Nash enjoys windfall of support after windstorm
LINCOLN, Del. — As harsh winds threatened to pull his high tunnel greenhouse out of the ground a month ago, Josh Nash raced down the side of it while slicing up it’s plastic covering.
It likely kept the structure from uprooting and rolling across the field but he said what truly blew him away was the outpouring of support from customers and the community.
The next day, he had plenty of people offer to help him take down the tunnel and clean up the area.
“I actually had to turn people away because I was like ‘Man, I can have a gathering right now,’” Nash said.
After posting a video of himself feverishly cutting the plastic to relive pressure on the tunnel, he said he quickly regrouped and went on with the necessary tasks on his three-acre “market garden” farm.
Unbeknownst to him, a frequent customer to his stall at the Milford Farmers Market, Kim Cahill of Dover, Del., saw the video and launched a fundraising effort on GoFundMe. The initial goal was $2,000, but the effort caught fire online and when donations passed $6,500 three days later, Nash asked that the fund be closed.
“That was amazing. I didn’t expect that,” Nash said of the donations. “My cup runneth over.”
Nash said the response showed him how much support he has in the community and that what he’s doing is appreciated.
Nash started his operation, Nash’s Veggies, in 2014 when he moved to a northern Sussex County property.
With farming partner Curtis Hamm, Nash grows vegetables on about an acre of his farm. He said they focus on “salad ingredients” that he can harvest and replant in the same season, selling through a CSA program, at farmers markets and to local restaurants.
“We try to push at least two crops at a minimum,” Nash said. “Three is ideal.”
Nash worked as a land surveyor for years while farming on the side and expanding the business. This year, it had grown enough to allow Nash to leave the surveyor job and farm full-time.
With farmers’ market openings delayed in Delaware and restaurant dining rooms closed, Nash said he’s developing a non-subscription, pre-packed box customers can pick up at his farm. He said his CSA is already sold out and with the extra demand he’s seeing this year, he’s optimistic about sales in general.
Overall, losing the tunnel wasn’t a huge setback in the season, Nash said. The lettuce that was planted under it caught a late frost which pushed harvest back two to three weeks.
But going forward, he said putting a tunnel back up will cost about $2,500 and a friend nearby has one not being used that’s available. He said he should be able to resurrect about half of the tunnel that sustained wind damage.
“I’m going to put it back up somewhere else,” Nash said.
He said he plans to use the donations to upgrade his washing station and pursue Good Agricultural Practices certification, which would allow him to sell to larger wholesale customers as his production expands.
It was something he had hoped to do soon, but the donated funds will accelerate the effort.
“It opens doors for us,” he said of getting GAP certified. “It was just kind of a someday kind of thing,”
He also plans to put some of the money toward an on-farm market building and plant vegetative screens on the property.
“Really it’s time to establish a windbreak on that south line,” Nash said. “When we get hard wind I am exposed.”
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