Open for Business with Leah Fote, Good Berry Farms, Nov. 10, 2020
Good Berry Farms is dedicated to growing one fruit: Aronia Berries. In 2015, Leah Fote started the first aronia berry farm in western Nebraska on 20 acres. The aronia berry caught Leah’s attention with its versatility and abundant health benefits. Its wellness powers rival any of the tropical fruits across the world and they are grown right here in Nebraska. Good Berry Farms is committed and dedicated to growing high-quality all natural aronia berries so our consumers are always satisfied. More information on the aronia berry and available products can be found at goodberryfarms.com.
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[00:00:00.000]Leah Fote: For this opportunity and let me speak to me about or me varies in my
[00:00:06.060]Leah Fote: Farm. So, like, just like I said, my name is Leah Cody, and I will impact them with my husband at 13 years Justin and are five children.
[00:00:15.960]Leah Fote: ages three to almost 13 I always have a teacher. So that's scary. And so we both attended a Colorado State University and
[00:00:26.070]Leah Fote: We graduate with ag business degrees. And once we graduate from Colorado State, we
[00:00:32.670]Leah Fote: Have this opportunity to purchase land and Paxton and we have been here. One, one time we had visit packs and so it's kind of on a whim that we purchased this land. And when I look back, that's kind of crazy.
[00:00:44.730]Leah Fote: We've only been to this little town once, but we fell in love with it and we love the community. The people, the beauty of it. The school everything about it and
[00:00:54.360]Leah Fote: Over the past 13 years we have grown our farming operation. And we also have a cow calf operation which the about cow. So we don't have anything right now.
[00:01:06.180]Leah Fote: I'm where the crop site and then in the past five years. We started growing already Verizon kind of turns to them farms. That's kind of how it all got started.
[00:01:19.830]Jessica Groskopf: So can you tell us exactly what good berry farms is so do you grow your, your berries for like a specific product or how how how do they fit into your world.
[00:01:30.780]Leah Fote: Yeah, well it's a 20 acre ammonia very farm and it's okay right here and Paxton and we started in 2015 and you can approximately 24,000 plans and we harvest the berries in the fall, and we produce a wide range of products from jelly to wellness or to all sorts of different products.
[00:01:52.260]Leah Fote: We also sell the frozen very after reprocessing. We found to not only just consumers, but we
[00:01:59.760]Leah Fote: Come to this movie franchise in Colorado called introduce and so they buy a lot of wholesale berries. So that's kind of what we do. We just grow this very and make our products and
[00:02:12.090]Leah Fote: Own to consumers.
[00:02:14.880]Jessica Groskopf: So why erroneous series.
[00:02:18.570]Leah Fote: Where did I get started. Well, it all started with this piece of property. So when you enter our town, there's this alter ego. That's it there and
[00:02:27.750]Leah Fote: I always thought to be a really beautiful antiques, or with my other passions antiques and
[00:02:32.490]Leah Fote: Once it came for sale. I jumped at the opportunity to buy it and I renovated the train depot and open this little antique store in gift shop.
[00:02:42.360]Leah Fote: Along with that chain BeBo was 20 acres and, you know, what am I gonna do with 20 acres. I wasn't going to grow corn or soybeans are we, and I wanted to appeal to like really pretty, because the St. Jude's of our town. So I started researching, you know,
[00:02:57.540]Leah Fote: Different unusual props and I really wanted to grow something that was like as like healthy alternative
[00:03:06.420]Leah Fote: Sort of niche crop. And so I started you know researching on the website.
[00:03:11.880]Leah Fote: You know, what's the next big super food or something along those lines and everything was, you know, a tropical or when a girl Western Nebraska.
[00:03:20.310]Leah Fote: And I stumbled across a Roni very and there was a farm in Iowa and that grew them. So I decided to go out there and visit the farm. And it was kind of more of an agritourism type deal where they had like
[00:03:33.090]Leah Fote: You know wine DC in the in the vendors, but I really got to see all the diversity that you can do.
[00:03:43.620]Leah Fote: The berry. And so I just kind of decided to go for it. I knew it would be a challenge, but we went ahead and hired a company to dance.
[00:03:53.070]Leah Fote: They planted the plans for the trim the fabric. They laid it all out for me and like a week.
[00:03:59.520]Leah Fote: And then I was just that keeping them life.
[00:04:02.460]Leah Fote: So it was just kind of once I read that article I was sold on it, just because of the amazing health benefits, you know, having five kids.
[00:04:10.680]Leah Fote: You know what we put into our body, you know, food is medicine and I just knew, you know, people are constantly looking for a healthy
[00:04:18.780]Leah Fote: Alternative, you know, healthy foods never going to go away. People are always going to want the next biggest, best thing. So that's kind of why I jumped on it and you know it feels good to help people when people buy my products and
[00:04:32.010]Leah Fote: It's helping with their cholesterol or their pain like that's just great news. And I love to hear those stories also with the TV, but
[00:04:42.150]Jessica Groskopf: That's interesting. So can you tell us about like the planning process. So you talked about hiring a company about like what on the like the business plan piece. Did you have put together before you started and what has kind of developed after the fact of actually planting.
[00:04:57.240]Leah Fote: Well, I just kept it was all kind of
[00:05:00.420]Leah Fote: On a whim, but I just know I figured how many plans, you know,
[00:05:05.520]Leah Fote: That's coming out here, you know, in three years, they'll start to produce a crop, you know, what am I going to do in those three years you know there are co ops up by them.
[00:05:15.540]Leah Fote: But, you know, it kind of takes a while to, you know, to get paid on them because they have to sell the previous years, and stuff so I knew there was an Alex, we will sell them but
[00:05:26.160]Leah Fote: My main goal in that three years was to just try to find companies to purchase the berries. So that was kind of my plan and just kind of went
[00:05:35.580]Leah Fote: So,
[00:05:37.260]Jessica Groskopf: So I think you talked about introduce and
[00:05:40.710]Jessica Groskopf: I've been to Colorado and I've had introduced
[00:05:43.290]Leah Fote: So can you tell us about how you cultivated that relationship with that.
[00:05:46.890]Leah Fote: Company. Well, I think my brother, my youngest brother was introduced. And notice, like it was
[00:05:54.570]Leah Fote: You know, sold out or the Ronnie very was passed out. So I contacted the owner and I have a meeting with thirsty and and she
[00:06:01.230]Leah Fote: Is a woman owned company. And so I met with her and you know I told her. Hey, I'm only three hours away. I would love to be your supplier and if you're interested, you know, here we go. And
[00:06:11.910]Leah Fote: She loved you know I think she loved my story too. And so it's it's a great relationship that we have and
[00:06:18.540]Leah Fote: You know I you know I serve her stuff on social media. She shares mine. And so this is a great relationship to work with this company and they make really good. These are these like a battles is what they call them. And so the product is really good. And so since my relationship to have
[00:06:36.450]Jessica Groskopf: So thinking about that. Let's talk about what the business. The biggest of business shock is that you have faced in your were only a very business.
[00:06:47.430]Leah Fote: Well, biggest job and I guess it's not. It wasn't a know like I knew it would be a challenge and
[00:06:55.830]Leah Fote: Is consumer awareness, because most people 99% of people have no idea when I run a very as I don't know what they're running various
[00:07:03.150]Leah Fote: So going into it. You know, I knew I had to sit switch from like my farming mindset to marketing. How am I going to get there running very to be a household name, how am I going to get these big manufacturers want to buy around unary. So that's kind of been the biggest shot that I've been
[00:07:22.410]Leah Fote: You know, dealing with and we'll deal with in the future, you know, and so it i think i think the how I kind of handle that was the second year, I actually did get a prop. And so I was like why Kansas all these berries go away and you pick them. And so, so I i high risk.
[00:07:40.950]Leah Fote: Some berries. The second year, and I had my brother and sister in law come out and we developed a jelly recipe and we started selling jelly
[00:07:50.430]Leah Fote: In my little gift shop and then that sold out in like a week and I was like, okay, so there's a market for this. And so I just start making these products and
[00:08:00.000]Leah Fote: And I just in my back of my mind. I never really wanted to necessarily do all that. But it gets a product in the consumers hands.
[00:08:08.160]Leah Fote: You know they share with their friends, their friends by it. So just trickles down. And so, you know, I should products all over the US and
[00:08:15.840]Leah Fote: I actually really enjoy it. Now, being able to make these products and
[00:08:19.380]Leah Fote: Have you know these amazing stories and people just love to share them. And so I know it's just a trickle effect people slowly buying them and then gets out there.
[00:08:27.960]Leah Fote: You know, and of course everything every day on social media, that's my way of reaching out to people to try to educate them about the running very from fun bags, the pictures of the field.
[00:08:38.520]Leah Fote: harvests just different things like that. It's all about educating the consumer. So we can eventually sell to these big manufacturers, you know, like corns
[00:08:50.100]Jessica Groskopf: Just a reminder, if you have questions for our guests, please go ahead and stick those in the chat and there's a question about product development. So you talked a little bit about your jellies.
[00:09:00.930]Jessica Groskopf: But what other products do you have, and is there a reason for the mix of products that you currently have available.
[00:09:07.800]Leah Fote: Yeah. So my first two products was the jelly in the pancake syrup.
[00:09:12.900]Leah Fote: Um, but then I was like, Well, wait, this is kind of taking away from the whole aspect of the Ronnie very like it's a healthy for me hearing them adding all this sugar.
[00:09:21.660]Leah Fote: You know, I mean, they're great products and they're super popular, but I wanted to create other products that were actually healthy and beneficial to your body. So I did the powder. I have a long syrup.
[00:09:32.730]Leah Fote: That, you know, everybody knows the elderberry syrup, but a Roni various have a higher
[00:09:38.040]Leah Fote: Level than even the other very so I was like, why not create my own wellness syrup. And so I have that I have achieved collection, and then a chocolate sauce which
[00:09:48.720]Leah Fote: You know, not the best for you. It's really good. So I kind of have to define them as a product, you know, the healthy ones. And then, you know, the ones that just seems really good so
[00:09:59.070]Leah Fote: I just really enjoy the wellness syrup and the jelly are probably the two most popular products I have and so
[00:10:07.980]Leah Fote: I don't, I don't know how I came up with. But it just started flowing, one day, and so I don't think I'm gonna make any other new products, though, so
[00:10:18.120]Jessica Groskopf: So the next question is in regards to your social media strategy. So how are you building a community on your social media platforms.
[00:10:27.210]Leah Fote: Social media is definitely a challenge for me. I have taken classes to try to develop more education about it. No, I mean,
[00:10:35.940]Leah Fote: I just feel very old and the whole social media world that I just tried to, you know, develop followers that I think would be beneficial to my product and I have worked with other
[00:10:50.160]Leah Fote: Influences I guess you could call him that, you know,
[00:10:53.430]Leah Fote: Bring out the products and try to get Ronnie varies more on the market because they, you know, a lot of them are doctors and they know how well how amazing this product is to consumer so
[00:11:04.200]Leah Fote: You know, I'm just trying to post every single day to get more people aware of their own very health benefits.
[00:11:12.870]Jessica Groskopf: So our next question is from the chat and it says, how do you pick your berries. We have found that there's no hand picking help available anymore and harvesters are very expensive. So how do you guys handle that.
[00:11:26.820]Leah Fote: Well, we actually did take handpick we have a group that comes up from Arizona, because I'm organic and so we have to handpick all the weeds and they actually helped me take all the berries one here. Obviously, that's not very cost effective, but
[00:11:44.310]Leah Fote: I my harvest or that I do have was a blueberry harvester and it just sounded a little too high so wasn't able to
[00:11:52.950]Leah Fote: varies, but the following years, I just use a blueberry harvester that I found on an auction and husbands kind of tweaked it a little. So we're a little bit more efficiently. But that's how we
[00:12:04.860]Leah Fote: Pick the very so if you can get your hands on like a youth blueberry harvester that seems to work really well for us because Rania right there is an actual wrong. A very harvester but I
[00:12:16.890]Leah Fote: I just don't see it financially feasible to spend that type of money I rather spend 20 grand on marketing to get more consumer awareness. So it is a challenge. So because we have hand picked and that is a lot of work.
[00:12:33.300]Jessica Groskopf: So that kind of leads into our next question you you brought up that you guys are organic. So can you talk about the organic certification process and how that works for your operation.
[00:12:43.350]Leah Fote: Yeah, I decided to go ahead and do organic right away. And that's why we hadn't laid the fabric down to control weeds.
[00:12:52.500]Leah Fote: And I chose to do organic because it is such a, you know, the healthy very the high in oxygen and very consumers are going to want that organic certification on that product and
[00:13:05.040]Leah Fote: It's just a lot of record keeping. You have to keep track of everything you do in that field.
[00:13:12.540]Leah Fote: Every time you mo anybody comes in, does anything. So it's just a lot of record keeping, but the company I work with is really good at providing support, you know, they help for my documents of what you need. And so it's not as challenging as you can see, but
[00:13:30.030]Leah Fote: It's this is a lot of things they had to be very organized to be organic
[00:13:37.710]Jessica Groskopf: So our next question is how did you finance your venture
[00:13:42.450]Leah Fote: I have an investor that invested in the company. So
[00:13:50.130]Jessica Groskopf: Awesome. If you have questions, again, please include them in the chat so Leah are, you know, we're talking about business shocks and you talked about that consumer awareness. What other shocks, do you see coming
[00:14:03.000]Jessica Groskopf: Potentially for your business. And how are you preparing your business to survive that next shock.
[00:14:09.000]Leah Fote: Well, another side, we actually have this year was hail and in the past year. It always feels, you know, but it's usually a couple minutes. This means that I'm haxton for like 30 minutes
[00:14:19.890]Leah Fote: Like, huge, huge deal. And I went out to the field in this morning and 75% of my berries were on the ground and I just cried, and I was devastated because there is no crop insurance for around it varies because they don't
[00:14:33.960]Leah Fote: Consider crop at this point. So it was just kind of devastating and then my husband would like all have like 24,000 fans in last year, really.
[00:14:43.290]Leah Fote: Pete Rose and you have, you'll be fine. And we were aware of buying. We just had to pick everything will grow this year. But, you know, Mother Nature is always a challenge.
[00:14:53.100]Leah Fote: She throws at us, you know, from hundred degree days and things like that. So that's always an issue and like the question before harvesting
[00:15:04.410]Leah Fote: is challenging. And as we get bigger and people are willing to buy more berries. If we do the manufacturer. I'm going to have to figure out if I invest in a harvester and a big processing because we just have a little processor that I can find work with a company that to manage
[00:15:23.850]Leah Fote: The amount that I picked each year. So I am going to have to figure out harvesting processing as Operation continues to grow.
[00:15:33.960]Jessica Groskopf: So our next question is do you sell via e commerce and what are the challenges of that process.
[00:15:41.310]Leah Fote: Yeah, so I have my own website that I use and
[00:15:46.110]Leah Fote: Colorado helps me with that and
[00:15:49.380]Leah Fote: There are, there's not really a lot of challenges that they make it so easy to orders and shipping and all that. And then I also saw Amazon and Etsy. I tried to be unlike every little site can to get more
[00:16:02.970]Leah Fote: Sales, you know, because of how your cash flow work. And I think the biggest hurdle to deal with e commerce is shipping. So you have to, I figured, the best way
[00:16:14.700]Leah Fote: To do that is to offer the free shipping incorporate that into your price, you know, this consumer is going to be like, Oh, we should be, you know, the marketing tool, you know, just you have to offer that FREE SHIP should be. But if you rate into your pricing and
[00:16:32.580]Jessica Groskopf: So that brings up a really interesting question regarding pricing, you have a really unique product. How did you go about determining what your price would be for given products.
[00:16:43.560]Leah Fote: That that has been a challenge and
[00:16:47.130]Leah Fote: Luckily, you know, we're kind of a small knit community of Iranian growers. So, you know, we kind of go back and forth with each other to see what they're selling that to kind of come up with a fair price.
[00:16:59.910]Leah Fote: To incorporate all costs, but that is kind of a challenge because there isn't a lot of product on there so it took a while to figure out what to charge you know to actually move the product and not just have a sin there so
[00:17:12.930]Leah Fote: That was a challenge but you got it is work with other growers, because you don't want to be you know way low them and you know she'd been out, you know, you kind of have to work together to come up with a fair price.
[00:17:26.130]Jessica Groskopf: So is there an erroneous Growers Association that people can explore how did you find other growers.
[00:17:33.180]Leah Fote: And there actually is. It was Midwest aroma association, but they're kind of changing that to the American Association and and that's just a network of birds that are on there and actually I got two
[00:17:48.930]Leah Fote: People on our town to grow on me. So, and one of the couple. One of the rowers and Stephen, surely, and they are kind of
[00:18:00.360]Leah Fote: They're really involved in that association. And so it's really fun to work with them. And, you know, just go back and forth with what they're doing and different ideas. And so it's just a really good platform to work with other growers so
[00:18:15.390]Jessica Groskopf: Again, just a reminder, if you have questions for our guests Leah, please make sure that you get those into the chat so that we can get them asked. And our next question is, is your gift shop open regular hours.
[00:18:28.140]Leah Fote: Yeah, so we I did, I did have a building in town that was actually the old winery and
[00:18:35.100]Leah Fote: In that it was set up perfectly to have my process and it has a commercial kitchen and it does have a retail space. So for a couple years. I was selling out of there. Just a very farms products, but then
[00:18:47.760]Leah Fote: I thought it was kind of done simply somebody there and that my actual UTV shop so I'm all products over there and it's open Monday through Saturday nine to five and you can find all of our products there. So, along with online on our website.
[00:19:05.100]Jessica Groskopf: So that brings up another question regarding certification. So with your products are there certain ones that require certification and others that don't as far as like the cottage food laws and things like that.
[00:19:20.130]Leah Fote: Well, I went ahead. They have a commercial I just inspected every year, you know, Vegas mean inspector and I guess I didn't know about the hottest through a lot and stuff. So I just really have a commercial
[00:19:36.150]Leah Fote: Retail. And so that's what I do. I'm legit on
[00:19:44.100]Jessica Groskopf: Our next question is, what challenges have you faced or encountered as a female AG entrepreneur working with professional advisors like lawyers lenders attorneys those kinds of folks.
[00:19:58.500]Leah Fote: I really haven't had any challenge, you know, being a female in that
[00:20:03.990]Leah Fote: Sense, I would say in my own mind, when I started this, I was only 31 so I kind of thought, you know, when I spoke to other people or other growers, maybe they wouldn't take me seriously. You know, because of my age and
[00:20:17.850]Leah Fote: You know young female. She doesn't know what she's doing. And, um, but I really think that was just all in my head because I really never had any issues with that. And, like, for example,
[00:20:27.720]Leah Fote: Stephen surely that are kind of heading that American are really very Association brought over a gentleman from England eurozone various and
[00:20:38.580]Leah Fote: Andrew and he came out and they wanted him to visit my farm and I was super intimidated because I'm like What am I gonna teach this guy, you know, because he's an engineering and grow your own a various forever, and he sat with me and he talked to me we discussed
[00:20:53.670]Leah Fote: Harvesting he listened to my thoughts and ideas and it was just a boost of confidence because I'm like, here I am, you know,
[00:20:59.760]Leah Fote: You know 31 and he's like listening to what I have to say. And so I just think that's really great in our industry that
[00:21:05.730]Leah Fote: Are just so open and it doesn't matter. Male. Female. If you're 30 or 60 so it's just I don't think he knew that he boosted my confidence, a lot. And so, is this real eye opening for me.
[00:21:18.990]Jessica Groskopf: So that brings us to our next question is what kind of maintenance. Do your plants need outside of harvest
[00:21:25.440]Leah Fote: Yeah, so I mean there's not a manual for Romania varies so it's kind of everybody has their own opinions and thoughts about that. And so we actually our various every single year.
[00:21:40.950]Leah Fote: I did do kind of a little test squad and I didn't from half of my field but
[00:21:47.370]Leah Fote: Matter because we had all that hail damage. They don't really know it did anything but. So there's different people that think you should permission.
[00:21:56.010]Leah Fote: But we go ahead and do that. So, and then, you know, we always exceed high because we have underneath the fabric. And so you always have to maintain that and fix
[00:22:10.260]Jessica Groskopf: So another question from the chat. And again remember if you have questions for our guests to please go ahead and include them in the chat. Do you sell various fresh or frozen and then would you share any of your jelly or jam recipes
[00:22:26.820]Leah Fote: I do sell them for them. Like I said, to introduce I saw all the President has the best thing to do as well, you know, and I learned this from Andrew from England, you know, you want to get that vary from the field to the freezer as fast as you can. So we pick
[00:22:43.260]Leah Fote: The process we dry and they go straight in the freezer could belong in there in the freezer. They actually get students there you know novelty is very there weren't tart and
[00:22:52.680]Leah Fote: So we do know, we don't really sell them fresh because we just try to harvest as you can. And so we do sell them frozen and bags and also to introduce yourself and then the jelly recipes. It's just a Romeo juice and sugar lemon juice and apples.
[00:23:16.260]Leah Fote: More recipe.
[00:23:19.290]Jessica Groskopf: So what kind of things helped you prepare to be a business owner, it sounds like you guys have a lot going on. So tell us about what helped you along the way.
[00:23:29.310]Leah Fote: Well obviously we have the bachelor's degree and I business. So that was kind of the foundation to be a business owner, I'm I am currently in
[00:23:38.880]Leah Fote: I have and I am currently serving on multiple boards in our community. And I think that has really helped me been a tremendous wealth of knowledge on
[00:23:48.690]Leah Fote: How different entities run financially managing people marketing, etc. Um, you know, raising five kids and having a family. You have to give it your all every day because
[00:24:00.840]Leah Fote: You know, they'll wake up every day, ready to go. And so you definitely have to know multitasking organizing managing schedules. You know, people. So I think know
[00:24:13.860]Leah Fote: All that kind of helped me be the business owner that I am today.
[00:24:20.880]Jessica Groskopf: What advice would you give someone wanting to start a business like this.
[00:24:26.430]Leah Fote: Well, I think you need desire. Any business. I think you just need to have that passion and drive
[00:24:32.910]Leah Fote: Because when things get tough, you know, the only person that's really going to shoot himself. So I think if you don't have that passion for something
[00:24:40.020]Leah Fote: And it's not going to work. Like, I love around it varies. I love you know the challenge of getting consumers to be aware of it.
[00:24:48.420]Leah Fote: I loved creating a product and selling them, you know, so I think you have to have that passion and drive for what you do, but more specifically to having like an Iranian very business savvy people need to realize that
[00:25:02.580]Leah Fote: They're not just going to sell right out of the field, you're going to have to get creative.
[00:25:06.690]Leah Fote: And market them somehow. Because it's not a crowd like corn and soybeans or you can just take him to the co op, you're going to have to figure out how you can get rid of your crops.
[00:25:16.200]Leah Fote: You know, one day, hopefully we'll have it that way. But right now, you really have to get creative with your marketing challenges for that product. So you have to have that passion and drive other way.
[00:25:29.580]Jessica Groskopf: So that brings us to the next question is how did your experience with your guys's conventional farm translate over to the Iranian Berry Farm.
[00:25:39.570]Leah Fote: Well, I wish, I wish. The selling factor or you could just go down them off you know and and try to
[00:25:47.670]Leah Fote: You know, there's, you know, the watering know it's you know, it's just like growing the corn. It's nice size for an email and you only have a fan at once they know you have to be out there every day, making sure each of the rows of water and
[00:26:00.090]Leah Fote: soil testing to make sure there aren't any deficiencies, like we this type of plan, you know, will grow in pretty much any type of soil travels in, you know, really nice Blackwater. So it's, you know, it's always the
[00:26:16.830]Leah Fote: Factors that plays into regular army. So it's just harvested a little bit different.
[00:26:23.520]Jessica Groskopf: So when do you normally harvest or Rania berries. Can you walk us through how the seasons my
[00:26:28.170]Leah Fote: Job. Yeah. So, you usually have us around. It's generally around Labor Day. And again, since there's not necessarily a manual for it. Everybody kind of has their opinion when the Mary's ready you can do a Briggs test to see what the sugar is
[00:26:44.010]Leah Fote: There's this because they're a little clusters and on the backside when they're starting to turn a regular people say they're ready.
[00:26:52.620]Leah Fote: My children just eat them and kind of tell me okay they're ready because they you can tell when they're ready to go. And so once they are, you know, you do have
[00:27:02.820]Leah Fote: A long as the weather stays good you have at least a couple two, three weeks to pick them all and so
[00:27:09.540]Leah Fote: We run our blueberry harvester down the field and kind of shakes up and it gets all the various off and you go into the slugs and we bring them over to the processing, man. And that's where we wash them and go through the dryer and then go streams.
[00:27:24.330]Leah Fote: So that's kind of how it all works. So
[00:27:28.350]Jessica Groskopf: Sorry. Next question is about how many pounds of berries are there per plant and How large do the plants get
[00:27:35.880]Leah Fote: So, and I was really excited to see
[00:27:38.250]Leah Fote: How many pounds. I'm going to get this year, which is just looks so great. Before that, hail storm, but you know people say they max out between 15 to 20 pounds.
[00:27:49.470]Leah Fote: I've heard over in England and places.
[00:27:52.950]Leah Fote: That you can get closer to 30 pounds, so I'm not ready, sir. Last year I was averaging, you know, eight to 10 pounds purpose and you like to keep on, you know, again, this is kind of your preference.
[00:28:05.700]Leah Fote: Depending on your harvest, sir, but somewhere between, you know, six to eight feet tall. And so you don't have to bring them. Otherwise, they could use so so you kind of have to just
[00:28:15.450]Keep them under bush.
[00:28:18.840]Jessica Groskopf: I didn't realize they were that big.
[00:28:20.790]Leah Fote: But yeah, they can get pretty good I think. They even gave in color, but
[00:28:24.090]Leah Fote: Depending on how
[00:28:24.840]Leah Fote: Like with a blueberry harvester we have
[00:28:26.910]Leah Fote: You know, there's a ceiling on it. So once they get to hide the blueberry harvester won't work, which again would be another challenge to figure out if I money on a harvester so
[00:28:39.120]Jessica Groskopf: So you talked about starting other erroneous businesses in your community. Can you expand more on maybe how many are in the packs in the area. And we're working towards
[00:28:50.760]Leah Fote: Yeah, well, a lady after I finished.
[00:28:52.890]Leah Fote: Mean, she was very intuitive. Her name is Jan and she's very interested in what I was doing and I was telling her all about their own a very and she loved all the benefits of it and I had some extra plans and so I sold those to her.
[00:29:06.330]Leah Fote: And she has an acre of them. And so she wrote them too. And she's actually working with her daughter, and they are creating wine from it. So, there will be a whole different Avenue with it. And then the other couple there.
[00:29:20.700]Leah Fote: She's originally from hacks and they live in Denver, but they have a little farm here in Harbin, which is just Paxton and
[00:29:29.370]Leah Fote: They are super interested also in the health benefits of it and they have just launched
[00:29:34.140]Leah Fote: This amazing project called media amazing product called the double bar and it's got a minimum of 25 Rania varies in it, and it is they're so good and
[00:29:44.880]Leah Fote: So they are just starting to come out with or they've come out with this amazing product. So we kind of all have our different products and our main goal is just to sell weeds around very good consumers.
[00:29:57.510]Leah Fote: Amazing area and all of its health benefits. So it's kind of fun. We have our own world going on in packs.
[00:30:06.060]Jessica Groskopf: So where do you source your plants from. And you also mentioned some other like the fabric and the drip system. Are there any other pieces of equipment per se that you would need to start this operation.
[00:30:21.300]Leah Fote: We, the source, the
[00:30:23.610]Leah Fote: Plans i'm wrong eliminated in South Dakota Figaro two different cultivators of the army very man and then
[00:30:34.530]Leah Fote: Fabric and leaping from really and
[00:30:39.690]Leah Fote: The team. I think we just found online at one of these wholesalers and then, you know, you also need to know in between the rows because you have the space of areas out a certain amount
[00:30:52.380]Leah Fote: And again, there's all these different opinions on how far apart the speeds everything. So you have to definitely have a little chapter to know depending on the size of your acreage
[00:31:02.670]Leah Fote: So those are kind of some pieces of equipment, you have to have in some people don't have to. And they, you know, especially back east Eastern Nebraska and stuff. No, it's just me.
[00:31:14.760]Jessica Groskopf: So just a reminder, if you have questions for Leah, make sure that you drop those in the chat or next question is how much water do they consume. And do you have any disease or pest pressure that you're concerned about
[00:31:27.120]Leah Fote: So on our well we have
[00:31:31.230]Leah Fote: Constant studios per minute and we run it again. Last year, we didn't. I don't think I ever in my situation because they're pretty hardy plants and they don't need a ton of water.
[00:31:44.400]Leah Fote: This year, though we had 100 degrees constantly. And so it was running each zone ran for about three hours, and I don't even know if that was enough to the soil itself for you dry but you also kind of want those roots to form to, you know, naturally, pull water from the ground.
[00:32:03.300]Leah Fote: So that's how much wider. It takes what was the other part of the Christian
[00:32:09.540]Jessica Groskopf: I don't remember.
[00:32:12.810]Jessica Groskopf: Okay.
[00:32:13.560]Jessica Groskopf: I, you, you, you ask that. How much water, and I think that was are you answer the how much waters. I think that was good. So what's next for good berry farms.
[00:32:23.820]Leah Fote: Well, for the farm, I would like to continue
[00:32:26.670]Leah Fote: To expand into the wholesale market. I have a lot of great little stories that buy my products and solving their retail shop so I can even expand that more over into Colorado.
[00:32:36.840]Leah Fote: And then I also eventually want to put up a little greenhouse on my property in town to sell the actual plan because a lot of my customers are really interested in actually growing
[00:32:46.920]Leah Fote: Their own plans, you know, just having a couple of their yard to have their own little berries. At the end of the season. So that's kind of my goal.
[00:32:55.440]Leah Fote: And then, of course, continuing to raise awareness, again, a big you know manufacturer buyer. I think that's kind of the goal is for every around a very farmers so so that's my biggest goal is to get those very sold out of the field.
[00:33:12.660]Jessica Groskopf: So the questions have slowed down in the comments box. So if you have any questions, please make sure that you include those. Oh, the question was about pets.
[00:33:24.240]Jessica Groskopf: Yeah.
[00:33:26.220]Jessica Groskopf: And thank you, Rhonda Rhonda has been active in the chat box. So thank you, Rhonda for bringing us back to the question about pets.
[00:33:34.320]Leah Fote: I actually haven't had any issues of past in my area. I know.
[00:33:41.700]Leah Fote: I've been
[00:33:43.260]Leah Fote: There, since our beetle over more in eastern Nebraska Iowa that they've had to deal with. But luckily, I haven't had to deal with any past i
[00:33:51.720]Leah Fote: You know, in the beginning of plans were big enough that they drive that I didn't have any issues with your rabbits. I know my friend Steven surely have had issues with your about their face, but they are surrounded by beautiful river.
[00:34:04.530]Leah Fote: Habitat, but I really think we haven't had any issues in the past. Yeah. I mean, there again, they're pretty party and so
[00:34:19.560]Jessica Groskopf: Again, this is your final call for questions in the chat box as we wait for those questions to come in.
[00:34:26.970]Jessica Groskopf: Just a reminder, you will be receiving a short survey in your email about today's open for business session.
[00:34:34.590]Jessica Groskopf: And we would really appreciate your feedback about today's webinar. That's also where you can recommend other female agribusiness entrepreneurs to be featured on our series. Again, this happens, the second Tuesday of every month.
[00:34:50.730]Jessica Groskopf: So again, last call for questions. We're just going to give you a few more seconds to type anything in while they do that, Leah, any final thoughts.
[00:35:04.110]Leah Fote: No, I just think
[00:35:06.360]Leah Fote: This is a really great very and I think you have that passion for healthy
[00:35:14.100]Leah Fote: Lifestyle and the great crop to grow. Now, and if you start out small and eager to I think that's really long.
[00:35:23.010]Leah Fote: Time, and I know a lot of people are really hard to get into their stores and beating voters, you know, to put it on himself. So I think it's a good investment and I'm just really excited about the future around. You're very welcome.
[00:35:40.500]Jessica Groskopf: And remind us again. Where can we find information about good berry farms.
[00:35:46.020]Leah Fote: And go berry farms. COM. So let's say they're
[00:35:53.520]Jessica Groskopf: Awesome. Well, thank you, Leah, for joining us today and thank you everyone who joined us for open for business. Our next Open for Business episode will be December 8 at 6:30pm Central. Thank you.
[00:36:07.830]Leah Fote: Thank you so much.
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