Located on a permaculture training center, Silvio's market garden is separated into three parts, totalizing a cultivated half acre. The beds are of two to three different lengths adapting to the topography of the place which has a flat area and a gentle slope area at the back. In the middle is the green house, 20x12m, built with wood and covered with a green house plastic sheet, a significant size to grow vegetables in advance to the season.
At the back of it is a small tunnel for the nursery. Tools are hanged in the green house to be protected from the weather and the washing station and cold room take up half of a hangar. The toolset is typical of a market gardener with the green harvester for the micro-greens and the salad leaves, a broad fork to aerate the soil, a hand-drill powered tilter to prepare the soil surface. The weeding strategy alternates between dense sowing and weed mats for longer crops or crops that need to remain clean.
Silvio works from 50 to 60h per week in summer and about 40h per week in winter, he managed in the first year to obtain about 60K of revenue and went up since then with about 60% profit starting year 2. The outlet of his production, harvested twice a week, are about 10 restaurants and cafés around the region and about 50% of it goes to the farmer's market. He also starts to distribute through 1 distributor.
His place is certified organic by Organic Farming NZ, a label dedicated to small farmers in NZ. It is organized by pods of peers which review regularly the farms.
Silvio enjoys surfing and thus doesn't live on the land, he lives on the nearby coast. His market garden is small and efficient as well as extremely productive.
Silvio's portrait HERE
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