Blake Cothron on growing berries and other small fruit for profit
I’m super excited to share with you all what is about to be a deep dive into one of the most promising and often overlooked small farm enterprises, small fruit and berry growing.
In order to get the scoop on berry growing, I went straight to the source to speak with Blake Cothron, the author of the new book “The Berry Grower: small scale organic fruit production in the 21st century.” Blake Cothron is an organic farmer, educator, professional horticulturist and small business owner in Stanford, Kentucky, USA. He has been a grower for over 25 years and has been operating an organic plant nursery business for almost 10 years. His specialties are small fruit production, orchard care, nursery production, and temperate fruit growing. There’s a lot more to his backstory, but he lays it all out in the first few minutes of the episode so I’ll leave it for him to tell you.
We went really deep into this topic in our interview and covered more than 2 hours of material. For this reason I’ve broken the discussion into two parts to make it more manageable to get through.
In this two part series, we covered almost the full range of the main topics in his book. In this first session we started by exploring why small fruit and berries are such an attractive enterprise and what sorts of farms they might be best suited for. We also look into the challenges and difficulties of growing bush and vine fruit that many people are yet unaware of.
From there we dissect some essential learning and evaluation you should do of your land and climate in order to choose the cultivars that are best suited for your site and business as well as how to source your planting material considering all of the pitfalls of ordering seeds and plants from nurseries and online. We even start talking about maintenance considerations of different cultivars and care and fertility methods that Blake has found success with in his ample experience.All of this is going to set you up really well for the second part of the series when we break down the practical assessments for planning a profitable berry business and how to design and plan your cultivated space to ensure you don’t have difficulties and inconveniences that cause you to lose money.
As a bonus to this series on small fruit and berry growing, I’m also giving away two copies of Blake’s new book, thanks to the generous people at New Society Publishers, to members of our Regenerative Skills Discord server. If you’re not already a member you can join for free on the homepage of the website at regenerativeskills.com or through the link in our linktree on the Instagram Bio. Once you’re in, just send me a DM and let me know you’d like to be entered to win a copy of the book. I’ll be announcing the winners one week after the second part of this series comes out
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