01 Jun 2018

Why Start a Four-Season Market Farm?

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.

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.