DLC)
  • Working with Modders
  • e-Sports Teams
  • Populators of Farming Sim
  • Future plans and development

Call to Action:

Want to stay up to date on the show, consider following our newsletter.  As a thank you for signing up, you’ll receive a FREE guide on 5 simple steps you can do to support farmers.  Sign Up HERE!

Podcast Episode 83: How Artificial Intelligence is Improving Agriculture

Our guest today is Adam Greenberg the CEO of iUNU, a Seattle based startup that provides AI and computer vision technology to drive efficiencies and profits for greenhouse growers. iUNU & Mr. Greenberg has been recognized with a Medal of Excellence nomination from Greenhouse Grower, best new indoor growing technology from United Fresh Produce Association, and was recently named to GPN’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2020. Adam has also been a speaker & panelist at universities, associations, conferences, most recently as a speaker at Hemp Industry Daily as well as University of Maryland’s MAVRIC. Mr. Greenberg led an AI symposium for Congressional staffers on Capitol Hill late last year. He founded iUNU in 2013 to revolutionize the greenhouse industry by using machine vision technology. His passion for agriculture came from his father who is a botanist and entrepreneur. Mr. Greenberg earned his degrees in Finance and Entrepreneurship from the University of Washington and is a former financial analyst at Amazon. He is a fifth-generation native of San Francisco and lives in Seattle, Washington where he enjoys traveling and the outdoors.

Listen to the episode on the apps below:

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Show Notes:

  • Adam Greenberg and iUNU
  • Developing Artificial Intelligence
  • The reception of iUNU
  • Silicon Valley meets Agriculture
  • How science and farming go hand in hand
  • Using AI to make greenhouse production more efficient
  • Will AI eliminate jobs in agriculture?
  • Showcasing to students that agriculture involves countless technologies
  • Thoughts on the farmer/consumer relationship

Call to Action:

Want to stay up to date on the show, consider following our newsletter.  As a thank you for signing up, you’ll receive a FREE guide on 5 simple steps you can do to support farmers.  Sign Up HERE!

Podcast Episode 82: How CashRent Helps Both Farmers and Landowners

This episode is brought to you by CashRent. Checkout CashRent.com for more information on how you can expand your operation or rent your land to farmers.

Available farmland in the United States is dwindling. Now more than ever, farmers are looking at simply renting land to either start their businesses or to expand their operation. In the past, most farmland renting has been handshake agreements, but one company is aiming to fix that and ease the whole process. CashRent was created to better manage the renting process for farmers and landowners. Today on the show, we are joined by CashRent co-founder, Noah Berkson. Noah will explain how CashRent has dramatically improved renting agreements in farming, the importance of getting fair land value, and how they are expanding their business across the Untied States.

Listen to the episode on the apps below:

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Show Notes:

  • Noah Berkson’s Background
  • Start of CashRent
  • How CashRent’s online auctions work
  • The process of renting farmland
  • Why farmers want to rent land instead of owning land
  • Process of leasing your land
  • Farmer/landowner relationship
  • Getting fair land value
  • CashRent’s strategy towards building relationships
  • Is land ready to farm?
  • Any leasing advantages to organic or sustainable farmers?
  • The future of CashRent

Call to Action:

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Podcast Episode 81: What makes Southern Cuisine so Unique?

Today’s episode is a bit different.  Usually we focus on farmers, ranchers, entrepreneurs, and well…you know the deal.  But today, we are talking about food.  Specifically, the unique qualities of Southern Cuisine.  I might be a little biased having lived in the south my whole life, but Southern food is absolutely amazing.  Catfish, greens, fried green tomatoes, cornbread, oysters, and a loooooot more.  But the Southern food scene is much more diverse than you might think.  Our guest today is Stephanie Burt of the podcast, The Southern Fork.   Stephanie is a food and beverage writer and podcaster that highlights the outstanding chefs, farmers, restaurateurs, bakers, and others revolutionizing the food scene here in the south.  This episode was a ton of fun as Stephanie and I geek out about Southern Food, podcasting, and some North Florida landmarks.  Be sure to check out Stephanie’s podcast!

Listen to the episode on the apps below:

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Don’t forget to check out Stephanie and the Southern Fork at the links below: 

Southern Fork Website

Southern Fork on Instagram

The Southern Fork Podcast on iTunes

Show Notes:

  • Stephanie Burt’s background
  • Start of Southern Fork Podcast
  • What makes Southern cuisine so unique?
  • Stephanie’s favorite and most annoying food trends
  • Lesser known Southern delicacies
  • Chefs growing crops for their restaurants
  • COVID-19’s impact on local restaurants
  • Netflix’s Chefs Table
  • Interviewing Food Network’s  Maneet Chauhan from Chopped
  • The popularity of Apalachicola Bay Oysters
  • Weird Bloody Mary’s
  • Geeking out over podcasts and trying to develop the perfect interview
  • Being in the present during interviews
  • Best food spots in North West Florida
  • Thoughts on the farmer/consumer relationship

Call to Action:

Want to stay up to date on the show, consider following our newsletter.  As a thank you for signing up, you’ll receive a FREE guide on 5 simple steps you can do to support farmers.  Sign Up HERE!

Podcast Episode 80: Behind the Scenes of a Family Orchard

Let’s learn about how fruits are grown and harvested. Specifically, apples, pears, peaches, and much more from McMullin Orchards in Utah.  Angie McMullin from McMullin Orchards will give us a glimpse of what it’s liking working for a family owned and operated orchard.  Angie will explain how the orchard was started, managing multiple harvest times, educating consumers, and much more!  

 

Listen to the episode on the apps below:

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Don’t forget to check out McMullin Orchard at the links below: 

McMullin Website

McMullin Orchard on Instagram

Show Notes:

  • History of McMullin Orchard
  • Process of growing apples, pears, peaches, cherries, and many other fruits
  • Planting fruit trees and planning out crops
  • Organic vs conventional
  • Harvesting fruits
  • Processing and Shipping to stores or consumers
  • Education consumers
  • Utah agriculture
  • Common misconceptions

Call to Action:

Want to stay up to date on the show, consider following our newsletter.  As a thank you for signing up, you’ll receive a FREE guide on 5 simple steps you can do to support farmers.  Sign Up HERE!

Podcast Episode 79: Investing in Farmland

I’ve just started to invest in actual stocks and man, is there a lot to learn!  But, I didn’t know that investing in farmland is a thing and sometimes sees higher returns than traditional stocks.  One such company helping both investors and farmers is Acre Trader.  Today on the show, we sit down with Ben Maddox to learn about AcreTrader, their mission, and how investment platforms like this help farmers as well as investors.  Check it out if you want to learn more about how stuff like this works!

 

Listen to the episode on the apps below:

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Don’t forget to check out ACre Trader at the links below: 

acretrader.com

Show Notes:

  • Ben Maddox’s background
  • Start of AcreTrader
  • Bear and Bull markets
  • Investing 101
  • How investing in farmland differs than investing in stocks
  • Returns and investment rates
  • Long-term crops vs short term crop investments
  • How this helps first-time farmers
  • Investing in sustainable agriculture?
  • Can you invest in organic crops?

Call to Action:

Want to stay up to date on the show, consider following our newsletter.  As a thank you for signing up, you’ll receive a FREE guide on 5 simple steps you can do to support farmers.  Sign Up HERE!

 

instagram.com/ludwigfarms_tessa

Podcast Episode 78: Milk, Cheese, and Showing Dairy Cattle

Tessa Pacion works at Ludwig Farmstead Creamery that produces great milk and even some cheeses.  In our interview today, Tessa will talk about how her animal science degree and working with dairy cattle in college.  Tessa will also address many misconceptions consumers have about milk production like the frequency milk is tested before consumption and why dairy calves are separated from their mothers.  This is a full episode of great information on all things dairy, as well as what showing dairy cattle is all about.

Listen to the episode on the apps below:

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Don’t forget to check out Tessa at the links below: 

Tessa on Instagram

Ludwig Farmstead Website

Show Notes:

  • Tessa’s background.
  • Animal Science degree and working with dairy cows in college
  • What is homogenization and pasteurization
  • How many times milk is tested before it gets to the consumer
  • Cheese production
  • Misconceptions with dairy cattle
  • Why dairy calves are separated from their moms
  • Cow comfort
  • Showing dairy cattle
  • COVID-19’s impact
  • Switching production from restaurant to grocery stores
  • Experience with farm tours and showing consumers how milk is produced

Call to Action:

Want to stay up to date on the show, consider following our newsletter.  As a thank you for signing up, you’ll receive a FREE guide on 5 simple steps you can do to support farmers.  Sign Up HERE!

 

instagram.com/ludwigfarms_tessa