Eric built Deep Root Farm from the ground up over one hectic winter, turning to Tend for nuanced, efficient crop planning that launched him into a successful first season. As his business grows, Eric uses Tend as a long-term tool to optimize his production systems for lasting success.
Deep Root Farm
Location: Macedon, NY
- One acre in bio-intensive vegetable production
- Managing 40 different crops
- Organic production methods
- Growing for CSA, farmers markets, and restaurants
- 5 year goal: 2 ½ acres in production with 3 or 4 employees
- Crop Planner
Eric Houppert uses creativity, efficiency, and Tend to build his farm.
Eric Houppert’s farming career began with a drive to engage in his food community, work hard in the outdoors, and tackle complex problems. His passion and skills took root over four years working and growing for a large CSA at Mud Creek Farm, and a vision for a life in farming materialized: “This notion of being able to live where we farmed really began to swell up. Raising our kids where we grew food became very important for us.” So in the winter of 2017, Eric and his family moved to a 5-acre property in Macedon, New York and started Deep Root Farm.
“It was madness building this out, and that’s true of every new farmer in their own way. Ours just happened to be because we had our second daughter in December, we closed [on the land] in January, and then I built from the ground up. We started from nothing, and in five months we were at market hawking vegetables.”
“I would absolutely put Tend in the three most important tools that helped start this farm.”
By the end of that first season, Eric had added two restaurant accounts and a thirty-five member CSA to his market sales. Deep Root has since grown to nearly an acre in production, and business is bright: “We are super excited about where we are in year two. I attribute a lot of this to Tend and the efficiencies that it gave me in the craziness. I would absolutely put Tend in the three most important tools that helped us start this farm.”
Cutting through the chaos with Tend’s crop planner
Eric’s goal is to reach up to two and a half acres in bio-intensive vegetable production within five years, selling into his three revenue streams in the Greater Rochester and Finger Lakes regions. This model is a dramatic departure from his previous experience, so Eric turned to Tend to help him get organized and plan his first season.
“I was drastically changing my approach — adding a lot more nuance to the crop planning. I open up Tend, and it’s this incredible aggregator of information that catapulted me way ahead in my efficiency and ability to start throwing things down in a crop plan. Tend really started doing some work for me and allowed me to unleash a little creativity too.”
Eric relies on creativity to make decisions on the fly and to revise plans based on realities in the field. He uses Tend’s visual Crop Planner and Live Editing features to identify opportunities for optimizing his new systems in everything from tarping and bed turnover efficiencies to maximizing production with double-cropping.
“I’m able to go back in real time and make adjustments. Tend allows me to do a lot of that.”
“I’m able to go back in real time and rearrange my upcoming beds, so I can make adjustments and see where there are holes. Now I have the opportunity to put more revenue in the ground because we can double crop this bed when we didn’t think we were going to be able to before. Tend allows me to do a lot of that.”
Tend offers limitless tools for a lifelong learner
Eric uses Tend as both a real-time and a year-over-year planning tool to hone in on production nuances and efficiencies. He stores records, plans, and notes in Tend: “So now I have a database that is unique to my farm and growing experiences.” This year Eric is customizing his 2020 crop plan to Deep Root’s growing conditions by tracking the seasonal performance of his cutting greens: “To have a tool that is holding onto that information, working with me, and reacting to my data - I think it’s limitless. It allows me to really dive into the nuance.”
Eric plans to use Deep Root’s data and Tend’s Task Management tools to continue optimizing his field management systems: “We’re really tapping in now on knowing what carrot germination looks like in our system. I can put that information into an associated Task with carrots in Tend, and we can get the most out of our flame weeding.” He views Tend as a long-term tool with limitless potential for his farm: “The more I give it, and the more that we understand our systems in the field and translate that into the software, the more I can use this management tool to help our efficiencies next season.”
“It’s a very short line to trace between the efficiencies and the stress-free planning to quality time that I can spend with my family.”
Tend saves time for building a business and a home at Deep Root Farm
Eric is dedicated to building a thriving business and a beautiful life for his family on the farm. That’s why he’s putting Tend to work in his fields for the long haul: “It’s all about getting the most robust and efficient work done in the least amount of time and stress...It’s a very short line to trace between the efficiencies and the stress-free planning to quality time that I can spend with my kids, my family hanging out and just running around the backyard.”
Article by Julia Grigg