Two Gander Farm – 10 acre vegetable farm operated by Trey and Deirdre Flemming

Trey and Deirdre Flemming operate Two Gander Farm near Philadelphia, PA.

I drove to Two Gander, a 10 acre vegetable farm, late one evening to talk with them about their new or should I say old farm. Trey and Deirdre have accomplished a lot over the last year. This season they moved their farm operation about 25 miles to a new, more permanent location. As I drove in the long driveway I could see even in the darkness and through the high tensile deer fence the makings of a viable vegetable farm. High tunnels, 1000 gallon water tanks and an organized opperation all lay in front of me.

In some ways this episode revolves around land access. Trey has been farming for quite a while on different properties and for different people. He’s on his own now, with Deirdre of course, in a true family farm situation. The Flemmings had to move from leased farm property due to a sale. During their search for property they were introduced to the Brandywine Conservancy through an almost random conversation with a farmers market customer.

Access to land is a huge issue for all farmers. If you’re young you probably don’t have the capital to buy land. If you’re currently farming, rising land prices are an impediment to growth. Finding a way around land access issues occupies the minds of a lot of people in the farm industry right now.

Trey talks about The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture also known as P.A.S.A. This organization has brought him many opportunities.
Good Agricultural Practices or GAP in farm jargon is taking on more weight each year as a third party checklist to ensure that farmers and the supply chain they use practice safe food handling.

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Maysie’s Farm and Cucina Verde

Annmarie and Sam Cantrell join me on this episode.

Sam runs Maysie’s Farm Conservation Center. He’s a conservationist at heart and a dreamer too. Sam started his CSA in the ’90’s. We talk about some of the history of the CSA movement including Sam’s 1980’s brush with one of the earliest adopters of the CSA concept in the USA. A look at history I think, is a look at change. From my experience, small farmers are changing their businesses more frequently than most. Face it, farming is a commodity business where it’s quite difficult to differentiate one farmers products from the same ones another farmer is growing.

With this challenge of differentiation comes the need to tweak your business more frequently than most, I think, and you’ll hear how Sam has done that to keep himself afloat. You will hear about the ever-present stress of the business coming from both managing perceived customer expectations and managing the labor to meet those expectations.

Annmarie has worked as an educator her entire adult life. She currently operates Cucina Verde providing culinary wellness training. She also sells her own fermented foods at local farmers markets. Annmarie is a founding member of GMO Free PA where she advocates for food labeling policies.

I mention the book: [amazon text=Tomorrow’s Table&asin=B00BR5LC72] by Pamela Ronald and Raoul Adamchak. This book discusses the practical juggle between the need to supply the world with food and the need for environmental and economic sustainability for the farms that grow your food.

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