Friday, December 6, 2013
After this season, Fishbowl Farm intends to end its retail market business. Since 2004, the Bowdoinham farm has been a popular vendor at the Portland and Brunswick farmers markets. It also operates a CSA subscription program.
Once these summer markets close up shop around Thanksgiving, Fishbowl Farm intends to change its business model and focus on wholesale accounts for salad greens. The plan calls for selling greens from early spring through late fall.
“Ultimately, we based our decision on our desire to devote more of our time to our family,” farmers Chris and Gallit Cavendish wrote in a letter to their customers. “We have spent much effort in the past couple of years striving to find a means to balance both family and farm and have been unable to achieve that balance.”
Currently Fishbowl Farm is an organic farm growing mixed vegetables on roughly nine acres along the banks of Merrymeeting Bay. The change planned by the Cavendishes will allow them to scale back to three acres. In the past, the farm has also sold root crops and greenhouse-grown greens at the Portland and Brunswick winter markets and sold wholesale to restaurants and grocery stores in southern Maine.
“Our aim is to use what we are able to produce over the winter to help establish relationships with restaurants that we are not currently selling to and may be under served during the summer season,” Chris Cavendish said via email. “We will be planting our first outdoor crops for 2013 in early April; this will be the true beginning of our wholesale salad greens business.”
He said the change in business model should allow him to scale back from working 80 to 90 hours a week to a more manageable 45 to 50 hour work week during the summer and 20 to 25 hours a week in the winter.
“Whether or not we will be taking a pay cut with our decision to grow salad greens exclusively remains to be seen,” Cavendish said.
Chris Cavendish has a degree in architecture and Gallit Cavendish is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. The couple has one child, Calliope, who is 2, and would like to have more.
“Our aim is to allow Gallit to be a full-time mother for at least the next few years, particularly if we have a second child,” Chris Cavendish said. “I may have to work a second job during the first year or two, but will probably not return to an architecture firm. I’m excited to take this opportunity to learn a new skill and will most likely seek employment as a carpenter if I need to.”Tweet
Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.
Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business before turning to journalism more than a decade ago. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs. A newcomer to Portland, she is an online content producer for the Press Herald.
Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or saxelrod [at] pressherald.com.
On Twitter: @susansaxelrod