Paul and Sandy Arnold, owners of Pleasant Valley Farms in Argyle, New York, are a plethora of farming and overall agricultural knowledge. When you observe their farm, it is all of the little details that you notice. Paul and Sandy own 60 acres of land and lease 120 acres, but only have 7 acres in production. They focus on quality and management of the land, and incorporate cover crops and crop rotation.
Paul and Sandy purchased their land in 1988 and have built a thriving organic fruit and vegetable farm over the past 23 years. They have both field production and high tunnel production with over 40 varieties of crops. Some of these crops are trials, and copious notes are recorded on production costs and yields. Growing and sales is year round, and their produce is sold mostly through farmers' markets. They attend three markets per week in the warmer months and two markets per week in the cooler months.
The Arnolds have one 30 x 60 Matterhorn greenhouse used exclusively for propagation, with radiant heat and natural ventilation. They also have two 144 foot long Nor'Easter high tunnels which serve them with year round production. One very interesting aspect in the high tunnels is the use of the gable vents at each end of the greenhouse. A few years ago, the Arnolds discovered that by leaving their gable shutters open all the time, including when it is very cold, they reduced their humidity in the greenhouse. By allowing the greenhouses to continually vent, especially in the winter months, they have almost eliminated all diseases associated with fungus. Although there is just a slight temperature differential between the inside and outside of the greenhouse, the use of row covers at night helps protect the plants from freezing.
The Arnolds also have a weather station, with over 40 monitors set up throughout their farm in the fields and in the greenhouses. They constantly monitor indoor and outdoor weather conditions and use this data to improve their growing and types of crops produced. The farm also has a root cellar for storage of produce with different climate zones for the various types of crops.
The Arnolds enjoy travelling and presenting at farming conferences all over the country. Sharing their knowledge is very important to them, and they often mentor young farmers with advice and tours of their farm. Pleasant Valley Farms gives back to the farming community with their knowledge, experience and great attitude, and Paul and Sandy Arnold thoroughly enjoy the challenges and lifestyles within their local agricultural community.