Had a great day yesterday. Took a trip down to a meet Martin - and his wife Pat - the nut farmers. They have a 100 acre fruit and nut farm. Bloody brilliant. He's got 200 varieties of fruits and nuts, doesn't even know what most of them are as he planted them over several decades. I had kiwi-grape for the first time yesterday - never heard of them before, they're amazing! He's got mostly hazelnuts but his whole property is surround by 1000 black walnut trees as his windbreak. He has chestnuts, acorns, hickory nuts, pecans, heartnuts etc. He gave a me a big bag of mixed nuts to take home and try - so a lot of these were first time for me heartnut, hickory nut, and a bunch of different hazelnuts which hybrids he's created himself. The heartnuts are really good, they a mild Japanese walnut. Haven't tried hickory nuts yet. He's got paw paws, blueberries, and tons of other fruits. He says he doesn't get to eat any of the blueberries as the deer and other critters strip them clean asap but he likes them and doesn't much care. All in all quite the little wildlife paradise. Not without its perils however, hawks, foxes, coyotes, snakes, etc. Still,for that abundance of food it's better than were a lot of critters have to forage.
And across the road is a watermelon farm and he says it's funny as hell because some nights you can see raccoons stealing them. They're smart enough to actually roll them into the woods where they can eat them in private and not leave any incriminating evidence behind.
And yeah, it's a low maintenance lifestyle. He got into in 1994 after looking around at what requires the least work and provides the best ROI for farming. He also had a ton of good general advice of things like grow in sand or loam, not clay. Not because they don't do well in clay just that trying to harvest in the mud is a fucking nightmare which happens with clay soil farms in Fall. And how long it takes certain trees to fruit and how that grows year over year. You get about 1/2 lb more per year, year over year until full maturation at 20 years. And each tree with produce food for 50-100 years on average. So, it's a slow start but you make more money as you go along each year - barring natural disasters obviously.
He was pretty old school doesn't really know about or care about things biodynamics, permaculture, organics, etc. He uses Roundup around the base of his trees in the Spring to keep weeds back - simply because he's lazy. And that sort of thing makes me cringe. I said as much, 'Martin, you have to stop using that shit. It's destroying the world.' He just shrugged. Typical baby boomer. Profits first, everything else, whatever. Still a decent enough sort in his own way. He was a quite a hoarder so he had tons of shit all over his proprerty. Buys gobs of crap at auctions and tries to resell it, just ends up with crap everywhere. Definitely not how I'll be living on my farm.
He also suggested just planting slow over the years if I don't want to go too fast and lease out the rest of the land to another farmer or enter a sharecrop agreement. 25 acres of his land is planted with corn and soybeans from the farmer next door and he makes a couple of grand on that a year and it's exempt from capital gains. He sez there's plenty of advantages to renting or leasing farmland. And a quick look shows that almost 40% of all farmland in Canada is in fact either rented/leased or in a sharecropping agreement. I met another guy several years ago who said the same thing. He bought 100 acres of land leased 75 of them to the farmer next door and was making a nice bit of bank and having to do anything for it. I'll have to look into this some more.
It was a great day, fun - we were whizzing around on golf carts for the grand tour of his farm, drank a bottle of wine that I brought with him and the wife. They have a great golden lab named Shelby who was just all over me for attention and skritches and stuff. Good time had by all. The drive home was pure Hell however. Huge storm started! From Tillsonburg - my back still aches when I hear that word - to Burlington on the 401 I had my wipers on high and could still barely see the road. I'm doing 85/90 in the slow lane - min speed is supposed to be 100K, fucking semis roaring by me throwing up a wall of water and I'm just hoping I'm not to plow into anything. When I got to and on the 407 it was smooth sailing from there - totally worth the toll!
"I didn't know you had it in you. Sorry, poor choice of words." - David