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Big or Small – They’re Sustainable All

August 2, 2011
Our second day of farm visits in the Florida SARE Fellowship program brought us to three very different sustainable agriculture operations, each unique in their own right.

Crazy Hart Ranch was a small acreage pastured poultry operation that provides a variety of poultry products to several restaurants in theVero Beacharea, as well as participates in the Farmer’s Market Oceanside. The Ranch produces the only certified free range chicken and turkey in the state. Cornish game hens are sold for $9/lb, chicken is $6/lb, and turkey is $10/lb. The owner also utilizes two members of the community to assist on the farm and with markets, recognizing her limitations in operating the farm solely on her own.

 

White Rabbit Farm was the second stop on our tour, and is what I consider the stereotypical “sustainable” farm. They owners have been in the farming business since 1999and are in their third year of operating a certified organic CSA.

Customers trust White Rabbit Farm to produce superior products. White Rabbit Farm displays the same trust of their customers through their self-serve retail store in which customers leave the correct amount of money to pay for the products they take. White Rabbit Farm believes in the high quality organic products they produce. They depend on their CSA and retail structure to continue to do what they love. They engage the community in daily farm operations by allowing CSA members to work on the farm as partial payment for their share.

 

At our third stop, Chuck Obern of C&B Farms started with 10 acres of vegetable production in 1987 and now sits on over 1000 acres ofSouth Florida. Obern is a big believer in diversification, and his management of both conventional and organic operations increases the potential economic sustainability of his operation. Current estimates show annual revenue of $16 million with an employee base of over 100. 

C&B Farms is a family owned operation. They value farming but recognize the need to operate as a professional business in order to pursue their passion of producing.  They utilize the migrant workforce in the area and is able to offer them transportation to and from the fields for the day. The Department of Labor fined him for not paying the employees during their travel time.

 C&B Farms adjusted the way they process sales to prevent future risk. They now only grown the products they have contracted to grow for specific companies and receive market price at the time of shipment. C&B Farms produces premium quality eggplant. His customers have faith in the quality of the product they are purchasing.

Large scale organic vegetable production at C&B Farms

From a few acres to over 1000, sustainability was shown to not be a matter of size, but a matter of management. Till next month 🙂

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