Andrew Pezzullo

Farming Status and Plans

Farming status:

Full time

Description of farming status, plans, and practices:

-Currently enrolled in 2 year management training program in diversified vegetables, field crops, and small grains at the Hudson Valley Farm Hub in Ulster County, NY.

-Farmed, both as crew member and manager, at 3 different small to mid-scale organic vegetable operations and a small diversified livestock operation here in the Hudson Valley (in Poughkeepsie, Red Hook, and Chatham). Marketed diversified vegetables through local, Weschester, and NYC farmers markets, CSA, and restaurant and wholesale accounts

-Have and will continue to farm organically. Always interested in integrating more Biodynamic practices into production systems. Tractor-scale production (primary & secondary tillage, transplanting, spraying, seeding, some cultivation done with tractor). Harvests by hand, but onto tractor-pulled wagon, truck flat-bed, or box truck. Only spray omri-listed crop protection materials. Will use black plastic mulch layed on raised beds by mechanical mulch layer. Will use remay fabric row cover laid over ground-level hoops held down by sand bags for frost and pest protection. Would be looking to become certified organic and GAPs (Good Agricultural Practices/Food Safety) certified ASAP.

-Looking to lease land starting fall 2017 for growing season 2018 (but could be flexible on timing depending the rental price). Currently looking to lease 20 acres of vegetable ground (level/flat, large square/rectangular contiguous plots, sandy loam, easily accessible by truck and tractor in all weather conditions, well, creek, or river access within a 50-minute radius of Hudson, NY or 30-minute radius of Kingston NY.

-Plan to grow about 10 acres of diversified vegetables for 3 farmers markets (in Hudson Valley, Capital Region, and NYC) and restaurant/wholesale accounts with the remainder of the rented acreage in full season cover crop for next growing season. Will have to put up at least a 45 by 90 ft greenhouse for vegetable starts and supplies. Will be purchasing or renting a freestanding 40 ft refridgerated shipping container to stay on-site season-long. May also put up temporary shed or clearspan building for storage if there is not usable barn for equipment, tractor, and supply storage.

-Farming with a business partner. Will hire 4-5 seasonal employees. Needs to be dog-friendly!

 

Description of marketing method:

-Marketing through local, capital region, and NYC farmer's markets. Full set of diversified produce for farmer's market.

-Marketing through the establishment of accounts with regional restaurants, grocery stores, coops, distributors, and aggregators. Looking to focus on specialty greens (chicories, brassicas, lettuces), roots, and nightshades, as well as lettuce and kale.

-No regular on-farm sale or pick-up of produce. Very little on-farm foot traffic except farmers and farm crew.

-Will have social media and online presence through website, facebook, and instagram.

Does this farmer have a business plan?

In progress

Farm Characteristics

Preferred location:

Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Ulster, Washington

Desired acreage:

11-20, 21-50, 51-100

Infrastructure required:

Water access, Electrical Access

Description of water access required:

-Need high pressure full season well for wash & pack facility, filling spray tank, and filling transplanter tank. Needs to be able to meet potable water requirements (no detectable generic E. Coli) under Safe Drinking Water Act and test clean for multiple water testings over course of season.

-Need creek, or river access close enough to farm fields to pull irrigation water season-long. Will likely be irrigating from a small trash pump to either 1) aluminum solid set pipes with rain bird impact sprinklers on risers, 2) drip irrigation under plasticulture, or/and 3) a water reel traveller. Needs to be able to meet the Food Safety Modernization Act's agricultural water testing requirements over the course of the season.

Crops and Livestock

Primary crops:

Vegetables, Fruits

Description of livestock/crops:

-10 acres of mixed diversified annual vegetables.

-Everything from tomatoes to broccoli to radishes, with a special focus on specialty brassicas, chicories, and roots crops.

Farmland Tenure

Tenure options desired:

For Lease, Partnership, For Sale

Description of tenure options desired:

-Generally open to some form of partnership if potential conflicts are discussed and worked through in advance of tenure and formally recorded in contract.

-Would be fine with a straight lease or rental agreement for irrigated cropland that does or does not include storage barn, greenhouse, and onsite housing.

-Would prefer a more secure leasing arrangement than just a 1 season contract (maybe a 5 year lease) especially if leasing more land to cover crop for next season's ground.

-Certainly interested in a lease-to-own or a secure many season ground lease if the ground is generally suitable to vegetable production, generally standing water free, and generally soil-borne disease free. Would like to expand operation to include small fruit and mushrooms in coming years (but would require land tenure assurances to make planting or infrastructure investments).

Additional Information

Will this farmer's operation qualify an eligible landowner for an Agricultural Assessment?

Yes

Experience & education:

Farm management, Farm employee, Farm internship/apprenticeship

Experience description:

-Farm internship on small organic farm, pastured pig, and vineyard operation in Tuscany, 2010

-Managed 1 acre college vegetable garden, 2011.

-Summer internship at Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Poughkeepsie, NY, Summer 2012.

-BA Environmental Science and Cultural Anthropology, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn., 2013.

-Farm crew member, Hearty Roots Community Farm, Clermont, NY, 2013.

-Harvest Manager, Little Seed Gardens, Chatham, NY, 2014-2015.

-Farm crew and market worker, Sawkill Farm, Red Hook, NY, 2015.

-Professional Farmer Training Program, Hudson Valley Farm Hub, Hurley, NY, 2016-2017.