Building a Thriving Farm Business with Relationships featuring Drew Sample (FSFS141)

 

Listen to more episodes of Farm Small Farm Smart

 

            How do you approach produce sales and growing your business? Is it something about the business that you like to think about? Or is it something you’d rather not deal with?

            Today we have farmer Drew Sample of Capital City Greens who came from a sales background and has brought that to the table when he started farming. He built connections and relationships that really helped him grow his business.

 

Today’s Guest: Drew Sample

            Drew Sample came from retail and sales and eventually found his way into farming because he wanted to make a difference. He now runs a successful microgreens operation, has his own podcast, and continues to promote good, healthy, and local food.

 

Relevant Links                                                                                           

            Drew Sample – The Sample Hour Podcast | Instagram

            Capital City Greens – Website | Instagram | Facebook

 

In this episode of Farm Small, Farm Smart

  • Introducing today’s guest, Drew Sample (00:35)  
  • How long Drew has been farming (02:13)
  • The original goal when Drew first started farming (03:00)
  • Initially in-the-ground vegetable model (04:15)
  • Realizations and the push towards microgreens (06:12)
  • The point where he realized he liked sales more than farming (08:14)
  • Soldiering through the parts you don’t like to get to the parts that you do like (11:15)
  • Making what you have work for you and the exchange of capital (15:01)
  • Supplementing each other: which part of the operations is Drew, and which part is Rich (22:22)
  • Microgreens production per week and its equivalent in crops (27:01)
  • Working as both the niche and the aggregator (30:15)
  • How long to build relationships from someone who enjoys the sales side (31:53)
  • Major changes made based on feedback (38:12)
  • Networking with reaching out and being reached out to (40:00)
  • Standardized growing to accommodate everyone (43:05)
  • A crop that was given up on (45:22)
  • Approaching the question of space and demand (49:07)
  • Balancing the lifestyle between life and work (53:46)
  • Fulfilling feedback and going about harvesting and packaging (56:30)
  • Considering selling more of sunflower shoots as a salad additive (01:03:25)
  • Why consider lettuce in an already robust microgreens operation(01:04:45)
  • Rebranding and how lettuce fits into the microgreens (01:08:52)
  • Closing remarks and how to reach Drew (01:10:54)

 

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FSFS_141_DrewSample

Diego: [00:00:00] When it comes time to starting a farm or any other business, a lot of people based on what they have, the physical stuff that they have. But one thing that people tend to undervalue are the relationships that they have. And when it comes to building a business, relationships are key. That's what this episode is all about. Stay tuned for more on that coming up. Welcome to the world of farming, small and farming smart.

I'm your host Diego today, I'm talking to farmer Drew Sample of Capitol city greens in Columbus, Ohio. Drew originally wanted to start out with a farm, just like a lot of people that you hear of on the show, a market garden. And over time, he's realized that wasn't a fit for him and he's scaled his operation down to. Microgreens and it's a microgreens operation that is thriving. It's doing very well.

And one of the reasons that it's doing well, isn't just because of the methods of production that Drew's using on his farm. But it's because of the relationships that Drew's built his farm upon drew is very well connected within his community. And those connections have really helped him to refine and grow his farm to where it is today. So in this episode, we're going to focus on that. The importance of relationships and how they can help you grow your farm faster than you could grow it if you were just trying to do it alone.

And relationships play out in multiple ways. In this episode, Drew's going to give you some advice on how he sells his microgreens, on how he presents his microgreens to chefs, some growing tips, all things that he's learned from dealing with people and communicating with people. There's some great advice here on taking your farm to the next level, simply by paying attention and being interested in the people that you work with and the people that you deal with. Let's jump right into it. Building a thriving farm business on relationships with Drew Sample.

Drew, man, we're talking here in April, 2018 at this point. How long would you say you've been farming?

Drew Sample: [00:02:11] That's a good question. I think I've dabbled for, this is, this is my third real year of making a go of it and going to farmer's markets. It's going to be my second year, full time, my second season, full time. But I dabbled, for a year and helped out a buddy who has a farm, and went to farmer's markets with him.

But I was just volunteering my time so I could get a taste for it. Man, I'd say this is my fourth year of being putting my foot in. But since I put my foot in, but it's my like second year of having, all, being able to give my best hours of the week to farming.

Diego: [00:02:49] And you've had an evolution in your farming career. And I've talked to you quite a few times since you've started. So I'm familiar with the backstory here. When you initially decided to do the farming thing. So let's go back to the very beginning. What was your goal then? And how did you envision your farm playing out for where you are at in Columbus?

Drew Sample: [00:03:11] My vision originally was it came from very much so it was, a. I don't want to say as a hundred percent social justice, but it definitely has something to do with it. I want it to move into the inner city and make a difference. I thought growing food and not lawns was really cool, and I just wanted a place to do it.

And then I went in the inner city and I got up and caught up in the food desert thing. so originally my idea was I wanted to change my neighborhood by farming and I felt like it was an action. I could take. That I wouldn't have to stand in the street and I wouldn't have to, spew my values on other people. And instead it was something that I could just. I could say, okay, these are my politics. And you can look at my politics instead of having to listen to me, talk about them.

Diego: [00:03:57] At the time, I think it originally, you wanted to do more of a, in the ground traditional vege style model, like a Curtis, like a JM.

Drew Sample: [00:04:06] For sure. Yeah, that was so that was really it. So I saw food, grow foods, not lawns. and then it was so not only that like my reasons for it. but so originally, yeah, so JM�s book was the first book I read and then I also got heavy into Curtis Stone and listen to your podcast you did with him, use my podcast to talk to him.

I wanted to expand the neighborhood with the farm and really get multiple plots, small multiple yards and have all these crops that I would do. I envisioned doing the same thing that Curtis is doing on his block. You just got to listen to the market and the market was just telling me something else.

So it kinda just, when I started doing this full time, I had to look what was paying the bills. So I had originally worked with a restaurant. And was making pretty, for doing it part-time I got to the point to where I just stopped going to the farmer's markets. And on my lunch breaks, I'd come home and pull my lettuce out of that, I had totes out of my refrigerator and drive it to my buddy's restaurant and get a check. And then, he was all about it. And then the next season rolled around and, the hydroponic operation had really lowered their prices and, he was paying me eight bucks a pound versus four bucks a pound.

And my lettuce is pretty good, but I don't really know if it was $4, less a pound good in his eyes. It was kinda tough to, I think it's hard for a lot of restaurants to justify. Like I, even, if you listen to my podcast, when I was interviewing farmers, all I talked about was lettuce, lettuce, lettuce, and there's a good chance I'm not going to grow any lettuce this year.

Diego: [00:05:43] When you were starting, looking at in-the-field model, was there a point to where you realized, like this might not be a fit for where I want to go and what I have and was that another push to go the microgreens route?

Drew Sample: [00:05:57] Absolutely. I think, when you look at�I think with the microgreens route, another thing that I really liked about it was is, what, how am I going to make money in the winter time? I don't have enough sun in Ohio to have a greenhouse like Curtis does. Or, we just don't get that much sun here. So to have winter crops, I could build a greenhouse and then have little hoops inside the greenhouse, but man, that's a whole different ball game and that's, I'm not saying it isn't possible, but I just feel like the fragility of that situation is pretty high.

And I think, So a lot of the shift with microgreens to two microgreens was just market demand. And then also, it just, there was just different things. Why it wasn't gonna work out. I think, I like selling to restaurants quite a bit. but also I like the sales aspect more than the farming aspect too.

So I, I think that had a lot to do with it too. And it greens is something that it's very manageable just on my plot of land. I could scale in the summertime. I could do quite a bit with my greenhouse and my basement. I did some numbers and, the way that we're doing the basement, we could get up to 124 trays a week, with microgreens, which is pretty good.

And then the, I forget what the greenhouse is maxed out at. But I, for me, this business is a it's. It's a lot to do with the lifestyle too. I'm hoping I'm answering your question, CEO.

Diego: [00:07:23] You touched on a few things there. Lifestyle, I want to circle back to that. One thing you said you realized was you were into the sales more than the farming aspect, and I'm glad you said that because I think that's going to be true for every person doing any sort of business, we're all going to say, I like this part of it, but I don't like that part of it. When did you start to realize I'm interested in farming, but I don't like the in-the-ground side as much as I like the sales side. What was that point where that became really obvious?

Drew Sample: [00:07:58] Probably right after permaculture voices and doing that first season. When Scott and I were first doing the podcast together that we were doing like our first year, and it was like an accountability podcast, because we're both in Curtis's course. It just was becoming obvious to me that Scott liked farming a whole lot more than I did. And I, I didn't, I didn't mind the farming, but it's I don't get excited about necessarily getting my fingers in the dirt.

Like I like to do it here and there. Like I like to harvest. I like, I, I like doing the steps that are really close to somebody handed me money. And a lot of times, going in my basement and seeding trays, like I have lettuce or more crops, man, it just didn't, there was about a hundred other things I'd rather do.

And when I was working full time and doing that, part-time. It, it's hard to run a business when you don't want to do everything that's involved in the business and you're the only person that's operating within the business. And eventually I, and I think too, I was just hitting walls and I think there were certain things that's this is really hard work and it's not as enjoyable as I thought it would be.

and I'm not making as much money as I could at, a job and other things like that. I remember even when I got laid off, you and I were talking and you had said something to me, in regards of, yeah, it sounds like you're trying to convince yourself to farm. and I really was like, cause I was like, man, I don't want to just do this.

And, So it was pretty early on Diego. I didn't, I could get, I knew I could get sales and that was fine. I've been in sales for 10 years, so I came to farming with a sales background, which. Most people that seem to get into farming. Don't do. And like I look at, I feel like I look at things very different than a lot of farmers do.

I really want to look at this as a business. Like I think that was, and I'm not saying other farmers don't, but to me it's okay, how quickly can I remove myself? And how quickly could I pay? How quickly could I replace myself and just collect a percentage of this business? and it's going to take time.

Diego: [00:10:05] For having that realization and then moving towards that, how do you bridge that gap between it�s gonna take time to remove yourself so you can focus on really what you do best. that's what you're getting at. Like you do the sales part the best, the value added part the best, your time, your effort, your energy, and what you're interested in isn't the field side. When there's part of the business that you don't like, and this is maybe more when you are doing this while working full time, how do you get through the part that you don't like just to get to the part that you do? is it just grinded out and Hey, I got to do this?

Drew Sample: [00:10:44] Yeah. I'd grind it out and I'm pretty good at, as, as a lot of people say is Rich Frazel, is my farm manager. And yet man, the big backbone to my business, he would say I can Tom Sawyer, a lot of situations. Like I could, it's easy for me to invite people over and have them help me and have a good time doing it.

Cause we're just joking around and having a good time. I think for me, like having good networking skills, I would know how to leverage situations to where I could have people help me. And I would either buy them food or supply drinks or whatever it is they liked. And we could just have a good time and hang out.

My buddy, Joel Cameron Harris, he helped me out a ton at the beginning and like him and I, We were helping each other out. Cause I would, I went to the farmer's market with them and I'd help sell. I liked that. I've done belly to belly sales for, close to, I've done every form of sales almost.

And I think, so that wasn't, it was something really fun for me going to the farmer's market and having a good time and it was exciting. Cause I felt like I was making a difference in what, whatever. so I'd put in time there to help him or I'd go over to his property and help him with stuff. And then he would come over and help me.

If I couldn't trick my friends into helping me, which I don't really say I tricked him, but it's just funny to joke about then. I just grind it out, man. I figured out the best way I could. And then. Figure out ways I could trick myself into doing something I didn't really want to do. And then I think towards the end of that first season, I remember, I didn't have irrigation in, like I had a crappy irrigation system and there was just a lot of things that it was just overwhelming. And so I just kinda pulled the plug early for a month and I taught my beds cause out of a bunch of weed pressure too.

And then, I planted some lettuce and I replanted and then it snowed and it was that was done. And then, a lot of it was just, I had to grind it out. I had to tough it out, but I just didn't like doing that. I still don't. I do now to an extent, I think it's good for, to do here and there for me. I think it's, I'm pretty good at grunt labor or if it comes to lifting things or, carrying trays up and down my basement steps. Like I like to do that not only for the exercise. But also too, just because it's like, I'm not really skilled labor. I'm pretty good at sales, but if you need me to carry something then I'll help you carry it or I'll help you move furniture out of your house, but I'm not going to be somebody that's going to help you install a TV Mount or something like that. Like I'm not really a handy person.

Diego: [00:13:23] And so for you, what you've done, I think is you've taken what you have to work with and you've made it work for you. So you have the skill of selling the relationships for selling, and then you met rich and rich was at a stage in life where he had things he could add.

He needed things. And you were to state in life where you had things you can help him with and he could help you. Can you talk about that exchange? Because I think the combination of YouTube in the exchange of capital. Is a way where you both came out ahead where it was like one plus one is three.

And I think too many of us try and do this as individuals. When, if we can find somebody who could be a compliment to what we have, we could maybe get where we want to go faster and better than if we just tried to both do it as individuals.

Drew Sample: [00:14:15] Absolutely. To hit rewind after you and I had recorded a show together. I think it was, I think it was a couple months. Oh no, it was in the fall of, I think of 2016, I'd spent a lot of time, in Florida trying to figure out what I'd wanted to do. And I'd kept in touch with, Ruth Rich. So I met rich at permaculture voices, three.

saw, had peaked at his Facebook, but, Richard's was just such a nice guy. And just so he just like really seemed to appreciate everybody that he had a chance to meet there. And, and him and I were talking and then he had messaged me and said, Hey man, I listened to all your podcasts episodes are really enjoy your podcast.

And, it was pretty cool. So him and I had started talking and he was close with, Greg burns and some other people in the GSD crew. And, so rich was, he was in an urban environment in Meriden, Connecticut. And had just a total urban permaculture set up, like he had a perennial area at an annual area and his yard was his design.

I don't have my PDC. So I guess when you get a PDC, you have to have a final design. and that was Rich's thing. And he just had just an amazing setup in an urban environment, just doing really cool stuff. He was a. Full-time caregiver first, his father, and just based on his situation, he had, it was time for him to move on and get out and Richard was going to move to, he wanted to move to Ohio cause he really liked our laws here.

And he really liked like the community that we had we'd started to do. And so rich was looking to basically say, Hey, look, I have skills. I want to help somebody out that it has similar goals and values that I do. And I'm willing to, trade my time and my skillset for a place to live.

and and so it was that arrangement. Greg burns had hit me up and he said, Hey, I think you should talk to rich. I think you two could really help each other out. And I just kinda thought, you know what, like I know I live in a small spot, but if I don't want to go back to corporate America and I don't, and I really want to give entrepreneurship a real go, I think I'm going to have to make sacrifices.

so you've been to my home. it's, it's not a, it's not a large home. It's a small two bedroom, one bathroom ranch home. Thankfully it has a full basement. I think my house is 710 square feet. I'm gonna a 15th of an acre. And so like I had to give up a lot of space and I think, but it was something that it's you know what?

I think I'm too comfortable. I'd become too comfortable living here at a nice cushy corporate America job where I was making a lot more money than they, they definitely wanted to pay me, which is probably why they laid everyone off. And so Rich came and he got here and it was, I, one, one problem that I have in you and I had discussed it quite a bit is I know where I want to take a business, or I know what I want to accomplish or what my goals are.

I have no issues dreaming or saying or declaring what I want, but, taking the steps or what steps do I need to take to get from point a to point B. I wasn't the best at I wasn't, I'm not very, I wasn't, I was trying a lot of things, but I was, I was winging it most of the time.

And, for one, one, just a lot of different, just a lot of different little things that had happened. And so when Richard came, it was like, dude, like it was a huge, we started just making huge changes because rich was given me. A ton of good feedback. a lot of times it's painful.

it's painful to live and be two grown men living in close quarters together. it's, it's not always hunky Dory around here. I. I say stupid stuff to him sometimes, or I'll get offended at something that he's saying to me, or we'll be we'll butt heads at times, it's always because we're working hard to accomplish something together.

so like immediately rich came and I was wanting to build like a building to have, because I was using my greenhouse a storage and Richard was just saying, before we even do that, we have to. We have to do this step first. And Rich was really like a systems and processes guy.

And I, I'm pretty good with systems when it comes to like working within a system and kind of figuring out how I could get it, but I'm not the best at, I didn't have a lot of experience building systems and, Rich's very, He's, he has some very OCD tendencies and I have some very chaotic tendencies.

So I think when you take OCD and chaos, you get some pretty good creative forces that come together. so just changes the Rich's approach to urban farming was very different. Then, a Curtis's or a lot of people that said, even just, he just had some ideas to where we can immediately increase, production of microgreens and my greenhouse of just simple solutions.

Like he just, we went and we got these nice big pallets. And then when he's just he's like, all we need is some cinder blocks swing and turn these into tables. So then we went and got some cinder blocks and we more than tripled my growing space in the greenhouse, just by doing something simple.

But, and I know I'm probably bouncing around because I'm trying to remember everything, but it was always like him and I he'd run some ideas off me. And then I bounced back with some different ideas and Richard would be like, Oh, okay. Yeah. And I think we could do it this way. one thing that he just had this gift of doing is seeing my sloppy attempts at having a grow room for micro greens in the basement or trying to grow stuff in the greenhouse or in really just coming through and make it taking something that looked like some part-time amateur was doing it to making it look really professional.

Diego: [00:19:53] Hearing it, it is that combination approach, combination of skills and deficiencies that match really well to make things work. And he's does the bulk of your production. You said he's the farm manager. In terms of the farm and the labor that goes into it. At this point with the microgreens operation, where do you fall? You said closest to where you can touch the money at the end of the day. So what part is he, what part is him and what part is you?

Drew Sample: [00:20:24] So Rich is the, I call him a plant whisper. Rich, just, he would, he likes to experiment with seeding trays and I hate seeding trays. I ain't do it. But it's okay, let me watch Curtis through it. Okay, good enough. I can do that. But Rich is, no, you got to have the right intention and you gotta, so rich started experimenting on, how could let's see how much soil we could reduce.

Let's see how much seed we could reduce and then let's, and then, he, then he waters it. but basically what rich does to answer your question. he gets, he seeds the trays, He makes sure they stayed water. He rotates on in between lights. He will tell me what we need to purchase, to make the operation better.

I harvest the trays. I package everything. I go to I'm the one that's sells to restaurants. I'm the one that delivers them in sense, spends time at restaurants, and really networking with the chefs and building relationships with kind of everyone within the restaurant. So I can get more referrals for free for friends that they have at other restaurants.

so I handle a lot like customer facing responsibilities. I'm at farmer's markets. I do the networking. But rich is the one that's okay. How do we figure out how to grow cilantro consistently? Because if you go online on who's growing, so micro salon show you read a hundred different things.

People have different, crazy theories that they do. and, enriches rich. We've got it pretty consistent. we're consistent getting about four and a half to a what we get and we're getting four and a half, four to four and a half ounces. Each tray. And about 14 days. And all the research we did was I, it was even from sites where you buy seed.

It's ah, don't water them a lot when they're germinating or keep them in the dark longer. Enrich just figured out, okay, so we're gonna, we're gonna weigh, we're gonna weigh him first. We're gonna have the trace stacked, just like you do with radish or P. And then after you do that for a couple of days, then you let it sit without weighing it.

So he's let's see if this helps or, he's very much so just the mad scientist when it comes to figuring out. What, how can we get stuff to yield better? what works best with germination? What do we need to increase germination within like our grow rooms? So we have like ventilation going through, coming up in the summertime.

If we need to do keep it running. We might put an AC unit in that room as well to to see if we need to keep it cool. Based on the way. So he's the guy that manages. A lot of the tough stuff when it comes to growing. I can throw seeds in dirt and I can water the trays and we can see if I can make stuff grow, my stuff has never looked as pretty as his stuff does.

and I give him feedback too. so when I'll, so when I, when he's done, when it's ready to harvest, I harvest it. I take a look at it, then I present it to the chefs. And then I asked chefs for honest opinions. What do you think about this product? How long is it lasting? What do you like most about it?

What could we do to improve it? What could we, So we have two different meticulous things that we do. But they're in different aspects of the business. He's very meticulous about the processes of what needs to get done on the farm. like as soon as I harvest trays, I need to, we, I dumped the trays, which were somehow managed to keep all the soil on the property, which I'm really happy about.

And. We have these, all these raised beds now across the property, it's him and I are meticulous in different things. And we, when we pay very close attention to very different things, but it works out. And the biggest thing is that we have to keep coming back and communicating and staying on the same page.

Diego: [00:24:03] And from a production level now, let's say with your main season production, How many trays of micros are you doing a week and how many crops make up that number?

Drew Sample: [00:24:14] So that is a great question. We have expanded quite a bit with restaurants in the wintertime. So I think now we are at, I couldn't tell you off the top of my head. I think I want to say we're up to about. 80 trays a week. I could be off. but we're up to about 80 trades a week. We have, let's see, we have one to four. I think we have about six crops. let's see, cilantro mustard or rugal and radish. So yeah, six crops. And I honestly, what I'm really prepping for now going into the spring, because we've had so much snow and it's been such a rough spring here in Ohio.

I haven't planned anything for field crops right now. my biggest concern is moving the microgreen operation from indoors to outdoors. and then we'll worry about what crops we're gonna, we're gonna start growing. I'm taking. Rich. And I decided that we need to take a different approach.

I can find people that I could purchase lettuce from. I want to keep having lettuce and salad mix for the farmer's market. but when it comes to what, my number one priority is, catering to the seven restaurants that I'm selling to, and figuring out using the micro greens to get in and then saying, Hey, I was talking to this farmer.

I think he has. this root crop, or I think he has this seasonal crop and kind of, and I'm trying to build a business. So I have chefs and they know that when things are in season, they can count on me to have it. and then here, what we really want to start focusing on is more kind of niche things.

we have a smaller. A smaller plot. So I think the more niche crops, high price value crops that we can have, whether it be, we're going to try, I think it's called ice plant or ice lettuce. There's multiple names for it. Chefs as requested that now, thankfully a lot of the chefs that I work with, they want to get some really good tasting.

PR plants around here that just grow as weeds, some varieties of purslane and other crops like that. So we're going to, we're going to try to experiment with that stuff. and I feel good because now we're in a position to where we're getting enough money in restaurant sales, to what I was making with farmer's market and restaurant sales at the end of last season.

So now I can, leverage. What we have. So now I know we can pay the bills. and now we can experiment with other things and become more of a niche. And then I can still go and support like my buddy, Joel, Cameron Harris, or any other local farmers that I know that maybe don't have the same sales network that I have yet. So that's the direction we're going with crops.

Diego: [00:26:57] So functioning as both a grower of the niche and then an aggregator of the other stuff.

Drew Sample: [00:27:02] Absolutely. Yeah, I think for me, I like to connect dots. Like I like to, I think I would, I find most fulfilling about this is it's helping people.

And I think like it's really rewarding to have chefs get really excited about what I'm bringing them. Like they really liked my micro greens and then they make crazier requests for me to grow crazy micro greens and. I talked to rich about it. He goes, we're not really at that point yet, which is another great function of rich.

Cause I immediately want to try it. Yeah, we can try that. And then rich is okay, let's slow down and really think about this. Okay. Let's what's taken this and account. How long is that going to be under the lights and stuff like that? Cause we're still limited with space. So we're still limited with space in the basement, but now what I'm looking forward to in the summertime is we're going to have more space because we have both the indoor.

Operations set up and then we're going to have the outdoor operations set up in the greenhouse. So now we have more space to grow. I like, I think that the one thing that I w I have to keep in focuses what my actual growth limit is, what my actual capacity is in the basement for the winter time.

and when I do pick, if I do pick up more restaurants is making sure that they know that this is going to be good for summer. And then once your menu changes, or once I have to bring crops and doors where we're, we might have to make some changes or it might, everything might not be available. And that's a good position to be in.

Diego: [00:28:28] A lot of what you've hit on in this episode is building relationships, connecting dots, networking with chefs and for you, the production side of things was grinding. For a lot of farmers out there, the selling side, that's the grinding, that's the part that people don't want to do, pretend doesn't exist.

Coming out of the sales world, what have you learned and how has that helped you as a seller of farm product? How have you been able to build these relationships and how much time and what goes into them? Give them an inside, look from somebody who enjoys doing this and does it well.

Drew Sample: [00:29:08] it's so it's difficult to sometimes think about what it is I do, because I've done it for awhile.

Like when you do something for a while, It becomes just second nature, just your nature. so so my restaurant now, all of my restaurants really started. let's see, I got two of 'em. I have that weren't from referrals from something else and I don't, man, I don't like to hit the pavement.

I'm not a person that wants to just go around the city and. Handout samples and all that crap. I don't like that. I think you might get some, one off purchases. I have, I've I don't have many restaurants that I have. I don't have actually any restaurants that were like, okay. Yeah, let's get a weekly order that wasn't a warm handoff from or a warm lead.

So in sales is, Diego there's warm leads and cold leads. So a cold lead or a cold. Cold market is you walk in there are you make a phone call, just a cold call and you say, Hey, I'm a farmer as a chef. And then you go down there and you bring them some product. And then you've got to try to sell yourself like, that's a tough gig to do.

you're going to be nervous and everything else like that, I think it could be done. And I'm not saying that it, I think if you don't have any warm leads into restaurants or you don't know people that work at restaurants, that's what you gotta do, but for. For me personally, it was who I know.

So I, my main restaurant that started that actually got me into a total of four restaurants. I actually met because I saw a guy wearing, I was at a bar and I saw a guy wearing a, kitchen outfit. and I knew there was a fancy restaurant, right? A couple. Spots down. And I just went and started talking to him about food.

He was talking about how much I like pigs and w we just started talking about food and had a good time. And he ended up being the kitchen supervisor, and he got me a meeting with those chefs. And then they bought from me a couple of times, and then I kinda I'd fallen off. And then when I, when I decided I was going to make the decision that, okay, I'm going to do this and I'm really going to go at it.

it was ramp season. So it was this time of the year. And it was like a forge crop that I knew chefs liked. So I had the chef's email and I sent her an email and I said, do you want, ramps? And she goes, yeah. And then I just go in there. So when I got to the ramp, she loved him so much. And then I'd just have small talk with her.

just talk to her about normal things. Like I honestly, I just talked to people about what I'm doing, or I talked to him about the operations on the farm because chefs actually, I really liked that stuff. They want to know where their food comes from. They want to know they think that's us cool.

they want to have a relationship with the food that they're working with and a great way for you to bridge that relationship is for you to talk to them about it. you don't there you'll learn how long, you don't like a managed thing. Like you don't want to talk to yourself cause they're busy people, there's a sweet spot.

every time I go uni, if I go into my bank, I try to make sure that I make I'm smiling, that I make whenever, the bank tellers helping me. I'm make sure I take time to just make them smile or talk about their day, or just try to make them take a break because. working in a kitchen or working at a retail spot.

that's a grind. And I think you, if you come from it from like an empathetic lens and realize, Hey, what would it take if I was them? What would make me happier? What would take me out of like my grind, because working in a kitchen can suck. I don't know how many.

Farmers that sell I've worked in kitchens before, but it's tough business, man. that's, it's, you work in close confinement, it's hot, you got your wa people are walking around with sharp knives, so you gotta be aware of. And, so I think if you can be, a brightness in their day, and just come in and be happy and smile at them.

Like they're going to like you and they're going to want to buy from you. and then you just make sure that all you, then you're just really consistent. for me, it was what do you need? And then I would just try to constantly help them and make sure that all their needs were met. And then I got a referral to another restaurant and they're like, Oh, I'm good friends at that chef.

So then I started always talking to them and also too, every time I make a delivery, I ask them what they thought of the product last week. What would, what could I change? what would make it better for you? just simple sales stuff that I've learned, like listening to your chefs is a big deal.

they're your customers. I, if you buy something. And you're unhappy with it. And the person doesn't care that you bought it from, it makes you pretty upset, but if you buy something and then something's unhappy about it and then you give them an opportunity to make it, you talk to them so you can have an opportunity to make it right for them in a sense.

so I think just for me, I think what's really helped out is that I want the chef's feedback. Like I want them to know that our relationship. Is really important to me. Like it's really important to me that you like what I'm bringing to you. It's really important to me that you think that this is the best stuff you can get in Ohio. So that's kinda what I strive for. So when I'm talking to chefs, all I'm taking all that stuff into consideration.

Diego: [00:34:14] Can you think of any changes you've made as a direct result of chef feedback that aren't just minor?

Drew Sample: [00:34:20] Yeah. one of them was, they wanted stuff smaller. it was, they wanted, I see a lot of them even, here they don't, the chefs don't want long stemmed pea shoots, or they don't want long stemmed radish shoots.

They don't want stamps. they don't want something that they buy from me that they have to cut. I think they're used to doing it so they don't complain, but if you give them an option to where they don't have to. they're pretty happy about it. it might take my yield down a little bit, but that's okay.

I have happy customers that give me more happy customers. So like pea shoots, I don't have, I'll grow them long, but I hack them. there still is quite a bit of STEM when I harvest. that I've cut off. So they want the lease, but they don't want the rest of the plant.

so I, so growing that, actually growing cilantro, the main chef that I worked with, the whole reason why I started growing cilantro. Was because she was looking for something she could buy for me. And she said, do you think you could grow micro cilantro? I'm like, you know what, we'll try it.

So then rich and I started starting messing with it. And now cilantro is like one of our main crops. because the stuff that I, that we grow has so much flavor versus the competition that it's not even a question. And then it turns out my price point is a lot better too. So I think, I've changed a lot and I look to change more if I can and if it makes more chefs happy.

Diego: [00:35:43] When it comes to them, passing off business to you or giving you a warm lead, is it just, Hey Drew, you should call so-and-so at such and such restaurant, or is it you saying, Hey, do you have any friends that run restaurants that you think might like the product or is it both?

Drew Sample: [00:35:59] it's a mix of both. surprisingly, I'll have chefs that tell me, I should raise my prices. There'll be like, you should really raise your prices just to do that for me. Like you could sell this stuff for so much more than what you're selling it for. And, and if demand gets to a point, I'll raise my prices again.

but I raised prices the first time because my chef was like, I like working with you and I want you to stay in business and your prices are just way too low. You need to raise your prices. so I did, I raised them like, by 25%. so it, and they didn't even blink an eye. everyone was still happy to receive them.

yeah, it's a mixture of both. I'll ask them for referrals and then they can't think of anything at first. And then they'll find somebody and they'll say, Hey. They'll do either text me and they'll say, Hey, this is this person's number, reach out to them and see if you can give them samples.

I would way rather have a warm lead. So that way, when I go into a restaurant, I can get by the host or who's ever there. That's the gatekeeper there. And, cause I've been when I was doing it cold, I would get caught up by the gatekeeper, even if it was them saying, Hey, you should go to that restaurant.

But if I didn't have a warm lead of knowing the chef's name, so I could say, Oh, this person's expecting me. That's a lot harder to get by that gatekeeper because they're doing their job. They know that they don't want their chefs being bothered, especially from some guy off the street. But if you go in and say, Hey, I'm here to see chef Doug and chef Doug is expecting me.

Then it's way easier to get in. So it's a mixture of both. I, certain times it's, you should really do that because they want to help me. Cause they really liked me and other times, it's me saying, Hey, is there anyone else who, that you think would want to buy this stuff? And then they would think about it, recently, because demand has picked up and, it's, we're at this point, to where most of the money that goes into infrastructure needs to go back outside instead of inside.

I haven't really tried to expand. that much. and I've had to, when I picked up a consistent, another consistent weekly order, I had to say the chef, Hey, I want to, but I don't want to tell you yes. Let me call my farm manager and make sure that we can do that. And then I'll call rich and him, and I will talk about it.

We'll say, do we have, cause what do we have space forward? Do you think we can do three more pounds a week consistently? And then we'll discuss it. And then if we decide, yes, then we do it. so I think, and then I'll call the chef and tell them, and they're pretty grateful. I think that, being mindful and not wanting to make promises that I can't keep. It goes a long way.

Diego: [00:38:34] Given that you're very relationship-driven, and you're selling to all of these restaurants, do you grow any of the same product differently for different restaurants? So cilantro this size for one restaurant, different size for another one or pea shoots one way for one and different for another?

Drew Sample: [00:38:52] So surprisingly, no, the chefs that are picky. they tell me what they want. I might for pea tendrils, I'm trying to, the new restaurant I just picked up. They have a little bit longer pea tendrils, and then all the other chefs, like the pizza Angeles is a certain size. Like some chefs, they don't care.

They're either. They're just like, Oh, that tastes good. It lasts long. And the, in the cooler. we're pretty good. We are, we're not as picky about the length. Other chefs are very more particular and they're like, this is why I want it that size. And then they'll show me how they want to use it as a garnish on a plate.

I'll take a picture and I'll send it to rich and rich, and I will talk about it. or, but thankfully the picky ones typically like the same thing, like they want it to be smaller, or they'll make suggestions. And I'll make a change. Then I present it to another ship that's picky and they'll actually surprisingly like it as well.

So I haven't really run into that. It seems like most of the chefs that they're usually picky in the same way and it's, and I could just be lucky, which I'm not gonna. I'm not going to, I'm not going to say it's, I don't want to say all the chefs are the same down here, cause they're definitely not.

But, a lot of them come from like the same. They've either all worked at the same restaurant at one time. So that's the advantage of the referrals too, is they've worked together. So they typically work similar. They operate in a similar fashion. so I haven't really run into that, but the, the tangible thing is the first words.

I want them a little bit longer. So then I just, I guess I just harvest a couple trays a little bit later. so I'm not to a point. I get where people would want to harvest everything at the same time, but I think like right now I'm harvesting, I think our harvest, like four days a week, I have one big day. And then I have a few days where it's just a little or stuff.

Diego: [00:40:39] Are there any crops which you've tried to grow in the past that chefs want, and you just can't make a marker. Rich can't make them work?

Drew Sample: [00:40:46] You decided to throw the towel in on corn shoots. corn shoots were like a cool thing. It was cheap. And then, my, the seed that was cheap kind of went away. And then I was like, man, this is getting expensive. And then we couldn't get them to grow. We, it was one of those things to where, listening to Chris, throw on your show and him talking about how all he did was pea shoots at first. And we were, we just decided, we I've scratched, sunflower shoots and corn shoots.

Sunflower shoots was my decision. Corn shoots was a mixed decision between rich and I. rich didn't mind that we scratched sunflower shoots it. They are a nice crop because they yield well, but the pain of the husks, and even when I'd clean them and I'd have to take extra time to clean them. And to me, they would still look like crap.

It was one of those things to where everything that we're delivering looks beautiful. and I would only do the sunflower shoots at farmer's markets. so I might start it up again in the summertime, but I don't, I've never really tried to sell them to the restaurants because I don't like the way they look like I'm not, I probably could get in sunflower shoots if I wanted to, the idea of getting a bubbler set up here and.

Washing stuff and drying it. I'm just not really a fan of, I don't want to, it's a lot of extra steps that I don't want to do. if my stuff's not dirty, I'm not gonna wash it. if there's not dirt all over it, I'm not going to wash it. Especially with dainty greens, like a rugala and mustard, or even radish to a certain extent.

pea peas are fine if you wash them or sunflower, but. I don't want to wash micro cilantro. Like it's, that's a really dainty crop and you're going to probably damage and ruin the shelf life of it. those two crops for sure. and it wasn't even necessarily that we couldn't get them to work.

It was what do we really. What's going to be more beneficial if we figure out how to really yield micro cilantro right now, or something else. So we definitely are going to experiment with some more with some perennial microgreens I have a lot of requests for mint, and I have requests for surprisingly dandy lion.

but we'll see. we're not, we don't want to make promises. We might experiment with it, but we've just been. it going ending last season and then having to move thing in doors and then trying to replace that farmer's market income that went away was, so our biggest, our biggest thing was okay, let's get the basement going.

Okay. The basement is going, got to get some ventilation in. Okay. We're going to expand. We got to get some more shelves. So we haven't had a lot of time to really experiment with things like corn shoots or Cole, Robbie, or beets, or other things that I actually have seeds for already. they're definitely on a list for us to try, but it's just knowing when is when, Oh, we want to try Bazell as well, but it's also, knowing when is it, when is the appropriate time to start?

Cause I know that there's a market for those things, when it comes to. Experimenting when you have limited shelf space. and you want to try to maximize what you have to try to get that cash flow coming in. it's knowing when it's a good idea to experiment. And when is a good idea to just really perfect what you already have going on,

Diego: [00:43:59] Given the limited space, how do you deal with a situation that could come up in the future? If your demand keeps coming up with restaurants? even if you don't add new varieties and just grow the varieties you have, at some point you're at capacity for the space you have is the answer then to say, no, I can't take on anymore.

Drew Sample: [00:44:20] that's a good question, Diego and I, I think about that sometimes. I think maybe, no, I don't know. I'd be okay with saying no. Or I'd also be okay with saying, okay, I could do this crop, but not that crop. but I think, if I get to the point where I'm saying no regularly, too, and I'm in that much demand, I think I would raise my prices. And then I think if I raise my prices and I still have that demand, then I might look into expanding.

Thankfully Diego, I have a really good. A local mentor here. who's been selling microgreens for about 10 years. And I've picked his brain quite a bit. I, we work together. I get my soil through him, his name. I'll shout them out if that's okay. His name is Joseph Swain and he's got a, he's he mainly does mushrooms and microgreens and one thing he told me and just really.

Allowing me to pick his brain and we, I have a no compete clause with him. Like I don't sell at the scene. Farmer's markets. If somebody, if a restaurant is already selling to him, I don't talk to that restaurant. If they ask me, I say, look, me and Swain, we work together. I'm not competing with Swain.

I'm not trying to take his business. and he does the same for me. I think, we there's so many, there's. There's 2 million people in the metropolitan area of Columbus. So there's so many restaurants, there's so many outlets that we could sell. we can, there's no reason why we can't work together.

And so Swain, he went from being similar. He has a bigger yard than me and he went from his basement and went and got a warehouse. Cause his demand went so much and he's honestly, man, I make the same amount of money. when I scaled up it was, I kept my prices the same and I, I'm in a position now with the warehouse where I can make more money.

But with the cost of the bills and everything else, it's, I'm pretty much making the same amount of money as I was in my house. He's like scale is, and, it's something that Greg burns talks a lot about and, scale is scaling any business. There's a lot of factors you have to take into, you just have to take a lot of factors into thought.

there was an opportunity to where there was a whole. People that there was a, there's an owner that Swain used to sell to that all their restaurants, they would need 35 pounds a week. And, it was presented to me and it was like, man, I'm not trying to scale up that fast. I think if I was gonna take on any of that, I want to do one restaurant at a time and I'd want to do only certain crops at a time.

I don't, I think it's dangerous for farmers and it's easy to do because you see the dollar signs. On the other end of that scale, but you're not necessarily seeing everything else. You're not seeing the extra time you have to put in. You're not seeing the upfront money you have to spend.

you're not taking into consideration. Okay. My system works on this level, but I don't even have this system perfected. Why would I want to go and scale up to that much more, that's going to triple or quadruple my production. So it, and it's just dangerous. I think, you even see it with people that work in the field.

And I was almost a victim to that, after my first season, because I had, I was going to quit my job and move on my buddy's property and. Start farming an acre to try to make more money. And it's the same problems are just going to follow me. And it was kinda, something having a good friend who's been self-employed for a while, like Greg burns and being able to have him sit me down and talk about everything that I'd have to take into consideration before I did that was, I'm pretty blessed to have that.

And I think it falls back on my relationship. So yeah. To answer your question. I don't know. I think it depends on the situation. I think what I would want to do first is say no, raise my prices. And then if I keep raising prices and that demand's not going away, then looking to see what a warehouse so might be able to move into and some depressed urban area in Columbus, Ohio.

Diego: [00:48:12] One thing you mentioned earlier was just balancing out lifestyle. How do you feel at this point between what you have to do for the business and life? Do you feel like now that you have these segmented roles, you do what you like best you do, what you do well best and rich does what he does that work doesn't feel so much like work.

Drew Sample: [00:48:36] Yeah, I think so. I think I need to help rich more in a lot of different areas and I think, You know there's definitely there's, I'm still, we, him and I work very differently and I need to communicate with him more and figure out what I can do to help him more because he's the type of personality.

To where if he just thinks it needs to get done. And I say, I'm going to do it. And I'm dragging my feet. He's just going to do it. And then we'll run into situations to where that's happening in. and I don't want him to ever feel like he's being taken advantage of. And unfortunately I think it probably does happen cause I get distracted or I'm finding, I'm still looking at shiny objects or, Trying to maybe try, experiment blocking off period of time for another spot of entrepreneurship.

so I definitely could, I definitely feel that way. I have time. So where, cause I still the farms bringing in money now. I think it like last month that we made the, it was like 2000 in revenue and it can go up quite a bit. but it's also. I'm still working offsite.

Like I'm a contracted employee at my buddy's pizza shop. so I just get a 10 99 there and he works with me quite a bit, so I can just work Friday and Saturday. And then once farmer's market season comes. I'll, he'll probably let me go down to one day week or take time off. So he respects what I do.

And so that helps having those relationships. but yeah, I definitely time to do the things I want to do. but I could definitely do a better job of spending more time on the business or in the business. I'm still learning. this is the first, this is, it's almost one full year that I've been doing this full time.

and it's even then when I say full time, it's not even full time. I'm maybe putting in 20 hours, rich is probably putting in more hours because of what he does and just our approaches are very different. So I could definitely put more time in and try to help rich more. and I want to do that more in the future.

Diego: [00:50:33] One other thing I want to circle back to is one specific part of the process that you do focus on as part of those 20 hours, you do the harvesting and I visited your place last fall. And you showed a lot of what you learned about harvesting and making it presentable to chefs. I'm assuming based on chef's feedback and just your thoughts. Can you talk about your approach to harvesting and packaging the product because it's very different than just cut it, throw it in a container.

Drew Sample: [00:51:07] Yeah, I was cutting it and throwing it in a container and because rich is the plant whisper. He had a bit of a, like a confrontation, but it was a good one.

And he was like, true. That is a live, if you just throw it in that container, it's going to get bruised. It's going to mess with the shelf life. It's going to do this. and so it's it doesn't take much time to cut it and gently put in a container. and it was something to, I saw a Swain.

So when I went to Swains, He cause he was selling us so many restaurants. He just had these little containers that were reusable. So I didn't have to constantly buy containers that are just getting thrown away. just plastic going in a landfill. So it was one of these things to where, we found that these, we could fit about a pound in these little Sterilite containers.

so from talking to chefs, I had figured out. They had told me that because what I would do is I'd bring it, bring them the microgreens in a container and they'd get paper towels and they'd put it, lay them down and wet the paper towel a little bit, and then put the, another towel on top to try to keep the humidity in the green.

So they, they last longer in the cooler. So from watching them do that and then, just working with rich, And to him saying true, keeping in mind that, these things are still alive and they're slowly dying after you harvest them. it, I'm very careful with it.

So when I cut I'll take a handful and I gently place it in the container while it's on the scale and I make a cut and I gently place it and it's, and I can still harvest a tray and like in a minute, so it doesn't take, it doesn't take too much longer. and then that way, when I deliver it to.

Restaurants. I have cooks that are, line cooks. Say, man, I love your stuff. My favorite thing about it, not just the flavors when I opened it just looks really nice and orderly. because I have everything fate. I try to have everything facing the same way. I don't get too meticulous with it.

but I want it to, I don't want it to look like crap. that's something that's coming from me and even if. If I have beautiful crops, why wouldn't I want them presented in a way to where they look even more beautiful. So I, that's the thing that, I think, working in retail for a while with presentation and something else too, working in retail, which I'm pretty sure will probably want me to talk about is how I switched my containers.

So I was getting, I was getting obsessed with how I was selling my containers of, greens at the farmer's market too. I had, I had these shelves that these crappy clamshells that, I was putting them in and I'd put two ounces of micro greens in, and these containers, like the lids would pop off and it was so annoying for me.

I'm like, man, I wonder. I've imagined if it's, if one of my customers have, and they're like, what the heck? This sucks. And so when I had that, I hated those containers. So then I switched to, containers based on what rate Tyler had told me. He uses for his salad greens. When he sells to grocery stores, he gets them from like the Webster on store.

So I looked at these plastic containers he was using. I was like, Oh, they have smaller size. let me get. This size. So then I started putting two ounce, two ounces of micro greens in there, and I was still selling them, for the same price. I do Curtis a system one for three or two for five, and then.

I had bought in smaller containers cause I had experimented in selling other people's herbs and it just didn't really go well. And then at one point I ran out of containers and my sales weren't really microgreen sales. it was really I, consumers, microgreens still aren't chefs are aware of them, but a lot of consumers and a lot of the farmer's markets I was in.

Weren't really as familiar with them. So I'd have to do a lot of educating. so what I did was, cause I wasn't doing the herbs. I was like, you know what? I'm out of containers. I want to use these containers. Let's do an experience and let's see what happens when I cut them down to one ounce. And it's in the, in a similar looking container.

And then I'll do one ounce for one, for three or two for five, and pretty much double what I'm getting out of per pound. And let's see if the customer actually likes it more, cause there's going to be less in it. So they might be more likely to try it. My theory was correct. I sell microgreens by the announce.

It's like pretty much two 50 an ounce, at the farmer's markets. And, people actually buy it a lot more because, they didn't want too much if you only give them one option on microgreens and they think it's too much, they're not going to purchase it because they don't want it to go to waste.

Like people aren't by most people that I've discovered that shop at farmer's markets, they use it as like this feel good. Thing to do, or they could support a local farmer and they want to support you. But at the same time, they feel guilty. If your food, if the food they buy from you goes bad. I was taking that into mind.

So I, so I had switched containers and ended up making a lot more money and that containers costs less. So not only was I making money. More money on what I was getting per pound, that I was actually making more money. Cause I was reducing my expenses at the same time. I'm still thinking now, like I'm thinking, about maybe selling a larger size, cause I'm going to, I'm switching it up this year to where I'm going to be every other week at farmer's markets.

Cause I like a couple of markets quite a bit and I don't want to just do one of them. So one is, every year there's two Saturdays a month and the other one's every Saturday. I'm going to try to mix it up and see how that works, at those farmer's markets. So if it's a more hip, community and they're more hip to microgreens, I might have larger containers where I sell more and I might do one for five or two for eight, something along those lines as well.

I haven't decided yet. I'm still, but I'm kicking around different ideas for how I can package things and price things to where people feel like they're getting the most value for their money.

Diego: [00:56:49] And if you're going to do sunflower shoots, you mentioned that potentially doing that at a farmer's market. Would that be something you're selling more volume of? Cause it's a salad additive.

Drew Sample: [00:56:58] That's a good question. one thing I noticed at the farmer's markets, is pea shoots sell so much more at certain markets because of like the health. And it's the same as sunflower. Just like you're saying, because it's like this, Oh, I can throw this in my salad.

and a lot of people don't like the spicy, but the spicy actually I can sell a lot more too. Men that don't eat vegetables. Like they love mustard greens. And it's like something that I've so many of my friends, even my brother who knows that I eat vegetables and he doesn't, he's has a kid now and he's gonna, He's getting married.

And so he's he's thinking more about his health. He's man, is there any way you can teach him how to grow this mustard? Or I can get mustard from your bowl? Cause I know it's a vegetable and it's good for me. And I know that I can eat that. So it's, I think what I try to do at the farmer's markets for the value add is I do try to really sell it on health.

people know they should eat greens, but they think greens have to taste like crap. And so if you can present something to them, to where they're not. They're not, Oh, I can feel good about, I can feel good and still have something tastes good. They get pretty excited about it.

Diego: [00:58:02] Thinking along those lines where you're selling lettuce, like a field crop lettuce at the farmer's market booth. Is that just to have something else to sell those people who are already buy a microgreens, does that help draw people in because that's familiar or is it just complimentary, when you have what sounds like a robust microgreens business, I'm thinking like why mess with lettuce?

Drew Sample: [00:58:25] Yeah. So that's a great question. I've kicked that around. So I do a lot more, revenues, a lot higher when I have the salad there, because I can get people that are on the fence about microgreens to say, Hey, for an extra $2, man, you can get these mustard greens. And what will I eat them on? man, put them on your burgers. I'll try to like, pretend like they're not healthy. Put them on sandwiches, man. Put them in breakfast burritos, throw them in your eggs, throw them on top. Dude. They taste good. They add flavor. I'm very much for a pro I'm a pro fat diet for sure.

I think the science is out. And I think I try to do my part and get that information out there and say, get in your kitchen and have some fun, man. enjoy the food you're eating. so I think so when I had this salad, a lot of times I think for my farmer's markets, there's so many moms and there's so many, women and like the 20 to 40 range that like to eat salads and they are so happy to get my salads.

And so it's a value add, I think. People that are, I think Columbus, even though we're a pretty hip city, the peop there's still a lot of people that are still not hip to what microgreens are. And they only think that they're familiar with some flower or pea shoots, but they don't even understand that they're just small vegetables.

so the salad is there mainly for, because it's something that they know and it's good lettuce. I think that even if you put it on sandwiches or you just wash it. it has good flavor. So it is, and it goes back to why I'm just kinda I'd rather just buy the lettuce from somebody else rather than take the time to harvest it and everything.

I'd rather just buy it and package it and sell it. because having a crop like lettuce is it like the bags of salad? you can, when you do one for three and two for five, you get about 10 bucks a pound. sometimes you get more and it's a great way to get people in the door with microgreens.

So I, people love the salad greens. I don't like taking a lot of crops to the farmer's markets. I don't want to mess with Kerry and all that stuff. Like it's. I want to have as much fun as possible and make as much money as I can when it comes to the farmer's market. So I don't, it's stressful for me to have to, especially if the parking situation sucks and I have to, carry my stuff a long ways away.

And then I have to keep certain things like when you're selling greens, it's already a thing to where you have to have a system to where. You're getting things in and out of cool bags or stuff like I have little coolers that deliver stuff in and I'll have ice packs in there.

I'll have all by ice and then I'll have my bags of lettuce sitting on type the ice. And if it's a really hot day, I got to constantly rotate those lettuce, that lettuce out. So having like crops that I have to spray with water and all that stuff, it's for me, it's it kills the mood. So I found real quick that if I just have microgreens and another product, it's a lot easier to the one for a one for five or one for three or two for five.

And then I think if I could do like half pound bags of lettuce and, Bigger containers of microgreens that we're at want to experiment with this. I could also have one for five or two for eight sort of deal. I'm not sure. I'll see how it goes, but, the lettuce is definitely too to answer your question. I like the, I could I've done. at farmer's markets without the salad greens, but it's a, it's an easy way for me to make an extra 50 to 75 to a hundred dollars a farmer's market.

Diego: [01:01:47] Yeah, it makes sense. And it fits with your branding. Like you're the salad slash garnish guy. If you're going to put lettuce on a burger, you throw the microgreens on there as well. It just, they fit together. Nice.

Drew Sample: [01:01:57] Absolutely. Yeah. And I actually had a rebrand and this is a funny story too. I actually just in the process of rebranding from Capitol city gardens to capital city greens as well. So I think it will fit with. that new brand. Cause what it's funny.

So what happened was, is I was winning the Google or with capital city gardens and then a nursing home popped up. And I totally forgot that, from studying Curtis and JM and Canada, where they refer to things as gardens a lot more than we do. I forgot that a lot of farms and gardens, and the States are either apartment complexes, nursing homes, or housing developments.

So businesses with those names or entities with those names. So six months, I think it was actually eight months after I registered capital city gardens. Another business registered. Which is capital city gardens nursing and rehabilitation center. because I was winning the Google war with Capitol city gardens, I started getting a lot of phone calls for, people telling me they weren't gonna show up to work that day or people telling me that they needed somebody to come and change their adult diaper.

And I had all kinds of things that were funny and sad all at the same time. And I'm like, man, I need to. I just need to change my name. And I think cap city greens or Capitol city greens just fits what I do a lot better. Cause I'm not. When I first did Capitol city gardens, I did have that idea of what we talked about earlier of having the root crops and having multiple field crops.

And now it's I just really want it. It's one of those things where I have a smaller property so that the smaller, the property really the less. the less kind of crop variety you really want to have. It's seems so far

Diego: [01:03:38] overall you're crushing it. I love what you're doing there in Columbus.

Maybe we can follow up later this year, see how some of these new crops go, how the farmer's markets evolve for people that want to follow along with what you're doing. You do a podcast you're on social, where the best places to go to listen and see.

Drew Sample: [01:03:57] Thank you, Diego. yes, my podcast is sample hour. It's the sampler, but it's just sample r.com.

You can find it pretty much everywhere. if there's, if you listen to your show on a different. Podcast player and you can't find it there. Please write me an email. It's just the sample hour@gmail.com. You can also follow me on Instagram. I'm at drew sample. My business is at cap city greens. you can friend me on Facebook.

I'm on Twitter, but I'm not really on Twitter, but you can follow me there. Sometimes my Instagram goes onto there. but yeah, that's pretty much it. Diego. Thank you so much for having me on today, man.

Diego: [01:04:34] There you have it drew sample of capital city greens in Columbus, Ohio. If you want to learn more from drew or listen to some of the podcasts that Drew's done, be sure to check them out at the links listed in the show description for this episode.

I really want to thank drew for coming on today and sharing his story. If you're somebody who'd be interested in doing a future podcast episode to share your story, feel free to reach out and shoot me an email. And one other note, as we head into summer, Lately, I've been migrating a lot of the old archives from early versions of farm, small farm smart, and the urban farmer over to the new podcast, feed the feed you're listening to right now in the past, the old urban farmer episodes.

Weren't on this feed. I'm slowly moving them over. So if one episode a week isn't enough and you're craving more farming talk, be sure to check out some of the older episodes on this feed to satisfy your craving. That's all for this one. Thanks for listening today. And thanks for listening always. And for all the support that you send my way, I really appreciate that next week.

I'll be back with another small-scale farmer, making a go of it between now and then keep hustling and crushing it until the next episode where it's all about farming, small and farming smart.

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