Chester, New Jersey
“Farm Credit East’s consulting service has been extremely valuable. When we first got started, I just wanted to grow and sell plants. I didn’t know how to read a balance sheet. Since then, we’ve grown to open our farm market, and later a bakery. Without our consulting relationship, this growth wouldn’t have happened,” said Dale Davis.
Stony Hill Gardens, a cornucopia
Dale and Carol Davis own and operate Stony Hill Gardens, LLC, along with their three children Brandt, Dale and Kaitlyn. The 400-acre farm in Chester, New Jersey, grows nearly every fruit or vegetable that can be produced in New Jersey — from sweet corn, tomatoes and peppers to apples, peaches, mums and poinsettias. In the fall, the farm also offers pick-your-own pumpkins and apples, and a corn maze and maze fun park. In addition to their retail farm market, much of their produce is sold through tailgate farmers markets in north Jersey and New York City.
Farm Credit East consultant Keith Dickinson explained, “Katie, their loan officer, and I work with the family at the start of each year to lay out the annual plan. Doug, their financial services specialist, goes to the farm monthly to complete their records. He runs that report by me to monitor their performance against the planned budget. From there I can facilitate conversations with the family about the business’s progress throughout the year to make sure they stay on track or make adjustments where necessary.”
Building lasting relationships
This relationship has proven very effective for Stony Hill. “I like that my Farm Credit East team can communicate with each other so that all are on the same page about what’s going on in my business,” said Dale. “At one time, I worked with an outside accounting firm, but there was no continuity between all of the people I was working with. The folks at Farm Credit East know and understand my business — that means a lot to me.”