In Hampstead, MD, Two Boots Farm grows organic produce and cut flowers on one acre. In 2016, this family-run operation received a $5,000 FruitGuys Community Fund grant to increase their seedling production with a 72-by-24-foot high tunnel. Farm owner Elisa Lane estimates that in just the first year the high tunnel helped them to achieve 62.7% gross income growth!
Previously Two Boots had been renting greenhouse space. Now they’re able to ensure all their inputs are organic and to expand their farm. The high tunnel also has helped them to achieve better yields with heat-loving crops like cucumbers and tomatoes as well as to grow valuable crops like ginger and turmeric, which cannot survive outside in their region. This spring the farm used the high tunnel for transplants to supply other gardeners with organic alternatives. Elisa says, “We love helping people grow their own food!” Plus, the high tunnel extends the growing season of cool-weather crops like spinach during the fall.
Thanks to hard work and a new high tunnel, Two Boots has a bright future. While they currently sell their transplants and produce only in Baltimore, one day they hope to sell direct from the farm, as well as set up a self-serve stand to increase access to their products for local customers.
If you’re hoping to start a farm like Two Boots or to expand your growing with a FruitGuys Community Fund grant, Elisa offers this advice: “You don’t know until you try! You have to just start somewhere and learn to farm on the job.”