Farm of the Month: 24 Carrot Farm

This year marked the beginning of our "Farm of the Month" series on the Tend Blog, where we highlight the amazing work and delicious produce and food that small organic farms are producing across the country. August’s farm is 24 Carrot Farm in Placerville, CA run by Ben Hansen. Check back each month for new features. To be considered for our series, please email [email protected].

Owner/Manager Name: Ben Hansen
Location: Placerville, CA
Number of Employees: 4
Acreage: 5 acres
Specialties of the Farm: Salad

How did you get into farming?
Through a love of food and health. I worked in the restaurant industry for a long time, always grew a home garden, and eventually went back to school for horticulture. Starting a farm was a bit of a leap of faith. I have learned everything as I go, and continue to do so.

Tell us about the story of your farm – how did you (and your farm partner) get started? What was that like? What challenges did you encounter?
The farm started in 2015 by myself and a partner. In 2016, I completely took over the farm as a sole proprietor. I had to start everything from scratch and learn how to farm at the same time. It was a lot of trial and error, a lot of hard work, and a lot of fun. I still can't believe I am a farm owner.

What are some important things you’ve learned since you started at your farm?
I've learned to let things go and to be okay with failure. I've learned to have confidence in myself and to trust other people to help with the workload.

What is the most challenging aspect given the location of your farm?
The farm is in the Sierra Nevada Foothills so we don't really have much flat ground. Farming on steep slopes can be a real challenge and the flat area we do have stays very wet into the spring and early summer. We also have very heavy clay soils!!

What do you love about your community that makes it a special place to farm?
We have a small, but very supportive community that is totally behind what we are doing. We do about 80% of our sales from our onsite farm stand. Our customers willing to come straight to the source to support us.

Name something you would love to grow that you haven't tried or been able to grow yet?

Where do you see your farm 10 years from now?
I see the farm similar to how it is now, but a lot more efficient. I see it with a lot less weeds!

What are a few of your favorite farming pro tips?
Don't try to do everything. Figure out what you like doing and get good at it.

Who are your greatest farming influencers?
There are so many these days. When I was starting out I was very influenced by JM Fortier and Curtis Stone. There are so many great farmers out there and I try and take little pieces from them all.

How has Tend helped your business?
Tend has kept me planting on schedule and helped me very accurately plan my season both in terms of timing and yield. Tend has helped me tremendously.

What are some of the greatest challenges, for your farm, that you have overcome? How?
The hardest part for me was getting started. I have had to learn everything on the job, so I am overcoming challenges all the time. It sounds stupid, but the only way to do it is to just do it. If you still can't do it than hire someone who can!


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