Selling High-Quality Artisanal Vegetables with Sonaterra Farm – Carrot Cashflow Episode 32


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Episode Summary


or a grower who wants to enter a crowded market, it’s always a struggle to think about something that would make you stand out from all the other growers in a way that hopefully doesn’t directly compete with them. One good way to do that is to sell completely different products, say funky varieties that no one else is growing.

In this episode of Carrot Cashflow, we’re talking to engineer-turned-landscape designer cum farmer Jennifer Brand to talk about her thought process on how she came to grow artisanal crops and thrive in her crowded market by scraping the top 10% of their marketgoers.

Today’s Guest: Jennifer brand

Jennifer Brand is the farmer and owner behind Sonaterra Farm in Newcastle, California. Having brought up by master gardener parents, she has been gardening all her life until she decided to leave her computer engineering job behind to start a farm and grow the best tasting cultivars using regenerative practices and techniques.

Relevant Links

            Sonoterra FarmWebsite | Instagram

            Sprouting Soil Corp.

In this episode of Carrot Cashflow

  • Sell Everything You Grow: How to Choose a Business Model to Maximize Sales for a Farm or Homestead (2023) by Diego Footer (00:15)
  • Having the skills isn’t good enough – you need resilience, too (06:13)
  • Diego introduces the episode’s guest, Jennifer Brand (09:55)
  • What drew Jennifer Brand to start farming (11:06)
  • Trading a great computer science salary for farming (13:00)
  • Balancing starting a new life and building something new with economic viability (16:20)
  • What I can do with what I have to work with (19:09)
    • Starting small with a test run (19:53)
  • Goals and market reception in the first year of farming (21:31)
  • The startup costs of going into a tester year in farming (25:32)
  • Investing on select quality tools and equipment from day 1 (29:33)
    • Choosing what tools and equipment to buy based on crops to plant (31:24)
  • Deciding on which crops to grow on a third of an acre (32:57)
  • Carving a niche in a saturated market that doesn’t compete with the other growers (40:14)
    • Approaching the market with a three-pronged approach (43:05)
    • Setting the stage for higher-end produce (44:05)
  • Better price per unit versus getting good returns on volume (47:40)
  • Getting a flavor that stands out in a crowded market (53:25)
  • Doing some curating on crop selection (58:22)
  • What prices look like for artisanal crops (01:01:44)
  • One thing that Jennifer sells that no other vendor sells (01:03:13)
  • Continuing to grow unprofitable crops to keep customers happy (01:06:19)
  • Sonaterra Farm’s heavy lifter crops (01:08:59)
  • How well has the artisanal crops model worked for Sonaterra Farm? (01:12:43)
  • Finding the balance between upholding ideals and managing the business (01:18:07)
  • No regrets with making the change, full steam ahead (01:21:37)
  • Creating a business around the life you want to live (01:23:24)
  • Where to find and keep up with Sonaterra Farm (01:26:14)
  • NEW SEGMENT DEBUT: Drunk Ideas (01:27:00)
    • Mobile Farm Stand (01:28:08)

Subscribe to Carrot Cashflow in your favorite podcast player:

iTunes | Spotify

Check Out My Book: Ready Farmer One: The Farmers’ Guide to Create, Design, and Market an Online Farm Store (2022) by Diego Footer & Nina Galle

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Arielle Roxas

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