Growing chickens and family, Sol Seeker Farm, Tres Pinos
April 5, 2017 – Sol Seeker Farm is the brainchild of Kaley Grimland and Edgar Mendoza. Both have had training and professional experience in farm advising; Kaley at ALBA near Salinas, and Edgar in his native Paraguay. Their farm start-up in early 2014 was the result of a farm business succession opportunity that came to FarmLink from Hain Ranch Organics in San Benito County. It is a certified organic pastured poultry operation in stacked use within a walnut orchard; where the trees provide shade for the poultry, the poultry provide fertilizer for the trees, and the orchard’s ground provides varied food sources for the birds.
Sol Seeker Farm produces both eggs and broilers for meat. One vital resource in the farm business succession was continued access to the farmers’ markets historically served by the farm. FarmLink worked alongside both the new and retiring farmers to assure to a smooth transition.
Kaley and Edgar had a slow start on the farm in 2014, but certainly not in life, as they had twins while also starting the farm. Clearly they had their hands full, yet they doubled their gross income in 2015 and then increased it another 64% in 2016.
Despite their rapid growth, they learned early on that expanding into more farmers’ markets did not necessarily justify increased production of broilers. Unfortunately they overproduced chickens, resulting in high operating costs, but came to understand that they could have addressed the issue by diversifying market channels to include local retail or wholesale accounts.
With a FarmLink operating loan starting in 2015, they were able to purchase chicken feed and other supplies in bulk, and enjoy significant cost savings they would not have without the financing.