Avrom Farm is an integrated vegetable and pasture-based livestock farm. They manage their farm as an ecosystem so that it is resilient and productive.
Funded on 08/31/2020
Avrom Farm was started in 2015 by Hayden Holbert while he attended college in North Carolina, studying sustainable agriculture of course. He operated the farm during summer breaks, raising a few hundred chickens, a dozen pigs, and an acre of vegetables. In 2017, Hayden graduated and began running the farm full-time.
Currently, Avrom is finishing about 5,000 broiler chickens and 200 pigs, and grow 6-acres worth of vegetables. They employ six full-time summer crew members (two in the winter) and host an annual on-farm music & food festival (unfortunately cancelled for this year).
They have traditionally sold their meats and vegetables to restaurants, small grocery stores, and at six different weekly farmers markets in both Milwaukee and Chicago. When the COVID stay at home order went into effect in March (2020), in the span of a week, all of their restaurant accounts paused and farmers markets closed. During this time, they started an online store that offered home delivery to sell their products. Soon after, they started working with other farmers in the area to offer their items on Avrom's online store. Now they work with 24 local farmers and artisans to supply local, wholesome foods produced using regenerative farming practices across central Wisconsin and the Chicagoland area.
When Avrom started their online store, it caught on fast and they quickly grew out of the corner of their barn they used to fulfill orders. In a matter of weeks, they built a 30’x24’ hoop house to set up a packing line and repositioned their walk-in freezer and coolers to be able to fulfill more orders efficiently. By this time, the online store had more or less compensated for all of the lost business. At this point they knew their online produce storewould be an essential part of the farms sales moving forward as they grow a more resilient farm business.
This is why they decided to buy a small property in Green Lake (just five minutes away from the farm) that has an existing 50x100 pole barn, retail storefront, and a heated greenhouse to give them the facilities needed to fulfill orders all year long.
The loan will provide funds needed to insulate, air condition, and buy a few key pieces of equipment to use in the pole barn. This will make their online store a permanent addition to their overall sales strategy⏤one that delivers value to customers that are looking for wholesome food produced with integrity.
Avrom decided to be an integrated vegetable and livestock farm from the very beginning, so that they could benefit from natural ecosystem services to reduce inputs and increase biodiversity on the farm. They manage all of their livestock carefully on pasture, so that their manure fertilizes and stimulates biodiversity wherever they go. This lifestyle also contributes to what makes the meat they produce taste exceptional. They practice deep-bedding farrowing so that they can collect large amounts of manure and bedding to be composted and used in their vegetable fertility program.
The farm is not yet certified organic. They were planning on starting the process this year, but due to COVID-19 completely disrupting their business model, they did not have the administrative time to get it done. They hope to take another run at it next year.
Steward has been working with Hayden and his team for the past year to fund general expenses around the farm and we're excited to help them fundraise for this next development in their business. We visited them in 2019 and acknowledge that Avrom upholds our environmentally regenerative standards with respect to livestock, and provides meaningful, fair work to their farm employees. They have a sincere mission to bring good food to the mainstream and play a key role in their community's food system.
The way that they've handled changes during the COVID crisis and have continued to supply their community with fresh produce should be admired and speaks volumes to their character and business resilience.
Join a growing community of sustainably-minded lenders reaping the rewards from responsible farming