83. Alessia & Virginia on CSA with a Free-Choice Twist

Do you have a childhood friend that you work well with? If so, why not start a farm?

This week’s Thriving Farmer Podcast features besties since high school, Virginia Winkler and Alessia McCobb of Sound Pine Farm, located in Brunswick, Maine. Sound Pine Farm grows on three acres of land nestled at the mouth of Middle Bay Cove. They are dedicated to cultivating a healthy farm ecosystem without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. This is accomplished by applying organic compost, providing natural habitat for beneficial organisms, cover cropping, and crop rotation. The farm is CSA-focused…this means that they are committed to providing their CSA members with the highest quality produce and the greatest abundance possible. With their truly Free-Choice CSA, they aim to create a CSA experience that gives you what you want at a great value.

You’ll Hear:

What Sound Pine Farm is all about 1:06

What Virginia and Alessia do in the off-season 6:21

What a typical day on Sound Pine Farm looks like 7:21

How Virginia and Alessia assign roles between the two of them 10:17

The major pieces of equipment used on Sound Pine Farm 13:13

How Sound Pine Farm goes about new bed preparation on their land 15:27

What systems are in place to ensure integral tasks are completed on a day to day basis 17:46 

The hardest thing they’ve done as farmers 19:48

Who their mentors are in their farming journey 21:22

How Sound Pine Farm successfully implements their apprenticeship program 23:51

What they would have changed in their farming process given a magic reset button 26:50

How Alessia and Virginia found members for their CSA program 30:01 

About Alessia and Virginia’s experience selling transplants thus far 33:50

What Sound Pine Farm’s free choice CSA is all about 36:49

How they manage supply and demand 40:54

The biggest mistake Alessia and Virginia see newer farmers making 44:55

What they think farmers should avoid in their first year farming 47:31

How Virginia and Alessia managed the psychological approach when beginning their farm? 50:14

Their favorite farming tool? 55:40

How they feel about the prospect of starting a farm now 56:41

Where you can learn more about Virginia, Alessia, and Sound Pine Farm 59:11

About the Guest:

Sound Pine Farm is located on 2 acres in Brunswick, Maine and is owned and operated by Alessia McCobb and Virginia Winkler. The farm grows diversified vegetables for a 75-member CSA, using organic practices. Sound Pine Farm is committed to making the CSA model work for members through their Free-Choice system, which allows for greater customization within the share, and by providing members with an abundance of the highest quality produce.

Resources and mentions:

Website: https://soundpinefarm.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/soundpinefarm/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/soundpinefarm/

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.