How can you incorporate culinary skills into your farm business to create added value?

Today on the show, we’re hosting John Barker, Director of Agriculture and co-owner of Forts Ferry Farm, located in Latham, New York. Forts Ferry Farm is a collective of innovators, farmers, and food lovers. Their farm is a year-round hive of activity that is continuously expanding and evolving—a living component of the region’s unique climate and rich soils. Their seasonally-focused, hyper farm-to-table kitchen uses culinary skill to craft flavor from the ground up. 

John has been running the farm operations here ever since their very humble beginning in 2015. Join us to hear about the operations behind Forts Ferry and what it’s like to farm in New York!

In This Episode:

What Forts Ferry Farm produces 2:14

The climate/growing conditions in Latham, NY 3:14

How Forts Ferry goes about marketing 6:53

What the soil is like on the farm 16:46

John’s favorite peppers to grow 19:58

How Forts Ferry uses photography for marketing 26:55

How Forts Ferry uses culinary skill to offer their prepared foods 30:26

How they built a great team 32:31

What it was like to start the farm 38:37

Types of fertilizer they use on the farm 45:57

About the Guest:

At Forts Ferry Farm, John spearheads the leadership and strategic planning of the agriculture department. During the week, you can find him helping the field team with planting, weeding, and harvests, selling fresh produce at the local farmers’ market or coordinating and facilitating educational opportunities for youths in the community through tours, demonstrations, and workshops. John has been working on his family’s farm from a young age and also as a professional chef for much of his adult life, which gives him a unique perspective on how to grow and prepare food.

Having worked on his family’s 1,500-plus-acre commodity crop farm, John brought his technical know-how to the business since its inception, and has since been in charge of administering all tractor-related tasks and maintaining all of the farm tools and equipment. His daily responsibilities also include livestock care, from feeding and caring for the cattle, to collecting and washing eggs laid by their heritage hens.

As a Culinary Institute of America alumnus with 15 years of experience working as a professional chef prior to starting the farm, John believes that patience and simple techniques are key when preparing food with fresh, quality ingredients.  



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!

Free E-Guides

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.

The Thriving Farmer Podcast Team would like to thank our amazing sponsor!

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