Two Gander Farm, Downingtown, PA

In 2015, the USDA estimated that there were 7,398 farms in the US that sold products directly to the consumer through a community supported agriculture (CSA) arrangement. CSA’s accounted for $226 million (7%) of the $3 billion direct to consumer sales by farms. Two Gander Farm is a CSA founded by Trey and Deirdre Flemming in 2009. After a required waiting period of three years at their current location, Two Gander Farm became USDA certified organic in 2014 through Pennsylvania Certified Organic, an Accredited Certification Agency (ACA). This USDA certification requires an annual rigorous on-site inspection which Two Gander Farm has passed with flying colors four years straight.

The Flemmings love to farm. With 13 and 11 years of farming experience, respectively, Trey and Deirdre farm 10 acres of the 260 acre preserve owned and managed by the Brandywine Conservancy. Trey’s background is in Wildlife Biology and Natural Resource Management and Deirdre’s is in Aquatic Ecology. Organic farming allows them to fulfill their desire to protect our natural resources while serving their community and their family through sustainable agriculture.

The Two Gander Farm CSA offers memberships to their customers that entitle them to come to the farm and pick up their produce 23 weeks in a year beginning in June. In 2017, Two Gander Farm had 106 members and is targeting to achieve 150 to 200 in 2018. To assist in their growth plans, the Flemmings contacted SCORE through their bank, the Bryn Mawr Trust and began meeting with SCORE mentors Jerry Francis and Charles Espenlaub. One of the first things her mentors noticed was the very small marketing budget, which they felt was not adequate to meet the growth objectives. Several mentoring meetings ensued, which required the Flemmings to scrutinize their financial performance and to set realistic goals.

SCORE brought in John Wodehouse of Penn State University’s Agricultural Extension, who had experience with produce farming to assist. The Flemmings and their SCORE mentors reviewed product line profitability, number of items by category, future grown and time needed to prepare ground for organic certifications, questions regarding waste, unsellable product, labor discussions, how customers were served, demographics, marketing and sales channels, financial assumptions and how they were set. “The SCORE meetings required us to be prepared to analyze and explain our performance. It kept us on our toes,” said Dierdre Flemming. Two Gander Farm now operates more smoothly and with a clearer marketing and financial focus.

SCORE is a non-profit national organization of business volunteers dedicated to providing free counseling and educational service to small businesses. SCORE volunteers are business experts who apply their life experience and business knowledge to mentor entrepreneurs planning to start a small business, or small business owners who seek assistance in solving business issues.  To schedule a personal session with a counselor or learn about small business education programs, call Chester and Delaware County SCORE at 610-344-6910 or click here to visit us online https://chescodelcoscore.org/

 

March 11, 2018

How SCORE Helped: 

SCORE brought in John Wodehouse of Penn State University’s Agricultural Extension, who had experience with produce farming to assist. The Flemmings and their SCORE mentors reviewed product line profitability, number of items by category, future grown and time needed to prepare ground for organic certifications, questions regarding waste, unsellable product, labor discussions, how customers were served, demographics, marketing and sales channels, financial assumptions and how they were set. “The SCORE meetings required us to be prepared to analyze and explain our performance. It kept us on our toes,” said Dierdre Flemming. Two Gander Farm now operates more smoothly and with a clearer marketing and financial focus.