162. John Dindia on Rapid Farm Expansion with Tunnel Growth

Today on the Thriving Farmer Podcast we’re speaking with John Dindia from Lakeview Hill Farm, located in Traverse City, MI. Lakeview Hill Farm is a certified organic produce farm specializing in hoophouse and greenhouse production. They grow a variety of vegetables with a focus on greenhouse heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, salad greens, and microgreens. Lakeview Hill Farm has made a commitment to utilize renewable energy. With agriculture being one of the largest consumers of fossil fuels, it’s extremely important to lead the way with practices that sustain the environment and are financially beneficial to the business. And Lakeview Hill Farm is indeed leading the way with a 100% solar powered farm! Hear how they achieve this on today’s episode.

In This Episode:

What Lakeview Hill Farm grows in their tunnels 2:17

What varieties of cucumbers they grow 4:56

What time of year they harvest 9:23

What they grow in caterpillar tunnels during the Summer 10:11

How they got started 14:37

How they approach micrograin production 18:10

What kind of solar setup they have 22:17

What prompted the switch to greenhouses 30:56

Where Lakeview Hill Farm buys their certified organic ginger seed 32:56

About the layout of the buildings on the farm 47:11

John’s favorite farming tool 51:50

John’s advice for someone just getting into farming 52:58

About the Guest:

Lakeview Hill Farm is a certified organic produce farm located in Traverse City, MI —  owned and operated by John Dindia and Bailey Samp. The farm started in 2017, has experienced rapid growth, and reached over $500,000 in gross sales in 2021. Currently employing 4 full-time year around employees and 2 additional seasonal employees, the farm primarily focuses on early season Summer fruit greenhouse production and year-round baby leaf salad greens and microgreens. 75% of the farm’s revenue comes from four 5,000 sq. ft. heated greenhouses and four 150 ft. long caterpillar tunnels.

The farm sells 95% of its produce within a 15 mile radius, primarily to local grocery stores and co-ops, restaurants, farmers markets, an on-farm store, and a multi-farm CSA program.

Resources:

Website – https://www.lakeviewhillfarm.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/lakeviewhillorganics

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/lakeviewhillfarm/

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.