North Andover, Massachusetts
After Michael Smolak returned home from the University of Pennsylvania, he got to work transitioning the farm from a dairy and row crop operation to what it is today – a growing operation complete with a farm stand, bakery, ice cream stand, 300-member CSA and various pick-your-own offerings, from berries and apples to pumpkins and Christmas trees.
Diverse reasons to visit
Michael has been managing Smolak Farms LLC for 45 years. He said the crops are the backbone of why people visit the farm, which also offers educational programs that are soon to be STEM compatible. In addition, the farm offers space for social events and hosts a summer dinner series, of which a portion of the proceeds are donated to the chef’s charity of choice. “We really believe in giving back,” commented Michael.
"The best deal around"
“We’ve been involved with Farm Credit East for quite a few years,” said Michael. “It’s a fine organization that fills an awful lot of need for farmers, from financing and consulting to farmland transition planning and accounting services. They’re the best deal around at the most reasonable cost, so it’s been a real slam-dunk to work with them.”
The importance of crop insurance
Smolak Farms also uses crop insurance from Crop Growers LLP. “There’s been some tough years for the apple crop, so crop insurance has served a really good purpose and provided supplements in years where we really needed it,” said Michael.
“For example, last year there was a heavy drought. Crop insurance came in handy not just for myself, but for other farmers in the area that were in need of income,” Michael continued. “Everyone I have worked with has been professional, punctual and extremely responsive. They get things done.”
This article originally ran in Farm Credit East's customer magazine, Financial Partner.