Why did you begin farming?
I started farming while in college to make a little extra money one summer and caught the bug.
Have you always been an eco-farmer, or did you make a change?
Yes, we’ve been farming sustainably since the beginning.
What was the biggest hurdle you have overcome?
The biggest hurdle has been growing the business beyond my own capabilities by hiring employees and turning over some of the responsibilities of running the farm to them.
What do you enjoy most about farming?
I enjoy doing something real and feeding people truly good healthy food that was produced with no shortcuts.
What is your biggest current challenge?
Staffing for sure — it’s tough to find hard-working, reliable people who can work with us for more than one season.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received about farming?
Get the weeds when they are tiny; don’t wait until they’re big enough to catch your attention.
What learning opportunities have helped you become a better farmer?
I’ve picked up a ton of useful tips by talking to fellow farmers at markets. I also read a lot of good farming publications like Acres U.S.A. and The Stockman Grass Farmer. Some of the seed companies have some really useful information on their websites as well.
Apple Ridge Farm
Farmers: Brian & Lisa Bruno
Farm size: 7 acres
Year established: 1972 by Brian’s parents as a homestead and 2003 as a commercial farm
Number of years farming? 12 years
Years reading Acres U.S.A.? 9
Products: Certified Naturally Grown produce, hydroponic produce, pasture-raised poultry, pasture-raised pigs, value-added farm products from our wood-fired brick oven bakery
Certifications: Certified Naturally Grown
What do you see in store for the future of sustainable farming?
I think sustainable farming will become more and more mainstream as conventional farming continues to make less sense economically as input costs rise. Also, as consumers are becoming more aware of what they are eating the demand for sustainable farm products is way up lately.
What is the funniest thing that has happened on your farm?
We once watched a goat get startled by a bumblebee and fall over.
What is your favorite season?
My favorite season is spring when everything suddenly turns super green and the earth comes alive again. We’re refreshed after winter and ready to tackle another season with all sorts of new ideas to try out.
What do you enjoy most about living on the land?
Lately I’m really enjoying watching our daughters get into the farm. They love the animals, they love helping me pick vegetables for dinner and are always asking to help with whatever project we’re doing.
This article appears in the March 2015 issue of Acres U.S.A.