Growing a Farm Business with a Successful Farmstand featuring Jenny Quiner (FSFS158)

 

Listen to more episodes of Farm Small Farm Smart

 

          There are a number of ways to maximize your farm’s income and make it more profitable. You can do that by cutting costs, cutting time, or cutting labor. But you can also do it by growing sales. And that doesn’t just mean growing more crops and selling more crops.

          In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about growing your farm by getting creative and diversifying your income streams. We have farmer, business owner and mother Jenny Quiner on the show today to shine some light on what she did and how she got her business booming.

 

Today’s Guest: Jenny Quiner

          Jenny is a mother, a farmer, and the business owner of Dogpatch Urban Gardens in Iowa. She’s been farming for a few years and along the way has set up her own farm stand where she sells both her products and products that she outsourced from other local producers. On top of that, she has also diversified her income streams with other creative ventures.

 

Relevant Links

          Dogpatch Urban GardensWebsite | Facebook | Instagram

 

In this episode of Farm Small, Farm Smart

  • Evolving the business from farm to farm stand (03:15)
  • Putting your time where it’s most valuable (06:00)
  • Managing a diversified farm (14:30)
  • Allocating funds and investing on enterprises (17:00)
  • The thought process on growing the business (19:35)
  • Salad subscriptions and where it makes sense (22:15)
  • Factoring in the restaurant clients (28:35)
  • Focusing on moving more product (30:00)
  • Considering growing for season extension and increasing profitability (33:15)
  • Other products the farm stand is stocking (35:30)
  • Managing diversity of products (37:40)
  • Balancing the product display and farm stand aesthetic (42:10)
  • Deciding which products to add to the farm stand (45:40)
  • Being nice vs. what the business needs (49:15)
  • Growing the customer base (53:20)
  • Diversifying the farm enterprises with the target demographic in mind (57:45)
  • What to consider when it comes to commercial kitchens (58:50)
  • Considering and starting a farm stand (01:01:50)
  • Balancing being a mother, farmer, and business owner (01:03:25)
  • Using downtime to reflect on what was and what will be (01:07:00)

 

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FSFS158_JennyQuiner

Diego: [00:00:00] The best and fastest way to grow your farm business might not be to produce more product on your farm. The answer might be in sourcing product from other farms. More on that in this episode, coming up.

Welcome to farm small farm smart. I'm your host Diego, DIEGO. Today's episode of farm, small farm smart is brought to you by Paper Pot Co. your source for all things, paper pot transplanter.

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And if you're looking to make your far more profitable, not by cutting costs or cutting time or cutting labor, but instead by growing sales, then this episode is going to be a good one for you.

Because today I'm talking to farmer, Jenny Quiner from Dogpatch urban gardens. Jenny's been farming for a few years in Iowa and along the way she started in on farm stand. It's a farm stand, where she sells product that she produces from her farm and also product that she aggregates from other farms and other businesses in her area. It's been a hugely successful model for her. And in many ways it's the future of her farm. Let's jump right into it. Ideas for growing a farm business with a farm stand featuring Jenny Quiner.

[00:02:45] So, Jenny, it�s been about a year since we last talked your, the farm, her at Dogpatch urban gardens in Dogpatch urban gardens is really many things beyond the farm.

You're a community builder. You're a community hub. You are an urban farm, and then you have the Dogpatch urban gardens farm stand. At this point in the business, is it more farm or is it more farm stand for DUG?

Jenny Quiner: [00:03:16] Things have really shifted. So we're just finishing up our third season and years one and two, I felt like most of my time was devoted to the farm and the farm stand was just like this offshoot of naturally what we produce.

We're going to sell it. But now in year three, I'm still doing a lot in the farm. But I've got more employees working out there and I've shifted my focus more to running and managing the farm stand. And as I look forward to next year, we've added a commercial kitchen, which I'm sure we'll talk about more in depth, but I envisioned the focus going more to what's happening in the commercial kitchen, less on the farm.

But that being said, I envision hiring more people. So I want to ideally have a farm stand manager, a kitchen manager, and I'm the one that kind of oversees everything going on. So it's been pretty cool to see the business evolve and just the short amount of time.

Diego: [00:04:12] And you're shifting over more to the farm, stand away from the farm. Has that been more chasing what's working the best or are chasing where more of the growth is or where more attention is needed or what's led to the shift. you could hire on the farm and you could, where you could hire in the farm stand and then stay at the opposite side of where you hire.

Why have you gone the route more farm stand than form?

Jenny Quiner: [00:04:41] I think it comes down to where the money is. Looking at our books about 75% of our income is coming from the farm stand. And then the rest are our salad, subscription, and restaurants. Those are our key sales venues. So really I see the most value in the farm stand.

All that being said, I'm still working in the farm every day and I have farm stand employees as well. One reason people love to come shop at the farm is the experience. they can go to the local grocery store and get essentially the same foods, but they can't see the farm. They can't interact with the farmer and they really enjoy the interaction that they get from me.

and all that being said, I've even tried to step away more from the farming season, just to have more of that balance. And so like our salad, subscription pickups last season, I was there every Thursday interacting with people. Now it's sad to say, but there are some members I don't even know who they are because I'm not around nearly as much during those pickup times. So I'm still finding that balance for sure.

Diego: [00:05:44] Yeah. And if you look back to before three years ago, when you started. Did you have an idea of why you wanted to get into farming and some sort of vision about it. And then do you feel any sort of conflict now, would that vision like, I'm sure there was some sort of I want to grow crops.

I, I want to spend time on the farm and I hear you saying, I'm still spending time there on a day to day basis, but you're also spending more time on the farm stand. Is there. Any sort of romantic let down by being more at the farm stand or is it just finding a different joy? No,

Jenny Quiner: [00:06:19] I would not say there is a romantic lockdown because I'm still having my hands in the soil quite a bit. It's just kind of natural progression of as a business owner, you put your time in where it's needed and where it's the most valuable it's three years ago when we started the farm, I never would have envisioned the farm stand to be as.

Successful as it is right now. And the idea that it's really this community spot where people like to come. And it's cool to think about where the future holds, because now we're at a point where, okay, we're pretty much got a good system and we're looking to expand the farm stand in certain ways.

But now we're looking at using the land as in a place, as a place for events as a place for workshops, because we actually just sat down with a business planner yesterday. And when we're looking at the numbers. There's a lot of money to be had in workshops and events. And that's a, this winter that's my big focus is getting all of those things scheduled in basically for next season, because we've really just realized that our farm, we need to be making money every day.

And so how can we do that? For example, I just launched my online store. It's not perfect at this point, but just another way where I'm sleeping, I can make money. And as a business owner, if you're not making money, you're not going to survive.

Diego: [00:07:37] That's a really good way to look at it, making money every day for a lot of farm based businesses, they tend to get lumpy cashflow coming in.

It's either at a weekly farmer's market, or if it's a CSA-only farm, then your money comes in all up front and that's it. To add synergistic bolt-on businesses that help balance out that lumpiness and bring cash in more frequently probably takes the stress off and it also makes more things possible because more cash just in general means, okay, I can hire somebody, which means I can focus on the business or I can buy this tool, or I can put in a high tunnel, which means I can grow these crops.

You can start to leverage that cash more. And just, but you have to be at the point where you can add on these businesses to get that cash coming in more consistently.

Jenny Quiner: [00:08:28] Exactly. Exactly. And we actually just looked at our books and really analyzed our numbers and the farm stand after paying employees after I'm paying myself after utilities and all of that, we make about a 2% profit.

And now most grocery stores in our area are making 1% profit. So we're actually doing much better than your average grocery store, but you think about it, that's not a huge amount of money, profit wise. And so what we've recently discovered is the farm stand is fantastic and it brings people to the farm and it builds our community.

But now we need to get more creative with our other revenue streams. And so like right now, We're open Thursday through Sunday. And so we're making money Thursday through Sunday, but we're going to add Tuesday next year. And then, like I said, do some other things we're thinking about every Wednesday night having some sort of workshop.

And the big thing is, I'm not going to be the one leading the workshops. So I'm going to bring in someone who's going to teach class on fermentation. I'm going to have someone teach a class on making bone broth. Someone teach a class on knife skills, it'll be every Wednesday night, at least that's our goal.

And so it's just consistent and a way to bring in more money to the farm.

Diego: [00:09:39] If somebody listened to this and they hear, you're making 2%, they might say, that's not much money. But in hearing you describe it, I'm thinking, okay, one, that's 2% after everybody's been paid and everybody includes you.

So you're paying yourself. And then, I'm assuming also the farm is making money in there because of the farm is selling the farm stand product.

Jenny Quiner: [00:10:02] Correct, yes. like I value my time right now at $20 an hour. And I will say too, that a lot of these numbers we've just recently crunch are pretty hypothetical because I am not currently paying myself $20 an hour for 40 hours a week or whatever, but that is where we envisioned to be in these next couple of years. So yeah, that 2% income is after everyone's paid after, cost of goods sold are all accounted for. So it's still positive and great but it's maybe not as big as I once thought it would be.

Diego: [00:10:36] Yeah, I was just talking to Chris Thoreau about this, about how, a lot of farmers don't pay themselves for their time and your numbers can be whatever they are.

We made X in profit. that's very different. If you worked 20 hours a week, then if you worked a hundred hours a week and I love the idea of saying, Hey, when I'm on the farm, Stan, I'm the manager of that. I'm going to pay myself this wage, or at least build it into my cost structure. So I know what it is.

I've visited a pastured poultry farm summer that the owner that was also involved in the processing of poultry on his farm, he paid himself a wage. And now when I look at bringing on like new products that we're going to sell through paper pot, I factor in, okay. I need to put in some time for every product that's sold.

Because I'm touching it a little bit. So I think that's one thing everybody out there can do is look at their time and start to put some unit of time towards the product, or at least factor their costs in because especially in farming and especially in the summer, it's really easy to get sucked down that rabbit hole and think you're making a whole bunch of money or feel like things are going really well, but then you start to put it on a dollar per hour number and you're not.

Jenny Quiner: [00:11:52] Yeah. And then honestly, if you're not paying yourself and you're just a glorified hobby that takes a lot of time and it truly like for the first three years, I would almost consider us just a hobby that, fulfills my time. But with our future projections, it's, we're pretty optimistic that this will bring in some good money for the family.

Diego: [00:12:13] What you're doing is you're saying $20 an hour. If I'm going to work on this, when we budget out new events on the farm, bringing in new things, just running the farm stand in general on factory my costs and at $20 per hour, how many hours am I going to have to throw into it? Do these economics make sense?

Jenny Quiner: [00:12:32] Exactly. Exactly. And even, we have an onsite Airbnb that we call the urban farmstay and we have a cleaning fee that's included in when people book the Airbnb. I'm not the one cleaning the Airbnb. We have a crew that does that. But I still go in and switch out the laundry and get it organized for the next people.

And so every time we turn over guests in the Airbnb that uses about two hours of my time. And so we even include that in, when we're looking at our projections and what we're making on the Airbnb, we take that out of the profit as well.

Diego: [00:13:05] Quick sidebar here. How have you found running the Airbnb in conjunction with all of this? I've always found it to be an interesting concept for a lot of farms to add money. A lot of farms have multiple buildings on their property in livable state. How's it work for you?

Jenny Quiner: [00:13:22] It has been fantastic. It, so we have just had it up and running for a year now. And I was actually just crunching the numbers with it yesterday.

And so from January to now, we've been booked 263 days. So that's in 10 months and then we still have, a couple more months. So our occupancy rate is really high. It's our biggest money maker at the farm, and we all know there's money in real estate. And it's just another form of real estate and managing it has not been too tough because like I said, we have a cleaning crew and I just update them when people are coming in, when people are leaving.

We haven't had any negative experiences with guests. I know everyone's always concerned about all of someone's going to destroy your home and yeah, it could happen, but I'm not too worried about that. All in all, it has been fantastic and a really good addition to the farm.

Diego: [00:14:12] If you think about the farm itself, the farm, remove the farmstay and remove the Airbnb, remove any events. How would the farm look, if you didn't have these supplemental enterprises that stacked onto the farm?

Jenny Quiner: [00:14:29] it would just be something I did for fun. there's no way just our farm setup would justify all that work I do because I'm growing on about a fourth of an acre is under cultivation. And I'm guessing that. We're probably going to sell 40 to $50,000 worth of our product this season on a fourth of an acre. And I'm doing a lot of the greens and tomatoes are my key crops, but for the amount of time, that wouldn't be worth it for my lifestyle, but because we have a diversified farm, the other things help supplement that.

Diego: [00:15:07] One thing that comes with diversification is going to be. You have to one know about a lot of different things cause you have to run the diversified enterprises, but then it also comes with being able to juggle all of these different businesses. How have you found managing your mental capacity across all the enterprises that you're doing?

Jenny Quiner: [00:15:30] It had its ups and downs. I will say that my husband, who he sells real estate, so he's got an off farm job, but he just has that entrepreneur mind and spirit. And so he's good at helping me with the mental aspect, but that being said, this July was like crazy for our family. I was, it was a tough summer and it's not all roses by any means.

But I think one thing that I have going on for me is I'm organized and I'm sure pretty good with some of my systems. And I stay on top of QuickBooks and I have a good community support system where if I'm struggling with XYZ, I can reach out to someone for help. And so I think the mental capacity, yes, it's draining and tough.

I still think it's manageable and getting easier. And to me, that's the big thing is as you go on, I'm understanding it and also figuring out ways to get employees to do the things that I don't want to do anymore, and I can trust them. And so I'm able to delegate a lot more, which helps a ton.

Diego: [00:16:34] And when it comes time to dedicate that mental energy or even physical energy or money to something, how do you prioritize where it's going to go? Do you look at where's the most potential, the greatest overall return, if I'm going to. Put some focus on something. I need to see a big return back. I'm thinking that's the farm stand because it sounds like the farm, like it works.

It's on autopilot. You could continue to analyze and micromanage that for lack of a better word, but you're not going to go from 40 on that farm to a hundred overnight where maybe the same amount of effort could really impact the farm stand.

Jenny Quiner: [00:17:16] that's where, what it really comes down to is what's the best use of my time. And so when it comes to the actual farm, we have just met with some neighbors in our neighborhood, and we'd like to expand our growth space a little bit more because there is money in selling volume of product. And I had to short chefs quite a bit this season, especially in July and August, because the majority of our greens for example, were sold directly through the farm stand.

And that's going to be my first priority since I'm getting a retail price for it. But now if I can have more land and grow the same crops, then I still have avenues to sell to. So one positive I have is my demand is high and so I need more supply, but really it truly comes down to what makes the most sense for the business.

That's my focus this season and this winter is really on expanding the business. The last season, I was really focused on the growing and the techniques and how can I have the best yield with crops and so on. And I'm happy with where I'm at. Yes, I have a lot to learn. I haven't mastered, you'll never master everything in the field, but, this off season, my focus is on the business and how can we make money?

Because truly, if you're not making any money, at some point, your business will fail. And so that's really where my shift is going right now.

Diego: [00:18:39] And you've alluded to some of the ways that you're going to try and do that via that leveraging the commercial kitchen through workshops through events and those can be specifics that are very applicable to you and your context, but they might not be applicable to somebody in Florida or somebody in California.

If we just look at the idea of I'm going to spend the off-season and this year focusing on growing the business, just from a principal's perspective, how do you think through that? Do you just put out okay, here's, what's possible and list out a bunch of ideas. Are you looking at the numbers and then saying, okay, how can we try and turn up the dial on these numbers?

What's the approach or the thought process of, I want to grow my business.

Jenny Quiner: [00:19:23] And now for me, what I did is I reached out to an outside source. In the Des Moines area, we have an organization called the greater Des Moines partnership and they have people that they employ that are essentially business coaches.

And so I've met with my coach, her name's Christina for we've had two sessions and we've met for about five hours now. And she, helps guide my thoughts and helps me see the bigger picture. And so it really, our first meeting, we just talked about where the businesses and where I'd like to see it go.

And then this last meeting, we look specifically at the financials and crunched numbers and figured out where the money's coming from. So I had a better understanding of a 2% profit from the farm stand. I have a better understanding now that our salad subscription, even though I feel like it�s a stressor on me.

It's one of our biggest moneymakers when it comes down to the amount of time and effort we're putting into it. And so from my experience, I have been blown away with this business coaching and advising because my background is not in business. And that's the case a lot of times with farmers and you just got to go in.

And so I recommend looking into organizations locally, where anyone is to see if those services exist for you, because it's been monumental and just five hours of talking with her.

Diego: [00:20:45] Is it her helping to refine your ideas or focus them? We're bringing new things to light that maybe you weren't thinking of, like what's been the biggest impact.

Jenny Quiner: [00:20:58] Yeah. it's been a little bit of all of those things you just stated, but I think she just looks at my business from an outside lens because I truly, you get into the minutia of your day to day business, and sometimes it's hard to take a step back and see the big picture. And so she's just getting a second set of eyes and opinion has really just helped me kind of fine tune the direction I need things to go. And so to me, it's just been that it allows me to step away and just see the big picture.

Diego: [00:21:29] Looking at the numbers, one thing that you mentioned that. Has been pretty profitable for your farm is the salad subscription. And I was talking to you offline.

That's something, a lot of people have pinged me. I'm out referenced is when they heard the episode we did last year about yourself subscription. They liked the idea, they've copied the idea. At this time, like if we just look back at the last year, it sounds like it's been really profitable. Can you go back over what the salads subscription is and what type of farm you think it really makes sense for?

Jenny Quiner: [00:22:01] Yeah, so the salad subscription, it is my version of a CSA. And since I'm pretty specific and growing high value crops, if I were to just have the CSA, people wouldn't get a huge diversity of food. So the things that I grow are oriented towards, so just lent itself to create this salad subscription. And it's basically, my setup, I do a fall session and a spring session. I take a break in the summer because I'm in Iowa and it can be tricky to grow greens in the summer. I'm starting to really get my systems figured out where I can have steady products in the summer, but it's also nice to take a little break and refresh a little bit from the CSA, but I have a full plate and a half plate, and it just is different sizes for whatever the customer needs.

And we've been doing it for three seasons now. And every season we get a high demand. I have to turn people away. This fall session, we have 35 people, which I think that is a good number for I'm on a quarter of an acre and supplying other places as well. So 35 people works for us and what works really well for us is I'm very clear at the front end with my customers, that if I'm short on something, we generally never short our members, but we'll supply it from other farmers.

And that's a huge perk of running the farm stand is I've got different aggregators and farmers I work with so I can easily get more product to make sure each week they're getting their the right amount of food each week.

Diego: [00:23:36] With that program, you have a full plate, a half plate at those pricing levels. How does that compare retail say you sell that same product at the farm stand?

Jenny Quiner: [00:23:44] If they do get a little cut, financial, if they're buying the salad subscription. But if yesterday, when I was with my advisor, we were working the numbers of a full plate and we figured that the cost per salad is only like 3.50.

So that opened my eyes to the idea that I need to bump up the prices of my salad subscription. And so I brought up the point, able to. Look at the numbers of the salads subscription and then realize, they could just come to the farm stand and buy it cheaper. But she said maybe, but when people don't really do that, but second people want convenience.

So even if the price goes up a little bit, they still know that each week their stuff is there and ready. And all they have to do is swing by and pick it up. So what I'm looking at doing next year, Is bumping up the price a little bit and it'll maybe be like 5%. So it's not going to be this dramatic change.

But also what I want to add next year are, some add-ons. So like we sell salad subscription at the farm stand and maybe each month I add in a bottle of, sorry, we sell salads at the farm stand. And so maybe each month I add in a bottle of salad dressing as well to just, make it more of a diversified product that people are getting.

Diego: [00:25:01] Do you find that the salad subscription is popular just because of what it is? It's not a full blown CSA or maybe a better way to ask. This is say you just took the salads of sherbet and said, Hey, we're doing away with that. Now it's just going to be a regular CSA. What do you think the effect would be?

Jenny Quiner: [00:25:20] My gut says that we'd still get people that would sign up just because they just like supporting the farm. But I think our numbers would be less. We really get people that enjoy the amount of food that you're getting. It's very manageable and they like that. And they also say it really inspired them and motivated them to eat healthier.

I know that is the case with most off the essays, but that's the feedback we get. So actually never had someone say, would you do a full CSA? So I think it's the right fit for our customers

Diego: [00:25:52] And having the farm stand. How do you handle drops? Is it all customer pickup at the farm stand?

Jenny Quiner: [00:25:58] It's all at the farm stand and year one and two, it was a Thursday pickup. And, after talking with customers, we realized that, just having a one-day pickup, that can be a barrier. And so now we do pick up any day, the farm stand�s open. So Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday of that week. You can stop by any time and grab your stuff and people really like that.

And really, it's not that much different on our end. We still get it all packaged on Thursday. and then if they don't come Thursday, still, the majority of people pick up Thursday. But if people don't come, we just put it in the walk-in cooler and snag it out for them when they come a different day. So that's been a nice change.

Diego: [00:26:36] And then thinking of the CSA itself, the greens part is really obvious. You're providing greens there. Beyond say, the common salad add-ins, I'm thinking you're going to have radishes and beets. What other veggies are you including in his box?

Jenny Quiner: [00:26:52] Carrots and tomatoes, peppers. Sometimes we'll have herbs. Trying to think those are probably the main ones. And then we'll supplement onions periodically from other farmers and garlic as well. But most things that you can easily just cut and put in a salad bra or the main focus.

Diego: [00:27:13] So pretty limited selection in a good way, because it pulls some of that choice confusion out both for the customer and as a grower that you focus on growing, 10 or so crops.

Jenny Quiner: [00:27:25] And like we had a week where I honestly, I was incredibly long on fingerling potatoes on the farmstand. So I put those in the salad subscription, but then provided them, featured them in my recipes. And cause you don't always think of like potatoes and salad, but you can do it. And so I added some recipes to inspire them, to use the potatoes in the salad.

Diego: [00:27:46] Knowing that salad CSA is, are a big way that you move veg, how do you factor in. Restaurant customers, do you basically make restaurants can form to what the salad subscription is getting? Meaning if you wouldn't grow it for the salad subscription, you're not going to grow it otherwise. Or do you also grow some crops beyond the salad subscription that could go to restaurants and, or the farm stand?

Jenny Quiner: [00:28:16] Everything that I'm growing is like, they're all going to the same place like for example, mizuna. I have chefs that love mizuna. I put it in the salad subscription, and I also sell it at the farm, Dan. So I'm not specifically growing a crop for a restaurant. I don't feel like that is the best use of my time, but most of my restaurants here, like what I grew up and are happy to buy the product that I have.

So when it comes to greens I'm doing a lot of a spring mix with the salanova base. I do spinach, a few different varieties of arugula some different mustards. I really started to like Tokyo bekana. I think it's beautiful and it's got a nice, mild flavor, it�s something I'm doing more of a what else? So I do the mizuna, and then some baby kale, but I like to think we're not doing anything super crazy. I basically am growing what my market will buy.

Diego: [00:29:11] If push came to shove, would you push as much product as you could through the farm stand and I don't wanna say phase restaurants out, but lower them, or do you like the idea of having some diversification in terms of customer base?

Jenny Quiner: [00:29:26] Yeah, that's what I think naturally happened this season is sales went through the farm stand and then restaurants lacked a little bit and it wasn't fairly like an intentional thing, but it was like, I only have this much product and I know I can move it. And it's much easier to move it at the farm stand.

But that being said, I'm really focused next year on just like moving quantity. And that's why I would like to have some more growth space so that I can still provide restaurants more cause they wanted off that. I wasn't able to get them and I know that's not good and that's not ideal because there was a while where I was like, Oh man, deliveries are such a pain.

And I just was burnt out on it. But the real easy fix is hire someone to make my deliveries instilled, just move more product. So next season that's going to be a push for me is to be able to have more product, to still continue to sell to restaurants and not have to show up.

Diego: [00:30:25] How has it been being a people manager at this point? You have people on farm, you have people in the farm store, that's a talent in and of itself. Some people like doing it. Some people hate doing it. How's it been for you?

Jenny Quiner: [00:30:37] I'm on the middle ground with it. I do have wonderful employees, so it makes the people managing much easier. I go some days I'm great. And some days I know I could be a bear and then people probably don't want to be around me.

But like my, some of my employees have been with me for three years now and we start to, you work someone long enough, you understand them and you kinda know. When you give them, say someone to not and so on. So I think it's gone it's not my favorite thing to do in the world, but I also don't read it, but it's a middle ground for me.

Diego: [00:31:08] Yeah. So it works for you, which is good because he goes back to, I have restaurants that need more product. You have employees, you could probably add on more employees if you need them, you find more ground, you can produce more products within a system that's working just to supply the restaurants that want more overall the business wins. And it's not an extreme amount of effort for you relative to somebody who doesn't have these systems and all these outlets for product and employees in place.

Jenny Quiner: [00:31:40] Correct, correct. Yeah. I'm to the point where the idea of getting some more land is not daunting and it makes sense. And when I say more land, maybe we'd be getting maybe an eighth of an acre, which right now we're at a fourth. So that's pretty significant for our size. And ideally what we'd like to do is get some Caterpillar tunnels up.

Cause I've really, after the season, really seen the benefits of growing undercover. We've had some crazy rain events and crop issues because of over-saturation, but things that were, in the high tunnel or under plastic had no issues at all. So I am definitely getting onboard with growing more under plastic.

Diego: [00:32:22] You put up the tunnels and let's say you could extend seasons a bit. Would you do that? one thing we talked about before we got on the call was, it's nice to stop and take a break over the winter. Is season extension and potentially keeping a farm stand open later, opening it sooner something that you'd look at, or do you look at this off season? Time is, this is really what I want.

Jenny Quiner: [00:32:46] Yeah, I do. I totally open for season extension. So like for example, right now our high tunnel will pump out product probably through Christmas time and last season I could have gone longer. Yeah. I was just ready for a break. So even taken January through February off just two solid months, that's great.

And that's real manageable and it helps me recharge my battery, but even in those shoulder seasons and when you're really pushing it, like the amount of workload is still pretty minimal. It's high tunnel managing, it's not difficult. You don't have high weed pressure. You're essentially just harvesting.

So even if I'm still farming, the workload is so much more minimal. So I'm all for season extension. And, I think that there's a huge demand for that in my area, because there's not a lot of people growing late and pushing it into the winter. And so that's another opportunity to increase profitability for my farm.

Now with the farm stand based on our regulations by our County, we can only be open six months out of the year. So for us, it lends itself to basically mid-May through mid-November. But that's not to say that we don't ask for a variance to change that in years to come. But right, now we're pretty happy with the six months opening of the farm stand.

Diego: [00:34:03] If you could be open year-round, do you think it would be economically worthwhile?

Jenny Quiner: [00:34:10] That's another good question, and I haven't fully wrapped my brain around that because obviously the issue would be being able to stock the produce. We'd be fine with our nonperishable items, but I don't know the full answer to that question. My gut says yes, we still would be, but it would definitely slow down.

Diego: [00:34:29] In thinking of the farm stand itself. So it's pulling product off of your farm, a perishable vege. What other types of products are you stocking on a regular basis?

Jenny Quiner: [00:34:40] So we do get other produce from other local farmers. We have�just going through my head, the farm stands, so we've got a freezer and that has lots of different meats. We also have ice cream in there, frozen burritos. We have baby food, got aronia berries, and then we've got a freezer that has milk products, cheeses. And then we've got our greens cooler. We have a ton of oils and vinegars, pork jerky, beef jerky, pastas, honey, chips, salsa, quezo wide range of stuff. We've got different granolas.

We have a lot of Dogpatch swags. We've got t-shirts bags, hats. Which there's good profitability on swag. So that's always a nice thing to have. And that's recently what we put on our online store. The idea that, someone in California wants to buy a shirt. Yeah. We'll sell it to you. No problem.

Let's see what else? we're really next season going to do a push with seasonal things. So we're in touch with the local greenhouse, where we essentially want to buy gosh, maybe $10,000 worth of their products. To then sell onsite at the farm stand. A mother's day push of different hanging baskets and transplants and those sorts of things.

Cause we don't have a good prop house. And we were not set up for that, but if we can get that from another greenhouse, next season we'll have a big pumpkin display and full of goodies and that sort of thing, we weren't able to do it this season because we were in the middle of. Pouring concrete in our parking lot and the logistics of it was just is too difficult, but it's just the idea of whatever opportunities are out there, whatever local product we can get, we want to have it at our farm.

So when new producers come about, which is the point now, which is great, is someone says, Hey, I've got this new product. I'd like to stock at your farm stand. So now we're not always having to, find the new people. People are seeking us out, which is wonderful.

Diego: [00:36:40] How's it been managing all that diversity of product. Do you really have to follow the grocery store model of having a wide array of stuff versus you're not boutique, like you just don't have vegetables and salad dressings and say fermented vegetables. There's many products that span beyond that.

f somebody's going to do this type of stand. And you look at your experience and what you're doing, do you think you need to have all that stuff?

Jenny Quiner: [00:37:14] We have found that diversity has really helped us out. So like within the past few months, our average sale has been about $25 per person where like in the earlier years, our average sale was closer to $12 per person. So people are buying, spending more at the farm.

And one of my big focuses is the idea that we have a pretty solid customer base. And it costs money to get new customers through marketing and advertising, that sort of thing. So one of my shifts right now has been. Okay. We've got solid customers. They love what we're doing. How can we get them to spend more?

And one way for us is just to have more product for them to buy. So for example, we've had people say, Oh, we would love to be able to buy like locally crafted beer and wine here. So I'm going to do some digging cause there is a liquor license here where you can just sell Iowa-made products and it's not that expensive.

For us being diversified has really helped us out. that being said, our store is not huge. our farm stands about 400 square feet. So at some point you can't have everything. And then it's a matter of, okay, what sells in and what's making the most money.

Diego: [00:38:30] I'm hearing this and I'm thinking, okay. One of my worries would be you have a lot of product, you start getting stuff that goes off on the shelf. How do you manage spoilage with the vendors you're buying from?

Jenny Quiner: [00:38:46] Luckily a lot of our things are nonperishable. Our meats are frozen and then when it comes to like our milk, I have a pretty good idea of the turnover with it.

And what's nice is if it's not going to move, then my family will drink it or I'll give it to someone. So I somehow have a pretty good understanding of how much we'll move on a certain week. Like for example, we have never had issues of cheese going bad. We're able to turn it over fast enough and I restock each week.

And so instead of buying 20 blocks of cheese, I'm probably buying five blocks, knowing that they'll move and it's this fine balance of you always want to make your shelves look stocked. I don't just want to have one block of cheese that's not going to move, but I've really had, I guess I just have a little knack for knowing how to the inventory that I need so that we don't have major spoilage.

We do, we have popular guacamole and husk from an area that's about an hour and a half away from us. And sales of those are, can be streaky. We can have someone come in and buy our whole product for the weekend right there. Or we may end up with five extra. And at that point I just give it to my employees because they have an expiration date. So it's a perk to them. They're happy. I take a little loss. It's okay. We all win there.

Diego: [00:40:11] I've talked to a lot of microgreen growers who have been selling to grocery stores and they're either making good on product that goes off on the shelf or they get some reimbursement. So it sounds like in your case for the more shelf-stable stuff or.

Maybe if that's for everything, you do it to one and done sale. You'll buy it. You'll trust your predictability or your predictive capacity to estimate what you need to buy. The vendor does a sale and they're good. Like they don't need to worry about you coming back and saying, Hey, Oh, you owe me this or credit me for this.

Jenny Quiner: [00:40:44] No, no. To me, that's too much work logistically we do have a great relationship with our, pork producer. And for example, I had bought some, I think there were brought patties and he gave me more than I ordered. And he said, whatever you don't sell at the end of the season, he'll take them back.

Cause it's a frozen product. And that was just him being nice. But if we sell them great, but yeah, I think we have great relationships with our producers which helps, but once I buy it's mine. Like I'm not trying to sell it back to them or anything like that.

Diego: [00:41:14] You mentioned there is balancing the display. How do you make a small space that carries a lot of product, but not a ton of each product look cohesive and not like somebody did just unloaded their own personal shopping cart and put it on the shelf.

Jenny Quiner: [00:41:35] It's tricky. One thing I love going to the grocery store and that's I enjoy it a lot. So I've just become an observer of how things are stocked in shelves. And it's funny, but you start to realize Oh, okay, that box, if you turn it a different way, you can get more real estate out of it and you can stack things differently. We do have a lot of shelving, so we're using our vertical space.

And then we have one main produce table, but then we're using wooden crates and, you can stack up and use your vertical space. Sometimes we'll put baskets on, not on the ground, but we'll put them on a box on the ground. And so the big thing to me is always making it look abundant, just like people do at the farmer's market, maybe on a bigger scale.

So if you sell out of something, don't just have an empty space, rearrange so it still looks abundant and it's been a lot of trial and error. But last year we added some permanent shelving and we built two large size tables that are in the middle of the farm stand. And we also put a table on top of that to give us more vertical space.

So I think it's just kind of trial and error. Next season, when we add the grab and go component of that, farmstand will be having to add a whole new two-door cooler. So we'll have to be doing some reshuffling to get that, to fit in. So it's never ending. I think generally what we do is we set up beforehand, like in the off season with kind of the predicted future of how it will look and then each off-season, we rearrange it a little bit.

Diego: [00:43:04] What have you found in terms of farm stand aesthetic that works well for displaying product? Is it more rustic? Is it something that's a more recycled where you've seen a lot of these breweries and stuff use pallet wood and galvanized roofing? What works for you?

Jenny Quiner: [00:43:24] Our farm stand has a cool vibe to it because when we were setting up the farm, we had to take down over 10 trees.

And so there's a guy in our neighborhood that has a portable mill. So he came over and milled all the wood that took down and we cured it. And then used all of that wood to make our tables and our shelves and so on. So everything in the farm stand is repurposed from what was originally at the farm from that wood.

And so we have a lot of maple and Catawba that are like our checkout counter and so on, and we have live edge. And then we have another guy in the neighborhood who's a welder. So he welded all the legs, got this everything's clean, pretty Polly so it's easy to wash. So I'd say it's this clean feel that has some character from the farm. And truly, I don't think there's a right or wrong, but I think it's finding your style and then sticking to it.

Diego: [00:44:17] With all the different products you have. How do you decide if you're going to take a new product on?

Jenny Quiner: [00:44:24] That's a good question. For example, we have a salsa guy that we love. He's super reliable. He's active in the community. Like he's a great fit. So someone came in and said, Hey, I've got salsa, I'd love for you to sell it. They would have to be above and beyond something different than our current salsa, because I think I said this last time we spoke, I don't stock like 12 different brands of salsa.

I like to find my go-to and stay consistent. So I think it's just the relationships you build and I'll try all things out. For example, there's a woman in town, she just started to create this amaranth granola, and it's a fantastic product. And what I love about it is she has her head on straight and I know off the shoot that she's a good business owner.

She just got up and running and we were one of the first places to sell her product, but she's doing all the right things to run a successful business. And so yes, I want to work with her. I had a guy recently come in and he had some dried herbs and he wanted to sell them like in a zip lock baggie with no label. And it's that's not the right fit for us. We need a professional look to everything we're selling.

Diego: [00:45:32] Have you found things that just haven't worked?

Jenny Quiner: [00:45:35] We've had some products that we've tried and they're just not moving a whole lot. And so what I do is just, keep them on the shelf until they sell and then I don't restock it.

And it's not like I would say for example, cream honey, which I love and I thought people would like it more. It's not nearly as big of a mover as just your typical honey. So every week I do a farm stand email with what we have fresh and recipe ideas and so on. And I did a big kind of promo on creamed honey but I still had trouble moving it.

So next season, I don't think I'll stock it. you try and if it doesn't work, that's fine. Figure out something else that will fill that space better.

Diego: [00:46:18] When you look at all the products too that you're carrying, how do you approach it from a, this is what I need to make on a unit basis. Do you have a band in there and is that band different say from fresh produce to something in a jar to meat, to dairy. How do you work that? Cause obviously this has to make money at the end of the day. It's not just a feel good thing.

Jenny Quiner: [00:46:43] Definitely. So with our non-perishables that are going to be shelf-stable, generally it's a 30% markup and, that's pretty much our go-to rate for that.

that's the same with meat. I'm trying to think of produce�we have a couple of smaller growers that grow specifically for us. And I'm usually buying at 50% retail rate from them. It's like a storage crop. So like a potato or an onion. I'll spend a little bit more on that knowing they�re not going to go bad that week, but 50% is their ideal spot.

But sometimes I buy through a food aggregator and they mark up the product rate, I think they're 18%, but what I can do is just, so let's say the radish I got were a little more expensive that I want, I can just bump up the price that week at the farm stand.

So instead of $3 a bunch, I can mark it at 3.50 if I want to. And it like really 30% is our minimum markups that we will take. Anything above that is bonus.

Diego: [00:47:44] How do you find balancing out being nice and doing what you have to do for the business? I think a lot of people in this space and you're a grower, if you buy from another grower, like you want to help people out, you want to maybe flex to where you shouldn't or maybe there's some internal pull there. I find myself doing this where it's like, Oh, I can give you a deal. But in certain times, like you shouldn't and the numbers say, you gotta do this. How do you find that struggle?

Jenny Quiner: [00:48:16] tricky. But I think it all comes back to the relationships you establish with your producer, your grower and so on. And I'm pretty upfront about my pricing and costs. And so like the growers I'm specifically thinking of right now, we sat down this winter and we talked about the crops they wanted to grow for me. And I told them what I would be willing to pay per crop. So I think full transparency is really important as you're working through something like that.

Diego: [00:48:44] Did you find the need to adjust pricing? Maybe not on the fly while it's on the shelf, but like you're at the end of the year now you're going to be closing in a month. Are you gonna really have to look back at some of the prices and say, Yeah, we were way off on this, like we just can't price it at this on the shelf or we can't buy it for this?

Jenny Quiner: [00:49:05] There are some things that I may reassess and see if it's worth the shelf space to continue to sell it. It's something's just a slow mover and there's a new product that I feel might be a better fit then.

Yeah, we probably will do some restructuring and I'll look at costs a little bit, but in general, I think we're pretty fair with our pricing. Like when you think of other kind of boutique grocery stores in the Des Moines area, we're cheaper than those boutique stores, but we're a little more expensive than your large-scale grocer.

Diego: [00:49:37] Long term. You're getting paid, the farm's getting paid, but it's a 2% profit. Is it what brings people to the farm tthat might be the ultimate value that farm stand produces? Again, it's paying you, it's paying employees and supporting other producers. That's all great. But nobody's getting rich on 2% margin, where if you build that community and people come there, then you can look at some of these other add-ons too really enable the business to grow more.

Jenny Quiner: [00:50:15] Exactly. That's that just hits the nail on the head and with our situation, we can't rely on one income stream. And like the idea of events, for example, we may want to host weddings at some point. Now we're not set up to do that yet, but what our discussion is now is I don't want to deal with weddings and brides and being booked every weekend. So there are some local event planners that we want to start reaching out to and saying, Hey, we'll give you exclusive rights to our land for this amount of price and you can book and do those sorts of things with it.

So now we're trying to think a little, I don't know if I'd say outside the box, but we want to be at a point where we can use our land and make money off of it all while it's not a huge commitment on our end. So let's say the wedding example, maybe we make a thousand. Yeah. And the planner makes 2000 where in total I would have done all the work. We could have made three grand, but it would have been crazy and stressful. So we're trying to figure out ways where we can still make money, but not having to do everything.

Diego: [00:51:21] So the store keeps the lights on and brings people to it. And these other things allow you to really grow. In thinking of the store, yyou mentioned advertising, it can be expensive if you're selling at a farmer's market, the market brings the customers to you.

You don't really have to go outbound other than out-displaying other people at the market. When you have a grocery store in an urban context or a farm stand grocery store in an urban context, what have you found has been successful to get the word out about it? If you wanted to get more customers to your stand, how would you do it?

Jenny Quiner: [00:52:02] I would use social media. So Facebook and Instagram are both great tools for our farm and this season, I think I need to focus a little bit more on just paying to boost and to create ads and I've done it, especially for our Kickstarter campaign. We ran quite a bit of ads, and I really think that helped us to run a successful campaign.

But to me, those two avenues work great, especially, our customers are coming to us. they're local to the farm. So we're not getting people that are driving, being 20 minutes outside of town just come to our farm stand. Our key clientele live within 10 minutes of our farm. And I've been able to realize that.

So like when it comes to them advertising and boosting posts, I'm going to be specific to an area. I'm also more understanding more of our demographic. When we got this up and running, we really thought it was going to appeal to millennials as like this kind of hipster new thing. And we were way off the ball on that.

Our number one, I would say demographic are retired women that love to cook. And I can start to pinpoint them when I'm creating my advertising. So one thing that has really helped me is to better understand my customer. I'm actually in a business class right now through the University of Iowa.

Part of the class is eight-week classes. We have to interview over a hundred customers to understand more about what they want and what they need and how we can use that info to help grow the business. To me, understanding your customer base can really help with everything, but when it comes to advertising, I can mark and pinpoint certain individuals.

Diego: [00:53:43] Have you started that interview process yet?

Jenny Quiner: [00:53:45] Yes. So I've had about, I've done about 20 interviews and my focus of that demographic were. Mothers with young children because I would say our key market is, like I said, the retirees that have free time and love to cook, but then another big market for us are moms with young children that are looking to feed their kids healthy food options, but yet don't have a lot of time.

One huge takeaway I've taken from those interviews are people want convenience. What can we do to provide convenience are the ready to eat salads. We have ability now with our commercial kitchen to chop a pepper and package it now. Next season that'll be I think a big boost for those customers is just to make things in life that are easier for them.

We've talked about doing like freezer meals and classes on crock pot meals and those sorts of things. So for us now, the hard part is going to be reigning in where the most valuable places to put our time with the kitchen are.

Diego: [00:54:52] It's interesting to hear that. you're learning some things about the customer base that you wouldn't have otherwise known, or maybe you'd assume, but you wouldn't have verification of that unless you had to do this forced customer communication. And it'll be interesting to hear what comes out of that process because a hundred people, that's a lot, that's a big slice of not a relatively small customer base at the end that it's not like whole foods interviewing a hundred people in your customers, you're going to learn quite a bit. And then probably be able to make changes or confirm decisions off of a lot of what comes out of that.

Jenny Quiner: [00:55:29] Exactly. And it's, like I said, I'm new to doing this process, but it's not hard to do. And I highly recommend other farmers do it as well because we have this idea in our head of what people want and a lot of times, we're close.

And especially for me, like with the farm stand, I've been doing it three years. And I interact with my customers quite a bit. So I know other demographic and kind of some of their backstories, but this really allows you to dive in deeper, cause one question is why do you choose to shop at my farm rather than go to the grocery store?

And a lot of people just want to support local businesses and they also want fresh food and nutrient-dense food, and they find that my food lasts longer. So it's good feedback, that I think any farmer would find value in doing.

Diego: [00:56:14] When you think about that demographic and who your customers are, has this catered to what type of classes and events you want to have at the farm next year?

Jenny Quiner: [00:56:28] Yeah, that has been something I've been, been thinking about and I'm really on the early phases of planning out the workshops and so on, but I think it'll be more woman-oriented. For example, we'll probably do a floral design class and I'm willing to bet the majority of our participants will be women.

We'd like to do like a fall wreath class. I've got a friend in town who has a landscape design company, and she specializes in wreaths. We'll probably focus on our key customers as well.

Diego: [00:57:00] One thing that will enable it, enable you to do some of these things, is that commercial kitchen. I've heard a lot of people both on the livestock side and the vege side express some interest and putting one on their farm. What did the numbers look like to put that in? And what would you say to somebody who's thinking about doing this?

Jenny Quiner: [00:57:23] For us, it lent itself. It really made sense because we had to create an addition off of our farm stand. It has two restrooms. And so while we were at adding the public restroom, it really was just logical to just knock this whole thing out. When you're working on adding water lines and plumbing and drainage, we don't want to have to tear up the ground again. So what we did in the process of adding bathrooms was we poured the concrete and did all of the plumbing, all the electrical for the whole addition.

For us, I would say the kitchen infrastructure and drainage and lines and all that costs us about $15,000. And that's for the infrastructure that doesn't include, your three-bay sink and your equipment that you need and so on. So I think we could say that for $20,000, we built a commercial kitchen. Ours is, let's see, it'd be 40 by, gosh, I don't know, 40 by 80 ft.

See, so it's not huge, but it's a good size. You could build one for, I think a lot cheaper. I think that the thing that was easy for us as we were starting from scratch and building a whole new structure, if you're trying to, if you have the structure built and you're trying to add in drainage and those sorts of things, I think it could get a little complicated.

But for my market, I think that we will be so happy we did this because it will make something like a farm to table dinner so much easier we could potentially cater. like I said, if we could do weddings, food can be prepped on-site. It just opens up so many more doors for the farm.

Diego: [00:59:01] Is this something where you'd look at, hiring a staff person in there, too? Where they could take radishes off your farm and now you're selling pickled radishes in the store?

Jenny Quiner: [00:59:13] For sure. Yes. we will get to a point where we pretty much have the kitchen manager. Who's running the show there. We're not there yet. And I'm the type of person I like to get my hands in it for a little bit before I hire someone else to do it.

I want to know the ins and outs of it. One thing I want to do this winter is get. I'll call it my menu pretty much put together. So my beet salad, what are the ingredients? How do you make it and then get that all spelled out. So then when I do have employees making it's uniform, it's simple. And so I want to get that set up. But yes, that's not going to be something that I'm going to be able to devote all my time to.

Diego: [00:59:51] It�s really interesting to hear the whole evolution of your business. And it sounds like it's working really well. One thing I wanted to start wrapping this up with was what would you say to somebody who wants to run a farm stand? What type of person do they need to be? It sounds like it's a lucrative business. It sounds like it might be a fit for a lot of farms. Who's it a fit for? Who's it not a fit for?

Jenny Quiner: [01:00:15] I've never really thought about this question. So thinking out loud right now, I think you need to be a driven person. I think you need to be a people person because the customers want to talk to you.

And you're really the story and the face of the farm. So you need to be able to be present and represent your farm in a positive manner. You also need to have a good business sense and you need to have a good relationship with your regulatory unit, whether it's your city, your council, whatever that is. You need to be motivated and yes, lucrative. I don't know if I'd go as far as saying that you need to understand that.

You have to build your business. So you're not going to just create this farm stand and all of a sudden your money problems are solved. But I think there's great potential in a farm stand in the right area. And I've mentioned this before, but if you're in a rural area where you get 10 people that drive by to your area the whole day, that probably isn't the right fit, but in an urban atmosphere, it works really well.

Diego: [01:01:15] I do like the idea that, and it will be cool to see where this ends up with all these new additions on the farm.

But one thing I also wanted to touch on is you're doing all this as a mom and I get a fair number of emails from women who are moms wondering, how do other women balance this all out? I get the dad's side of things. How have you found balancing being mom and being farmer and business owner?

Jenny Quiner: [01:01:46] First, I will start by saying it's tricky. As years go on, we're working to find the balance better, but I don't have it all together out by any means. One thing is I don't bring my kids to the farm when I'm working. I think people have this idealic idea that, Oh, you're a farmer, your kids get to come to work with you�they don't.

When I was a teacher, I didn't bring my kids to my job there. So it's the same thing with the farm. So when I'm working at the farm, my kids are either in school or at daycare. And that's the case in the summer, too. in the summers, they're at their school programs.

Coming from the teaching world, that's been a tough transition because I used to have summers off. Now it's a hard pill to swallow that I don't get my summers off with my kids, but in the winter we have more downtime. It's just the transition of seasons that I mentally need to get more used to. I think you just have to find balance anyway that works for you.

And we're not a hundred percent there yet, but like one example I'm thinking of right now is our personal home is a ranch. And my husband and I never had an office or a workspace. So we'd be sitting at our kitchen table on our laptop. And if you're trying to get work done and your kids bothering you, it's almost like now, you're going to become an angry person.

And so we just restructured our house. So all three kids are in our basement and we now have an office. And so things like that has really helped because now we have a kind of like a safe workspace. Where, when we're working, we're not distracted and then not getting angry with kids and so on. So finding the ways to be present in the moment that you should be in. I say that, and I'm not preaching because I'm not perfect, but we're aware of it. And we're working to make it as seamless as possible.

Diego: [01:03:30] And one thing we were talking about earlier was. You always thinking about this stuff when you're an entrepreneur, when you have a lot on the go, you manage an existing business, and you're also thinking about ways to grow it and add on a bunch of new stuff. How do you shut it off? So you can be present with your kids, your husband, or even yourself just to decompress and step back.

Jenny Quiner: [01:03:55] I don't think I truly ever shut it off as much as I like to say, Oh, I just do XYZ. I don't, it's always somewhat present in the back of your brain, but like we were talking about this past weekend, I just took a girl's trip.

I've actually found that I, so during the heart of the season, it's hard for me to stay that good. Health workout regimen, because you're just so busy and you have so many hours of the day and sometimes you don't take care of yourself like you should. But now that things are slowing down, I've gotten on a good workout plan and I'm eating healthier and I feel better about myself. And then that just makes sense. Everything go easier.

So I do find that like self care is really important. And as things slow down, it becomes very more present to me. Now, next July, I'll probably be a mad woman running around and the idea of self-care will be laughable. But I think being in those moments and being aware and honestly just doing the best you can to be right for every situation.

Diego: [01:04:54] Along the lines of self-care and balancing that with future planning, we're heading into the off-season, the winter. How are you going to use this winter to reflect and then plan ahead that you go in with goals. Do you have a process that you have in place? How do you look at the downtime for the year that was, and the year that will be?

Jenny Quiner: [01:05:16] One thing I like to do is get all of my harvest data and all of my numbers through square and sift through it and understand what I grew, where I made money and help that dictate what I'll grow next year and help that dictate how I crop plan and my rotations and stuff.

So that'll be a big focus. I will also have a big focus this off season and on getting the recipes for the commercial kitchen up and running so that when spring rolls around, it's pretty much like here's our menu. Here's what you create. Here's how you do it. That's a big focus.

But also after meeting with this business planner, we literally drew a bubble diagram and put posted notes on the, to-do list of things this winter. And so when we talked about the restaurant aspect of my business, we wrote down the restaurant. I do deal with, we specifically talked about who my contact is, so I know the chef I'm going to reach out to, I know their actual contact info and basically throughout the off season, I need to check off each of those bubble charts thing.

Talk to them. I followed up and so on. So for me, I'm a list person or a map person. I think the more I have in front of me knowing what needs to get done, I'm getting more things done. So hopefully that was a roundabout answer to that question, but hopefully that kind of answers what you're asking there.

Diego: [01:06:41] It works. And for people that want to follow along with everything you're doing over the winter and into the future. Where are the best places that they can go to stay on top of Dogpatch Urban Gardens.

Jenny Quiner: [01:06:53] Yeah. So Facebook and Instagram are my two main social media, and then we have our website as well. And it's all, Dogpatch urban gardens.

Diego: [01:07:03] There you have it. Jenny Quiner of Dogpatch urban gardens. If you want to follow along with everything that Jenny's doing, you can check her out on Facebook or on Instagram, which I've linked to in the show description for this episode. And if you're running a farm, standing in, it's been really successful for you and you think you have something to add to this conversation, feel free to reach out and send me an email with 2018 coming to a close.

As you think about your farm next year. Think about how you want to increase productivity. Maybe that's through a systems-based approach like Ben Hartman talks about. Maybe it's the Ray tools-based approach. Or maybe it's some combination of both, but when you're going the tool route next year, if you're looking to add new tools, please consider checking us out pot.co, where we're trying to carry more and more tools to make your job on the farm.

A little bit easier, faster and more productive. You can see everything we have to offer it. Paperpot.co. That's all for this one. Thanks for listening. Next week, I'll be back with another episode of farm, small farm smart until then be nice. Be thankful and do the work.

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