West Haven Farm Sale Details
West Haven is a highly regarded community resource and is known throughout the region as a well-managed farm that:
produces consistently high-quality vegetables and fruits;
provides agricultural education and training opportunities;
is a fair and fulfilling place to work; and
is an important source of food for the Ithaca community, including for families in need.
West Haven Farm is a fully equipped turn-key operation located two miles from downtown Ithaca. The farm encompasses 10+ acres protected by an 8-foot-tall woven-wire high-tensile deer fence, with additional acreage outside the fence. Structures include four hoophouses, an energy-efficient automated greenhouse heated with natural gas, and a well-built barn. West Haven Farm has been in operation since 1992 and certified organic by NOFA-NY since 1995. The business, equipment, infrastructure, improvements, supplies, markets, goodwill, and long-term lease are for sale. The land we farm is owned by EcoVillage at Ithaca (EVI Inc.) and is held in a permanent conservation easement by the Finger Lakes Land Trust- it may only be used for agriculture and education.
The price is $235,000. Owner financing may be available. Interested and qualified parties- please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
RELATIONSHIP WITH ECOVILLAGE
West Haven Farm has a long-term lease with EcoVillage at Ithaca (EVI Inc.). The relationship between the farm and EVI Inc. is a mutually beneficially one. Sustainable agriculture is an important part of the non-profit’s vision, and it is important that a thriving farm occupies the land. EVI Inc. has saved a prime piece of farmland from development and made the land permanently available for farmers. There are a number of items in the mutually negotiated lease that protect both the farm and the landlord. Current terms of the lease stipulate that the farm must be managed organically, and that produce must be made available to EcoVillage residents to buy. Permission must be granted before permanent structures or major bulldozing can happen. The cost to the farm for the lease is the tax burden incurred for the leased acreage and the barn. In exchange for these moderate restrictions, we have access to the county’s highest quality agricultural soil located on a bus line just a few minutes from downtown Ithaca, with long-term stability built in for the farmer including our ownership of all structures and improvements. Except for updating general terms of the lease, the EVI Inc. board does not anticipate any major changes with this sale, and the board is eager to help the new farmers transition here. We have found working with the board to be very amicable, and seek new farmers who are also able to work with the board in a positive way. (The residential and educational organizations at EcoVillage are separate from EVI Inc., which owns and manages the land.)
There is a tremendous amount of community support for the farm from the wider Ithaca community and from within EcoVillage —many of the hundreds of residents have chosen to live at EcoVillage specifically because of the proximity to farming. The new farmers will need to be able to work closely with the EcoVillage community, including communicating about farm happenings, and ensure that residents have an opportunity to purchase the produce. A group of village residents has stepped forward to facilitate the transition and assist the new farmers.
Living in one of EcoVillage's three co-housing neighborhoods is not a prerequisite for farming here, although we have found it convenient to live and farm here both. There are 100 housing units of varying sizes and prices, and there is regular availability of both rentals and units for sale. See https://ecovillageithaca.org/live/ for information about living at EcoVillage. There is a learning process for prospective residents, and the new farmers would need to participate in that process if they decide to live here.
SOIL, WATER, AND WEEDS
The farm is on Howard Gravelly Loam, an excellent and well-drained agricultural soil. Portions are flat and portions are on a slope. The steepest areas are best suited to orchards, we have left the flatter areas open for vegetables and strawberries. Soil tilth and fertility are very good. Compost is regularly applied and there is a robust cover cropping program. As we have embarked on our retirement from farming over the past few years, we have reduced the acreage planted to vegetable crops and focused on growing cover crops in most of the vegetable fields. In 2019, cultivated fields are primarily in clover, rye/vetch, and oats, with less than 1 acre of vegetables and strawberries.
Because the soil is well-drained, irrigation is essential. The farm lease includes use of a pond which has been drained, dredged, and deepened within the last 10 years. The pond has just enough water to meet the needs of 10 acres of vegetable crops in a dry year; we have relied on drip irrigation to ensure efficient use of water. In addition, there is municipal water at the barn and at the greenhouse. Three of the hoophouses can be watered with either pond water or municipal water, the greenhouse and the new large hoophouse run on municipal water. It is possible to water farm fields with municipal water, but it can get expensive.
We don't like weeds to compete with crops for water, light, and soil, and have pursued an aggressive weed control approach over the years. However, we still have to deal with particularly noxious weeds that are difficult to control by cultivation and rotation. Bindweed can be a problem in some of the perennial areas. Occasionally it has been necessary to pull bindweed off young orchard trees while they are getting established. In annually cropped areas, we have found purslane and galinsoga to be especially annoying, because they are hard to kill by cultivation. Heavy mulching with straw or use of landscape fabric can be effective, and we try to plan the rotation so that areas with more weed pressure are planted to one or two-row crops that are amenable to mulching, such as tomatoes, squash, peppers, and eggplants.
We’ve become interested in working with the Bionutrient Food Association to learn more about how that approach could inform practices at West Haven Farm; there may be support to send the new farmers to a workshop or conference.
We've spent years developing and refining systems that help us run the farm in an efficient and organized manner, these systems make the farm the success it is today. Systems are in place for ground preparation, seeding, transplanting, cultivating, harvesting, marketing, office management, and more. While we expect that the new farmers will modify the existing systems and/or develop new ones, we will ensure that as part of the sale the knowledge base that we have developed is transferred as much as possible. We are eager to support the right buyer's transition in order to maintain the success of this enterprise.
CROPPING AND SEASON EXTENSION
Since the farm reached its current size in 2001 we've divided the fenced-in area into ½ acre blocks. Each block has about 20 beds which are 200 feet long. The beds are 5’4” wide, allowing the tractors to straddle them and still have 4' of growing space with our standardized row spacing of 3 rows, 13” on center. We will be able to share our well-maintained planting records with the new farmers.
West Haven includes great opportunities for season extension: the farm includes an automated 30x96 greenhouse with an energy-efficient natural gas system that heats benches and beds, where we have developed a successful year-round microgreens program. In addition, there are three 18x96 unheated hoopouses, and one 30x96 unheated greenhouse that’s ready to install in-ground heat to enhance winter production.
The established 2-acre certified organic stonefruit and apple orchard, one of the first in the region, has been expertly maintained and is in full production. The orchard manager is open to staying on after the sale, if that fits with the new farmers’ plans. Current value-added products include apple cider and sauce, and there is great opportunity to expand.
MARKETING AND FINANCIALS
West Haven has developed a robust mixed approach to local marketing. Current markets include the Ithaca Farmers’ Market, the EcoVillage cookteam, and several well-established restaurant and wholesale accounts. From 1992-2016 we operated a much-beloved CSA with about 250 members. We stopped running the CSA as part of our transition to farm retirement. We continue to maintain communication with our members, who are eager to see West Haven CSA return. We look forward to helping the new farmers make that happen, if CSA is part of their marketing plan. West Haven’s membership at the Ithaca Farmers' Market, including our reserved stall, can transfer with the sale of the farm. (Getting a reserved stall at the market can take many years, but use of our stall will transfer with the farm sale if the new owners meet market guidelines.)
We will review detailed farm income and expenses directly with interested and qualified parties.
When the farm is at peak production we typically hire a full-time seasonal staff of 3-4, 2-3 part-time helpers, a part-time year-round orchard manager, and a year-round farm manager. In addition to the paid crew, working shares from the CSA have been an excellent source of farm help and community-building.
West Haven has been recognized for its socially responsible business practices: it was the pilot farm for the Food Justice Certification program and was the recipient of the Jeff Furman Award for Social Responsibility in Business.
We seek buyers who share these values.
Education has been an important part of West Haven farm, not only because of our own interest in promoting sustainable agriculture but also because of our unique situation so close to a college town. We regularly host tours of college students, graduate students, elementary and high school students, even pre-K students. We have hosted regional farmers, as well as tours of farmers from as far away as Japan and Norway. The USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SARE) led a tour at our farm. We have helped grow the scientific knowledge base of sustainable agriculture by serving as the field site for countless research studies conducted by faculty and students from our local colleges and universities.
CERTIFICATION AND LICENSES
The farm holds the following certifications and licenses:
NOFA-NY Organic Certification
NYS Nursery Registration Certificate
Ithaca Farmers' Market Certificate of Membership (Transferable)
New York State Sales Tax Certificate (Required for bedding plants and cut flower sales)
The following equipment, supplies, and inventory been carefully and expertly selected over the past 25+ years to perfectly suit the needs of the farm. This operation is ready for a new farmer to get started right away.
Barn - Custom built, 24x36, 2 story barn with electricity, water, concrete floor, floor drain, shelving, FIOS, many windows, and amazing view of Ithaca, Cornell and Ithaca College. A solid, well-maintained, centerpiece building for the farm. Excellent space used for CSA pickup, workshop, crop drying, storage, summer office, and event hosting.
Bathroom/Camera obscura - Custom built by an artist/carpenter/photographer, projects an upsidedown view of the outside onto the wall inside. Composting toilet (the compost cannot be used on the farm) and handwashing sink.
Heated Greenhouse 30x96 Gothic Frame, double poly, automatic peak vent, roll-up sides, new high efficiency boiler, and dependable backup furnace on natural gas. Half the house has 4 independently controlled, bottom heated, rolling, galvanized growing benches. The other half has a flexible open space with potting table, 3 bay sink, rollup tractor door, and raised beds along the sides. The open space is good for extension of seedling area, crop and equipment storage, and heated winter workshop/crop processing area.
Hoophouse 30x96 - New, double inflated poly, sprinklers, polycarbonate endwalls with sliding doors, and drop-down sidewalls for improved winter greens production. Heavy duty, and well graded for year-round use. Close access to natural gas for potential addition of heat.
3 Hoophouses 18x96 CropKing
Two 8x12 free-standing coolers
Deer Fence 8' (11.7 acres, 2882' length)
650,000 gal. irrigation pond
Farm Road: graded and drained roads to barn and greenhouses
Utilities: electricity, natural gas, FIOS internet, municipal water and fire hydrant
Kubota L4310HST w/loader & HST Trans.
Allis Chambers G
2005 GMC G3500 Savana 10' Box Truck
Dodge Caravan for on-farm use
Implements 3pt hitch
John Deere 14" 3 bottom plow
Land Pride 72" DH1572 disks
Macshio 50" U130 tiller
Chisel Plow w/3 shanks
Mower, Woods BB720
Mill Creek Manure Spreader Model 125
Rears 100gal stainless steel Pakblast Orchard Sprayer
15' King Sprayer, also with 100' hose reel
Checchi & Magli SP50V 1-row potato digger
Holland 50" bedlifter
Waterwheel 3 row, 2 seat transplanter
Plastic mulch layer w/ drip layer
Cosmo 500 fertilizer (seed) spreader
Culitvator, Ferguson 6’ w/ points
Culitvator, Ferguson 6’ w/ sweeps
Chain harrow 6' with 3pt lift
2 row hilling disks on toolbar
Pallet forks w/ Jiffy Quickhitch
Jiffy Quickhitches - on primary implements
EZ Trail wagon 9' x 18'
Lilliston rolling cultivators w/arms (pair)
2 bottom plow
Implements for Allis Chalmbers G
Buddingh 3 row basket weeder w/ sweeps
Lely weeder 48"
One row cultivator
3 row gang cultivator
3 row gang cultivator for parts
Misc: 2 spiders, side knives, double toolbar
Planet Jr. Seeders (3) and toolbar
BCS 30" Tractor/Tiller Professional
Honda EB 3000c backup generator
Honda walking mower
Simpson power washer
Skidril post driver
Stihl FS250 weedwacker
Monarch water pump/9hp Honda engine
Sand filter 100gal/min capacity
RPZ 2" for irrigation from municipal hydrant
Aluminet shadecloth for greenhouse/hoophouse
Black shadecloth for greenhouse/hoophouse
EZ Seeder - greenhouse vacuum seeder
Large seedling germination chamber
2 x Solo model 412 backpack sprayer
Heavy-duty plastic harvest lugs (100's in multiple sizes)
M100 Rifle Stapler - for rapid stapling of landscape fabric from standing position
Orchard ladders and harvest bags
Quick Cut greens harvester w/custom microgreen harvest sled
Red Dragon 5-row flamer
Party Tent 20x30
Tool cabinet & tools
West Haven Farm market sign
Jang JP1 seeder
Planet Jr. push seeder
7-row gang Earthway seeder, plus 1 solo
Field: trellis, row covers, etc.
Greenhouse: trays, tags, etc.
Tools: hand tools, harvest knives, hoes, etc.
Marketing: bags, boxes, labels, scales, etc.
Shop: tools, spare parts, fluids for machinery
Irrigation: pipes, fittings, T-tape, etc.
Pest control: veg crop and orchard
Peaches - 3/4 acre
Apples - 3/4 acre
Sweet Cherries and Plums - ¼ acre
Strawberries, Jewel - ¼ acre