Emma and Marcus Johnson, and Mary and Vernon Zahradnik

Field Day:       July 10, 2016 – Central City (2-5 p.m.)

Event Title:     Pruning and Managing a Medium-Scale Orchard

County:           Linn

How Many Years Farming?  40

Acres in Production:  72 owned acres

Approximate percentage of household income derived from farm in past 12 months? 

100 percent

Crops Grown: Apples, pears, vegetables, herbs, herb plants, corn, soybeans, cover crops

Equipment, Implements, Tools, Infrastructure Used to Raise These Crops:

  • 30 x 48 moveable hoop house
  • 30 x 72 moveable hoop house
  • 20 x 30 heated greenhouse
  • walk-in coolers with Coolbots
  • NH 2130 tractor
  • NH T4.75 tractor,
  • Disc
  • 2-airblast sprayers
  • Tiller
  • Post augers
  • allet fork
  • skid steer
  • understory sprayer
  • plastic mulch layer
  • potato planter
  • trencher
  • potato digger
  • one-row cultivator
  • water wheel transplanter
  • 2-JD425 garden tractors
  • wagons
  • pto powered orchard heater
  • orchard ladders
  • pick baskets
  • harvest lugs
  • produce scales
  • deck mower
  • wheel hoe
  • Jang one-row seeder
  • APS1548 seeder
  • vegetable washers
  • packing shed
  • weather station
  • battery powered Felco pruners

Production Practices Used:

  • Medium- to high-density orchard with trellising support
  • Integrated pest management practices used for the orchard crops
  • Organic practices for vegetable crops
  • Cover crops
  • Crop rotation
  • No-till for corn and soybeans

Certified Organic?  No

Livestock Raised?  None

Any Farm Employees?  Yes – 2 seasonal

Farm Organizational Structure:   LLC

Farm Programs Used:

  • Multi-peril crop insurance

Special Business Software Used? Quickbooks, PC Mars, Excel, Word, Adobe Suite, Word Press, Mail Chimp, NEWA (Network for Environment and Weather Applications), Dropbox

How are Crops Marketed?

  • Direct-Marketing
  • Grain Elevator or Co-op
  • CSA
  • Wholesale
  • Grocery Sales
  • Farmers Market

Other Background

  • Buffalo Ridge Orchard was started with the planting of its first apple tree in 2003. This began the transition of a traditional 80-acre agricultural farm to one that supplies healthy local produce.
  • The goal is to supply vegetables, apples and pears sustainably. The orchard has expanded from 800 to more than 3,000 trees.
  • Buffalo Ridge Orchard has over 50 different types of new and classic apple varieties.
  • In 2011, the family installed a moveable hoop house, which allows them to grow greens and root vegetables in the winter, get an early start on tomatoes and extend the season for other vegetable crops.