What prepared you to be a farmer? When I was younger, I worked in a greenhouse at the local nursery. It was a small, family run business, similar to my farm now. I worked there for 10 years, and learned an awful lot about growing plants.
What is a unique feature and how many acres do you farm? We have a 12’ deep cavern with a spring in the middle of the farm. The spring always has water, no matter how dry it is. We farm about 15 acres. I own 20 and rent 4.
Tell us about your main crops and how you chose the varieties. If you have livestock, tell us about your feed and how they live on your farm. We pride ourselves on crop diversity; it’s the heart of our business model. Our success is that we grow many different crops. The varieties that we grow are a result of trial and error over many years. We see what works on our farm and our system. We’ve grown over 30 varieties of cantaloupe over the years, and now we are down to one variety because it’s what works the best.
How much of food goes to farmers markets and or restaurants? 65% of our food goes to farmers markets and restaurants. The remaining 35% goes to our CSA (which starts Oct 12, see our website, dandafarm.com to sign up)
What challenges do you have as a farmer? Weather is the biggest challenge. There’s the rule of too, it’s always too dang something- too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, it rained, but too hard…
Where do you see farming in the future? I see the future of farming as continuing on the current trend of either very small or very large farms with nothing in between.
Where would be your ideal location for your last supper, what would be your meal & music and who would join you ? I would spend my last meal at home on the farm with my family. If I had to pick on season to eat from, it would be spring going into summer, with both cool and warm crops.
We are a first generation small family farm operated primarily by Dave and Alan Bentoski. With the help of a few dedicated employees and several family members we grow and market over 80 varieties of certified organic fruits, vegetables, melons, and vegetable transplants. The produce is raised on roughly 15 acres of cultivated ground which counts 1 heated greenhouse and 9 unheated high tunnels that we use for season extension. We received our organic certification in February of 2007. But we have been farming “organically” from the start. We market our produce mostly direct to consumers through our CSA program and at Morningside Farmers Market, which you can find out more about here at our site, and to several area restaurants. We are constantly evaluating new crops and farm enterprises to add to this list. Stand back and watch us grow!!