The idea that one can start and successfully operate a profitable four-season market farm came to us from Indiana farmer Ben Hartman and the two books he’s written about his farming business—Clay Bottom Farm.
Hartman's advice for success is simple: “...discover the best crops to grow and how to grow them; then find the best markets to sell to...”
Hartman also stated on a recent podcast that, “...young people can jump into [farming] and become immediately successful if they have the tools...[the] skill set in their hands...”
The tools start with Hartman's books. In The Lean Farm: How to Minimize Waste, Increase Efficiency, and Maximize Value and Profits with Less Work, Hartman explains how he made his small, four-season market farm (located in Goshen, Indiana) into a profitable enterprise by applying “lean thinking” principles. His second book, The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables: More In-Depth Lean Techniques for Efficient Organic Production, provides additional details about his methods.
Hartman is not alone in running a successful market farm: there are other notable public examples of successful, small-scale farms (e.g., Neversink Farm, Green City Acres, and Bear Creek Organics) providing good livings to their owners who use methods and techniques very similar to Hartman's.