Nicholas Miller
Nicholas Miller

Nicholas Miller has lived in Floyd just a little more than a week, but that’s given him enough time to sample its restaurants and appreciate the size of its small-farming community.

Nicholas — we call him Nick for short — began last week as the new manager of Blue Valley Organic, SustainFloyd’s working model farm. He’ll continue the ongoing ground testing of our Pocket Farm model, which involves use of hoophouses and small acreage to produce organic vegetables for the wholesale market.

Most of Nick’s time so far has been spent meeting with Tony Kleese of Earthwise Company, who created the Pocket Farm template, meeting with regional wholesalers and generally preparing for the upcoming season. But he says he’s gotten a glimpse of Floyd County’s agricultural community.

“I’m excited to get to see all the other farms in the area and work with the small farmers,” Nick says. “I haven’t had a chance to really get the feel for it yet,but it feels like a close knit agricultural community and I’m excited to be part of it.”

Nick, 25, grew up in Frederick, Md. He attended St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and it was during that time he discovered farming when he picked up a part time job at Even’ Star Farm. The 104-acre organic farm provides CSA and wholesale produce to the Maryland and Washington, DC, markets. After graduating he went to work full-time and remained there for three years.

Nick also spent time as a farm manager at Waverly Farms in Nottoway County, Va., as well as working with Love & Carrots in Washington, DC, and working with a green roofing company in Baltimore.

Nicholas Miller honeycombNick learned about the opening at Blue Valley Organic through a friend who works at Future Harvest – CASA (Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture).

“I liked the model very much,” Nick says. “I hadn’t seen anything like that. And it seemed like SustainFloyd was involved in the community and doing a lot of interesting projects.”

Since arriving in Floyd, Nick’s been working on the 2014 crop plan. He’s looking at what worked well for 2013 Farm Manager Brian Moss and what didn’t. He’s met with Good Food – Good People, East Carolina Organics and Backyard Produce to gauge regional demand. And he’s exploring the possibility of specialty crops that don’t need as much space but may find a market niche.

Next up, he’ll be taking soil samples, spreading compost and looking into purchasing a second hoophouse for the farm.

The one-man farm plan doesn’t leave much time for hobbies, but Nick does look forward to fishing and mushroom hunting this spring.

Say hi if you see him out and about in Floyd County!