224. Farm Manager at Dig Inn | Larry Tse | Boston • NYC

 

0915171633_HDR.jpgLARRY T

Sorry folks. This interview has both typing in the background and I couldn’t split the tracks and no show notes. On the flip side the content is AWESOME!!! I know you will love it!

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WE BUILD COMMUNITY THROUGH FOOD

We do this by forming genuine, trusting relationships with our farmers and partners, and serving food that embraces the seasons.

In our kitchens, our chefs prepare real food from scratch, inspiring them to cook up their best ideas and their own best futures.

We believe in the power of a shared table—for the everyday and the extraordinary—a place where friendships are made and ideas are born.

Let’s start with a meal.

DIG-ISMS

Buy food from farms.

Build a neighborhood around your kitchen. Form genuine relationships that last—with guests, partners, friends, and colleagues. Know the impact of your choices.

Roll with the seasons.

Connect with the world around you. Each season will bring fresh wonders and challenges. Consider them opportunities to learn and grow.                                                                                                       

Make meals from scratch.

Celebrate the simplest pleasures. Real, living foods have a short peak of perfection. Respect that moment and seek to serve it.

Cook for a person.

You have the power to brighten someone’s day. Cook the last serving of brussels sprouts with the same care and attention as the first. Recipes are only as good as the humans behind them.

Serve mostly vegetables.

Be gentle with the land. Eat foods that are good for you, the environment, and the communities that grow them. Make decisions with tomorrow in mind.

Eat at a table.

Good food makes us happy. Enjoy meals the old-fashioned way—at a shared table with friends and family.

Nurture the next crop.

Cast a wide net. Teach as much as you learn, learn as much as you teach. Seed your ideas, and tend to the people around you.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Small restaurants in NYC and 3 in Boston

special delivery

I have a family

organc county

It’s a relaly cool

our focus is on seasonal and local american food

supply chain

locally grown produce

NY PA

vermont and New Hampsi

local food

fresh food at a

eating well is expensive

healthy bowl 12-15$

protein

starch

vegetables

50 farm partners

ne weekend

and

our own farm

last year

we farmed 6-12

In the Hudson Valley

Oranig county

black dirt region

unique piece of land

background

are

enormous

glacial lake

farma

we consider ourselves stewards of the land

don’t have to do much

don’t have to lay compost

time over time

cover cropping

never bare

yep I manage the farm

6th year of farming

first season on this particular piece of land

hired me to come on

planning and budgeting

I was born in 1990…

well I went to school at George washington U

agriculture

wwoofing

beet and avocado farm

CSA

Australia

worked for a couple of months in Australia

fell in love with the ag part

volunteered

northern va

marlyand and VA

farming

volunteer farming

managed one of the cities farmer’s markets

introduction into the thing

move to NYC after graduating

buying for a restaurant

northern spy food co

first farm to table

ride a bike to the farmer’s market

chef

ag policy

enventironmental studies

coursework

food studies food justice

theoretical understanding

macro level policy

industry

govern

non profits

I liked getting my hands dirty

CSA PA in suburbs

20 acre

3-500

time of year

300 full shares

big farm

vegetables

3 acres of fruits

8 acre orchard

apprentice there for 2 years

took over the management

no one is ever prepared to run a farm

make some mistakes

hopefully

12 acres

we grow a little bit of everything

growing for dig in

whole sale buyer

12 different things at the same time

grow more

3 weeks pick 2000 bunches of scallions

grow a lot

few things that we

persian cucumbers

really popular dish for us

this one dish

comes from our farm

so many restaurants one farm couldn’t serve all of them

supply our own chain with our own farm

teach our chefs

have the public

interesting things

example last year

10 different kinds of heirlooms

taste testing for our chefs

work with our partners

10 acres

test kitchen of a farm

grow a little bit of everything

no

50

40 different kinds of vegetables

80 varieties

when I was managing that farm

my background

bolser up selling program

what kind of restaurant

cafe we liked to go to

malverne butery

suburbs of philly

walked in between 3-4

bunch of catalogs

chef was there

Im a farmer

Im intersted in growing for you

your food is great

im

seed catalog

I like this variety

a whole plan

thses amounts

different restaurants

I wanna work with you

so this can be a productive relationship

I said I would grow this amount of food

I’m onna hav eit these particular weeks

menu for the year

have it down in writing

I’m gonna send cauliflwoer in early june

really gratifying

to work with a chef

oh Ill grow

800 bed feet of cauliflower

Im gorw 600

yeah it’s definitely in the winter

late fall

another time when I try to get in

larger

winter sort of

a lot of restaurants are always gonna have a plan b

there gonna understand that thins are gonna go wrong

true believers in

diseases issues

cretain amount of leeway

hey we had a really bad year

getting a great

something you said

we grew a lot of strawberries

case of strawberries

have them for free

let

great to bring something you’re really proud of

you know you’ve done really well

we plan it out in the beginning of the season

we’re not gonna have that much in the winter

they can make other arrangements

mainly on CSA

it was a CSA focus farm

4 high tunnels

grow through the winter

people who specialize in winter growing

people who are very into winter growing

leave the summer to rest of other farmers

not a glut of farmers

make their own thing work

there’s a lot of people in the market

if I’m

my parents always kept a garden

chinese chives

which really take no maintenance

grow and produce

little plot of chines chives growing up

my first was working in Australia

first farm I was at

beet and avocado farm

farmer who was very ecological conscious

there would be a time when the oil ran out

few years

his tractor broke

Im not gonna use a tractor anymore

intense system of cover coping

manual

great way

see the concepts of what a machine does by hand

what needed to be done to the earth

that was a really

there are probably

movement of permaculture

they are more aware of the environmental issues that are pressing

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

How did you learn how to garden organically?

Tell us about something that grew well this year.

4

Is there something you would do different next year or want to try/new?

4

Tell me about something that didn’t work so well this season.

4

Which activity is your least favorite activity to do in the garden.

There are

what I have found the more you do something the less of a pain it becomes

I used to hate putting out row cover

you do it a few times

1st time it’s terrible

don’t like putting out sprinkler lines

heavy and difficult to manage

like everything

a lot of people like to glamorize

get through it and preservere

I certainly couldn’t be than

My mother

northeast over abundance of water

very few areas

takng notes

seeing what works what does

tdry farm gonna be different

observing taking notes

black dirt

coming from soil in pa

figured out there are things

carrots

really

figuring out what are your

lands strength

working your

What is your favorite activity to do in the garden.

I love transplanting

its one of my favorite

water wheel

it is sensually a giant rack with

one water tank

fill it up

there are a set of

depends on what your planting

one two or three wheels

spikes

water line

into the wheel

punch holes in the ground

dropping

water in the holes

carnival ride

riding along

large machine

throwing plants

transplant almost everything

brassicas

curcurbits

black dirt is very

weed pressure

transplant as much

root crops

we use

a good amount of plastic mulch

because of the weed pressure

without it

mulch will suppress a lot of weeds

the only thing that pokes through is the transplant

bare gound

the transplant hav ea jump start on th weeds

create a canopy over the bed

3 weeks 4 weeks

growing in the greenhouse

not weeding

when I was in college

after I graduated

new thing

johnnys sells it

the paper claw transplanter

trays we use

trays are biodgradable

put it in

push it like

unravels like a chain

transplant

just by using it through the ground

small market

trying to to hire

very cool very satisfying to watch

our scale is a little too large to use it

someone

needing to hire someone

get through really busy

What is the best gardening advice you have  ever received?

you know the best advice I have gotten

don’t worry too much

we are

at the mercy of mother nature

nothing I can do to push a frost back

or make it hotter or cooler

deep spiral of anxiety

tell my team

take it day to day

nothing you can do about it

ovciously

best of your ability

mother nature

it is what it is

nature of our business

last year I had 2 people working for me

me and 2 others for 6 acres

4 people in total

i hink

again

our farm being a part of dig inn

we ride on the back of our restaurants

were not in this to make money

how can small farms integrate into our supply chain easier

people running 3,5,10 acre farms

how do we bring them into

how can we advane

teaching a new generation of

our farmers all aging out

inerested in taking it over

have kids

good for them

choices

people ar leaving the farm

we need to bring more people in

someone who is training folks to be a good farmer

making sure that

they aren’t

I am not abusing them for their labor

like to over work

50-60 hour weeks

not sustainable

a lot of our farmers

super independent

who can work hardest longest

burns people out

making sure that

working our

getting a real actual education into how to grow things

tasks are

enjoy coming to work

we’re going to start in the heat of season

letting people get off an hour early on a friday

hour

employees

come in and want to work

keep people that want to work

by having a strict limit on time

don’t like to keep

10 hours a day

I;ll be there

might be there 12-14 hours a day

a lot of people

just trying it out

is this the life I want to live

not bought into farming

this is something that they can grow into and love to do

care about their liveliehood

right now because we are a new farm

we don’t do any winter growing

we only seasonal workers

we are not required by law to give overtime

we pay $12 hour plus overtime

average

worker

main not here just to make money

leeway to hire

don’t need to hire most experience

do’t car eif you have any experience

how I farm

that’s the thing

if you keep people happy and motivated

and  a sense of caring

may not love what they are doing

close relationship

space

personal life and professional life

friends with people I work with

try to hire people who are interested in farming and food

claire and peter

they’re awesome workers

they may have not be as productive and as fast

intersetd in the thing

what it’s like to be out there

pickng

people who are

A favorite tool that you like to use? If you had to move and could only take one tool with you what would it be.

Well, for I love having a vast array of hoes,

what I have started to use more

razor edge good for getting really close to the base of your plants

stirrups

oscilating hoes

first things I buy

a good sledge hammer

things that need to get moved,

pounding

A favorite recipe you like to cook from the garden?

there was this really great recipe

marco conoa

italian restaurants

sun gold tomatoes

mabye a pound of sun gold tomatoes

quarter cup of olive oil

low heat sliced garden

red paper

15 in

spicy

garlicy

fry the sun golds

fast 3-4 minutes

turn it off let it be

let i

lemon zest

parsley

garlic

nice topping

take the tomatoes

throw it on pasta

lemoneade garlicky

spicy

mix it all togther

bite rom fresh garlic

easy

ton of sun gold tomatoes

A favorite internet resource?

I a lot of what I find now days if I ma looking for info

extensions websites

always good to have academic papers on disease issues

extension in another state

growoing seasoning might not b e as long

A favorite reading material-book, mag, blog/website etc you can recommend?

books

mmy research

give it to all my crew

new organic grower

baseline introduciton to grroin

gsil health

nutrient

pest management

ben hartmann

series of books called the lean farm

the lean

toyota car

assemeblyie line and making it more efficient

how do you arrange your washroom

walking as much

how to not waste time on the farm

a minute you could have

stearmliine my operation

If you have a business to you have any advice for our listeners about how to sell extra produce or get started in the industry?

4

Final question-

if there was one change you would like to see to create a greener world what would it be? For example is there a charity or organization your passionate about or a project you would like to see put into action. What do you feel is the most crucial issue facing our planet in regards to the environment either in your local area or on a national or global scale?

I think one of the most important things we can do is reduce our energy consumption

walkins that need power

solar panels on their green houses

operate

odnt have to be attached to their electrical

modify a small tractor

quiet tractor

oil or diesel

small farm secto

innovation happening where folks are figuring out a different growing method from our forefathers

how do we grow without fossil fuels

bcs

he has a beautfiul amazing productive farm

all of these famers who are trying to grow in smaller spaces and produce more with using less

50% of the farms to use a little less powers

Do u have an inspiration tip or quote to help motivate our listeners to reach into that dirt and start their own garden?

I mean, if you want inspiration

anything Wendll barry has written

just ge tout there and don’t worry about it

all these plants they want to live

they are not working against you

push them along

have faith int he plants

cant let yourself get down about

growing a good amount of time

nautre workins the mysterious ways

contantly grown new things

force out there greater then you

say mother nature

How do we connect with you?

sure

well

I think

if you’re in the new york area

restaurant group dig inn have a meal

see how were trying to bering healthy affordable

really amazing food

larry.tse@diginn.com

I’m happy to help anyone with

instagram

lthelearbear

qustions or advice

pwerufle

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