Business Mentorship – Lessons Learned: Granite Bay Farm

Posted by Kristen Nammour on December 22, 2015

Emily holds her son at Granite Bay Farm on Quadra Island

Name, Farm, Location? Granite Bay Farm, Quadra Island

What were your goals for this season and how did you work to achieve those?
To find some kind of balance between raising a young family and growing a farm. The secret for me was simplifying the growing. Focusing on 2 or 3 crops that were easy and enjoyable to grow.

Did you meet your goals / Did it work out?
It did but it took some getting used to. Part of what I like about market gardening is the diversity that you get to try out. I think that at the beginning of the year I was expecting that I could manage to keep growing and increasing my sales at the same time as juggling the needs of a three year old (my most challenging year yet!)

What were your most profitable avenues of sales?
I was surprised to see that Facebook worked so well. I’ve been reluctant to hope on the FB wagon. Quadra has it’s own ‘swap and shop’ group. I was able to reach people on this site and let them know what I was selling who I normally would not have seen at the local markets.

A child peers at a frog on Granite Bay Farm on Quadra Island

How did the mentorship impact your business?
My record keeping improved 100% and my goals were such that I was able to evaluate what was possible and make it happen. I also feel much more confident and in control as to the pace that the farm is growing.

What business skills have you gained through the mentorship?
Record keeping both in crop planning and with finances and budgeting. I’m now addicted to Quickbooks too!

What was the most important information you gained from your mentor?
How to scale down and make my goals achievable for what my reality is today.

Overall, how are you feeling about your farm business this season?
It’s still an adjustment, scaling back so I can move forward. There is a part of me that thinks I can do more, and wants to start something that in the end will be too big for me to finish. My joke name for my farm this season is “Little by Little Farm”.

Did you learn any lessons the hard way?
Yes, in the way of growing too big for what I was able to handle, but now that it’s winter it’s all under control. 😉

What are you most looking forward to this winter?
Perusing the seed catalogues of course!

An abundance of squash is stored at Granite Bay Farm on Quadra Island

Funding for the Young Agrarians Business Mentorship Network Pilot is provided in part by Salt Spring Coffee, Vancity, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the BC Ministry of Agriculture through programs delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC.