Author Archives: Teen Ag

Tom Talk: Crop Planning & Farm Budgeting

Written by Tom Prohl, Production Educator for our Teen Ag Program, “Tom Talk” is a weekly feature in our summer CSA newsletter and offers insights on a range of topics regarding our five-acre vegetable plot.

Crop planning and budgeting are two of the most challenging parts of running a farm enterprise. This is especially true when running a Community Supported Agriculture program in which a basket of food is provided to a group of prepaid customers.

There is no excuse for having an off week where all you have to offer your customers is a few tomatoes and a head of lettuce. Customers expect a variety of different crops week in and week out. This takes planning! The off season is when we break out the old trusty easel and start mapping out the season month by month. A strict calendar is created and followed, mapping when seeds are started in the seed house, field, and when transplants moved from greenhouse to field.

Furthermore, successions are planned accordingly so there is always a steady supply of crops with quick turnover like salad mix and lettuce. Long term planning is important as well; every season we plant another 500-1000 strawberry plants so that we have productive fruiting crops every year, instead of having 2 great years and then having to replant and wait for young plants to establish themselves.

Budgeting on a farm is unlike most other businesses. You spend lots of money on the front end of the season and don’t see much return until late summer when sales of high value crops like tomatoes and flowers start pouring in. Meanwhile, the goods in the farm stand have a limited shelf life, and need to be sold as soon as possible. In the mean time you spend money on labor every day to keep everything growing.

This year each crew member is going to select a crop and create an enterprise budget. Throughout the season they will keep track of all labor, materials, and financial return to see if were making money on the crop. Planning crop successions, budgeting and hoping the weather cooperates often feels like running a marathon to a farmer, working hard and sprinting all summer long in hopes of a successful and fruitful year. Let’s hope this year is another success!

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The Great Fall Pumpkin

The History of a Seasonal Favorite Fall is officially here and the pumpkin obsession has begun. This fall at Wolfe’s Neck Farm, we are offering Pumpkin Hayrides, as well as offering a large selection of pumpkins grown and sold in the Teen Ag Farm Stand. Since pumpkin season is upon us, here is a quick… Continue Reading

Teen Ag Crew Field Trip of the Week

By Lilly Kuhn, Teen Ag Crew Member Last Friday, the Teen Ag crew traveled to the Packard-Littlefield Farm in Lisbon, ME. Cultivating Community’s New American Sustainable Agriculture Project (NASAP) is based out of Packard-Littlefield Farm and provides both land and training to refugees hoping to get involved in Maine agriculture. Most participants start out with a quarter… Continue Reading

Tom’s Talk: Why We Cover Crop

In last week’s Tom Talk I briefly touched on cover cropping as a means of weed management. This week we will dive into cover cropping and all of its benefits.   A cover crop is a non cash crop planted on ground not being utilized for vegetable production. Leaving bare ground or “tillage” in your field puts you at… Continue Reading

Tom’s Talk: Weed Management Plan

Farm staff  Richard and Tom are busy overseeing the Teen Ag Program and vegetable garden this summer season. Tom’s science-rich talks are found each week in the CSA Newsletter. Read this week’s Tom’s Talk to learn about how the Teen Ag crew keeps their weeds at bay. By Tom Prohl We are in full swing with… Continue Reading

Doing My Part: Bringing Local Food from Garden to Plate

Gabriella discusses her involvement in the Teen Ag Program and volunteering at the first Farm-to-Table dinner, where much of the produce served was grown in the Wolfe’s Neck Farm gardens. By Gabriella Gaspardi As a member of the Teen Ag crew, for the entirety of last season I was only ever part of growing the… Continue Reading

Tom’s Talk: Why Compost?

As summer winds to a close and cooler air moves in, farmers often admire their compost piles with steam rising off of them in the early hours of the morning. This steam is the result of microorganisms eating and digesting organic material within the compost and the result is gaseous release and heat. This weeks… Continue Reading