Gopal Farm

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Property Location
332 Springtown Rd, New Paltz, NY
[Ulster County]
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90 acres available
60 open acres for farming
12 wooded acres / other

Property Description

Soil types:

Ha Hamlin silt loam, He Haven loam, Te Teel silt loam, Wb Wayland soils complex

Description of the property’s current condition and current use(s):

We are a 90-acre farm in New Paltz, NY in the Hudson Valley focused on growing heirloom Indian Vegetables, Ayurvedic Herbs and producing Ethical Milk Products. We are situated on the fertile Wallkill river flood plain soil in New Paltz, suitable for diversified intensive biodynamic oriented farming.

https://gopal.farm

https://www.instagram.com/gopal.farm/?hl=en

Since the 2017 season, we have focused on Heirloom Ethnic Indian Produce. We now have a high-end CSA, relationship with Chefs in NYC and a booth at Union Sq Farmers market. 

In 2020, we plan to grow in 20-25 acres with around 300 CSA members. Many of our clients - CSA and Chefs - would like us to offer varied Asian vegetable options- Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Philipino, etc.

So for next season, are hiring 4 Crew Members (and/or partners) as well as a Vegetable Production Manager. We are looking for (1) Livestock/Dairy worker too. 

As we strongly believe in Food sovereignty & Entrepreneurship and know the struggles faced by new farmers first hand, we are opening up our experience and facilities for other farmers to benefit from - by leasing smallholdings at our farm to start their own micro-farms in partnership with us and simultaneously work at Gopal farm for alternative income while starting their farms.

We are finding that 30-50% of the Indian vegetables, especially unique regional ones, are being also used, with slight variations, in many Asian countries. They are just named differently. As we are growing our CSA among the Indian American community members, we are getting interest from other Asian community members too. So we plan to develop CSAs and ethnic restaurant outreach in respective Asian communities. This presents an opportunity for ethnic Asian farmers to partner with us. To use our existing facilities and the know-how of growing and selling Asian/Ethnic produce to develop the respective Asian niche market.

We are proposing to lease land to up to 4 new farmers (preferably for ethnic produce) in small parcels of 0.25 - 1 acre to trial their produce this 1st year. We can lease more land in the subsequent 2 more years.

Our contribution to the partnership would be:

1. Use of farm implements and tools
2. Mentoring in growing "foreign" seeds that may be heirloom/sourced from farmers that may not have growing protocols tested for Northeast USA
3. Education in our unique method of maintaining Soil health/Organic fertilization/Composting (we have cows and use ancient Indian techniques)
4. Education in Organic Pest Management (using good soil health and use IPM including ancient Indian techniques)
5. Guidance in developing a profitable farm business plan to get high value for the produce by mainly targeting the ethnic communities directly to their homes, Chefs and Farmers markets. 
6. Share facilities of Gopal Farm, proprietary CSA software, unique CSA distribution methodology in Northeast (as ethnic minorities are spread around and generally not concentrated in one location hence traditional distribution methods do not work well for ethnic focused CSAs), business administration, etc. 
7. Help in getting funding and grants and technical help required from our partners and consultants from Year 2. 

Expectations from Ethnic farmer:
1. Identify unique ethnic vegetables to grow 
2. Research, with our guidance, the growing protocols of the crops
3. Take lead in growing/maintaining/harvesting these crops starting with .25-1 acres, with our help, if required
4. Rename the common Indian Vegetables to the ethnic name

Gopal Farm will be buying some of these vegetables for our existing CSA members. 
For the rest of the Vegetables:

1st-year
5. Packing and bringing these vegetables the Union Sq Market to our booth.
6. Do informal CSA boxes for 1st year among friends and family in the New York area. 

Subsequent Years:
7. To network among respective Ethnic community, with our guidance, to develop the CSA members
8. Maintain the CSA members 

The extent and duration of partnerships for each Ethnic community can be discussed based on the experience of the farmer, branding of the farming venture, finance/skill/network bringing to the table, the profitability of the developing farm venture, impact in the community, and if/when the individual farmer can sustain the enterprise on one's own. We strongly believe in the right of each community to safeguard their heritage, seeds, culture, language while also accepting that our time, facilities and knowledge being shared to start and sustain each enterprise has a cost associated with it. So how to balance it to the satisfaction of all is a discussion process that we are open to having before we embark. 

As these enterprises grow over the next 3 years, in the remaining time and for regular funds until that farming venture is up and running, the farmers can work at our farm, if they like. This is what we shall prefer, as apart from the incubating training, one is also learning directly with the ethnic Indian produce, harvesting, packing, markets, etc, for a wholesome education to apply in their own farm business. These would be the new crew members we are looking for.

We have been receiving a fair bit of media coverage this year. More articles/shows are scheduled for early next year. We would try to pitch your interesting produce and your story to our existing contacts and to other media - it gives free publicity and credibility with clientele. 

Qualifications of the farmer to apply (a couple/team could also apply where we would look at combined Skills):

- 1-2 full years of farming/gardening/market farming is preferred; Though for inspired candidates we can handhold from the basics

- Enterpeurship mindset; your own self-assessment is enough to apply, then we shall judge. In an oral interview, we will ask you to elaborate.

- Ability to hear, process, and make decisions confidently. 

- An existing business plan, even if informal, will be preferred

- Strong communication skills, emotional maturity, good humor, and a positive attitude

- Retail Sales experience would be preferred

- Strong understanding of the physical and mental demands of working on a farm in all weather conditions

- Ability to take direction well, work in a fast-paced environment, maintain efficiency, and attention to detail

- Ability to work well alone and in a team setting

- Passionate about sustainable farming and food sovereignty

- Interest and desire to explore the culinary world

- Ease in using Social Media, MS Office, apps would be essential

But ultimately, our decision to partner with the individual (s) will be dependent on whether our values and mission match. Race, gender, orientation, are no bar. Interested farmers may kindly go through our website and Instagram and then please send in your resume with a 1-page letter explaining why you may want to pursue this enterprise and/or work as a crew member.

We will be happy to answer any queries and, with an appointment, give a tour of the farm and discuss it in more detail. But please do get in your application first as that will give us time to understand your background better. 

Even though we are currently thinking of Ethnic produce to Asain communities, we are open to other ideas - more bees, flowers, cold-pressed oil, essential oils, grains - if you have a niche, we could probably work together. We can sell to our existing CSA members. We foresee we would have 1000 CSA member families in 3 years. That is weekly. So we have ample opportunities to partner. 

Farm history / past uses of the property:

The farm property is on the fertile flood plain of Wallkill River in New Paltz farmed for hundreds of years even before the Heugonet settlers bought it from the Native Americans. According to the Ag Census of the 19th century, the Heugonets grew profuse vegetable crops and grains. There was a large dairy farm on the 220-acre property in the early 20th Century. Berries grew really well on the property. We bought the 45-acre sub-divided property in 2016 from previous owners who had hay/horses. The property is suitable and eligible for organic certification, we just haven't gotten around to do it yet.

Farm Infrastructure

Infrastructure and equipment:

  • fencing
  • water
  • barns/structures
  • housing
  • equipment
  • electrical

Fencing description:

Deer Fencing (Spring 2020)

Water access description:

We have water access from the Wallkill River, two ponds fed from an almost year-round stream from the Shawangunk mountains. 

The groundwater table is 4-6' so hand wells can be dug, but the refill flow may not be strong to irrigate unless for smaller purposes like for Greenhouse. 

Barns/structures description:

We have 4 barns, 2 of which need a renovation that is scheduled for this winter. 

Farmer housing description:

We have shared-housing for 2 farm workers currently. We plan to put 2 new mobile trailers by March 1st. 

Equipment description:

Kubota Tractor, RTV, required implements, BCS with implements. 

Crops and Livestock

Types of crops permitted to be produced on the property:

Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Ornamentals, Hay, Other Crops

Types of livestock permitted on the property:

Cattle - Dairy, Equine, Goats/Sheep, Poultry

Livestock/crops description :

Livestock- We currently have 8 cows - 2 Brown Swiss, 1 Dutch belted, 4 Gurnseys, as well as 2 Brown Swiss Oxen. 

Crops - We specialize in Indian Speciality heirloom crops. 

Tenure Options

Tenure options:

Farm Management, For Lease, Partnership, Other Tenure Agreement

Description of tenure options:

Except for Sale, we are open to all manner of Collaboration. These may include - 

  • Farm Accessory products/services - in lieu of bartering of some products/services/benefits to the farm sustainability
  • Grow crops on contract basis - that we desire and agree to purchase before you plant

Or as a straight Employee.

Please contact and we can discuss.

Additional Information

Preferences and restrictions on agricultural activities:

We are vegetarians, and hence do not want to use or allow to use livestock/animals for slaughtering on the property. We understand and appreciate that most animals provide diversified uses for a sustainable model. But we do not like slaughtering. We use and want to sell dairy products. We have a couple of goats for weed management, their pellets for compost and their hair for clothes. Poultry for their permaculture uses. We would allow a barter of eggs.

As for crops - We or other farmers can grow any crops that sell. We encourage a diversified model for sustainability and proper soil management.  

Do you require a farmer who qualifies for agricultural assessment?:

No

Are you willing to have the public on the property as a part of the farm business?:

Yes

Any additional information about this property:

The 12-acre forest is in a Federal Wetland due to the streams coming from the Gunks that empty into Wallkill. There are a few Maple trees in the forest that we started tapping last year. Berries grow naturally. 

Wallkill usually floods every 2-3 years in Spring due to icemelts. That has made these flood plains fertile. There are practially no stones in our well drained sandy-loam flat soils. Usually the waters slowly rise up in the spring and then go back down in a week or so, depositing a layer of silt on the way out. 

Building any permanent structures except fencing on the fields is not advised, unless raised sufficently above ground level. We are in Ag District so building farm structures is possible without much restriction.   

In summary : We are on very fertile flat land with excellent soils. The advantage of being on flood plain is also cautionary. The anceint civilizations used to prefer to settle on fertile flood plains and accpet that they have to live by sharing the land with the river.