Ep 41. Alex Mackay-Smith on Turning Diversity into a Specialty
This week on the podcast I interview Alex Mackay-Smith of Juniper Farm in Wakefield, Quebec. He and his wife Juniper Turgeon have been farming organically and biodynamically for over ten years and serve their community by growing vegetables, fruit, meat, and eggs. They sell through multiple venues, have a fermented foods line, and offer experiences and connection to the farm through various events, dinners, festivals, workshops, and artistic partnerships.
In This Episode:
>> How cover crops are Alex’s crystal ball for future production
>> Alex’s journey from to farming from working in film
>> How Alex organizes tasks on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and how on morning meetings are vital to his team
>> Which tractors Alex and I geek out about
>> How they developed an online tool called Harvest Board to simplify and automate their farm tasks
>> The priorities of chef vs retailers
>> The difference between a scarcity and abundance mindset
>> How peers are Alex’s greatest mentors
Quotes from the episode:
“I don’t know many sommeliers for carrots…”
“You’re either going down the bitter or the joyful road”
“The hardest thing for myself as a farmer is learning to problem solve under heavy stress”
“Learning to see clearly and step away and look at the big picture can be the greatest challenge in what can sometimes feel like the chaos of farming”
About the Guest
Alex and his wife Juniper own Juniper Farm, an Organic and Biodynamic vegetable farm located in Wakefield, Quebec in Canada. They also run a thriving sauerkraut operation on site. They came from the city to the country and have now been tending the land for fourteen years. They’ve had to learn from many mistakes made, but now see mistakes as an opportunity to grow. This allows Juniper Farm to be flexible and keep evolving their “farmiverse”.
Resources and mentions
HarvestBoard farm software
Young Farmers Conference @ the Stone Barns Centre
And if you want to keep the conversation going, join us in our Facebook Group to connect with us and other farmers looking to grow their business!
We also have six free eguides to help you be more effective on your farm (Winter Growing, Pastured Poultry, Washing Shed Efficiency, Profitable Farmers Toolkit, what to look for in a farm property, etc), which you can download here.