ASAP likes to share the stories of people who help us fulfill our mission. This month we talk with farmer Natalie Geradot, who operates Myco Rhizing, a small farm growing medicinal mushrooms and herbs in Fairview, N.C., with her husband, Grant, and daughter, Rosa Lee.
As someone who has previously attended ASAP’s Business of Farming Conference, what were some of your takeaways from the experience?
The first time we attended—we have been twice—the Farmer Toolkit and informational pamphlets were very useful. We met many new friends and collaborators over the two conferences. We gained knowledge about everything from legal issues and taxes to food safety and farm story building. Both of us attending made it possible to go to most of the workshops. We also gained clients that we have kept for years at the Grower-Buyer Meeting and have many accounts waiting because of connections there.
Are you able to apply resources from the conference to the daily operations of your farm?
Our daily operations are definitely affected by the conference. Our customers came from meetings there. Our food safety plan arose out of a workshop at the conference.
Why would you say the Business of Farming Conference is a valuable resource for local farmers?
In my opinion, farmers need each other. We are too busy in our daily operations to get together in a big way and communicate needs, wants, gaps, etc. The conference is a chance to share information, contacts, and knowledge and a chance to ask questions of officials without having to schedule fifty different farm visits. It also, especially the first time, connects you with support programs and opportunities.
2020 was a challenging and unprecedented year for many, prompting shifts and novel strategies. How has Myco Rhizing been impacted by COVID-19 and what changes have you made?
Our mushroom farm was in the beginning of a grant-funded expansion when this started. Our whole business was wholesale to restaurants, so we had to immediately shift to retail delivery and pick up. Then, we had to shift back and try to not lose the new customers when restaurants reopened. We did lose some because we could not fill all the orders. Then, recently, we had to try and shift again as restaurants and markets wind down.
Was anything you learned at the Business of Farming Conference applicable to the way you shifted operations during the pandemic?
We had marketing knowledge and resources from the conference that we could quickly put to use.
Find out more about this year’s virtual Business of Farming Conference and register now.